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before the event took place“. What evidence has Carlile advanced that the Gospels were not written in the first centurys. I can
Diffused the beams of knowledge. I will speak
Prometheus taught each useful art to man.” The last words of the expiring God are finely descriptive of the convulsion of nature, as exhibited by Saint Matthew on a a similar occasion, chap. xxvii. ver. 51. “ And the earth did quake and the rocks rent,” &c.
“ I feel, in very deed,
End of the Tragedy.
REMARKS ON THE PROMETHEUS OF ÆSCHYLUS. Æschylus is justly considered the father of the drama, and this piece of Prometheus has undoubted claims to be considered as the oldest trayedy, in being, in any language.
Tragedy was first instituted to the honour of Bacchus, and his priests presided for a long while over the whole affair. When they observed it gradually perverted from the original intention, by the introduction of other matters, they unanimously exclaimed, that all this was nothing to Bacchus ουδεν Διονυσον. The complaint grew into a kind of proverbial saying, and as such is banded down to us.
Bacchus, we shall hereafter shew, signifies the same as Jesus, even in the etymology of the name; and both were distinguished by the miracles of turning water into wine, and the attribute of perpetual boyhood. For 'tis remarkable that the apostles, after Christ's ascension, in a most solemn and public prayer, twice designate their late master by his childish character, Acts chap.iv. ver 27:" For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus whom thou hast an. nointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and people of Israel were gathered together, ver. 50. That signs and wonders may be done, by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” Of the working signs and wonders, and of the obtaing salvation by a name, we shall take occasion to speak under the head
In the mean while, should the close coincidence of the fable of Prometheus and the system of cabalism, and the resemblance of many expressions in the old tragedy to passages of the New Testament, at the first blush, seem a stumbling block to the faith of modern Chris4 There is not a pretence of prophecy that fixes any precise time.
R. C. $ That no one in that century knew any thing about them.
conceive of no argument against that fact which would not have much more weight against the date of any ancient cotemporary tians, we are competent to prove, from undoubted documents of ecclesiastical antiquity, that the coincidence of the mistaken gospel, with the storiesof the pagan mythology, was, under providence, a great means of the conversion of the pagans to cabalistical Christianity.
“ There were those in the third century, observes Mosheim, who, when they heard that true Christianity as it was taught by Jesus, (and not as it was afterwards corrupted by his disciples) differed almost in nothing from the Pagan religion properly explained and restored to its primitive purity, determined to remain in the religion of their ancestors and in the worship of their Gods."
MOSHEIM, Cent. 3 Part 1. Justin Martyr, in his celebrated Apology, supposed to have been written within fifty years of Saint John's Revelation, instead of disclaiming these resemblances, triumphs in them as one of the strongest recommendations of Christianity to the acceptation of the pagan
world. “If then, writes be to the Emperor Adrian, we hold some opinions, near of kin to the poets and philosophers in greatest repute among you, why are we thus unjustly hated ? Fór in saying that all things were made in this beautiful order by God, what do we seem to say more than Plato? When we teach a general conflagration, what do we teach more than the Stoics : by opposing the worship of the works of men's hands, we concur with Menander the comedian: and by declaring the Logos, the first begotten of God, our Master Jesus Christ, to be born of virgin, without any human mixture, and to be crucified and dead, and to have rose again, and ascended into heaven; we say no more in this, than what you say of those whom you style the sons of Jove."
“ For you need not be told, what a parcel of sons the writers most in Vogue among you, assign to Jove: there's Mercury, Jove's interpreter in imitation of the Logos, in worship among you. There's Æsculapius the physician smitten by a bolt of thunder; and after that ascending into bearen. There's Bacchus torn to pieces, and Hercules burnt to get rid of his pains. There's Pollux and Castor, the sons of Jove, by Leda; and Perseus, by Danae ; not to mention others. I would fain know why you always deify the departed emperors, and have a fellow at hand to make affidavit that he saw Cæsar mount to heaven from the funeral pile.-As to the son of God, called Jesus, should we allow him to be nothing more than man, yet the the title of the son of God is very justifiable upon the account of his wisdom, considering you have your Mercury in worship, under the title of the word and messenger of God. As to the objection of our Jesus's being crucified; I say that suffering was common to all the forementioned sons of Jove, but only they suffered another kind of death. As to his curing the lame and the paralytic, and such as were cripples from their birth, this is little more than what you say of your Asculapius." See Revee's Apology, vol. 1, chap. 40, p. 76.
