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: 245

And Arthur Lillie says:

"It is asserted by calm thinkers like Dean Mansel that within two generations of the time of Alexander the Great, the missionaries of Buddha made their appearance at Alexandria.[423:4] [Pg 424]This theory is confirmed—in the east by the Asoka monuments—in the west by Philo. He expressly maintains the identity in creed of the higher Judaism and that of the Gymnosophists of India who abstained from the 'sacrifice of living animals'—in a word, the Buddhists. It would follow from this that the priestly religion of Babylonia, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece were undermined by certain kindred mystical societies organized by Buddha's missionaries under the various names of Therapeutes, Essenes, Neo-Pythagoreans, Neo-Zoroastrians, &c. Thus Buddhism prepared the way for Christianity."[424:1]

The Buddhists have the "eight-fold holy path" (Dhammapada), eight spiritual states leading up to Buddhahood. The first state of the Essenes resulted from baptism, and it seems to correspond with the first Buddhistic state, those who have entered the (mystic) stream. Patience, purity, and the mastery of passion were aimed at by both devotees in the other stages. In the last, magical powers, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc., were supposed to be gained. Buddhists and Essenes seem to have doubled up this eight-fold path into four, for some reason or other. Buddhists and Essenes had three orders of ascetics or monks, but this classification is distinct from the spiritual classifications.[424:2]

The doctrine of the "Anointed Angel," of the man from heaven, the Creator of the world, the doctrine of the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus by the blood of his cross, the doctrine of the Messianic antetype of the Paschal lamb of the Paschal omer, and thus of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the third day, according to the Scriptures, these doctrines of Paul can, with more or less certainty, be connected with the Essenes. It becomes almost a certainty that Eusebius was right in surmising that Essenic writings have been used by Paul and the evangelists. Not Jesus, but Paul, is the cause of the separation of the Jews from the Christians.[424:3]

The probability, then, that that sect of vagrant quack-doctors, the Therapeutæ, who were established in Egypt and its neighborhood many ages before the period assigned by later theologians as that of the birth of Christ Jesus, were the original fabricators of the writings contained in the New Testament, becomes a certainty on the basis of evidence, than which history has nothing more certain, furnished by the unguarded, but explicit, unwary, but most unqualified and positive statement of the historian Eusebius, that "those ancient Therapeutæ were Christians, and that their ancient writings were our gospels and epistles."

The Essenes, the Therapeuts, the Ascetics, the Monks, the [Pg 425]Ecclesiastics, and the Eclectics, are but different names for one and the self-same sect.

The word "Essene" is nothing more than the Egyptian word for that of which Therapeut is the Greek, each of them signifying "healer" or "doctor," and designating the character of the sect as professing to be endued with the miraculous gift of healing; and more especially so with respect to diseases of the mind.

Their name of "Ascetics" indicated the severe discipline and exercise of self-mortification, long fastings, prayers, contemplation, and even making of themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, as did Origen, Melito, and others who derived their Christianity from the same school; Jesus himself is represented to have recognized and approved their practice.

Their name of "Monks" indicated their delight in solitude, their contemplative life, and their entire segregation and abstraction from the world, which Jesus, in the Gospel, is in like manner represented as describing, as characteristic of the community of which he was a member.

Their name of "Ecclesiastics" was of the same sense, and indicated their being called out, elected, separated from the general fraternity of mankind, and set apart to the more immediate service and honor of God.

They had a flourishing university, or corporate body, established upon these principles, at Alexandria in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus.[425:1]

From this body they sent out missionaries, and had established colonies, auxiliary branches, and affiliated communities, in various cities of Asia Minor, which colonies were in a flourishing condition, before the preaching of St. Paul.

"The very ancient and Eastern doctrine of an Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama-Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and of Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity."[425:2]

In the Pali and Sanscrit texts the word Buddha is always used as a title, not as a name. It means "The Enlightened One." Gautama Buddha is represented to have taught that he was only one of a long series of Buddhas, who appear at intervals in the world, and who all teach the same system. After the death of each Buddha his religion flourishes for a time, but finally wickedness and vice [Pg 426]again rule over the land. Then a new Buddha appears, who again preaches the lost