We have often wondered at the extraordinary ideas of God and His justice that seem to be honestly held by those Christians who blindly rely upon the clergy for their religion, and never upon their own reason. How strangely illogical is this doctrine of the Atonement. We propose to discuss it with the Christians from the Buddhistic stand-point, and show at once by what a series of sophistries, directed toward the one object of tightening the ecclesiastical yoke upon the popular neck, its acceptance as a divine command has been finally effected; also, that it has proved one of the most pernicious and demoralizing of doctrines.
The clergy say: no matter how enormous our crimes against the laws of God and of man, we have but to believe in the self-sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of mankind, and
His blood will wash out every stain. God's mercy is boundless and unfathomable. It is impossible to conceive of a human sin so damnable that the price paid in advance for the redemption of the sinner would not wipe it out if a thousandfold worse. And, furthermore, it is never too late to repent. Though the offender wait until the last minute of the last hour of the last day of his mortal life, before his blanched lips utter the confession of faith, he may go to Paradise; the dying thief did it, and so may all others as vile. These are the assumptions of the Church.
But if we step outside the little circle of creed and consider the universe as a whole balanced by the exquisite adjustment of parts, how all sound logic, how the faintest glimmering sense of Justice revolts against this Vicarious Atonement! If the criminal sinned only against himself, and wronged no one but himself; if by sincere repentance he could cause the obliteration of past events, not only from the memory of man, but also from that imperishable record, which no deity — not even the Supremest of the Supreme — can cause to disappear, then this dogma might not be incomprehensible. But to maintain that one may wrong his fellow-man, kill, disturb the equilibrium of society, and the natural order of things, and then — through cowardice, hope, or compulsion, matters not — be forgiven by believing that the spilling of one blood washes out the other blood spirt — this is preposterous! Can the results of a crime be obliterated even though the crime itself should be pardoned? The effects of a cause are never limited to the boundaries of the cause, nor can the results of crime be confined to the offender and his victim. Every good as well as evil action has its effects, as palpably as the stone flung into a calm water. The simile is trite, but it is the best ever conceived, so let us use it. The eddying circles are greater and swifter, as the disturbing object is greater or smaller, but the smallest pebble, nay, the tiniest speck, makes its ripples. And this disturbance is not alone visible and on the surface. Below, unseen, in every direction — outward and downward — drop pushes drop until the sides and bottom are touched by the force. More, the air, above the water is agitated, and this disturbance passes, as the physicists tell us, from stratum to stratum out into space forever and ever; an impulse has been given to matter, and that is never lost, can never be recalled! . . .
So with crime, and so with its opposite. The action may be instantaneous, the effects are eternal. When, after the stone is once flung into the pond, we can recall it to the hand, roll back the ripples, obliterate the force expended, restore the etheric waves to their previous state of non-being, and wipe out every trace of the act of throwing the missile, so that Time's record shall not show that it ever happened, then, then we may patiently hear Christians argue for the efficacy of this Atonement.
The Chicago Times recently printed the hangman's record of the first half of the present year (1877) — a long and ghastly record of murders and hangings. Nearly every one of these murderers received religious consolation, and many announced that they had received God's forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and were going that day to Heaven! Their conversion was effected in prison. See how this ledger-balance of Christian justice (!) stands: These red-handed murderers, urged on by the demons of lust, revenge, cupidity, fanaticism, or mere brutal thirst for blood, slew their victims, in most cases, without giving them time to repent, or call on Jesus to wash them clean with his blood. They, perhaps, died sinful, and, of course, — consistently with theological logic — met the reward of their greater or lesser offenses. But the murderer, overtaken by human justice, is imprisoned, wept over by sentimentalists, prayed with and at, pronounces the charmed words of conversion, and goes to the scaffold a redeemed child of Jesus! Except for the murder, he would not have been prayed with, redeemed, pardoned. Clearly this man did well to murder, for thus he gained eternal happiness? And how about the victim, and his or her family, relatives, dependants, social relations — has justice no recompense for them? Must they suffer in this world and the next, while he who wronged them sits beside the "holy thief" of Calvary and is forever blessed? On this question the clergy keep a prudent silence.
