THOSE who have read the account of the last idol procession in the capital of Scotland, in John Knox's History of the Reformation, cannot easily have forgot the tragi-comedy with which it ended. The light of the Gospel had widely spread, the Popish idols had lost their fascination, and popular antipathy was everywhere rising against them. "The images," says the historian, "were stolen away in all parts of the country; and in Edinburgh was that great idol called Sanct Geyle [the patron saint of the capital], first drowned in the North Loch, after burnt, which raised no small trouble in the town." * The bishops demanded of the Town Council either "to get them again the old Sanct Geyle, or else, upon their (own) expenses, to make a new image." * The Town Council could not do the one, and the other they absolutely refused to do; for they were now convinced of the sin of idolatry. The bishops and priests, however, were still mad upon their idols; and, as the anniversary of the feast of St. Giles was approaching, when the saint used to be carried in procession through the town, they determined to do their best, that the accustomed procession should take place with as much pomp as possible.
For this purpose, "a marmouset idole" was borrowed from the Grey friars, which the people, in derision, called "Young Sanct Geyle," and which was made to do service instead of the old one. On the appointed day, says Knox, "there assembled priests, friars, canons....with taborns and trumpets, banners, and bagpipes; and who was there to lead the ring but the Queen regent herself, with all her shavelings, for honour of that feast. West about goes it, and comes down the High Street, and down to the Canno Cross." * As long as the Queen was present, all went to the heart's content of the priests and their partisans. But no sooner had majesty retired to dine, than some in the crowd, who had viewed the whole concern with an evil eye, "drew nigh to the idol, as willing to help to bear him, and getting the fertour (or barrow) on their shoulders, began to shudder, thinking that thereby the idol should have fallen. But that was provided and prevented by the iron nails [with which it was fastened to the fertour]; and so began one to cry, 'Down with the idol, down with it;' and so without delay it was pulled down. Some brag made the priests' patrons at the first; but when they saw the feebleness of their god, for one took him by the heels, and dadding * his head to the calsay, * left Dagon without head or hands, and said, 'Fye upon thee, thou young Sanct Geyle, thy father would have tarried * four such [blows];' this considered, we say, the priests and friars fled faster than they did at Pinkey Cleuch. There might have been seen so sudden a fray as seldom has been seen amongst that sort of men within this realm; for down goes the crosses, off goes the surplice, round caps corner with the crowns. The Grey friars gaped, the Black friars blew, the priests panted and fled, and happy was he that first gat the house; for such ane sudden fray came never amongst the generation of Antichrist within this realm before." *
Such an idol procession among a people who had begun to study and relish the Word of God, elicited nothing but indignation and scorn. But in Popish lands, among a people studiously kept in the dark, such processions are among the favourite means which the Romish Church employs to bind its votaries to itself. The long processions with images borne on men's shoulders, with the gorgeous dresses of the priests, and the various habits of different orders of monks and nuns, with the aids of flying banners and the thrilling strains of instrumental music, if not too closely scanned, are well fitted "plausibly to amuse" the worldly mind, to gratify the love for the picturesque, and when the emotions thereby called forth are dignified with the name of piety and religion, to minister to the purposes of spiritual despotism. Accordingly, Popery has ever largely availed itself of such pageants.
On joyous occasions, it has sought to consecrate the hilarity and excitement created by such processions to the service of its idols; and in seasons of sorrow, it has made use of the same means to draw forth the deeper wail of distress from the multitudes that throng the procession, as if the mere loudness of the cry would avert the displeasure of a justly offended God. Gregory, commonly called the Great, seems to have been the first who, on a large scale, introduced those religious processions unto the Roman Church. In 590, when Rome was suffering under the heavy hand of God from the pestilence, he exhorted the people to unite publicly in supplication to God, appointing that they should meet at daybreak in SEVEN DIFFERENT COMPANIES, according to their respective ages, SEXES, and stations, and walk in seven different processions, reciting litanies or supplications, till they all met at one place. * They did so, and proceeded singing and uttering the words, "Lord, have mercy upon us," carrying along with them, as Baronius relates, by Gregory's express command, an image of the Virgin. * The very idea of such processions was an affront to the majesty of heaven; it implied that God who is a Spirit "saw with eyes of flesh," and might be moved by the imposing picturesqueness of such a spectacle, just as sensuous mortals might. As an experiment it had but slender success. In the space of one hour, while thus engaged, eighty persons fell to the ground, and breathed their last. *
Yet this is now held up to Britons as "the more excellent way" for deprecating the wrath of God in a season of national distress. "Had this calamity," says Dr. Wiseman, referring to the Indian disasters, "had this calamity fallen upon our forefathers in Catholic days, one would have seen the streets of this city [London] trodden in every direction by penitential processions, crying out, like David, when pestilence had struck the people." If this allusion to David has any pertinence or meaning, it must imply that David, in the time of pestilence, headed some such "penitential procession." But Dr. Wiseman knows, or ought to know, that David did nothing of the sort, that his penitence was expressed in no such way as by processions, and far less by idol processions, as "in the Catholic days of our forefathers," to which we are invited to turn back. This reference to David, then, is a mere blind, intended to mislead those who are not given to Bible reading, as if such "penitential processions" had something of Scripture warrant to rest upon. The Times, commenting on this recommendation of the Papal dignitary, has hit the nail on the head. "The historic idea," says that journal, "is simple enough, and as old as old can be. We have it in Homer--the procession of Hecuba and the ladies of Troy to the shrine of Minerva, in the Acropolis of that city." It was a time of terror and dismay in Tory, when Diomede, with resistless might, was driving everything before him, and the overthrow of the proud city seemed at hand. To avert the apparently inevitable doom, the Trojan Queen was divinely directed:-
"To lead the assembled train Of Troy's chief matron's to Minerva's fane."
And she did so:-- "Herself....the long procession leads; The train majestically slow proceeds. Soon as to Ilion's topmost tower they come, And awful reach the high Palladian dome, Antenor's consort, fair Theano, waits As Pallas' priestess, and unbars the gates. With hands uplifted and imploring eyes, They fill the dome with supplicating cries." *
Here is a precedent for "penitential processions" in connection with idolatry entirely to the point, such as will be sought for in vain in the history of David, or any of the Old Testament saints. Religious processions, and especially processions with images, whether of a jubilant or sorrowful description, are purely Pagan. In the Word of God we find two instances in which there were processions practised with Divine sanction; but when the object of these processions is compared with the avowed object and character of Romish processions, it will be seen that there is no analogy between them and the processions of Rome. The two cases to which I refer are the seven days' encompassing of Jericho, and the procession at the bringing up of the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim to the city of David. The processions, in the first case, though attended with the symbols of Divine worship, were not intended as acts of religious worship, but were a miraculous mode of conducting war, when a signal interposition of Divine power was to be vouchsafed. In the other, there was simply the removing of the ark, the symbol of Jehovah's presence, from the place where, for a long period, it had been allowed to lie in obscurity, to the place which the Lord Himself had chosen for its abode; and on such an occasion it was entirely fitting and proper that the transference should be made with all religious solemnity.
