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: 94When born, the sheep and oxen protected him with loving care.[152:6]
The birth of Confucius (B. C. 551), like that of all the demi-gods and saints of antiquity, is fabled to have been attended with allegorical prodigies, amongst which was the appearance of the Ke-lin, a miraculous quadruped, prophetic of happiness and virtue, which announced that the child would be "a king without a throne or territory." Five celestial sages, or "wise men" entered the house at the time of the child's birth, whilst vocal and instrumental music filed the air.[152:7]
Mithras, the Persian Saviour, and mediator between God and man, was also visited by "wise men" called Magi, at the time of his birth.[152:8] He was presented with gifts consisting of gold, frankincense and myrrh.'[152:9]
According to Plato, at the birth of Socrates (469 B. C.) there came three Magi from the east to worship him, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.[152:10]
Æsculapius, the virgin-born Saviour, was protected by goatherds (why not shepherds?), who, upon seeing the child, knew at once that he was divine. The voice of fame soon published the [Pg 153]birth of this miraculous infant, upon which people flocked from all quarters to behold and worship this heaven-born child.[153:1]
Many of the Grecian and Roman demi-gods and heroes were either fostered by or worshiped by shepherds. Amongst these may be mentioned Bacchus, who was educated among shepherds,[153:2] and Romulus, who was found on the banks of the Tiber, and educated by shepherds.[153:3] Paris, son of Priam, was educated among shepherds,[153:4] and Ægisthus was exposed, like Æsculapius, by his mother, found by shepherds and educated among them.[153:5]
Viscount Amberly has well said that: "Prognostications of greatness in infancy are, indeed, among the stock incidents in the mythical or semi-mythical lives of eminent persons."
We have seen that the Matthew narrator speaks of the infant Jesus, and Mary, his mother, being in a "house"—implying that he had been born there; and that the Luke narrator speaks of the infant "lying in a manger"—implying that he was born in a stable. We will now show that there is still another story related of the place in which he was born.
[150:1] "The original word here is 'Magoi,' from which comes our word 'Magician.' . . . The persons here denoted were philosophers, priests, or astronomers. They dwelt chiefly in Persia and Arabia. They were the learned men of the Eastern nations, devoted to astronomy, to religion, and to medicine. They were held in high esteem by the Persian court; were admitted as councilors, and followed the camps in war to give advice." (Barnes's Notes, vol. i. p. 25.)
[150:2] Matthew, ii. 2.
[150:3] Luke, ii. 8-16.
[151:1] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. pp. 129, 130, and Maurice: Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. pp. 256, 257 and 317. Also, The Vishnu Purana.
[151:2] Oriental Religions, pp. 500, 501. See also, Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 353.
[151:3] Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 157.
[151:4] Amberly's Analysis, p. 177. See also, Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 36.
[151:5] Lillie: Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. 76.
[151:6] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 6, and Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 58, 60.
[152:1] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 36.
[152:2] See Amberly's Analysis p. 231, and Bunsen's Angel Messiah, p. 36.
[152:3] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 58.
[152:4] Oriental Religions, p. 491.
[152:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 200.
[152:6] See Amberly's Analysis of Religious Belief, p. 226.
[152:7] See Thornton's Hist. China, vol. i. p. 152.
[152:8] King: The Gnostics and their Remains, pp. 134 and 149.
[152:9] Inman: Ancient Faiths, vol. ii. p. 353.
[152:10] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. ii. p. 96.
[153:2] Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322.
[153:3] Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 213.
[153:4] Ibid. vol. i. p. 47.
[153:5] Ibid. p. 20.
THE BIRTH-PLACE OF CHRIST JESUS.
The writer of that portion of the Gospel according to Matthew which treats of the place in which Jesus was born, implies, as we stated in our last chapter, that he was born in a house. His words are these:
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east" to worship him. "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother."[154:1]
The writer of the Luke version implies that he was born in a stable, as the following statement will show:
"The days being accomplished that she (Mary) should be delivered . . . she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, there being no room for him in the inn."[154:2]
If these accounts were contained in these Gospels in the time of Eusebius, the first ecclesiastical historian, who flourished during the Council of Nice (A. D. 327), it is very strange that, in speaking of the birth of Jesus, he should have omitted even mentioning them, and should have given an altogether different version. He tells us that Jesus was neither born in a house, nor in a stable, but in a cave, and that at the time of Constantine a magnificent temple was erected on the spot, so that the Christians might worship in the place where their Saviour's feet had stood.[154:3]
In the apocryphal Gospel called "Protevangelion," attributed to James, the brother of Jesus, we are informed that Mary and her husband, being away from their home in Nazareth, and when within three miles of Bethlehem, to which city they were going, Mary said to Joseph: