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
[299:2] Compare this with the names, titles, and characters given to Jesus. He is called the "Deliverer," (Acts, vii. 35); the "First Begotten" (Rev. i. 5); "God blessed forever" (Rom. ix. 5); the "Holy One" (Luke, iv. 34; Acts, iii. 14); the "King Everlasting" (Luke, i. 33); "King of Kings" (Rev. xvii. 14); "Lamb of God" (John, i. 29, 36); "Lord of Glory" (I. Cor. ii. 8); "Lord of Lords" (Rev. xvii. 14); "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. v. 5); "Maker and Preserver of all things" (John, i. 3, 10; I. Cor. viii. 6; Col. i. 16); "Prince of Peace" (Isai. ix. 6); "Redeemer," "Saviour," "Mediator," "Word," &c., &c.
[300:1] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 41.
[300:2] "He joined to his gifts as a thinker a prophetic ardor and missionary zeal which prompted him to popularize his doctrine, and to preach to all without exception, men and women, high and low, ignorant and learned alike." (Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 53.)
[300:3] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 45.
[300:4] Ibid. p. 46.
[300:5] "The success of Buddhism was in great part due to the reverence the Buddha inspired by his own personal character. He practiced honestly what he preached enthusiastically. He was sincere, energetic, earnest, self-sacrificing, and devout. Adherents gathered in thousands around the person of the consistent preacher, and the Buddha himself became the real centre of Buddhism." (Williams' Hinduism, p. 102.)
[300:6] "It may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world. Its adherents are estimated at four hundred millions, more than a third of the human race." (Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Buddhism." See also, Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 251.)
[301:1] It should be understood that the Buddha of this chapter, and in fact, the Buddha of this work, is Gautama Buddha, the Sakya Prince. According to Buddhist belief there have been many different Buddhas on earth. The names of twenty-four of the Buddhas who appeared previous to Gautama have been handed down to us. The Buddhavansa or "History of the Buddhas," gives the lives of all the previous Buddhas before commencing the account of Gautama himself. (See Rhys Davids' Buddhism, pp. 179, 180.)
[301:2] "The date usually fixed for Buddha's death is 543 B. C. Whether this precise year for one of the greatest epochs in the religious history of the human race can be accepted is doubtful, but it is tolerably certain that Buddhism arose in Behar and Eastern Hindustan about five centuries B. C.; and that it spread with great rapidity, not by force of arms, or coercion of any kind, like Muhammedanism, but by the sheer persuasiveness of its doctrine." (Monier Williams' Hinduism, p. 72.)
[301:3] "Of the high antiquity of Buddhism there is much collateral as well as direct evidence—evidence that neither internecine nor foreign strife, not even religious persecution, has been able to destroy. . . . Witness the gigantic images in the caves of Elephanta, near Bombay and those of Lingi Sara, in the interior of Java, all of which are known to have been in existence at least four centuries prior to our Lord's advent." (The Mammoth Religion.)
[301:4] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 250.
[302:1] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. vi.
[302:2] Ibid. pp. x. and xi.
[302:3] Ibid. pp. vii., ix. and note.
[303:1] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 50.
[303:2] Quoted by Prof. Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. viii.
[303:3] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 86.
[303:4] Science of Religion, p. 243.
[303:5] Rhys Davids' Buddhism.
[303:6] Ibid. p. 184.
"It is surprising," says Rhys Davids, "that, like Romans worshiping Augustus, or Greeks adding the glow of the sun-myth to the glory of Alexander, the Indians should have formed an ideal of their Chakravarti, and transferred to this new ideal many of the dimly sacred and half understood traits of the Vedic heroes? Is it surprising that the Buddhists should have found it edifying to recognize in their hero the Chakravarti of Righteousness, and that the story of the Buddha should be tinged with the coloring of these Chakravarti myths?" (Ibid. Buddhism, p. 220.)
THE EUCHARIST OR LORD'S SUPPER.