But these were simply occasional things, and have nothing at all in common with Romish processions, which form a regular part of the Papal ceremonial. But, though Scripture speaks nothing of religious processions in the approved worship of God, it refers once and again to Pagan processions, and these, too, accompanied with images; and it vividly exposes the folly of those who can expect any good from gods that cannot move from one place to another, unless they are carried. Speaking of the gods of Babylon, thus saith the prophet Isaiah (chap. xivi. 6), "They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place he shall not remove." In the sculptures of Nineveh these processions of idols, borne on men's shoulders, are forcibly represented, * and form at once a striking illustration of the prophetic language, and of the real origin of the Popish processions. In Egypt, the same practice was observed. In "the procession of shrines," says Wilkinson, "it was usual to carry the statue of the principal deity, in whose honour the procession took place, together with that of the king, and the figures of his ancestors, borne in the same manner, on men's shoulders." *
But not only are the processions in general identified with the Babylonian system. We have evidence that these processions trace their origin to that very disastrous event in the history of Nimrod, which has already occupied so much of our attention. Wilkinson says "that Diodorus speaks of an Ethiopian festival of Jupiter, when his statue was carried in procession, probably to commemorate the supposed refuge of the gods in that country, which," says he, "may have been a memorial of the flight of the Egyptians with their gods." *
The passage of Diodorus, to which Wilkinson refers, is not very decisive as to the object for which the statues of Jupiter and Juno (for Diodorus mentions the shrine of Juno as well as of Jupiter) were annually carried into the land of Ethiopia, and then, after a certain period of sojourn there, were brought back to Egypt again. * But, on comparing it with other passages of antiquity, its object very clearly appears. Eustathius says, that at the festival in question, "according to some, the Ethiopians used to fetch the images of Zeus, and other gods from the great temple of Zeus at Thebes. With these images they went about at a certain period in Libya, and celebrated a splendid festival for twelve gods." *
As the festival was called an Ethiopian festival; and as it was Ethiopians that both carried away the idols and brought them back again, this indicates that the idols must have been Ethiopian idols; and as we have seen that Egypt was under the power of Nimrod, and consequently of the Cushites or Ethiopians, when idolatry was for a time put down in Egypt, * what would this carrying of the idols into Ethiopia, the land of the Cushites, that was solemnly commemorated every year, be, but just the natural result of the temporary suppression of the idol-worship inaugurated by Nimrod. In Mexico, we have an account of an exact counterpart of this Ethiopian festival. There, at a certain period, the images of the gods were carried out of the country in a mourning procession, as if taking their leave of it, and then, after a time, they were brought back to it again with every demonstration of joy. * In Greece, we find a festival of an entirely similar kind, which, while it connects itself with the Ethiopian festival of Egypt on the one hand, brings that festival, on the other, into the closest relation to the penitential procession of Pope Gregory. Thus we find Potter referring first to a "Delphian festival in memory of a JOURNEY of Apollo;" * and then under the head of the festival called Apollonia, we thus read: "To Apollo, at AEgialea on this account: Apollo having obtained a victory over Python, went to AEgialea, accompanied with his sister Diana; but, being frightened from thence, fled into Crete. After this, the AEgialeans were infected with an epidemical distemper; and, being advised by the prophets to appease the two offended deities, sent SEVEN boys and as many virgins to entreat them to return. [Here is the typical germ of 'The Sevenfold litany' of Pope Gregory.] Apollo and Diana accepted their piety,....and it became a custom to appoint chosen boys and virgins, to make a solemn procession, in show, as if they designed to bring back Apollo and Diana, which continued till Pausanias's time." *
The contest between Python and Apollo, in Greece, is just the counterpart of that between Typho and Osiris in Egypt; in other words, between Shem and Nimrod. Thus we see the real meaning and origin of the Ethiopian festival, when the Ethiopians carried away the gods from the Egyptian temples. That festival evidently goes back to the time when Nimrod being cut off, idolatry durst not show itself except among the devoted adherents of the "Mighty hunter" (who were found in his own family--the family of Cush), when, with great weepings and lamentations, the idolaters fled with their gods on their shoulders, to hide themselves where they might. * In commemoration of the suppression of idolatry, and the unhappy consequences that were supposed to flow from that suppression, the first part of the festival, as we get light upon it both from Mexico and Greece, had consisted of a procession of mourners; and then the mourning was turned into joy, in memory of the happy return of these banished gods to their former exaltation. Truly a worthy origin for Pope Gregory's "Sevenfold Litany" and the Popish processions. 2bab023.htm
Nothing is more characteristic of Rome than the worship of relics. Wherever a chapel is opened, or a temple consecrated, it cannot be thoroughly complete without some relic or other of he-saint or she-saint to give sanctity to it. The relics of the saints and rotten bones of the martyrs form a great part of the wealth of the Church. The grossest impostures have been practised in regard to such relics; and the most drivelling tales have been told of their wonder-working powers, and that too by Fathers of high name in the records of Christendom. Even Augustine, with all his philosophical acuteness and zeal against some forms of false doctrine, was deeply infected with the grovelling spirit that led to relic worship. Let any one read the stuff with which he concludes his famous "City of God," and he will in no wise wonder that Rome has made a saint of him, and set him up for the worship of her devotees. Take only a specimen or two of the stories with which he bolsters up the prevalent delusions of his day: "When the Bishop Projectius brought the relics of St. Stephen to the town called Aquae Tibiltinae, the people came in great crowds to honour them. Amongst there was a blind woman, who entreated the people to lead her to the bishop who had the HOLY RELICS. They did so, and the bishop gave her some flowers which he had in his hand. She took them, and put them to her eyes, and immediately her sight was restored, so that she passed speedily on before all the others, no longer requiring to be guided." * In Augustine's day, the formal "worship" of the relics was not yet established; but the martyrs to whom they were supposed to have belonged where already invoked with prayers and supplications, and that with the high approval of the Bishop of Hippo, as the following story will abundantly show:
Here, in Hippo, says he, there was a poor and holy old man, by name Florentius, who obtained a living by tailoring. This man once lost his coat, and not being able to purchase another to replace it, he came to the shrine of the Twenty Martyrs, in this city, and prayed aloud to them, beseeching that they would enable him to get another garment. A crowd of silly boys who overheard him, followed him at his departure, scoffing at him,and asking him whether he had begged fifty pence from the martyrs to buy a coat. The poor man went silently on towards home, and as he passed near the sea, he saw a large fish which had been cast up on the sand, and was still panting. The other persons who were present allowed him to take up this fish, which he brought to one Catosus, a cook, and a good Christian, who bought it from him for three hundred pence. With this he meant to purchase wool, which his wife might spin, and make into a garment for him. When the cook cut up the fish, he found within its belly a ring of gold, which his conscience persuaded him to give to the poor man from whom he brought the fish. He did so, saying, at the same time, "Behold how the Twenty Martyrs have clothed you!" * Thus did the great Augustine inculcate the worship of dead men, and the honouring of their wonder-working relics. The "silly children" who "scoffed" at the tailor's prayer seem to have had more sense than either the "holy old tailor" or the bishop.
Now, if men professing Christianity were thus, in the fifth century, paving the way for the worship of all manner of rags and rotten bones; in the realms of Heathendom the same worship had flourished for ages before Christian saints or martyrs had appeared in the world. In Greece, the superstitions regard to relics, and especially to the bones of the deified heroes, was a conspicuous part of the popular idolatry. The work of Pausanias, the learned Grecian antiquary, is full of reference to this superstition. Thus, of the shoulder-blade of Pelops, we read that, after passing through divers adventures, being appointed by the oracle of Delphi, as a divine means of delivering the Eleans from a pestilence under which they suffered, it "was committed," as a sacred relic, "to the custody" of the man who had fished it out of the sea, and of his posterity after him. * The bones of the Trojan Hector were preserved as a precious deposit at Thebes. "They" [the Thebans], says Pausanias, "say that his [Hector's] bones were brought hither from Troy, in consequence of the following oracle: 'Thebans, who inhabit the city of Cadmus, if you wish to reside in your country, blest with the possession of blameless wealth, bring the bones of Hector, the son of Priam, into your dominions from Asia, and reverence the hero agreeably to the mandate of Jupiter.'" *
Many other similar instances from the same author might be adduced. The bones thus carefully kept and reverenced were all believed to be miracle-working bones. From the earliest periods, the system of Buddhism has been propped up by relics, that have wrought miracles at least as well vouched as those wrought by the relics of St. Stephen, or by the "Twenty Martyrs." In the "Mahawanso," one of the great standards of the Buddhist faith, reference is thus made to the enshrining of the relics of Buddha: "The vanquisher of foes having perfected the works to be executed within the relic receptacle. convening an assembly of the priesthood, thus addressed them: 'The works that were to be executed by me, in the relic receptacle, are completed. To-morrow, I shall enshrine the relics. Lords, bear in mind the relics.'" *
Who has not heard of the Holy Coat of Treves, and its exhibition to the people? From the following, the reader will see that there was an exactly similar exhibition of the Holy Coat of Buddha: "Thereupon (the nephew of the Naga Rajah) by his supernatural gift, springing up into the air to the height of seven palmyra trees, and stretching out his arm brought to the spot where he was poised, the Dupathupo (or shrine) in which the DRESS laid aside by Buddho, as Prince Siddhatto, on his entering the priesthood, was enshrined....and EXHIBITED IT TO THE PEOPLE." * This "Holy Coat" of Buddha was no doubt as genuine, and as well entitled to worship, as the "Holy Coat" of Treves. The resemblance does not stop here. It is only a year or two ago since the Pope presented to his beloved son, Francis Joseph of Austria, a "TOOTH" of "St. Peter," as a mark of his special favour and regard. * The teeth of Buddha are in equal request among his worshippers. "King of Devas," said a Buddhist missionary, who was sent to one of the principal courts of Ceylon to demand a relic or two from the Rajah, "King of Devas, thou possessest the right canine tooth relic (of Buddha), as well as the right collar bone of the divine teacher. Lord of Devas, demur not in matters involving the salvation of the land of Lanka." * Then the miraculous efficacy of these relics is shown in the following: "The Saviour of the world (Buddha) even after he had attained to Parinibanan or final emancipation (i.e., after his death), by means of a corporeal relic, performed infinite acts to the utmost perfection, for the spiritual comfort and mundane prosperity of mankind. While the Vanquisher (Jeyus) yet lived, what must he not have done?" *
