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

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"So with other sights and sounds. The darkness of night brought with it a feeling of vague horror and dread; the return of daylight cheered them with a sense of unspeakable gladness; and thus the [Pg 472]Sun who scattered the black shade of night would be the mighty champion doing battle with the biting snake which lurked in its dreary hiding-place. But as the Sun accomplishes his journey day by day through the heaven, the character of the seasons is changed. The buds and blossoms of spring-time expand in the flowers and fruits of summer, and the leaves fall and wither on the approach of winter. Thus the daughter of the earth would be spoken of as dying or as dead, as severed from her mother for five or six weary months, not to be restored to her again until the time for her return from the dark land should once more arrive. But as no other power than that of the Sun can recall vegetation to life, this child of the earth would be represented as buried in a sleep from which the touch of the Sun alone could arouse her, when he slays the frost and cold which lie like snakes around her motionless form.

"That these phrases would furnish the germs of myths or legends teeming with human feeling, as soon as the meaning of the phrases were in part or wholly forgotten, was as inevitable as that in the infancy of our race men should attribute to all sensible objects the same kind of life which they were conscious of possessing themselves."

Let us compare the history of the Saviour which we have already seen, with that of the Sun, as it is found in the Vedas.

We can follow in the Vedic hymns, step by step, the development which changes the Sun from a mere luminary into a "Creator," "Preserver," "Ruler," and "Rewarder of the World"—in fact, into a Divine or Supreme Being.

The first step leads us from the mere light of the Sun to that light which in the morning wakes man from sleep, and seems to give new life, not only to man, but to the whole of nature. He who wakes us in the morning, who recalls all nature to new life, is soon called "The Giver of Daily Life."

Secondly, by another and bolder step, the Giver of Daily Light and Life becomes the giver of light and life in general. He who brings light and life to-day, is the same who brought light and life on the first of days. As light is the beginning of the day, so light was the beginning of creation, and the Sun, from being a mere light-bringer or life-giver, becomes a Creator, and, if a Creator, then soon also a Ruler of the World.

Thirdly, as driving away the dreaded darkness of the night, and likewise as fertilizing the earth, the Sun is conceived as a "Defender" and kind "Protector" of all living things.

Fourthly, the Sun sees everything, both that which is good and [Pg 473]that which is evil; and how natural therefore that the evil-doer should be told that the sun sees what no human eye may have seen, and that the innocent, when all other help fails him, should appeal to the sun to attest his guiltlessness!

Let us examine now, says Prof. Müller, from whose work we have quoted the above, a few passages (from the Rig-Veda) illustrating every one of these perfectly natural transitions.