Steve Anderson was one of these American criminals — convicted of double murder, arson, and robbery. Before the hour of his death he was "converted," but, the record tells us that "his clerical attendants objected to his reprieve, on the ground that they felt sure of his salvation should he die then, but could not answer for it if his execution was postponed." We address these ministers, and ask them to tell us on what grounds they felt sure of such a monstrous thing. How they could feel sure, with the dark future before them, and the endless results of this double murder, arson, and robbery? They could be sure of nothing, but that their abominable doctrine is the cause of three-fourths of the crimes of so-called Christians; that these terrific causes must produce like monstrous effects, which in their turn will beget other results, and so roll on throughout eternity to an accomplishment that no man can calculate.
Or take another crime, one of the most selfish, cruel, and heartless, and yet the most frequent, the seduction of a young girl. Society, by an instinct of self-preservation, pitilessly judges the victim, and ostracizes her. She may be driven to infanticide, or self-murder, or if too averse to die, live to plunge into a career of vice and crime. She may become the mother of criminals, who, as in the now celebrated Jukes, of whose appalling details Mr. Dugdale has published the particulars, breed other generations of felons to the number of hundreds, in fifty or sixty years. All this social disaster came through one man's selfish passion; shall he be forgiven by Divine Justice until his offense is expiated, and punishment fall only upon the wretched human scorpions begotten of his lust?
An outcry has just been made in England over the discovery that Anglican priests are largely introducing auricular confession and granting absolution after enforcing penances. Inquiry shows the same thing prevailing more or less in the United States. Put to the ordeal of cross-examination, the clergy quote triumphantly from the English
Book of Common Prayer the rubrics which clearly give them the absolving authority, through the power of "God, the Holy Ghost," committed unto them by the bishop by imposition of hands at their ordination. The bishop, questioned, points to Matthew xvi., 19, for the source of his authority to bind and loose on earth those who are to be blessed or damned in heaven; and to the apostolic succession for proof of its transmission from Simon Barjona to himself. The present volumes have been written to small purpose if they have not shown, 1, that Jesus, the Christ-God, is a myth concocted two centuries after the real Hebrew Jesus died; 2, that, therefore, he never had any authority to give Peter, or any one else, plenary power; 3, that even if he had given such authority, the word Petra (rock) referred to the revealed truths of the Petroma, not to him who thrice denied him; and that besides, the apostolic successon is a gross and palpable fraud; 4, that the Gospel according to Matthew is a fabrication based upon a wholly different manuscript. The whole thing, therefore, is an imposition alike upon priest and penitent. But putting all these points aside for the moment, it suffices to ask these pretended agents of the three gods of the Trinity, how they reconcile it with the most rudimental notions of equity, that if the power to pardon sinners for sinning has been given them, they did not also receive the ability by miracle to obliterate the wrongs done against person or property. Let them restore life to the murdered; honor to the dishonored; property to those who have been wronged, and force the scales of human and divine justice to recover their equilibrium. Then we may talk of their divine commission to bind and loose. Let them say, if they can do this. Hitherto the world has received nothing but sophistry — believed on blind faith; we ask palpable, tangible evidence of their God's justice and mercy. But all are silent; no answer, no reply, and still the inexorable unerring Law of Compensation proceeds on its unswerving path. If we but watch its progress, we will find that it ignores all creeds, shows no preferences, but its sunlight and its thunderbolts fall alike on heathen and Christian. No absolution can shield the latter when guilty, no anathema hurt the former when innocent.
Away from us such an insulting conception of divine justice as that preached by priests on their own authority. It is fit only for cowards and criminals! If they are backed by a whole array of Fathers and Churchmen, we are supported by the greatest of all authorities, an instinctive and reverential sense of the everlasting and everpresent law of harmony and justice.