Now, in the Asiatic researches, a statement is made in regard to these relics of Buddha, which marvellously reveals to us the real origin of this Buddhist relic worship. The statement is this: "The bones or limbs of Buddha were scattered all over the world, like those of Osiris and Jupiter Zagreus. To collect them was the first duty of his descendants and followers, and then to entomb them. Out of filial piety, the remembrance of this mournful search was yearly kept up by a fictitious one, with all possible marks of grief and sorrow till a priest announced that the sacred relics were at last found. This is practised to this day by several Tartarian tribes of the religion of Buddha; and the expression of the bones of the Son of the Spirit of heaven is peculiar to the Chinese and some tribes in Tartary." * Here, then, it is evident that the worship of relics is just a part of those ceremonies instituted to commemorate the tragic death of Osiris or Nimrod, who, as the reader may remember, was divided into fourteen pieces, which were sent into so many different regions infected by his apostacy and false worship, to operate in terrorem upon all who might seek to follow his example. When the apostates regained their power, the very first thing they did was to seek for these dismembered relics of the great ringleader in idolatry, and to entomb them with every mark of devotion. Thus does Plutarch describe the search: "Being acquainted with this event [viz., the dismemberment of Osiris], Isis set out once more in search of the scattered embers of her husband's body, using a boat made of the papyrus rush in order more easily to pass through the lower and fenny parts of the country.....And one reason assigned for the different sepulchres of Osiris shown in Egypt is, that wherever any one of his scattered limbs was discovered she buried it on the spot; though others suppose that it was owing to an artifice of the queen, who presented each of those cities with an image of her husband, in order that, if Typho should overcome Horus in the approaching contest, he might be unable to find the real sepulchre. Isis succeeded in recovering all the different members, with the exception of one, which had been devoured by the Lepidotus, the Phagrus, and the Oxyrhynchus, for which reason these fish are held in abhorrence by the Egyptians. To make amends, she consecrated the Phallus, and instituted a solemn festival to its memory." *
Not only does this show the real origin of relic worship; it shows also that the multiplication of relics can pretend to the most venerable antiquity. If, therefore, Rome can boast that she has sixteen or twenty holy coats, seven or eight arms of St. Matthew, two or three heads of St. Peter, this is nothing more than Egypt could do in regard to the relics of Osiris. Egypt was covered with sepulchres of its martyred god; and many a leg and arm and skull, all vouched to be genuine, were exhibited in the rival burying-places for the adoration of the Egyptian faithful. Nay, not only were these Egyptian relics sacred themselves, they CONSECRATED THE VERY GROUND in which they were entombed. This fact is brought out by Wilkinson, from a statement of Plutarch: * "The Temple of this deity of Abydos," says he, "was also particularly honoured, and so holy was the place considered by the Egyptians, that persons living at some distance from it sought, and perhaps with difficulty obtained, permission to possess a sepulchre within its Necropolis, in order that, after death, they might repose in GROUND HALLOWED BY THE TOMB of this great an mysterious deity." *
If the places were the relics of Osiris were buried were accounted peculiarly holy, it is easy to see how naturally this would give rise to the pilgrimages so frequent among the heathen. The reader does not heed to be told what merit Rome attaches to such pilgrimages to the tombs of saints, and how in the Middle Ages, one of the most favourite ways of washing away sin was to undertake a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Jago di Compostella in Spain, or to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. * Now, in the Scripture there is not the slightest trace of any such thing as a pilgrimage to the tomb of saint, martyr, prophet, or apostle. The very way in which the Lord saw fit to dispose of the body of Moses in burying it Himself in the plains of Moab, so that no man should ever know where his sepulchre was, was evidently designed to rebuke every such feeling as that from which such pilgrimages arise. And considering whence Israel had come, the Egyptian ideas with which they were infected, as shown in the matter of the golden calf, and the high reverence they must have entertained for Moses, the wisdom of God in so disposing of his body must be apparent. In the land where Israel had so long sojourned, there were great and pompous pilgrimages at certain seasons of the year, and these often attended with gross excesses.
Herodotus tells us, that in his time the multitude who went annually on pilgrimage to Bubastis amounted to 700,000 individuals, and that then more wine was drunk than at any other time in the year. * Wilkinson thus refers to a similar pilgrimage to Philae: "Besides the celebration of the great mysteries which took place at Philae, a grand ceremony was performed at a particular time, when the priests, in solemn procession, visited his tomb, and crowned it with flowers. * Plutarch even pretends that all access to the island was forbidden at every other period, and that no bird would fly over it, or fish swim near this CONSECRATED GROUND." * This seems not to have been a procession merely of the priests in the immediate neighbourhood of the tomb, but a truly national pilgrimage; for, says Diodorus, "the sepulchre of Osiris at Philae is revered by all the priests throughout Egypt." * We have not the same minute information about the relic worship in Assyria or Babylon; but we have enough to show that, as it was the Babylonian god that was worshipped in Egypt under the name of Osiris, so in his own country there was the same superstitious reverence paid to his relics. We have seen already, that when the Babylonian Zoroaster died, he was said voluntarily to have given his life as a sacrifice, and to have "charged his countrymen to preserve his remains," assuring them that on the observance or neglect of this dying command, the fate of their empire would hinge. *
And, accordingly, we learn from Ovid, that the "Busta Nini," or "Tomb of Ninus," long ages thereafter, was one of the monuments of Babylon. * Now, in comparing the death and fabled resurrection of the false Messiah with the death and resurrection of the true, when he actually appeared, it will be found that there is a very remarkable contrast. When the false Messiah died, limb was severed from limb, and his bones were scattered over the country. When the death of the true Messiah took place, Providence so arranged it that the body should be kept entire, and that the prophetic word should be exactly fulfilled--"a bone of Him shall not be broken." When, again, the false Messiah was pretended to have had a resurrection, that resurrection was in a new body, while the old body, with all its members, was left behind, thereby showing that the resurrection was nothing but a pretence and a sham.
When, however, the true Messiah was "declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead," the tomb, though jealously watched by the armed unbelieving soldiery of Rome, was found to be absolutely empty, and no dead body of the Lord was ever afterwards found, or even pretended to have been found. The resurrection of Christ, therefore, stands on a very different footing from the resurrection of Osiris. Of the body of Christ, of course, in the nature of the case, there could be no relics. Rome, however, to carry out the Babylonian system, has supplied the deficiency by means of the relics of the saints; and now the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul, of St. Thomas A'Beckett and St. Lawrence O'Toole, occupy the very same place in the worship of the Papacy as the relics of Osiris in Egypt, or of Zoroaster in Babylon. 2bab024.htm
In the Church of Rome, the clothing and crowning of images form no insignificant part of the ceremonial. The sacred images are not represented, like ordinary statues, with the garments formed of the same material as themselves, but they have garments put on them from time to time, like ordinary mortals of living flesh and blood. Great expense is often lavished on their drapery; and those who present to them splendid robes are believed thereby to gain their signal favour, and to lay up a large stock of merit for themselves. Thus, in September, 1852, we find the Duke and Duchess of Montpensier celebrated in the Tablet, not only for their charity in "giving 3000 reals in alms to the poor," but especially, and above all, for their piety in "presenting the Virgin with a magnificent dress of tissue of gold, with white lace and a silver crown." Somewhat about the same time the piety of the dissolute Queen of Spain was testified by a similar benefaction, when she deposited at the feet of the Queen of Heaven the homage of the dress and jewels she wore on a previous occasion of solemn thanksgiving, as well as the dress in which she was attired when she was stabbed by the assassin Merino. "The mantle," says the Spanish journal Espana, "exhibited the marks of the wound, and its ermine lining was stained with the precious blood of Her Majesty. In the basket (that bore the dresses) were likewise the jewels which adorned Her Majesty's head and breast. Among them was a diamond stomacher, so exquisitely wrought, and so dazzling, that it appeared to be wrought of a single stone." *
This is all sufficiently childish, and presents human nature in a most humiliating aspect; but it is just copied from the old Pagan worship. The same clothing and adorning of the gods went on in Egypt, and there were sacred persons who alone could be permitted to interfere with so high a function. Thus, in the Rosetta Stone we find these sacred functionaries distinctly referred to : "The chief priests and prophets, and those who have access to the adytum to clothe the gods,.... assembled in the temple at Memphis, established the following decree." * The "clothing of the gods" occupied an equally important place in the sacred ceremonial of ancient Greece. Thus, we find Pausanias referring to a present made to Minerva: "In after times Laodice, the daughter of Agapenor, sent a veil to Tegea, to Minerva Alea." The epigram [inscription] on this offering indicates, at the same time, the origin of Laodice:-
"Laodice, from Cyprus, the divine, To her paternal wide-extended land, This veil--an offering to Minerva--sent." *
Thus, also, when Hecuba, the Trojan queen, in the instance already referred to, was directed to lead the penitential procession through the streets of Troy to Minerva's temple, she was commanded not to go empty-handed, but to carry along with her, as her most acceptable offering -
"The largest mantle your full wardrobes hold, Most prized for art, and laboured o'er with gold."
