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equivalent to pneuma, spiritus, and urove or roue. The Icelandic equivalent was gusta, to blow in gusts, hence our “gust of wind,” and the Scotch equivalent goustie, gusty or ghost-like. There is little doubt that the wind and the rustling of the leaves in the silence of the night gave rise to the idea among the early races of man of supernatural messengers, ghosts, spirits (good and bad), angels, and demons. This is confirmed by Hebrews i. 7: “Who maketh his angels gusts of wind,” wrongly rendered “spirits.” But we find the word pneuma in the N. T. sometimes rendered properly as wind, but very rarely; it is generally varied between spirit and ghost, just as it pleased the translators, and without the slightest authority, as, for instance, “ Jesus gave up the ghost”; “The holy ghost shall come upon thee” (Luke i. 35); “receive the holy ghost”; “and Jesus being full of the holy ghost (pneuma), was led by the spirit (pneuma)” (Luke iv. I); in John jii. 5 and 6 the same word is rendered spirit, and in verse 8 we find : “The wind (oneuma) bloweth where it listeth......and so is everyone that is born of the spirit (pneuma).” If the first pneuma means “wind,” the second one means the same. We find similar misrenderings of this word wind in the O. T.; in Job xi. 20 the word is rendered ghost, while in xv. 2 it is rendered in the same verse “vain knowledge” and “east wind”!
Though these ideas of inspiriting and being inflated with wind, which was believed by our primitive ancestors to be invisible spirits or ghosts on the move, are both interesting and curious, we cannot condone the dishonesty of the translators, who thus have wilfully perverted the original texts in attempts to substantiate their doctrines, which they are unable to do by any other means. In “Matthew” we are informed that an angel appeared to Mary, and told her that that which was begotten in her was of the Holy Ghost; yet in Luke iii. 21, 22, it is stated that the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, by which he was adopted as a son by Yahuh, his joint father with the Holy Ghost, or wind. If he were born of the holy wind, why did he require this second inflation or inspiriting ? Again : Elizabeth was, at the salutation of Mary, filled with the Holy Ghost (Luke i.); and it is said by “John” that the Apostles received the same inflation on the day of the
resurrection, by Jesus breathing upon them; which, however, is contradicted by “Luke” and “ Acts.” In Acts i. 4-5 we are told that the Apostles were waiting for the promise of the Father," and that they would be “baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence”-i.e., after the ascension, forty days after the resurrection; and it was not till ten days after the former occurrence that the inflation did take place. Then it took place in quite a different manner-—"a mighty wind spnoes, from pneo, I blow or breathe), which filled the whole house where the disciples were sitting, and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost [pneuma], and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit (pneuma] gave them utterance.” (Acts i. 2-4). This gift of the holy wind, which was to be transmitted by the laying-on of hands, gave power (so we are to understand) to speak with tongues (different languages) and prophecy; but neither the Jessæans, nor the subsequent Christians, at any time claimed, or now claim, to possess these powers, though the form is still retained to mystify people.
This holy wind was artificially produced, says Mitchell, by the priests of ancient Egypt, who used a fan for the purpose. They baptized also with air, as well as with water and fire. This was done by one “whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge for sweep] his floor.” The holy wind was metaphoric of the salubrious summer winds of May in the East, as the fire was of the scorching heat of the dog-days.
We thus see how ecclesiastical ingenuity has built up theories of ghosts, ghost-gods, their movement as wind, a trinity, and a form of apostolic succession, but without the least atom of evidence of any supernatural power whatever; and we see also how the various translations of the Bible, instead of being executed in a spirit of scholarly candour, have only testified to the theological bias of the individual translators. This dishonesty in translation is a characteristic of the Christian Bible which is not found in the sacred writings of the other so-called revealed religions of the world. Such pious frauds are confined to the Christian religion. The headings of the different chapters of the 0. T. (A. V.) are distinctly unscrupulous and intentionally misleading, with a pious object—i.e., of endeavouring to substantiate certain preconceived theories. Mosheim tells us (cent. ii., pt. ii., 15) that "it was a maxim of the Church that it was an act of virtue to deceive and to lie, when by that means the interest of the Church might be promoted”!