Such then was the account given to Pagans of the Christian religion, by its very ablest and very earliest alivocates,—such, therefore we ought to presume, was the most faithful and correct account; for surely it is a little too much to assume, that we, after a lapse of many centuries, bave a clearer insight into the matter than such men as Justiu Martyr, who drew their information immediately from the fountain head, and through whose communications alone, our entire knowledge on the subject is derived.
author. If these writings existed in the second century it devolves
upon him to show how they could be received and acknow“ If, remarks the judicious translator of his Apology,-If the Christian faith lived not to these years in its original purity, it came up and was cut down like a Aower, and lived not to see the age of man. If such a religion was so soon corrupted in its very essentials, what must we think of providence, and of that promise which says, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Reeves's Introduct.-And here we ought to observe,t hat the fathers and the scriptures are not at variance—there is the most perfect harmony between them—both concur in maintaining, that their common Christianity was no new thing. The Athenians are justly censured for their rage after novelty; and their misappreliension, that the apostle brought strange things to their ears, is justly resented and corrected in his celebrated discourse to them on Mars' Hill. Acts 17.-“Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declure I unto you. For in him we live and move and have our being, us certain of your own poets have said, “ for we are also his offspring Thus did the great apostle of the gentiles, when publicly called upon to declare what his doctrine was, to an assembly of Pagans, disclaim the pretence of novelty, and confess to them, the entire sameness of the religion he taught with that already established among them; and i bat it had indeed no other foundations, the evidence of nature and reason, and what “ certain of their own poets had said.” Such being the merits of the case, we need not wonder that the Atheniaus found themselves couverted to Christianity without the intervention of a miracle.
And though Saint Paul does not hesitate to accuse both Peter and Barnabas of " dissimulation, and not walking according to the truth of the gospel,” for their attempts to represent the gospel in such a way as might best recommend it to the taste of the Jews, which was only to be done by maintaining it as nothing more than a particular aspect of their own relegion, 3 Galat., yet he himself contesses, that it was his great object, to please all mnen. To the Jews he becanie as a Jew that he might win the Jews--to them that were without the law as without the law, though all the while he was not without the law-and especially when he spoke as a minister of Christ, he spoke as a fool, 2 Corinthians chap. ii. ver. 23. They are his own words, and surely we have no reasou to disbelieve them.
The fathers, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, and Lactantius, concurring herein with Justin and the scriptures themselves, have left us direct and explicit recognitions of the identity of Christianity with the systems of pagan philosophy. And shall we assume that these fathers, whose authority we do not question on other points, did not understand Christianity so well as ourselves ?--If so, it would follow, that the Christian system must have originated, not anterior, but many centuries subsequent to the Augus
CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS, (who is so called from his having been Bishop of Alexandria, in the second century,) in his book, entitled, “ Stromata, says:
* And those who have lived according to reason, are Christians, although they bare been called Atheists; such among the Greeks were Socrates and Heraclitus, and those who'were like them.”
“ORIGEN, who lived in the third century, and who is the first of the fathers who distinctly quotes the New Testament,) in his answer to Celsus, book 6, speaking of the Pagan philosophers, writes: “God manifested also these things (i. e.) the Cloristian doctrines, to them, as well as whatever
ledged in the second century as the genuine productions of men in the first century-when there was every possible motive to deelse they have well spoken." LACTANTIUS, who wrote in the same century, and who from the superiotity of his latin style, has been called the Christian Cicero, writes thus :
“At si extitisset aliquis qui veritatem sparsam pers ingulos, per seculasque diffusam, colligeret in unum ac redigeret in corpus, is profecto non dissentiret a nobis : sed hoc nemo facere nisi veri peritus, ac sciens potest. Verum autem non nisi ejus scire est, qui sit doctus a Deo." (i. e.) “But if there had been any one who could collect into one and reduce iuto a body that truth which was scattered among particular individuals, and diffused through sects, he truly, would not dissent from us: but this, no one but one skilful and knowing of what was true, could do; for it is for bim alone who hath been taught of God, to know what the truth is.”— Lactantius, book 4.