The royal lady punctually obeyed:- "The Phrygian queen to her rich wardrobe went, Where treasured odours breathed a costly scent; There lay the vestures of no vulgar art; Sidonian maids embroidered every part, Whom from soft Sydon youthful Paris bore, With Helen touching on the Tyrian shore. Here, as the Queen revolved with careful eyes The various textures and the various dyes, She chose a veil that shone superior far, And glowed refulgent as the morning star." *
There is surely a wonderful resemblance here between the piety of the Queen of Troy and that of the Queen of Spain. Now, in ancient Paganism there was a mystery couched under the clothing of the gods. If gods and goddesses were so much pleased by being clothing, it was because there had once been a time in their history when they stood greatly in need of clothing. Yes, it can be distinctly established, as had been already hinted, that ultimately the great god and great goddess of Heathenism, while the facts of their own history were interwoven with their idolatrous system, were worshipped also as incarnations of our great progenitors, whose disastrous fall stripped them of their primeval glory, and made it needful that the hand Divine should cover their nakedness with clothing especially prepared for them. I cannot enter here into an elaborate proof of this point; but let the statement of Herodotus be pondered in regard to the annual ceremony, observed in Egypt, of slaying a ram, and clothing the FATHER OF THE GODS with its skin. *
Compare this statement with the Divine record in Genesis about the clothing of the "Father of Mankind" in a coat of sheepskin; and after all that we have seen of the deification of dead men, can there be a doubt what it was that was thus annually commemorated? Nimrod himself, when he was cut in pieces, was necessarily stripped. That exposure was identified with the nakedness of Noah, and ultimately with that of Adam. His sufferings were represented as voluntarily undergone for the good of mankind. His nakedness, therefore, and the nakedness of the "Father of the gods," of whom he was an incarnation, was held to be a voluntary humiliation too. When, therefore, his suffering was over, and his humiliation past, the clothing in which he was invested was regarded as a meritorious clothing, available not only for himself, but for all who were initiated in his mysteries. In the sacred rites of the Babylonian god, both the exposure and the clothing that were represented as having taken place, in his own history, were repeated on all his worshippers, in accordance with the statement of Firmicus, that the initiated underwent what their god had undergone. *
First, after being duly prepared by magic rites and ceremonies, they were ushered, in a state of absolute nudity, into the innermost recesses of the temple. This appears from the following statement of Proclus: "In the most holy of the mysteries, they say that the mystics at first meet with the many-shaped genera[i.e., with evil demons], which are hurled forth before the gods: but on entering the interior parts of the temple, unmoved and guarded by the mystic rites, they genuinely receive in their bosom divine illumination, and, DIVESTED OF THEIR GARMENTS, participate, as they would say, of a divine nature." * When the initiated, thus "illuminated" and made partakers of a "divine nature," after being "divested of their garments," were clothed anew, the garments with which they were invested were looked upon as "sacred garments," and possessing distinguished virtues. "The coat of skin" with which the Father of mankind was divinely invested after he was made so painfully sensible of his nakedness, was, as all intelligent theologians admit, a typical emblem of the glorious righteousness of Christ--"the garment of salvation," which is "unto all and upon all them that believe." the garments of those initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries," says Potter, "were accounted sacred, and of no less efficacy to avert evils than charms and incantations. They were never cast off till completely worn out." * And of course, if possible, in these "sacred garments" they were buried; for Herodotus, speaking of Egypt, whence these mysteries were derived, tells us that "religion" prescribed the garments of the dead. * The efficacy of "sacred garments" as a means of salvation and delivering from evil in the unseen and eternal world, occupies a foremost place in many religions.
Thus the Parsees, the fundamental elements of whose system came from the Chaldean Zoroaster, believe that "the sadra or sacred vest" tends essentially to "preserve the departed soul from the calamities accruing from Ahriman," or the Devil; and they represent those who neglect the use of this "sacred vest" as suffering in their souls, and "uttering the most dreadful and appalling cries," on account of the torments inflicted on them "by all kinds of reptiles and noxious animals, who assail them with their teeth and stings, and give them not a moment's respite." * What could have ever led mankind to attribute such virtue to a "sacred vest"? If it be admitted that it is just a perversion of the "sacred garment" put on our first parents, all is clear. This, too, accounts for the superstitious feeling in the Papacy, otherwise so unaccountable, that led so many in the dark ages to fortify themselves against the fears of the judgment to come, by seeking to be buried in a monk's dress. "To be buried in a friar's cast-off habit, accompanied by letters enrolling the deceased in a monastic order, was accounted a sure deliverance from eternal condemnation! In 'Piers the Ploughman's Creed," a friar is described as wheedling a poor man out of his money by assuring him that, if he will only contribute to his monastery,
'St. Francis himself shall fold thee in his cope, And present thee to the Trinity, and pray for thy sins.'*
In virtue of the same superstitious belief, King John of England was buried in a monk's cowl; * and many a royal and noble personage besides, "before life and immorality" were anew "brought to light" at the Reformation, could think of no better way to cover their naked and polluted souls in prospect of death, than by wrapping themselves in the garment of some monk or friar as unholy as themselves. Now, all these refuges of lies, in Popery as well as Paganism, taken in connection with the clothing of the saints of the one system, and of the gods of the other, when traced to their source, show that since sin entered the world, man has ever felt the need of a better righteousness than his own to cover him, and that the time was when all the tribes of the earth knew that the only righteousness that could avail for such a purpose was "the righteousness of God," and that of "God manifest in the flesh."
