תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

and again “ All the mysteries and secrets of his divine incarpation, from his conception to his ascension into heaven, were marked out by the celestial appearances, and pre figured by the stars:”.

I may here mention, Richard Carlile, that we are told in the Gospel of the Infancy, that Christ was born, after sunset, in a cave, which was filled with a greater light than that of the Sun. The Proteuangelion also mentioneth that Christ was born in a cave in which a miraculous light burst forth. Now, when the latter part of the Virgin riseth at midnight, the Sun is in Capricornus, (which Sign, in the Labour of Hercules, answereth to the stable of Augias) while, on the Meridian, is the constellation of the Ass, and that of the manger called the stable of Jupiter. According to Abulfaragius, Zoroaster told the Magi, that the birth of Christ would be announced by a star, in the middle of which would appear the figure of a young virgin. Others say that the figure was to be that of a little child. This prophecy of Zoroaster, which is quoted by Voltaire, as well as by Dupuis, is said indeed to have been forged by the Gnostics, but is at any rate very ancient.

Our author next alludeth to certain Astrological numbers which we meet with in the Christian Legends. We read, in the second of the Clementine Homilies, that “ Jesus had twelve Apostles, according to the twelve months of the year; and that, as John baptized every day he had thirty disciples, according to the thirty days of the month.” Tbe Valentinians said “the Apostles were transferred to the the twelve Signs of the Zodiac : for as Generation proceedeth from the Signs, so Regeneration proceedeih from the Apostles.” St. Peter the first of the attendants of Cbrist is represented with the ship and the keys of Janus, who presided over the first of the months. Indeed Janus is the name of a star in the feet of Virgin, and must have risen at the rery hour when the solitical year began. It was probably in allusion to Janus that the Manicheans represented the Father of Majesty as having four faces, and as being surrounded by twelve Powers, of whom they spoke as of the twelve great Gods.

The Persians, according to Hyde, have twelve angels who preside over the twelve months; aod the one who presideth over the first month is called “the Treasurer of Paradise.” The Valentinians supposed, that Christ suffered twelve months after bis baptism, in order that his preaching might exactly complete a year-a' supposition which remindetb

one of the twelve labours of Hercules, which according to Dupuis' Theory, occupied as many successive months.

The disciples of Christ are nearly seventy two, which number is referred by Josephus to the planetary system. Besides, Zoroaster is reported to bave said, that God, at the end of 3000 years, sent his will, all brilliant with Light, and clothed with a human form. The will was accompanied by seventy of his priacipal Angels. Beausobre observeth, that the pumber of Angels or Genji, who divided the Earth among them, after the confusion of tongues was, also seventy. I might conclude these observations upon Astrological numbers by expressing my surprise, that no one hath ever compared the seven Deacons to the seven Planets; especially as St. Epiphanius referreth to the number of the Der eons, as a proof of the perfection and mystery of the number seved:

The Jesuit Riccioli calleth the Virgin of the Zodiac “ Virgo Deipara;" and Isidorus of Seville calleth the Mother of Christ “ Maria Illuminatrix. The motber of Mary was Anna; and the Romans personified the year under the name of Anna Perenna,' who was herself taken by some for Theipis, the celestial virgin. The Romam Calendar of Columella ipformeth us, that on the 20th of August “the Sun entereth Virgo," i.e. Virgo disappeareth in the Sun's rays. On that day the Greeks and Romans celebrated the assumption of Astrea; and on the same day, says Dupius (though I think he ought to have said 'five days previous') we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary," which festival appeareth to have been formerly called, “ The Passage of the Virgin.” Again we read, in the calender before mentioned, that on the Ilth of the Sept. “ the middle of Virgo riseth,” i.e. appeareth for the first time. « On the same day,” saith Dupuis (or probably three days previous) we celebrate the Nativity of the Mother of Christ.”

Our author now presenteth us with an engraving of one of the lateral doors of the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris. Here we find all the Signs of the Zodiac arranged in the order ofthe Planetary domiciles-with the exception of Virgo, wbo is seen pourtrayed in the middle of the door, with her child in her arms, wbile at her feet a serpent is climbing up the branch of a tree, reminding one of the Serpent of the Poles, which was called “coluber arborem couscendens.” But it is not only in the city formerly celebrated for its worship of the Goddess Isis, but also in St. Denys, and Strasbourg, that Dupuis telletb us we may trace and Signs of the Zodiac upon the entrance of the Cathedral. I have myself observed the greater part of them on the Portal of St. Denys; and I should recommend any of the readers of this letter, who dwell in the neighbourhood of old Gothic churcbes, to examine whether we have not, in our own country, sculptured proofs of the astronomical origio of Cbristianism.

But to continue. The writer of the Alexandrian Chronicle telleth us: “Down to the present day, the Egyptians consecrate the lying-in of a Virgin, and adore an infant placed in a manger. Wben the King Ptolemæus asked the reason of this, he was answered, that it was a mystery handed down to our fore-fathers by a holy Prophet.” Dupuis next informeth us, tbat “ a virgin who was about to bring forth” was honoured by the Gauls of the territory of Chartres; but as I am told, that tbis is a mere Monkish Legend, I pass on to the examination of a Mithriac Monument, found at Oxford in - 1747, and in which we see, among the figures in the lower division, a woman who is just goiug to give suck to her child. William Stukely, in bis dissertation upon this marble considereth, in the true spirit of a Christian, that the festival, which the Persians called the " nigbt of Light, the birth-day of Mithra” (or of “the Mediator” as he explaineth the name) was a patriarchal festival, imagined in consequence of the prophecies which referred to the birth of the Messiah. He telleth us, tbattbe Druidscelebrated the night by a general illumination, and that it is still the custom, in some parts of Great Britain, to light up fires on the nightof the Epiphany. He remarketh that the Mithriac religion was spread over the whole of the Roman Empire, and was extremely prevalent in Gaul and Great Britain. He also quoteth St. Hieronymus, from whom we learn, that the festivals of Adonis were celebrated in a cave, like those of Mithra; and that this cave was the one at Bethlehem in which Christ was born. Finally, he citeth an old father, supposed to be St. Chrysostomus, who alludeth in these terms to the great Equinoxial festival. “Ye talk of the birth of the Iovincible-Who is this Invincible, if it be not our Lord? Ye call that the birth-day of the Sun-It is he that is the true Sun of Righteousness.”