But, besides that of reason, we have other evidence to show that such a construction is wholly unwarranted. The Gospels being "Divine revelation," doubtless Christians will regard their testimony as conclusive. Do they affirm that Jesus gave himself as a voluntary sacrifice? On the contrary, there is not a word to sustain the idea. They make it clear that he would rather have lived to continue what he considered his mission, and that he died because he could not help it, and only when betrayed. Before, when threatened with violence, he had made himself invisible by employing the mesmeric power over the bystanders, claimed by every Eastern adept, and escaped. When, finally, he saw that his time had come, he succumbed to the inevitable. But see him in the garden, on the Mount of Olives, writhing in agony until "his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood," praying with fervid supplication that the cup might be removed from him; exhausted by his struggle to such a degree that an angel from heaven had to come and strengthen him; and say if the picture is that of a self-immolating hostage and martyr. To crown all, and leave no lingering doubt in our minds, we have his own despairing words, "Not My Will, but thine, be done!" (Luke xxii. 42. 43.)
Again, in the Puranas it may be found that Christna was nailed to a tree by the arrow of a hunter, who, begging the dying god to forgive him, receives the following answer: "Go, hunter, through my favor, to Heaven, the abode of the gods. . . . Then the illustrious Christna, having united himself with his own pure, spiritual, inexhaustible, inconceivable, unborn, undecaying, imperishable, and universal Spirit, which is one with Vasudeva, abandoned his mortal body, and ... he became Nirguna" (Wilson's Vishnu Purana, p. 612). Is not this the original of the story of Christ forgiving the thief on the cross, and promising him a place in Heaven? Such examples "challenge inquiry as to their origin and meaning so long anterior to Christianity," says Dr. Lundy in Monumental Christianity, and yet to all this he adds: "The idea of Krishna as a shepherd, I take to be older than either (the Gospel of Infancy and that of St. John), and prophetic of Christ" (p. 156).
Facts like these, perchance, furnished later a plausible pretext for declaring apocryphal all such works as the Homilies, which proved but too clearly the utter want of any early authority for the doctrine of atonement. The Homilies clash but little with the Gospels; they disagree entirely with the dogmas of the Church. Peter knew nothing of the atonement; and his reverence for the mythical father Adam would never have allowed him to admit that this patriarch had sinned and was accursed. Neither do the Alexandrian theological schools appear to have been cognizant of this doctrine, nor Tertullian; nor was it discussed by any of the earlier Fathers. Philo represents the story of the Fall as symbolical, and Origen regarded it the same way as Paul, as an allegory. *
Whether they will or not, the Christians have to credit the foolish story of Eve's temptation by a serpent. Besides, Augustine has formally pronounced upon the subject. "God, by His arbitrary will," he says, "has selected beforehand certain persons, without regard to foreseen faith or good actions, and has irretrievably ordained to bestow upon them eternal happiness; while He has condemned others in the same way to eternal reprobation'".! (De dono perseverante).f
* See Draper's "Conflict between Religion and Science," p. 224. f This is the doctrine of the Supralapsarians, who asserted that "He [God] predestinated the fall of Adam, with all its pernicious consequences, from all eternity, and that our first parents had no liberty from the beginning."
It is also to this highly-moral doctrine that the Catholic world
Calvin promulgated views of Divine partiality and bloodthirstiness equally abhorrent. "The human race, corrupted radically in the fall with Adam, has upon it the guilt and impotence of original sin; its redemption can be achieved only through an incarnation and a propitiation; of this redemption only electing grace can make the soul a participant, and such grace, once given, is never lost; this election can come only from God, and it includes only a part of the race, the rest being left to perdition; election and perdition (the horribile decretum) are both predestinated in the Divine plan; that plan is a decree, and this decree is eternal and became indebted, in the eleventh century, for the institution of the Order known as the Carthusian monks. Bruno, its founder, was driven to the foundation of this monstrous Order by a circumstance well worthy of being recorded here, as it graphically illustrates this divine predestination. A friend of Bruno, a French physician, famed far and wide for his extraordinary piety, purity of morals, and charity, died, and his body was watched by Bruno himself. Three days after his death, and as he was going to be buried, the pious physician suddenly sat up in his coffin and declared, in a loud and solemn voice, "that by the just judgment of God he was eternally damned." After which consoling message from beyond the "dark river," he fell back and relapsed into death.