Intimately connected with the "clothing of the images of the saints" is also the "crowning" of them. For the last two centuries, in the Popish communion, the festivals for crowning the "sacred images" have been more and more celebrated. In Florence, a few years ago, the image of the Madonna with the child in her arms was "crowned" with unusual pomp and solemnity. * Now, this too arose out of the facts commemorated in the history of Bacchus or Osiris. As Nimrod was the first king after the Flood, so Bacchus was celebrated as the first who wore a crown. * When, however, he fell into the hands of his enemies, as he was stripped of all his glory and power, he was stripped also of his crown. The "falling of the crown from the head of Osiris" was specially commemorated in Egypt. That crown at different times was represented in different ways, but in the most famous myth of Osiris it was represented as a "Melilot garland." * Melilot is a species of trefoil; and trefoil in the Pagan system was one of the emblems of the Trinity. Among the Tractarians at this day, trefoil is used in the same symbolical sense as it has long been in the Papacy, from which Puseyism has borrowed it. Thus, in a blasphemous Popish representation of what is called God the Father (of the fourteenth century), we find him represented as wearing a crown with three points, each of which is surmounted with a leaf of white clover . * But long before Tractarianism or Romanism was known, trefoil was a sacred symbol. The clover leaf was evidently a symbol of high import among the ancient Persians; for thus we find Herodotus referring to it, in describing the rites of the Persian Magi--"If any (Persian) intends to offer to a god, he leads the animal to a consecrated spot. Then, dividing the victim into parts, he boils the flesh, and lays it upon the most tender herbs, especially TREFOIL. This done, a magus-- without a magus no sacrifice can be performed--sings a sacred hymn." *
In Greece, the clover, or trefoil, in some form or other, had also occupied an important place; for the rod of Mercury, the conductor of souls, to which such potency was ascribed, was called "Rabdos Tripetelos," or "the three-leaved rod." * Among the British Druids the white clover leaf was held in high esteem as an emblem of their Triune God, * and was borrowed from the same Babylonian source as the rest of their religion. The Melilot, or trefoil garland, then, with which the head of Osiris was bound, was the crown of the Trinity--the crown set on his head as the representative of the Eternal--"The crown of all the earth," in accordance with the voice divine at his birth, "The Lord of all the earth is born." Now, as that "Melilot garland," that crown of universal dominion, fell "from his head" before his death, so, when he rose to new life, the crown must be again set upon his head, and his universal dominion solemnly avouched. Hence, therefore, came the solemn crowning of the statues of the great god, and also the laying of the "chaplet" on his altar, as a trophy of his recovered "dominion." But if the great god was crowned, it was needful also that the great goddess should receive a similar honour. Therefore it was fabled that when Bacchus carried his wife Ariadne to heaven, in token of the high dignity bestowed upon her, he set a crown upon her head; * and the remembrance of this crowning of the wife of the Babylonian god is perpetuated to this hour by the well-known figure in the sphere called Ariadnaea corona, * or "Ariadne's crown." This is, beyond question, the real source of the Popish rite of crowning the image of the Virgin.
From the fact that the Melilot garland occupied so conspicuous a place in the myth of Osiris, and that the "chaplet" was laid on his altar, and his tomb was "crowned" * with flowers, arose the custom, so prevalent in heathenism, of adorning the altars of the gods with "chaplets" of all sorts, and with a gay profusion of flowers. * Side by side with this reason for decorating the altars with flowers, there was also another. When in
"That fair field Of Enna, Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself, a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis, Was gathered;"
and all the flowers she had stored up in her lap were lost, the loss thereby sustained by the world not only drew forth her own tears, but was lamented in the Mysteries as a loss of no ordinary kind, a loss which not only stripped her of her own spiritual glory, but blasted the fertility and beauty of the earth itself. * That loss, however, the wife of Nimrod, under the name of Astarte, or Venus, was believed to have more than repaired. Therefore, while the sacred "chaplet" of the discrowned god was placed in triumph anew on his head and on his altars, the recovered flowers which Proserpine had lost were also laid on these altars along with it, in token of gratitude to that mother of grace and goodness, for the beauty and temporal blessings that the earth owed to her interposition and love. * In Pagan Rome especially this was the case. The altars were profusely adorned with flowers. From that source directly the Papacy has borrowed the custom of adorning the altar with flowers; and from the Papacy, Puseyism, in Protestant England, is labouring to introduce the custom among ourselves. But, viewing it in connection with its source, surely men with the slightest spark of Christian feeling may well blush to think of such a thing. It is not only opposed to the genius of the Gospel dispensation, which requires that they who worship God, who is a Spirit, "worship Him in spirit and in truth;" * but it is a direct symbolising with those who rejoiced in the re-establishment of Paganism in opposition to the worship of the one living and true God. 2bab025.htm
Every one knows how thoroughly Romanist is the use of the rosary; and how the devotees of Rome mechanically tell their prayers upon their beads. The rosary, however, is no invention of the Papacy. It is of the highest antiquity, and almost universally found among Pagan nations. The rosary was used as a sacred instrument among the ancient Mexicans. * It is commonly employed among the Brahmins of Hindustan; and in the Hindoo sacred books reference is made to it again and again. Thus, in an account of the death of Sati, the wife of Shiva, we find the rosary introduced: "On hearing of this event, Shiva fainted from grief; then, having recovered, he hastened to the banks of the river of heaven, where he beheld lying the body of his beloved Sati, arrayed in white garments, holding a rosary in her hand, and glowing with splendour, bright as burnished gold." * In Thibet it has been used from time immemorial, and among all the millions in the East that adhere to the Buddhist faith. The following, from Sir John F. Davis, will show how it is employed in China: "From the Tartar religion of the Lamas, the rosary of 108 beads has become a part of the ceremonial dress attached to the nine grades of official rank. It consists of a necklace of stones and coral, nearly as large as a pigeon's egg, descending to the waist, and distinguished by various beads, according to the quality of the wearer. There is a small rosary of eighteen beads, of inferior size, with which the bronze count their prayers and ejaculations exactly as in the Romish ritual. The laity in China sometimes wear this at the wrist, performed with musk, and give it the name of Heang-choo, or fragrant beads." *
In Asiatic Greece the rosary was commonly used, as many be seen from the image of the Ephesian Diana. * In Pagan Rome the same appears to have been the case. The necklaces which the Roman ladies wore were not merely ornamental bands about the neck, but hung down the breasts, * just as the modern rosaries do; and the name by which they were called indicates the use to which they were applied. "Monile," the ordinary word for a necklace, can have no other meaning than that of a "Remembrancer." Now, whatever might be the pretence, in the first instance, for the introduction of such "Rosaries" or "Remembrancers." Now, whatever might be the pretence in the first instance, for the introduction of such "Rosaries" or "Remembrancers," the very idea of such a thing is thoroughly Pagan. * It supposes that a certain number of prayers must be regularly gone over; it overlooks the grand demand which God makes for the heart, and leads those who use them to believe that form and routine are everything, and that "they must be heard for their much speaking."
In the Church of Rome a new kind of devotion has of late been largely introduced, in which the beads play an important part, and which shows what new and additional strides in the direction of the old Babylonian Paganism the Papacy every day is steadily making. I refer to the "Rosary of the Sacred Heart." It is not very long since the worship of the "Sacred Heart" was first introduced; and now, everywhere it is the favourite worship. It was so in ancient Babylon, as is evident from the Babylonian system as it appeared in Egypt. There also a "Sacred Heart" was venerated. The "Heart" was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, or the infant divinity, * borne in the arms of his mother Isis. Therefore, the fruit of the Egyptian Persea was peculiarly sacred to him, from its resemblance to the "HUMAN HEART." *
Hence this infant divinity was frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea, in one of his hands. * The accompanying woodcut is from Pompeii; but the following extract, from John Bell's criticism on the antiques in the Picture Gallery of Florence, will show that the boyish divinity had been represented elsewhere also in ancient times in the same manner. Speaking of a statue of Cupid, he says it is "a fair, full, fleshy, round boy, in fine and sportive action, tossing back a heart." * Thus the boy-god came to be regarded as the "god of the heart," in other words, as Cupid, or the god of love. To identify this infant divinity, with his father "the mighty hunter" he was equipped with "bow and arrows;" and in the hands of the poets, for the amusement of the profane vulgar, this sportive boy-god was celebrated as taking aim with his gold-tipped shafts at the hearts of mankind.
His real character, however, as the above statement shows, and as we have seen reason already to conclude, was far higher and of a very different kind. He was the woman's seed. Venus and her son Cupid, then, were none other than the Madonna and the child. * Looking at the subject in this light, the real force and meaning of the language will appear, which Virgil puts into the mouth of Venus, when addressing the youthful Cupid:-
"My son, my strength, whose mighty power alone Controls the thunderer on his awful throne, To thee thy much afflicted mother flies, And on thy succour and thy faith relies." *
From what we have seen already as to the power and glory of the Goddess Mother being entirely built on the divine character attributed to her Son, the reader must see how exactly this is brought out, when the Son is called "THE STRENGTH" of his Mother. As the boy-god, whose symbol was the heart, was recognised as the god of childhood, this very satisfactorily accounts for one of the peculiar customs of the Romans. Kenneth tells us, in his Antiquities, that the Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped. * Barker, in his work on Cilicia, while admitting that the Roman bulla was heart-shaped, * further states, that "it was usual at the birth of a child to name it after some divine personage, who was supposed to receive it under his care;" but that the "name was not retained beyond infancy, when the bulla was given up." * Who so likely to be the god under whose guardianship the Roman children were put, as the god under one or other of his many names whose express symbol they wore, and who, while he was recognised as the great and mighty war-god, was also exhibited himself in his favourite form as a little child?