I shall conclude these observations by the remark of our author, that the Christians have understood mystically, what they ought to bave understood literally ; and that St. Augustinus did not understand bis religion, when he said: * We are right in celebratiug the birth of our Lord on this day-not because the Sun is tben born, but because the Lord bath created the Sun.” This last passage may remind one of the doubts expressed ju a treatise of Plutarchus, that Apollo may uot be the Sun, but the Lord and Father of the Sun. Leaving to my brother Republicans the trouble of summing up all the preceding evidence with regard to the astronomical Birth of Christ, I propose colomenciug in my next letter an abridgment of what Dupuis saith, concerning the Death and Resurrection of this Solar Deity. Believe me, fellow Citizen,

THY FRIEND.

TO MR. R. CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.

Greatham, near Stockton-upon-Tees, UNDAUNTED CITIZEN,

September 16, 1824. I feel that it will he impossible to find words of sufficient energy, to represent to you, the very great pleasure I now share in being enabled to transmit to you a collection amounting to £3. 12s. That sum has been subscribed by a few friends, as a sincere mark of their high regard for your eminent abilities, and indefatigable exertions in the cause of truth and universal philanthrophy: and also, as an indubitable token of their abhorrence for that system of tyranny and savage cruelty, exercised by Church and State; which, not satiated with torturing the enslaved carcase, will have recourse to the basest acts of injustice, to oppress and shackle the mind of man.

It is almost impossible for any individual, unless his intellectual faculties are deeply saturated with religious idolatry, or thoroughly imbued with governmental dishonesty, not to reflect, at least, upon the powers, which, in the origin of nations, the associated people had a right to grant to their chosen rulers, as well as upon those which they had not. They certainly had the power of placing themselves under the direction, management, and controul, of any person, chief, or family, whether under the denomination of Duke, or King, or Emperor. They might grant him the autocracy over them. They might assign to him the power to keep them silent or motionless; and they might bind themselves to think or move how and when he pleased. But what right, in the name of common sense, had they to bind any of their posterity? If they had a mind to obey the most cruel, brutal, and senseless lawswhy should we? If their ignorance could suffer some of their more crafty follow men to rule them with a rod of iron-why should we suffer others do the same? Perhaps, there may still be found some person to exclaim, that our governors, both in Church

and State, do not rule over the people by any hunian, but by a divine commission. To such it would be sufficient to reply, that it is incumbent on the part of our rulers to shew their legatine powers from their celestial autocrat, before they can justly insist on the tithes and taxes with which they have so unmercifully loaded, imposed upon, and overwhelmed mankind.

Indeed, nothing can be more lamentable, than the situation in which the ruled part of our species is placed. Let a man turn his attention to the ecclesiastical dogmas, and he will find himself bidden to work six days out of every seven, and to bring the tenth part of the produce of his labour to the church, as it is called; in return for which, he is to repair to a damp and unwholesome place on every seventh day, only to get his mind filled with pills made up of nonsense, gilded over with a few grains of morality, and not dismissed without abundance of promises of immense rewards in heaven, or of everlasting punishments in hell: places which, it is now ascertained, never had an existence, and cannot consequently be ever realized. He will hear enough about the manifold blessings bestowed by an almighty Deity, visible in his own pantheon, and invisible in all other places; nor will the eternal tortures inflicted by, perhaps, an almighty Devil, visible in his own pandemonium, and invisible in all other quarters, be at all forgotten. Beings, who, if they did at any time exist, must, in my opinion. have gone the way of all flesh. For should we make a proper enquiry about such places and beings, we shall find ourselves foiled in the attempt, and forced to own, that they are merely the fictions of the imaginations, the fabrications of ignorance, or the inventions of knavery. I, for my part, cannot find them; and all I can perceive is, matter operating, moving, or act. ing, at all points, upon matter; that is, upon itself, either in a combined or gaseous form. I see that wood, iron, stone, carth. &c. can be reduced to their simple elementary gases. I observe matter falling upon the surface of the earth, commixing with it, and sending forth multitudes of vegetative plants, and swarms of animaleula, all which decompose again or die. Whence, I come to the conclusion, that MATTER IN MOTION is the great first cause of every existing identity; that effects, are but the results of an infinitude of changes, which the motion of matter, whether in a combined or Auid state, must effect. Man, beast, trees, air, water, fire, earth, and planets, are so many varieties of matter; the particles of which each is composed, being indestructible, can never be annihilated; though they will euter into a variety of combi. nations to perpetuity. Ideas of supernatural agency have been the offspring of ignorance; it is ignorance that has ever brought on man every kind of pain and misery. It is the same that ħas caused the cruelty, or knavery, or both, in those individuals, who have so shamefully thrown you and your philanthropic men into a loathsome prison; and it is to the same source of ignorance, that

we ,

« הקודםהמשך »