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simple, ignorant, and illiterate fishermen, ready to receive, and credulous enough to believe, anything coming from the monks, the only men of that day pretending to any education. This monastic production, doctored up by Origen, “ bears upon its face the marks of imperfect knowledge of Hebrew, and exhibits the forms and phrases of the Macedonian Greeks then prevalent at Alexandria, with a plentiful sprinkling of Egyptian words.” It was supposed to be iranslated into Greek for the benefit of the resident Jews at Alexandria--then a large colony. Every quotation of Scripture put into the mouth of Jesus came from this version. The L. V. of the Jewish Scriptures (of which the Douai Version is a translation), from which was derived our A. V. of King James, flowed from this Essenian Greek translation.
The “Samaritan Roll” of the Pentateuch was a copy of only a portion, and was never considered of value, though it harmonised more with the Septuagint than the “Massorah,” or Hebrew version with traditionary notes ; this is considered hopelessly corrupt, and is the version from which the R. V. is taken. This and the L. V. are not more than seven or eight centuries old.
The originals of all, as we have seen, are lost, together with about a hundred and fifty other old MSS. supposed to be inspired by the Spirit of God. Fifty-three were formerly considered by the Christian Church as “canonical”; but in 1380 fourteen were decided to be uncanonical, and were classed as “apocryphal” by Wicliffe, the Reformer and Bible translator. These fourteen books were omitted from the Protestant Bibles, though they are said in the Articles of Religion of the English State Church to be useful " for example of life and instruction of manners.” So that we have no authenticated copy of the divinely-inspired bookthe same “inspired word” which Jesus is said to have “expounded” to his followers, and which he told them were able to make them wise unto salvation (Luke xxiv. 25); and “given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. iii. 15), “as profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness"; and for the non-acceptance of which he reproves them (Luke xvi. 31; John vi. 39, 46); and containing “the Law” which he said he had “not come to destroy.” We have no originals, and man is left to the mercies of pretended and faked-up copies !—copies, too, in which the writers were so much “inspired” that they copied from each other. The following, placed side by side, are copied word for word from each other :
ANONYMITY OF N. T. WRITINGS—THE MANUFACTURE OF GOSPELS--THE EARLIEST GOSPEL, ESSENIAN-SELECTION OF GOSPELS—THE FOUR CANONICAL GOSPELS— Pious FORGERIES—THE EPISTLES-GREEK ORIGINALS -THE DARK AGES, AND AFTER — INSPIRATION — BIBLICAL ACTS ATTRIBUTED TO DIVINE COMMANDPUNISHMENT BY DEATH FOR TRIVIAL OFFENCES--BIBLE OBSCENITY—IMMORAL TEACHING OF THE N. T.- BORN IN SIN-A SMELL OF COOKING-INSPIRED ERRORS IN SCIENCE.
AFTER noticing the legendary character of the O. T. writings, it may not surprise our readers to hear that the Gospels and Epistles of the N. T. are equally legendary, and that these are anonymous as to authorship, dates, and places. Two facts, however, are made very clear to us—viz, first, that they were not written by the persons whose names they bear, in contrast to the great antiquity of the sacred books and theologies of Paganism, and are worse than anonymous, being written many years after the lifetime of the reputed writers, and rendered almost undecipherable by the numerous additions and erasures. This was admitted by a Christian Bishop, Faustus (died 320), who says: “It is certain that the N. T. was not written either by Christ or his Apostles, but a long time after them, by some unknown persons." Yet he is satisfied to take these writings-admitted forgeries
-as inspired. Marvellous credulity! Second, that no reliance can be placed upon any single fact of history or date previous to the sixteenth century.
The fabrication of Gospels was going on to such an enormous extent in the monasteries, chiefly of Egypt and Greece, during the first four centuries of the Christian era, that no less than ninety-three Gospel manuscripts were in existence by the end of the second century, which had increased to 200 at the end of the fourth century. Of these MSS. twenty-seven are now considered "canonical,” the rest being classed as “apocryphal.” Twelve of the canonical writings were excluded at first, though subsequently received as canonical. One of the rejected Gospels, which circulated among the Christians of the first three centuries, contained the doctrine of a Trinity, but not the modern Christian Trinity, which was promulgated in 327. Twenty-eight of the rejected writings are mentioned or referred to in the canonical books. So that, out of this miscellaneous accumulation of monkish writings, most of which were accepted during the first four centuries as the genuine writings of Christians, and inspired by “the Spirit of God,” only four Gospels and twenty-three Epistles are now received as genuine! And the spirit of God, which was to lead these early Christians “into all truth,” misled them into accepting writings as genuine and inspired which were afterwards decided to be spurious! "The more distant monasteries, however, and the earliest Christian sects—the Ebionites, •Corinthians, etc.—denied that any one even of the Four Gospels, except that of Matthew, was genuine; and from that Gospel they excluded as forgeries the two first chapters, which were not found in the original copies ; and both Jerome and Epiphanius allow that this is true."*
The Gospel of the Essenes was in all probability the original Gospel in use among the Jessæans (First Christians), and from which a Gospel according to the Hebrews was taken. The miraculous legends and romances of the Essenian Scriptures merely required a change in names, with Jesus as the hero, to become the Scriptures of the new sect. Neither of these Gospels contained any account of the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus ; and it was probably from this Gospel that the Matthew Gospel, commencing at chapter iii., was taken. The fact of these early Gospels omitting all account of the birth, and the almost universal refusal of acceptance in later days of chapters i. and ii. of Matthew by the distant Churches, are strong presumptive evidence that the story was an afterthought and a fabri
* L. Mitchell, Religion in the Heavens.
cation. None of the Gospels contemporaneous with Apostolic times are now extant; all are lost.
The fact of both the (original) Matthew and. Mark Gospels commencing with accounts of John the Baptist suggests the fact that John was at first accepted as the expected Messiah, and that the Gospels were those of John, not Jesus. That this was so may be accepted as a fact, for that sect of Essenes, or Therapeute, who became the followers of John, were called Hemero-Baptists, Nazarites or Mandaites; and Eusebius tells us that the Apostles were Therapeutæ, and the ancient writings of the latter were the Apostolic Gospels and Epistles. John the Baptist, from being a Messiah on his own account, and possessed of apostles, is very cleverly transformed into a “forerunner” of the Christian Messiah. But that the Matthew Gospel, as it is now received, was a monkish manipulation of a much later date is evidenced by the use on two occasions, in chapter xxviii., of the naïve expression, “even to the present day.”
Three accounts are given of the manner in which the Four Gospels were selected as the only “inspired” ones. (1) That by Pappus, or Popius, in his “Synodicon ” to the Council of Nicæa (325), says that 200 versions of the Gospel were placed under a Communion Table, and, while the Council prayed, the inspired books jumped on the slab, but the rest remained under it. (2) That by Irenæus says “the Church selected the four most popular of the Gospels.” This pillar of the Church said: “It is meet and right to have four Gospels, and no more, because there are four corners of the earth, and four winds of heaven !" (3) That by the Council of Laodicea (366) says that “each book was decided by ballot. The Gospel of Luke escaped by one vote, while the Acts of the Apostles and the Apocalypse were rejected as forgeries.” Which of these contradictory accounts are we to beleive?
The first knowledge we have of the four Canonical Gospels is from Irenæus-a presbyter, born at Smyrna, and subsequently Bishop of Lyons—who, in the early part of the second century, intimated that he had “received four Gospels as authentic Scripture”; but he carefully avoids, with the usual vagueness and dissimulation of monkish writers, mentioning from whom he received them, who were the authors of them, or when they were written. But it is not only the