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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As a spirit in the fourth heaven, he resolves to give up "all that glory, in order to be born into the world," "to rescue all men from their misery and every future consequence of it." He vows "to deliver all men, who are left as it were without a Saviour."[189:2]

While in the realms of the blest, and when about to descend upon earth to be born as man, he said:

"I am now about to assume a body; not for the sake of gaining wealth, or enjoying the pleasures of sense, but I am about to descend and be born, among men, simply to give peace and rest to all flesh; to remove all sorrow and grief from the world."[189:3]

M. l'Abbé Huc says:

"In the eyes of the Buddhists, this personage (Buddha) is sometimes a man and sometimes a god, or rather both one and the other—a divine incarnation, a man-god—who came into the world to enlighten men, to redeem them, and to indicate to them the way of safety. This idea of redemption by a divine incarnation is so general and popular among the Buddhists, that during our travels in Upper Asia we everywhere found it expressed in a neat formula. If we addressed to a Mongol or a Thibetan the question 'Who is Buddha?' he would immediately reply: 'The Saviour of Men!'"[189:4]

According to Prof. Max Müller, Buddha is reported as saying:

"Let all the sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered."[189:5]

The Indians are no strangers to the doctrine of original sin. It is their invariable belief that man is a fallen being; admitted by them from time immemorial.[189:6] And what we have seen concerning their beliefs in Crishna and Buddha unmistakably shows a belief in a divine Saviour, who redeems man, and takes upon himself the sins of the world; so that "Baddha paid it all, all to him is due."[189:7]

[Pg 190]

The idea of redemption through the sufferings and death of a Divine Saviour, is to be found even in the ancient religions of China. One of their five sacred volumes, called the Y-King, says, in speaking of Tien, the "Holy One":

"The Holy One will unite in himself all the virtues of heaven and earth. By his justice the world will be re-established in the ways of righteousness. He will labor and suffer much. He must pass the great torrent, whose waves shall enter into his soul; but he alone can offer up to the Lord a sacrifice worthy of him."[190:1]

An ancient commentator says:

"The common people sacrifice their lives to gain bread; the philosophers to gain reputation; the nobility to perpetuate their families. The Holy One (Tien) does not seek himself, but the good of others. He dies to save the world."[190:2]

Tien, the Holy One, is always spoken of as one with God, existing with him from all eternity, "before anything was made."

Osiris and Horus, the Egyptian virgin-born gods, suffered death.[190:3] Mr. Bonwick, speaking of Osiris, says:

"He is one of the Saviours or deliverers of humanity, to be found in almost all lands." "In his efforts to do good, he encounters evil; in struggling with that he is overcome; he is killed."[190:4]

Alexander Murray says:

"The Egyptian Saviour Osiris was gratefully regarded as the great exemplar of self-sacrifice, in giving his life for others."[190:5]

Sir J. G. Wilkinson says of him:

"The sufferings and death of Osiris were the great Mystery of the Egyptian religion, and some traces of it are perceptible among other peoples of antiquity. His being the Divine Goodness, and the abstract idea of 'good,' his manifestation upon earth (like a Hindoo god), his death and resurrection, and his office as judge of the dead in a future state, look like the early revelation of a future manifestation of the deity converted into a mythological fable."[190:6]

Horus was also called "The Saviour." "As Horus Sneb, he is the Redeemer. He is the Lord of Life and the Eternal One."[190:7] He is also called "The Only-Begotten."[190:8]

Attys, who was called the "Only Begotten Son"[190:9] and "Saviour," was worshiped by the Phrygians (who were regarded as one of the [Pg 191]oldest races of Asia Minor). He was represented by them as a man tied to a tree, at the foot of which was a lamb,[191:1] and, without doubt, also as a man nailed to the tree, or stake, for we find Lactantius making this Apollo of Miletus (anciently, the greatest and most flourishing city of Ionia, in Asia Minor) say that:

"He was a mortal according to the flesh; wise in miraculous works; but, being arrested by an armed force by command of the Chaldean judges, he suffered a death made bitter with nails and stakes."[191:2]

In this god of the Phrygians, we again have the myth of the crucified Saviour of Paganism.

By referring to Mrs. Jameson's "History of Our Lord in Art,"[191:3] or to illustrations in chapter xl. this work, it will be seen that a common mode of representing a crucifixion was that of a man, tied with cords by the hands and feet, to an upright beam or stake. The lamb, spoken of above, which signifies considerable, we shall speak of in its proper place.