Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 187Saviour , and the goddess of the water. The breast of the child was then touched with the fingers dipped in water, and the following prayer said:
"May it (the water) destroy and separate from thee all the evil that was beginning in thee before the beginning of the world."
After this the child's body was washed with water, and all things that might injure him were requested to depart from him, "that now he may live again and be born again."[322:5]
Mr. Prescott alludes to it as follows, in his "Conquest of Mexico:"[322:6]
"The lips and bosom of the infant were sprinkled with water, and the Lord was implored to permit the holy drops to wash away that sin that was given to it before the foundation of the world, so that the child might be born anew." "This interesting rite, usually solemnized with great formality, in the presence of assembled friends and relations, is detailed with minuteness by Sahagun and by Zuazo, both of them eyewitnesses."
Rev. J. P. Lundy says:
"Now, as baptism of some kind has been the universal custom of all religious nations and peoples for purification and regeneration, it is not to be wondered at that it had found its way from high Asia, the centre of the Old World's religion and civilization, into the American continent. . . .
The water which they used was called the "WATER OF REGENERATION."[323:2]
The Rev. Father Acosta alludes to this baptism by saying:
"The Indians had an infinite number of other ceremonies and customs which resembled to the ancient law of Moses, and some to those which the Moores use, and some approaching near to the Law of the Gospel, as the baths or Opacuna, as they called them; they did wash themselves in water to cleanse themselves from sin."[323:3]
After speaking of "confession which the Indians used," he says:
"When the Inca had been confessed, he made a certain bath to cleanse himself, in a running river, saying these words: 'I have told my sins to the Sun (his god); receive them, O thou River, and carry them to the Sea, where they may never appear more.'"[323:4]
He tells us that the Mexicans also had a baptism for infants, which they performed with great ceremony.[323:5]
Baptism was also practiced in Yucatan. They administered it to children three years old; and called it REGENERATION.[323:6]
The ancient Peruvians also baptized their children.[323:7]
History, then, records the fact that all the principal nations of antiquity administered the rite of baptism to their children, and to adults who were initiated into the sacred mysteries. The words "regenerationem et impunitatem perjuriorum suorum"—used by the heathen in this ceremony—prove that the doctrines as well as the outward forms were the same. The giving of a name to the child, the marking of him with the cross as a sign of his being a soldier of Christ, followed at fifteen years of age by his admission into the mysteries of the ceremony of confirmation, also prove that the two institutions are identical. But the most striking feature of all is the regeneration—and consequent forgiveness of sins—the being "born again." This shows that the Christian baptism in doctrine as well as in outward ceremony, was precisely that of the heathen. We have seen that it was supposed to destroy all the evil in him, and all things that might injure him were requested to depart from him. So likewise among the Christians; the priest, looking upon the child, and baptizing him, was formerly accustomed to say:
"I command thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that thou come out and depart from this infant, whom our Lord Jesus Christ has vouchsafed to call to this holy baptism, to be made member of his body and of his holy congregation. And presume not hereafter to exercise any tyranny towards this infant, whom Christ hath bought with his precious blood, and by this holy baptism called to be of his flock."
The ancients also baptized with fire as well as water. This is what is alluded to many times in the gospels; for instance, Matt. (iii. 11) makes John say, "I, indeed, baptize you with water; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with FIRE."
The baptism by fire was in use by the Romans; it was performed by jumping