The veneration of the "sacred heart" seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu, the Mediatorial god, in one of his forms, with the mark of the wound in his foot, * in consequence of which he died, and for which such lamentation is annual made, is represented as wearing a heart suspended on his breast . * Is it asked, How came it that the "Heart" became the recognised symbol of the Child of the great Mother? The answer it, "The Heart" in Chaldee is "BEL"; and as, at first, after the check given to idolatry, almost all the most important elements of the Chaldean system were introduced under a veil, so under that veil they continued to be shrouded from the gaze of the uninitiated, after the first reason--the reason of fear--had long ceased to operate. Now, the worship of the "Sacred Heart" was just, under a symbol, the worship of the "Sacred Bel," that mighty one of Babylon, who had died a martyr for idolatry; for Harpocrates, or Horus, the infant god, was regarded as Bel, born again. *
That this was in very deed the case, the following extract from Taylor, in one of his notes to his translation of the Orphic Hymns, will show. "While Bacchus," says he, was "beholding himself" with admiration "in a mirror, he was miserably torn to pieces by the Titans, who, not content with this cruelty, first boiled his members in water, and afterwards roasted them in the fire; but while they were tasting his flesh thus dressed, Jupiter, excited by the steam, and perceiving the cruelty of the deed, hurled his thunder at the Titans, but committed his members to Apollo, the brother of Bacchus, that they might be properly interred. And this being performed, Dionysius [i.e., Bacchus], (whose HEART, during his laceration, was snatched away by Minerva and preserved) by a new REGENERATION, again emerged, and he being restored to his pristine life and integrity, afterwards filled up the number of the gods." *
This surely shows, in a striking light, the peculiar sacredness of the heart of Bacchus; and that the regeneration of his heart has the very meaning I have attached to it--viz., the new birth or new incarnation of Nimrod or Bel. When Bel, however, was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of Nimrod or Bel. When Bel, however, was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of the sun. Therefore, to indicate his connection with the fiery and burning sun, the "sacred heart" was frequently represented as a "heart of flame." * So the "Sacred Heart" of Rome is actually worshipped as a flaming heart, as may be seen on the rosaries devoted to that worship. Of what use, then, is it to say that the "Sacred Heart" which Rome worships is called by the name of "Jesus," when not only is the devotion given to a material image borrowed from the worship of the Babylonian Antichrist, but when the attributes ascribed to that "Jesus" are not the attributes of the living and loving Saviour, but the genuine attributes of the ancient Moloch or Bel? 2bab026.htm
Another peculiarity of the Papal worship is the use of lamps and wax-candles. If the Madonna and child are set up in a niche, they must have a lamp to burn before them; if mass is to be celebrated, though in broad daylight, there must be wax-candles lighted on the altar; if a grand procession is to be formed, it cannot be through and complete without lighted tapers to grace the goodly show. The use of these lamps and tapers comes from the same source as all the rest of the Papal superstition. That which caused the "Heart," when it became an emblem of the incarnate Son, to be represented as a heart on fire, required also that burning lamps and lighted candles should form part of the worship of that Son; for so, according to the established rites of Zoroaster, was the sun-god worshipped. * When every Egyptian on the same night was required to light a lamp before his house in the open air, this was an act of homage to the sun, that had veiled its glory by enshrouding itself in a human form. *
When the Yezidis of Koordistan, that this day, once a year celebrate their festival of "burning lamps," that, too, is to the honour of Sheikh Shems, or the Sun. * Now, what on these high occasions was done on a grand scale was also done on a smaller scale, in the individual acts of worship to their god, by the lighting of lamps and tapers before the favourite divinity. In Babylon, this practice had been exceedingly prevalent, as we learn from the Apocryphal writer of the Book of Baruch. "They (the Babylonians)," says he, "light up lamps to their gods, and that in greater numbers, too, than they do for themselves, although the gods cannot see one of them, and are senseless as the beams of their houses." * In Pagan Rome, the same practice was observed.
Thus we find Licinius, the Pagan Emperor, before joining battle with Constantine, his rival, calling a council of his friends in a thick wood, and there offering sacrifices to his gods, "lighting up wax-tapers" before them, and at the same time, in his speech, giving his gods a hint, that if they did not give him the victory against Constantine, his enemy and theirs, he would be under the necessity of abandoning their worship, and lighting up no more "wax-tapers to their honour." * In the Pagan processions, also, at Rome, the wax-candles largely figured. "At these solemnities," says Dr. Middleton, referring to Apuleius as his authority, "at these solemnities, the chief magistrate used frequently to assist, in robes of ceremony, attended by the priests in surplices, with wax-candles in their hands, carrying upon a pageant or thensa, the images of their gods, dressed out in their best clothes; these were usually followed by the principal youth of the place, in white linen vestments or surplices, singing hymns in honour of the gods whose festivals they were celebrating, accompanied by crowds of all sorts that were initiated in the same religion, all with flambeaux or wax-candles in their hands." * Now, so thoroughly and exclusively Pagan was the custom of lighting up lamps and candles in daylight, that we find Christian writers, such as Lactantius, in the fourth century, exposing the absurdity of the practice, and deriding the Romans "for lighting up candles to God, as if He lived in the dark," *
Had such a custom at that time gained the least footing among Christians, Lactantius could never have ridiculed it as he does, as a practice peculiar to Paganism. But what was unknown to the Christian Church in the beginning of the fourth century, soon thereafter began to creep in, and now forms one of the most marked peculiarities of that community that boasts that it is the "Mother and mistress of all Churches."
While Rome uses both lamps and wax-candles in her sacred rites, it is evident, however, that she attributes some pre-eminent virtue to the latter above all other lights. Up to the time of the Council of Trent, she thus prayed on Easter Eve, at the blessing of the Easter candles: "Calling upon thee in thy works, this holy Eve of Easter, we offer most humbly unto thy Majesty this sacrifice; namely, a fire not defiled with the fat of flesh, nor polluted with unholy oil or ointment, nor attainted with any profane fire; but we offer unto thee with obedience, proceeding from perfect devotion, a fire of wrought WAX and wick, kindled and made to burn in honour of thy name. This so great a MYSTERY therefore, and the marvellous sacrament of this holy eve, must needs be extolled with due and deserved praises." * That there was some occult "Mystery," as is here declared, couched under the "wax-candles," in the original system of idolatry, from which Rome derived its ritual, may be well believed, when it is observed with what unanimity nations the most remote have agreed to use wax-candles in their sacred rites. Among the Tungusians, near the Lake Baikal in Siberia, "wax-tapers are placed before the Burchans," the gods or idols of that country. *
In the Molucca Islands, wax-tapers are used in the worship of Nito, or Devil, whom these islanders adore. "Twenty or thirty persons having assembled," says Hurd, "they summon the Nito, by beating a small consecrated drum, whilst two or more of the company light up wax-tapers, and pronounce several mysterious words, which they consider as able to conjure him up." * "In the worship of Ceylon," says the same author, "some devotees, who are not priests, erect chapels for themselves, but in each of them they are obliged to have an image of Buddha, and light up tapers or wax-candles before it, and adorn it with flowers." *
A practice thus so general must have come from some primeval source, and must have originally had some mystic reason at the bottom of it. The wax-candle was, in fact, a hieroglyphic, like so many other things which we have already seen, and was intended to exhibit the Babylonian god in one of the essential characters of the Great Mediator. The classic reader may remember that one of the gods of primeval antiquity was called Ouranos, * that is, "The Enlightener." In this very character was Nimrod worshipped when he was deified. As the Sun-god he was regarded not only as the illuminator of the material world, but as the enlightener of the souls of men, for he was recognised as the revealer of "goodness and truth." * It is evident, from the Old Testament, not less than the New, that the proper and personal name of our Lord Jesus Christ is, "The Word of God," as the Revealer of the heart and counsels of the Godhead. Now, to identify the Sun-god with the Great Revealer of the Godhead, while under the name of Mithra, he was exhibited in sculpture as a Lion; that Lion had a Bee represented between his lips. *
The bee between the lips of the Sun-god was intended to point him out as "the Word;" for Dabar, the expression which signifies in Chaldee a "Bee," signifies also a "Word"; and the position of that bee in the mouth leaves no doubt as to the idea intended to be conveyed. It was intended to impress the belief that Mithra (who says Plutarch, was worshipped as Mesites, "The Mediator"), * in his character as Ouranos, "The Enlightener," was no other than that glorious one of whom the Evangelist John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.....In Him was life; and the life was THE LIGHT OF MEN." The Lord Jesus Christ ever was the revealer of the Godhead, and must have been known to the patriarchs as such; for the same Evangelist says, "No man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared," that is, He hath revealed "Him."
