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and that Hipparchus demonstrated the precession of the equinoxes, catalogued the stars, and arranged the lines of latitude and longitude. And thus was commenced the civilization of Europe. Under the beneficent rule of the Ptolemies was rationalized the crude science of the ancient Chaldæans, Akkadians, and Assyrians.
But this happy state of things was not to last long; for, at the defeat of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt (B.C. 30), by Julius Cæsar, Alexandria was laid siege to, the museum and larger library were destroyed, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire. The learning and science of the philosophers declined as the worship of the gods and the old superstitions were revived. The temples of Jupiter Amon, and Apollo, in Egypt; of Adonis and les in Phoenicia, of Dionysios in Greece, and of Bacchus in Rome, were again filled by devotees, miracles were again performed, and priestly power and influence increased ; so that, in about half a century, the civilizing influence and the intellectual progress of the Ptolemies appeared to be destroyed, and Europe was once more given over to darkness and superstition.
For many centuries there had been an order of ascetics, monks, and anchorites, called by the Egyptians " Essenes,” by the Greeks “ Therapeutæ," and by the Hebrews “Nazarites” (Gen. xlix. 26). These abounded in the Thebaid of Egypt, the deserts and rocky plains of Arabia Petrea, and the barren hills of Syria, having monasteries in different parts, besides mission stations in distant countries such as Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossi, and Thessalonica. They travelled about preaching and performing miracles by magic, in which arts they were adepts, greatly to the wonderment of the ignorant and credulous country people. The "Gnostics” and Mandaites," or "Baptists," were sects of these, John being the leader of the latter. Those converted from Judaism were called Ebionites "; others obtained their name from the locality in which their monastery was situated, as the “Carmelites” of Mount Carmel. Some lived in caves and huts as “anchorites ” and “hermits.” They shaved their heads in the form of a “tonsure” (Jer. xxv. 23; Num. vi. 18)—a custom which eventually became law among the Egyptian and Roman priests—and used rosary beads; in
fact, they were almost identical in their manners, customs, and rules with the Carmelite Order of the Catholic Church, and it is highly probable that they were originally one and the same, which opinion is strengthened by the admission of Catholics themselves, who, in 1682, at Beziers, maintained in public that Pythagoras--who, with Elias, dwelt at a Carmelite monastery near Nazareth, and who was called an “Essenian ” by the Jews_had been a monk, and a member of their order. They were adepts, also, in the art of divination by rods; serpents and snakes were favourite subjects for performing upon, and these could be rendered as rigid as a stick by compressing their necks, which, when properly done, causes a cataleptic stiffness. The sacred snake of India and Egypt is a viper of the sub genus “Naja,” and has a loose skin under its neck, which it swell out at will.
The monastery at Mount Carmel was known as “The Garden and The Fruitful Field.” There was another enormous monastery at Mount Athos, in Salonica, said to have contained 6,000 monks, who were chiefly occupied in transcribing manuscripts and manufacturing legends for the credulous belief of future generations.
They were worshippers of Isis and Serapis--the god of the sacred bull Apis, and a representative of Osiris—and the Theban, Phænician, Assyrian, and Hebrew Yahuh (Jehovah of the Bible translators). The Emperor Hadrian, in a letter to the Consul Servanus (about B.C. 130-140), wrote: “There are there [in Egypt] Christians who worship Serapis, and devoted to Serapis are those who call themselves ‘Bishops of Christ.' And this so late as the middle of the second century ! They had, like the Persian Mithraists, or Zoroastrians, a full hierarchy similar to that observed in the present Catholic Church, consisting of bishops, priests, deacons, exorcists, etc.; and their doctrine and belief were a mixture of ancient Buddhism, Mithraism —the Persian sun-worshippers had an ecclesiastical constitution, and a hierarchical order, baptism, confirmation, Paradise, and Hell 2,000 years before Christianism aroseOsirianism, Judaism, and the eclectic philosophy of Philo. Jesus was a member of this sect, though, like Moses (who lived in the reign of the Egyptian King Amenophis, or Amun-oth-ph), he was educated by the priests at the Temple of Serapis, at Heliopolis, where he is supposed to have gone as a servant.
