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: 250

M. Daille says:

"This opinion has always been in the world, that to settle a certain and assured estimation upon that which is good and true, it is necessary to remove out of the way, whatsoever may be an hinderance to it. Neither ought we to wonder that even those of the honest, innocent, primitive times made use of these deceits, seeing for a good end they made no scruple to forge whole books."[435:3]

Reeves, in his "Apologies of the Fathers," says:

"It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be imposed on in matters of religion."[435:4]

Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, says:

"It was held as a maxim that it was not only lawful but praiseworthy to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety."[435:5]

Isaac de Casaubon, the great ecclesiastical scholar, says:

"It mightily affects me, to see how many there were in the earliest times of the church, who considered it as a capital exploit, to lend to heavenly truth the help of their own inventions, in order that the new doctrine might be more readily allowed by the wise among the Gentiles. These officious lies, they were wont to say, were devised for a good end."[435:6]

[Pg 436]

The Apostolic Father, Hermas, who was the fellow-laborer of St. Paul in the work of the ministry; who is greeted as such in the New Testament; and whose writings are expressly quoted as of divine inspiration, by the early Fathers, ingenuously confesses that lying was the easily-besetting sin of a Christian. His words are:

"O Lord, I never spake a true word in my life, but I have always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words."

To which the holy angel, whom he addresses, condescendingly admonishes him, that as the lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in time it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as truth.[436:1]

Dr. Mosheim admits, that the Platonists and Pythagoreans held it as a maxim, that it was not only lawful, but praiseworthy, to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety. The Jews who lived in Egypt, had learned and received this maxim from them, before the coming of Christ Jesus, as appears incontestably from a multitude of ancient records, and the Christians were infected from both these sources, with the same pernicious error.[436:2]

Of the fifteen letters ascribed to Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch after 69 A. D.), eight have been rejected by Christian writers as being forgeries, having no authority whatever. "The remaining seven epistles were accounted genuine by most critics, although disputed by some, previous to the discoveries of Mr. Cureton, which have shaken, and indeed almost wholly destroyed the credit and authenticity of all alike."[436:3]

Paul of Tarsus, who was preaching a doctrine which had already been preached to every nation on earth,[436:4] inculcates and avows the principle of deceiving the common people, talks of his having been upbraided by his own converts with being crafty and catching them with guile,[436:5] and of his known and willful lies, abounding to the glory of God.[436:6]