We are informed by the Matthew narrator that when Jesus was eating his last supper with the disciples,
"He took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."[305:1]
According to Christian belief, Jesus instituted this "Sacrament"[305:2]—as it is called—and it was observed by the primitive Christians, as he had enjoined them; but we shall find that this breaking of bread, and drinking of wine,—supposed to be the body and blood of a god[305:3]—is simply another piece of Paganism imbibed by the Christians.
The Eucharist was instituted many hundreds of years before the time assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus. Cicero, the greatest orator of Rome, and one of the most illustrious of her statesmen, born in the year 106 B. C., mentions it in his works, and wonders at the strangeness of the rite. "How can a man be so stupid," says he, "as to imagine that which he eats to be a God?" There had been an esoteric meaning attached to it from the first establishment of the mysteries among the Pagans, and the Eucharistia is one of the oldest rites of antiquity.
The adherents of the Grand Lama in Thibet and Tartary offer to their god a sacrament of bread and wine.[305:4]
P. Andrada La Crozius, a French missionary, and one of the first Christians who went to Nepaul and Thibet, says in his "History of India:"
"Their Grand Lama celebrates a species of sacrifice with bread and wine, in which, after taking a small quantity himself, he distributes the rest among the Lamas present at this ceremony."[306:1]
In certain rites both in the Indian and the Parsee religions, the devotees drink the juice of the Soma, or Haoma plant. They consider it a god as well as a plant, just as the wine of the Christian sacrament is considered both the juice of the grape, and the blood of the Redeemer.[306:2] Says Mr. Baring-Gould:
"Among the ancient Hindoos, Soma was a chief deity; he is called 'the Giver of Life and of health,' the 'Protector,' he who is 'the Guide to Immortality.' He became incarnate among men, was taken by them and slain, and brayed in a mortar. But he rose in flame to heaven, to be the 'Benefactor of the World,' and the 'Mediator between God and Man.' Through communion with him in his sacrifice, man, (who partook of this god), has an assurance of immortality, for by that sacrament he obtains union with his divinity."[306:3]
The ancient Egyptians—as we have seen—annually celebrated the Resurrection of their God and Saviour Osiris, at which time they commemorated his death by the Eucharist, eating the sacred cake, or wafer, after it had been consecrated by the priest, and become veritable flesh of his flesh.[306:4] The bread, after sacerdotal rites, became mystically the body of Osiris, and, in such a manner, they ate their god.[306:5] Bread and wine were brought to the temples by the worshipers, as offerings.[306:6]
The Therapeutes or Essenes, whom we believe to be of Buddhist origin, and who lived in large numbers in Egypt, also had the ceremony of the sacrament among them.[306:7] Most of them, however, being temperate, substituted water for wine, while others drank a mixture of water and wine.
Pythagoras, the celebrated Grecian philosopher, who was born about the year 570 B. C., performed this ceremony of the sacrament.[306:8] He is supposed to have visited Egypt, and there availed himself of all such mysterious lore as the priests could be induced to impart. He and his followers practiced asceticism, and peculiarities of diet and clothing, similar to the Essenes, which has led some scholars to [Pg 307]believe that he instituted the order, but this is evidently not the case.
The Kenite "King of Righteousness," Melchizedek, "a priest of the Most High God," brought out BREAD and WINE as a sign or symbol of worship; as the mystic elements of Divine presence. In the visible symbol of bread and wine they worshiped the invisible presence of the Creator of heaven and earth.[307:1]
To account for this, Christian divines have been much puzzled. The Rev. Dr. Milner says, in speaking of this passage:
"It was in offering up a sacrifice of bread and wine, instead of slaughtered animals, that Melchizedek's sacrifice differed from the generality of those in the old law, and that he prefigured the sacrifice which Christ was to institute in the new law from the same elements. No other sense than this can be elicited from the Scripture as to this matter; and accordingly the holy fathers unanimously adhere to this meaning."[307:2]
This style of reasoning is in accord with the TYPE theory concerning the Virgin-born, Crucified and Resurrected Saviours, but it is not altogether satisfactory. If it had been said that the religion of Melchizedek, and the religion of the Persians, were the same, there would be no difficulty in explaining the passage.