From these united testimonies of scripture and of the fathers, and the manifest resemblance of the Pagan heroes and fables to the cabalistical Christianity of more modern times it is impossible not to adınit the conclusion, that they must have had a common origin, or that the latter, which ever it was, must have been borrowed from the former.
The story of Prometheus, we should observe, was no invention of Æschylus; it had existed in the forms of Pagan religion, before all records of history whatever. Its references take us back to an ideal period, anterior to the creation of the world.
The worship of Prometheus was almost universal, and its general doctrines of
1. The fall of the angels. 2. Their expulsion from heaven by Promethus, the word or the wisdom of God.
3. The creation of man, by the same divine personage.
4. The displeasure of the Supreme God, against the whole human race, for a trifling cause.
5. The intercession of the Second Person, with the Supreme, in their behalf.
6. His manifestation in the flesh.
7. His sustaining the wrath of Jupiter on account of the sinfulness of man.
9. His death.
11. His resurrection, and final ascension to glory~were all of Greek extraction; and we consequently find St. Paul, in preaching the Gospel to the Athenians, entirely omitting all allusion to any thing that might appear coincident with these doctrines in the Christian system, of which, therefore, these doctrines could be no part. And our present Archbishop Magee, in his work on Atonement and sacrifice, (which every body speaks of, and nobody reads, nor indeed would be the wiser for reading,) unable to build up a Christian pedestal for the monster of his cabalism, leads us to the idolatrous altars and mystical sacrifices of the ancient Phænicians. “ It was an established custum among the ancient Phænicians, on any calamitous or dangerous emergency, for the ruler of the state to offer up in prevention of the general ruin, the most dearly beloved of his children, as a ransom, to avert the divine vengeance.—They who were devoted for this purpose, were offered mystically, in consequence of an example which had been set this people, by the God Kronus, who in a time of distress, offered up his only son to bis father Ouranus.
tect imposition, if there had been imposition to detect. Though nothing more were advanced, here is positive evidence, and the burden of proof devolves upon himo. But you know the circumstances in which I at present write this hasty scrawl, and you will excuse me for concluding at present with expressing my best wishes in your behalf.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
The mystical sacrifice of the Phænicians had these requisites
3d. He was to make this grand sacrifice, invested with emblems of royalty.”—Bryant's Observations on Ancient History, quoted by Magee, in his work on atonement, vol. 1. page 388.
The annexed form of prayer, so different from that which the blessed Jesus tanght his disciples, and which is taken from the liturgy of a worshipper of Prometheus, may by its comparison with that divine form, sufficiently mark the wide distinction which may be perceived between man's inventions and God's inspiration. But that every one knows the Lord's Prayer, we would insert it in a parallel column. We wish, however, that our readers may do themselves the justice to observe, what that all-sufficient form of sound words does not contain, and theu weigh the prayer of a Pagan of an age two or three thousand years before the light of revelation shone on a superstitious world.
THE PRAYER. O Almighty and Eternal Prometheus, who, when thou hadst by thy allwise counsels, and omnipotent arm driven the rebellious Titans out of heaven; and afterwards having created the race of men on earth, alone of all the heavenly powers, hadst compassion on the works of thy bands; who, for our sake, didst leave the glory which thou hadst with Jupiter, before the world was; and wast crucified also for us, upon Mount Caucasus; there, by thy sufferings propitiating the wrath which we had provoked; and by thy precious blood, redeeming us from everlasting destruction. We give thee praise and honor, and we beseech thee, O Lord God Prometheu, by thine agonies and sufferings, by thy descent into hell, and by thy holy fire which thou didst bring from heaven, to have compassion on onr infirmities; touch our hearts with the burning reed of thy heavenly grace, and kindle the light of wisdom, and the fire of virtue in our souls: that awakening from the death of sin, we may walk in the life of thy truth; and imitating thy vast philantrophy, may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom-who livest and reignest among the Gods and Goddesses, God above all-blessed for evermore--lo Prometheu!!!
6 Far from it. I admit the existence of those books as early as there is evidence to prove it. If you go farther without evidence; it devolves on you to shew why.