It was at this time, when the Ptolemaic period of education and enlightenment was declining, and the old Pagan superstitions were reviving, that a Messiah was expected an “avatar” by the Jews, and a “Buddha” by the Buddhists (the former looked for one every 600 years). Gautama the Buddha had announced that a Buddha would descend from Heaven, and would be called “The Son of Love." Historical evidence of the appearance of a Messiah called Jesus at or near the time Christians assert to be the commencement of the “Christian era” being absent, and no corroborative evidence of any of the events recorded of him being forthcoming, we are forced to the conclusion that no such person existed, and to take this—the only—view of the case that is left, which, singularly enough, fits in most remarkably with the details as given in the life of the mythical personage mentioned in the N. T. The Essene monks, seeing how the faith, the old worship, and the power of the priests had declined, and the memory of the miracles wrought by the gods had become effaced, and in order to counteract the work of the philosophers, conceived the idea of teaching the Messiahship of a man who had lived many years before, but who had, by his preaching, gathered a following from among the ignorant and credulous country people, and were called after him Jessæans. This man, according to Celsus, was a young Nazarite or Nazarean (not Nazarene, nor any connection with Nazareth), called Joshua, or Jeschua-ben-Pandira, born in Syria about B.C. 120. His mother (whose original name was Stada) was turned away from home by her husband-a carpenter-owing to her illicit connection with a Roman soldier called Pandira. She wandered about with her child, obtaining a living by spinning; and, when the child was old enough, he became a servant in Egypt, subsequently finding himself in the Temple of Serapis at Heliopolis, where he was instructed in magic and priestcraft. We find him later as a member of the sect of Essenes, eventually making himself obnoxious to the priests by preaching against them, more especially the Scribes and Pharisees, for he was a Jew by birth. He is reported in the N. T. to have said that he came “from God” their “father (Yahuh]"; that they were “of their father the
Devil”; that it was their desire "to do the lusts of the flesh "; that, if he were to say that he did not know their Father (God), he would be, like them, a liar (John viii
. 42-55). But, had he really preached even one of these things, it is highly probable that he would never have lived to say the others, for blasphemy was a heinous sin in the eyes of a Jew, and he would have been stoned on the spot like Stephen, who is reported to have been stoned to death for simply saying that he saw "the Heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.”
The wrath of the priests was, of course, unbounded ; a council was called to consider the matter, and the bold reformer was sentenced to death as a blasphemer and seducer of the people. The Talmud says that he was “a seducer of the people, and was finally put to death by being stoned, and hung as a blasphemer. The Toldoth Jeschu; or, Book of the Generation of Jesus (Foote and Wheeler) gives a similar account.
The Essene monks declared that the Joshua, or Jesus, who had been hung as a blasphemer and seditionist was in reality the Messiah that was to come; that he was a reincarnation of the popular god Bacchus; and that the Theban god Yahuh was his father. They proceeded to attribute to him the wonderful performances that had previously been imputed to the young sun-god Bacchus, such as miraculous birth from a virgin, riding in procession on a donkey, rising from the dead after three days, ascending to Heaven, etc., and finally giving him the Phænician name of Ies, in its Greek form Tesou, Greek being at that time the prevailing language in and around Alexandria. The name Iesous was interchangeable with Ioustos (pronounced Yea-soos and Yous-tos), and Joshua and Jeshua (in Hebrew Yahoshua and Yeshua ; see Nehem. viii. 17). In Acts vii. 45 and Heb. iv. 8 of the A. V. Jeshua is found in the original, and is rendered Jesus ; but in the R. V. it is correctly rendered.
The name Jesus was sometimes also written Hesus.
Thus arose Jessæanism, which soon spread to the distant monasteries of the various sects of Essenes scattered about in the Eastern and Western Provinces of the Roman Empire; the Essenian Scriptures being adapted to the new Messianic theory, from which were later to be evolved the Christian gospels.
EVOLUTION OF CHRISTIANISM FROM JESSÆANISM—THE
RISE OF THE NEW RELIGION; ITS ARROGANT PRETENSIONS, PROSELYTISM, AND WICKED PRINCIPLES—ConSTANTINE'S CONVERSION AND ITS IMMEDIATE EFFECTS
-CONVERSION OF PAGANISM INTO CHRISTIANISMEARLY DISPUTES AND CHURCH COUNCILS - -CRUEL MURDER OF HYPATIA BY CHRISTIAN MONKS—EvoluTION OF MARIOLATRY AND MADONNA WORSHIP-POSTCONSTANTINE SCIENCE-CHRISTIAN DIVISIONS-ULTIMATE EFFECTS OF CONSTANTINE'S CONVERSION.
OUT of Jessæanism was evolved Christianism ; but the Christianism of Antioch was a very different thing to the Roman and African Christianism which commenced with Constantine, and which has since developed into the numerous contradictory religious sects visible to us in modern times. Previous to the conversion of that Emperor the new religion was having a bad time of it throughout the Roman Empire ; from a handful of slaves and beggars scattered here and there, waiting for the coming of their Lord and Master, but rendering themselves amenable to the civil law every now and then by their arrogant pretensions and proselytizing tendencies, they suddenly were able to assume an air of respectability.
But the same mistaken precepts which made it the duty of each to make converts of others, and which resulted in the so-called persecutions under the pre-Constantine Emperors, have rendered Christianism a curse, not only to Europe, but to every country in which it has found a home; for, not satisfied with enjoying freedom of religious opinion themselves, as soon as the opportunity offers itself Christians push their opinions upon others, and persist in thinking