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: 197"Diversified forms of the symbol are delineated more or less artistically, according to the progress achieved in civilization at the period, on the ruined walls of temples and palaces, on natural rocks and sepulchral galleries, on the hoariest monoliths and the rudest statuary; on coins, medals, and vases of every description; and in not a few instances, are preserved in the architectural proportions of subterranean as well as superterranean structures of tumuli, as well as fanes.
"Populations of essentially different culture, tastes, and pursuits—the highly-civilized and the semi-civilized, the settled and the nomadic—vied with each other in their superstitious adoration of it, and in their efforts to extend the knowledge of its exceptional import and virtue amongst their latest posterities.
"Of the several varieties of the cross still in vogue, as national and ecclesiastical emblems, and distinguished by the familiar appellations of St. George, St. Andrew, the Maltese, the Greek, the Latin, &c., &c., there is not one amongst them, the existence of which may not be traced to the remotest antiquity. They were the common property of the Eastern nations.
"That each known variety has been derived from a common source, and is emblematical of one and the same truth may be inferred from the fact of forms identically the same, whether simple or complex, cropping out in contrary directions, in the Western as well as the Eastern hemisphere."
The cross has been an object of profound veneration among the Buddhists from the earliest times. One is the sacred Swastica (Fig. No. 21). It is seen in the old Buddhist Zodiacs, and is one of the symbols in the Asoka inscriptions. It is the sectarian mark of the Jains, and the distinctive badge of the sect of Xaca Japonicus. The Vaishnavas of India have also the same sacred sign.
The cross is adored by the followers of the Lama of Thibet.[340:9] Fig. No. 22 is a representation of the most familiar form of Buddhist cross. The close [Pg 341]resemblance between the ancient religion of Thibet and that of the Christians has been noticed by many European travellers and missionaries, among whom may be mentioned Pere Grebillon, Pere Grueber, Horace de la Paon, D'Orville, and M. L'Abbé Huc. The Buddhists, and indeed all the sects of India, marked their followers on the head with the sign of the cross.[341:1] This was undoubtedly practiced by almost all heathen nations, as we have seen in the chapter on the Eucharist that the initiates into the Heathen mysteries were marked in that manner.