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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"At the time of the conquest, the Spaniards found circumcised nations in Central America, and on the Amazon, the Tecuna and Manaos tribes still observe this practice. In the South Seas it has been met with among three different races, but it is performed in a somewhat different manner. On the Australian continent, not all, but the majority of tribes, practiced circumcision. Among the Papuans, the inhabitants of New Caledonia and the New Hebrides adhere to this custom. In his third voyage, Captain Cook found it among the inhabitants of the Friendly Islands, in particular at Tongataboo, and the younger Pritchard bears witness to its practice in the Samoa or Fiji groups." (Oscar Peschel: The Races of Man, p. 22.)

[87:4] Luke, ii. 21.

[87:5] Matthew, v. 18.

[87:6] In using the words "the religion of Jesus," we mean simply the religion of Israel. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, in every sense of the word, and that he did not establish a new religion, or preach a new doctrine, in any way, shape, or form. "The preacher from the Mount, the prophet of the Beatitudes, does but repeat with persuasive lips what the law-givers of his race proclaimed in mighty tones of command." (See chap. xi.)

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There are many other legends recorded in the Old Testament which might be treated at length, but, as we have considered the principal and most important, and as we have so much to examine in Part Second, which treats of the New Testament, we shall take but a passing glance at a few others.

In Genesis xli. is to be found the story of


which is to the effect that Pharaoh dreamed that he stood by a river, and saw come up out of it seven fat kine, and seven lean kine, which devoured the fat ones. He then dreamed that he saw seven good ears of corn, on one stalk, spring up out of the ground. This was followed by seven poor ears, which sprang up after them, and devoured the good ears.

Pharaoh, upon awaking from his sleep, and recalling the dreams which he dreamed, was greatly troubled, "and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof, and Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." Finally, his chief butler tells him of one Joseph, who was skilled in interpreting dreams, and Pharaoh orders him to be brought before his presence. He then repeats his dreams to Joseph, who immediately interprets them to the great satisfaction of the king.

A very similar story is related in the Buddhist Fo-pen-hing—one of their sacred books, which has been translated by Prof. Samuel Beal—which, in substance, is as follows:

Suddhôdana Raja dreamed seven different dreams in one night, when, "awaking from his sleep, and recalling the visions he had seen, was greatly troubled, so that the very hair on his body stood erect, and his limbs trembled." He forthwith summoned to his side, within his palace, all the great ministers of his council, and [Pg 89]exhorted them in these words: "Most honorable Sirs! be it known to you that during the present night I have seen in my dreams strange and potent visions—there were seven distinct dreams, which I will now recite (he recites the dreams). I pray you, honorable Sirs! let not these dreams escape your memories, but in the morning, when I am seated in my palace, and surrounded by my attendants, let them be brought to my mind (that they may be interpreted.)"

At morning light, the king, seated in the midst of his attendants, issued his commands to all the Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, within his kingdom, in these terms, "All ye men of wisdom, explain for me by interpretation the meaning of the dreams I have dreamed in my sleep."

Then all the wise Brahmans, interpreters of dreams, began to consider, each one in his own heart, what the meaning of these visions could be; till at last they addressed the king, and said: "Mahâ-raja! be it known to you that we never before have heard such dreams as these, and we cannot interpret their meaning."

On hearing this, Suddhôdana was very troubled in his heart, and exceeding distressed. He thought within himself: "Who is there that can satisfy these doubts of mine?"