Before the Saviour came, the ancient Jews commonly spoke of the Messiah, or the Son of God, under the name of Dabar, or the "Word." This will appear from a consideration of what is stated in the 3rd chapter of 1st Samuel. In the first verse of that chapter it is said, "The WORD of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision," that is, in consequence of the sin of Eli, that Lord had not, for a long time, revealed Himself in vision to him, as He did to the prophets. When the Lord had called Samuel, this "vision" of the God of Israel was restored (though not to Eli), for it is said in the last verse (v. 21), "And the Lord APPEARED again in Shiloh; for the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel by the WORD of the Lord."
Although the Lord spake to Samuel, this language implies more than speech, for it is said, "The Lord appeared"--i.e., was seen. When the Lord revealed Himself, or was seen by Samuel, it is said that it was "by (Dabar) the Word of the Lord." The "Word of the Lord" to be visible, must have been the personal "Word of God," that is, Christ. * This had evidently been a primitive name by which He was known; and therefore it is not wonderful that Plato should speak of the second person of his Trinity under the name of the Logos, which is just a translation of "Dabar," or "the Word." * Now, the light of the wax-candle, as the light from Dabar, "the Bee," was set up as the substitute of the light of Dabar, "the Word." Thus the apostates turned away from the "True Light," and set up a shadow in His stead. That this was really the case is plain; for, says Crabb, speaking of Saturn, "on his altars were placed wax-tapers lighted, because by Saturn men were reduced from the darkness of error to the light of truth." *
In Asiatic Greece, the Babylonian god was evidently recognised as the Light-giving "Word," for there we find the Bee occupying such a position as makes it very clear that it was a symbol of the great Revealer. Thus we find Muller referring to the symbols connected with the worship of the Ephesian Diana: "Her constant symbol is the bee, which is not otherwise attributed to Diana.....The chief priest himself was called Essen, or the king-bee." * The character of the chief priest shows the character of the god he represented. The contemplar divinity of Diana, the tower-bearing goddess, was of course the same divinity as invariably accompanied the Babylonian goddess: and this title of the priest shows that the Bee which appeared on her medals was just another symbol for her child, as the "Seed of the Woman," in his assumed character, as Dabar, "The Word" that enlightened the souls of men.
That this is the precise "Mystery" couched under the wax-candles burning on the altars of the Papacy, we have very remarkable evidence from its own formularies; for, in the very same place in which the "Mystery" of the wax-candle is spoken of, thus does Rome refer to the Bee, by which the wax is produced: "Forasmuch as we do marvelously wonder, in considering the first beginning of this substance, to wit, wax-tapers, then must we of necessity greatly extol the original of Bees, for....they gather the flowers with their feed, yet the flowers are not injured thereby; they bring forth no young ones, but deliver their young swarms through their mouths, like as Christ (for a wonderful example) is proceeded from His Father's MOUTH." * Here it is evident that Christ is referred to as the "Word of God;" and how could any imagination ever have conceived such a parallel as is contained in this passage, had it not been for the equivoque between "Dabar," "the Bee," and "Dabar," "the Word."
In a Popish work already quoted, the Pancarpium Marianum, I find the Lord Jesus expressly called by the name of the Bee. Referring to Mary, under the title of "The Paradise of Delight," the author thus speaks: "In this Paradise that celestial Bee, that is, the incarnate Wisdom, did feed. Here it found that dropping honeycomb, with which the whole bitterness of the corrupted world has been turned into sweetness." * This blasphemously represents the Lord Jesus as having derived everything necessary to bless the world from His mother! Could this ever have come from the Bible? No. It must have come only from the source where the writer learned to call "the incarnate Wisdom" by the name of the Bee. Now, as the equivoque from which such a name applied to the Lord Jesus springs, is found only on the Babylonian tongue, it shows whence his theology has come, and it proves also to demonstration that this whole prayer about the blessing of wax-candles must have been drawn from a Babylonian prayer-book. Surely, at every step, the reader must see more and more the exactitude of the Divine name given to the woman on the seven mountains, "Mystery, Babylon the Great!" 2bab027.htm
There is yet one more symbol of the Romish worship to be noticed, and that is the sign of the cross. In the Papal system, as is well known, the sign of the cross and the image of the cross are all in all, No prayer can be said, no worship engaged in, no step almost can be taken, without the frequent use of the sign of the cross. The cross is looked upon as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservation from all the powers of darkness. The cross is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High; and for any one to call it, in the hearing of a genuine Romanist, by the Scriptural term, "the accursed tree," is a mortal offence.
To say that such superstitious feeling for the sign of the cross, such worship as Rome pays to a wooden or a metal cross, ever grew out of the saying of Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"--that is, in the doctrine of Christ crucified--is a mere absurdity, a shallow subterfuge and pretence. The magic virtues attributed to the so-called sign of the cross, the worship bestowed on it, never came from such a source. The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians--the true original form of the letter T--the initial of the name of Tammuz--which, in Hebrew, radically the same as ancient Chaldee, as found on coins, was formed as in No. 1 * of the accompanying woodcut ; and in Ethurian and Coptic, as in Nos. 2 * and 3. *
That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, * and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. To identify Tammuz with the sun it was joined sometimes to the circle of the sun, as in No. 4; sometimes it was inserted in the circle, as in No. 5. * Whether the Maltese cross, which the Romish bishops append to their names as a symbol of their episcopal dignity, is the letter T, may be doubtful; but there seems no reason to doubt that that Maltese cross is an express symbol of the sun; for Layard found it as a sacred symbol in Nineveh in such a connection as led him to identify it with the sun. * The mystic Tau, as the symbol of the great divinity, was called "the sign of life;" it was used as an amulet over the heart; * it was marked on the official garments of the priests, as on the official garments of the priests of Rome; it was borne by kings in their hand, as a token of their dignity or divinely-conferred authority. * The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. * The Egyptians did the same, and many of the barbarous nations with whom they had intercourse, as the Egyptian monuments bear witness. In reference to the adorning of some of these tribes, Wilkinson thus writes: "The girdle was sometimes highly ornamented; men as well as women wore ear-rings; and they frequently had a small cross suspended to a necklace, or to the collar of their dress. The adoption of this last was not peculiar to them; it was also appended to, or figured upon, the robes of the Rot-n-no; and traces of it may be seen in the fancy ornaments of the Rebo, showing that it was already in use as early as the fifteenth century before the Christian era." *
There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ. * "It is a fact," says Maurice, "not less remarkable than well-attested, that the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and beautiful tree as an emblem of the Deity they adored, and having cut the side branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the trunk, in such a manner that those branches extended on each side like the arms of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a HUGE CROSS, and on the bark, in several places, was also inscribed the letter Thau." * It was worshipped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the "god of rain." * The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses . * This symbol of the Babylonian god is reverenced at this day in all the wide wastes of Tartary, where Buddhism prevails, and the way in which it is represented among them forms a striking commentary on the language applied by Rome to the Cross. "The cross," says Colonel Wilford, in the Asiatic Researches, "though not an object of worship among the Baud'has or Buddhists, is a favourite emblem and device among them. It is exactly the cross of the Manicheans, with leaves and flowers springing from it. This cross, putting forth leaves and flowers (and fruit also, as I am told), is called the divine tree, the tree of the gods, the tree of life and knowledge, and productive of whatever is good and desirable, and is placed in the terrestrial paradise." * *
Compare this with the language of Rome applied to the cross, and it will be seen how exact is the coincidence. In the Office of the Cross, it is called the "Tree of life," and the worshippers are taught thus to address it: "Hail, O Cross, triumphal wood, true salvation of the world, among trees there is none like thee in leaf, flower, and bud.....O Cross, our only hope, increase righteousness to the godly and pardon the offences of the guilty." * Can any one, reading the gospel narrative of the crucifixion, possibly believe that that narrative of itself could ever germinate into such extravagance of "leaf, flower, and bud," as thus appears in this Roman Office? But when it is considered that the Buddhist, like the Babylonian cross, was the recognised emblem of Tammuz, who was known as the misletoe branch, or "All-heal," then it is easy to see how the sacred Initial should be represented as covered with leaves, and how Rome, in adopting it, should call it the "Medicine which preserves the healthful, heals the sick, and does what mere human power alone could never do." *
Now, this Pagan symbol seems first to have crept into the Christian Church in Egypt, and generally into Africa. A statement of Tertullian, about the middle of the third century, shows how much, by that time, the Church of Carthage was infected with the old leaven. * Egypt especially, which was never thoroughly evangelised, appears to have taken the lead in bringing in this Pagan symbol. The first form of that which is called the Christian Cross, found on Christian monuments there, is the unequivocal Pagan Tau, or Egyptian "Sign of life." Let the reader peruse the following statement of Sir G. Wilkinson: "A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it in lieu of the cross, which was afterwards substituted for it, prefixing it to inscriptions in the same manner as the cross in later times. For, though Dr. Young had some scruples in believing the statement of Sir A. Edmonstone, that it holds that position in the sepulchres of the great Oasis, I can attest that such is the case, and that numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments." *
The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; and the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchres, therefore, could have no reference to the crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and long-cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of the Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "cross."