THE JESSÆANS, OR FIRST CHRISTIANS—ALEXANDER'S
Military EXPEDITION AGAINST DARIUS — PTOLEMY, GOVERNOR OF EGYPT—ALEXANDRIA THE CENTRE OF CIVILIZATION -- THE FIRST UNIVERSITY FOUNDED — RISE OF RATIONALISM — SIEGE OF ALEXANDRIA — DECLINE OF LEARNING AND THE RESTORATION OF PAGANISM—THE ESSENES—A MESSIAH EXPECTEDJOSHUA-BEN-PANDIRA: His IDENTITY WITH IESOUS ; AND WITH BACCHUS.
The first Christians were called Tessæans (From the Greek Jessæi, a follower of Jeshua or Jesus) until the middle of the second century, when, at Antioch, they were called Christians. They were also called Pisciculi (or little fishes), from the emblem they adopted (from old zodiacal and Phallic worship) of the two fishes. The word “ Christian” means a follower of a “ Christ” (an “anointed one,” or “messiah ”) and is derived from the Greek Christos—in Hebrew Avatar ; but, as most of the religions of the world which existed prior to the time of Jesus had possessed “Christs,” the name “Christian” was not new, and, as applied to the new religion, was misleading.
In order to understand the origin of Christianism, we must know something of the political conditions of the time. The civilization of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, which had been for many centuries mixed up with the worship of the gods—of Memphis, Thebes, and Olympia
—was undergoing a remarkable change by the rise of the new philosophy, and with the consequence that the old Pagan worship was declining. Ill-feeling was naturally aroused between the priests and the philosophers—the latter being branded as“ Atheists,” Euripides being declared a “heretic,” and Æsculapius being accused of blasphemy, and narrowly escaping being stoned to death
About this time (B.C. 334) Alexander the Great undertook a military expedition against Darius, King of Persia. After conquering Asia Minor and Syria, subduing Egypt, and founding the city of Alexandria, he marched towards Babylon with his huge Macedonian army, and defeated the Persians, taking possession of Babylon, before doing which, however, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Temple of Jupiter Amon in the Lybian desert, 200 miles off, where “the oracle" (i.e., the priests) declared him to be a son of that god, who, under the form of a serpent, had beguiled Olympias, his mother. He eventually died at Babylon (B.C. 323), and his empire-now enormously increased—was divided among his generals ; his half-brother, Ptolemy Soter, who had been Governor of Egypt during his brother's lifetime, taking possession of that country, making Alexandria his capital.
Owing to the good government of the Ptolemies, large numbers of Arabians, Jews, and Greeks were induced to take up their residence in Alexandria, which rapidly became the centre of civilization. The celebrated museum, in the Bruchium quarter, commenced by Ptolemy Soter, and completed by his successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, possessed a library of 400,000 volumes, besides which there was the lesser library in connection with the Temple of Serapis, called the “Serapeum,” destroyed by the Christians (see page 146). Education was encouraged ; a university was founded, in which were faculties of literature, mathematics, astronomy (the Macedonian army of Alexander had brought a great deal of information back with them regarding the two latter subjects from Babylon), medicine, and natural history; books were freely bought, transcribers kept, and apartments reserved at the king's expense for students (at one time about 14,000) and philosophers. They had also an anatomical theatre, an astronomical observatory, and botanical and zoological gardens. It was here that Euclid produced his “Demonstrations"; that Archimedes proclaimed his theory of specific gravity, and discovered the theory of the lever ; that Eratosthenes taught that the earth was a globe, demonstrated the poles, the earth's axis, the equator, the equinoxial points, the solstices, and determined the geometric positions of the tropics and circles ;.