This, no doubt, will appear all very strange and very incredible to those who have read Church history, as most have done to a large extent, even amongst Protestants, through Romish spectacles; and especially to those who call to mind the famous story told of the miraculous appearance of the cross to Constantine on the day before the decisive victory and the Milvian bridge, that decided the fortunes of avowed Paganism and nominal Christianity. That story, as commonly told, if true, would certainly give a Divine sanction to the reverence for the cross. But that story, when sifted to the bottom, according to the common version of it, will be found to be based on a delusion--a delusion, however, into which so good a man as Milner as allowed himself to fall. Milner's account is as follows:--"Constantine, marching from France into Italy against Maxentius, in an expedition which was likely either to exalt or to ruin him, was oppressed with anxiety. Some god he thought needful to protect him; the God of the Christians he must most inclined to respect, but he wanted some satisfactory proof of His real existence and power, and he neither understood the means of acquiring this, nor could he be content with the atheistic indifference in which so many generals and heroes since his time have acquiesced. He prayed, he implored with such vehemence and importunity, and God left him not unanswered. While he was marching with his forces in the afternoon, the trophy of the cross appeared very luminous in the heavens, brighter than the sun, with this inscription, 'Conquer by this.' He and his soldiers were astonished at the sight; but he continued pondering on the event till night. And Christ appeared to him when asleep with the same sign of the cross, and directed him to make use of the symbol as his military ensign." *
Such is the statement of Milner. Now, in regard to the "trophy of the cross," a few words will suffice to show that it is utterly unfounded. I do not think it necessary to dispute the fact of some miraculous sign having been given. There may, or there may not, have been on this occasion a "dignus vindice nodus," a crisis worthy of a Divine interposition. Whether, however, there was anything out of the ordinary course, I do not inquire. But this I say, on the supposition that Constantine in this matter acted in good faith, and that there actually was a miraculous appearance in the heavens, that it was not the sign of the cross that was seen, but quite a different thing, the name of Christ. That this was the case, we have at once the testimony of Lactantius, who was the tutor of Constantine's son Crispus--the earliest author who gives any account of the matter, and the indisputable evidence of the standards of Constantine themselves, as handed down to us on medals struck at the time. The testimony of Lactantius is must decisive: "Constantine was warned in a dream to make the celestial sign of God upon his soldiers' shields, and so to join battle. He did as he was bid, and with the transverse letter X circumflecting the hand of it, he marks Christ on their shields. Equipped with this sign, his army takes the sword." *
Now, the letter X was just the initial of the name of Christ, being equivalent in Greek to CH. If, therefore, Constantine did as he was bid, when he made "the celestial sign of God" in the form of "the letter X," it was that "letter X." as the symbol of "Christ," and not the sign of the cross, which he saw in the heavens. When the Labarum, or far-famed standard of Constantine itself, properly so called, was made, we have the evidence of Ambrose, the well-known Bishop of Milan, that that standard was formed on the very principle contained in the statement of Lactantius--viz., simply to display the Redeemer's name. He calls it "Labarum, hoc est Christi sacratum nomine signum." * --"The Labarum, that is, the ensign consecrated by the NAME of Christ." *
There is not the slightest allusion to any cross--to anything but the simple name of Christ. While we have these testimonies of Lactantius and Ambrose, when we come to examine the standard of Constantine, we find the accounts of both authors fully borne out; we find that that standard, bearing on it these very words, "Hoc signo victor eris," "In this sign thou shalt be a conqueror," said to have been addressed from heaven to the emperor, has nothing at all in the shape of a cross, but "the letter X." In the Roman Catacombs, on a Christian monument to "Sinphonia and her sons," there is a distinct allusion to the story of the vision; but that allusion also shows that the X, and not the cross, was regarded as the "heavenly sign." The words at the head of the inscription are these:- "IN HOC VINCES * X."
Nothing whatever but the X is here given as the "Victorious Sign." There are some examples, no doubt, of Constantine's standard, in which there is a cross-bar, from which the flag is suspended, that contains that "letter X;" * and Eusebius, who wrote when superstition and apostacy were working, tries hard to make it appear that that cross-bar was the essential element in the ensign of Constantine. But this is obviously a mistake; that cross-bar was nothing new, nothing peculiar to Constantine's standard. Tertullian shows * that that cross-bar was found long before on the vexillum, the Roman Pagan standard, that carried a flag; and it was used simply for the purpose of displaying that flag. If, therefore, that cross-bar was the "celestial sign," it needed no voice from heaven to direct Constantine to make it; nor would the making or displaying of it have excited any particular attention on the part of those who saw it. We find no evidence at all that the famous legend, "In this overcome," has any reference to this cross-bar; but we find evidence the most decisive that that legend does refer to the X.
Now, that the X was not intended as the sign of the cross, but as the initial of Christ's name, is manifest from this, that the Greek P, equivalent to our R, is inserted in the middle of it, making by their union CHR. Any one who pleases may satisfy himself of this by examining the plates given in Mr. Elliot's Horae Apocalypticae. * The standard of Constantine, then, was just the name of Christ. Whether the device came from earth or from heaven--whether it was suggested by human wisdom or Divine, supposing that Constantine was sincere in his Christian profession, nothing more was implied in it than a literal embodiment of the sentiment of the Psalmist, "In the name of the Lord will we display our banners." To display that name on the standards of Imperial Rome was a thing absolutely new; and the sight of that name, there can be little doubt, nerved the Christian soldiers in Constantine's army with more than usual fire to fight and conquer at the Milvian bridge.
In the above remarks I have gone on the supposition that Constantine acted in good faith as a Christian. His good faith, however, has been questioned; * and I am not without my suspicions that the X may have been intended to have one meaning to the Christians and another to the Pagans. It is certain that the X was the symbol of the god Ham in Egypt, and as such was exhibited on the breast of his image. * Whichever view be taken, however, of Constantine's sincerity, the supposed Divine warrant for reverencing the sign of the cross entirely falls to the ground. In regard to the X, there is no doubt that, by the Christians who knew nothing of secret plots or devices, it was generally taken, as Lactantius declares, as equivalent to the name of "Christ."
In this view, therefore, it had no very great attractions for the Pagans, who, even in worshipping Horus, had always been accustomed to make use of the mystic Tau or cross, as the "sign of life," or the magical charm that secured all that was good, and warded off everything that was evil. When, therefore, multitudes of the Pagans, on the conversion of Constantine, flocked into the Church, like the semi-Pagans of Egypt, they brought along with them their predilection for the old symbol. The consequence was, that in no great length of time, as apostacy proceeded, the X which in itself was not an unnatural symbol of Christ, the true Messiah, and which had once been regarded as such, was allowed to go entirely into disuse, and the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah, was everywhere substituted in its stead. Thus, by the "sign of the cross," Christ has been crucified anew by those who profess to be His disciples. Now, if these things be matter of historic fact, who can wonder that, in the Romish Church, "the sign of the cross" has always and everywhere been seen to be such an instrument of rank superstition and delusion? There is more, much more, in the rites and ceremonies of Rome that might be brought to elucidate our subject. But the above may suffice. * 2bab028.htm