In their turn, the Parsi theologians speak thus: "If any of you commit sin under the belief that he shall be saved by somebody, both the deceiver as well as the deceived shall be damned to the day of Rasta Khez. . . . There is no Saviour. In the other world you shall receive the return according to your actions. . . . Your Saviour is your deeds and God Himself. 1
1 "The Modern Parsis," lecture by Max Müller, 1862.
unchangeable . . . justification is by faith alone, and faith is the gift of God."
O Divine Justice, how blasphemed has been thy name! Unfortunately for all such speculations, belief in the propitiatory efficacy of blood can be traced to the oldest rites. Hardly a nation remained ignorant of it. Every people offered animal and even human sacrifices to the gods, in the hope of averting thereby public calamity, by pacifying the wrath of some avenging deity. There are instances of Greek and Roman generals offering their lives simply for the success of their army. Cesar complains of it, and calls it a superstition of the Gauls. "They devote themselves to death . . . believing that unless life is rendered for life the immortal gods cannot be appeased," he writes. "If any evil is about to befall either those who now sacrifice, or Egypt, may it be averted on this head," was pronounced by the Egyptian priests when sacrificing one of their sacred animals. And imprecations were uttered over the head of the expiatory victim, around whose horns a piece of byblus was rolled.* The animal was generally led to some barren region, sacred to Typhon, in those primitive ages when this fatal deity was yet held in a certain consideration by the Egyptians. It is in this custom that lies the origin of the "scape-goat" of the Jews, who, when the rufous ass-god was rejected by the Egyptians, began sacrificing to another deity the "red heifer."
"Let all sins that have been committed in this world fall on
me that the world may be delivered," exclaimed Gautama, the Hindu Saviour, centuries before our era.
No one will pretend to assert in our own age that it was the Egyptians who borrowed anything from the Israelites, as they now accuse the Hindus of doing. Bunsen, Lepsius, Champollion, have long since established the precedence of Egypt over the Israelites in age as well as in all the religious rites that we now recognize among the "chosen people." Even the New Testament teems with quotations and repetitions from the Book of the Dead, and Jesus, if everything attributed to him by his four biographers is true — must have been acquainted with the Egyptian Funereal Hymns. + In the Gospel according to Matthew we find whole sentences from the ancient and sacred Ritual which preceded our era by more than 4,000 years. We will again compare.}
f Every tradition shows that Jesus was educated in Egypt and passed his infancy and youth with the Brotherhoods of the Essenes and other mystic communities.
J Bunsen found some records which show the language and religious worship of the Egyptians, for instance, not only existing at the opening of the old Empire, "but already so fully established and fixed as to receive but a very slight development in the course of the old, middle, and modern Empires," and while this opening of the old Empire is placed by him beyond the Menes period, at least 4,000 years B.C., the origin of the ancient Hermetic prayers and hymns of the "Book of the Dead," is assigned by Bunsen to the pre-Menite dynasty of Abydos (between 4,000 and 4,500 B.C.), thus showing that "the system of Osirian worship and mythology was already formed 3,000 years before the days of Moses."
The "soul" under trial is brought before Osiris, the "Lord of Truth," who sits decorated with the Egyptian cross, emblem of eternal life, and holding in his right hand the Vannus or the flagellum of justice.* The spirit begins, in the "Hall of the Two Truths," an earnest appeal, and enumerates its good deeds, supported by the responses of the forty-two assessors — its incarnated deeds and accusers. If justified, it is addressed as Osiris, thus assuming the appellation of the Deity whence its divine essence proceeded, and the following words, full of majesty and justice, are pronounced! "Let the Osiris go; ye see he is without fault. . . . He lived on truth, he has fed on truth. . . . The god has welcomed him as he desired. He has given food to my hungry, drink to my thirsty ones, clothes to my naked. . . . He has made the sacred food of the gods the meat of the spirits."
In the parable of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew xxv.), the Son of Man (Osiris is also called the Son) sits upon the throne of his glory, judging the nations, and says to the justified, "Come ye blessed of my Father (the God) inherit the kingdom.
. . . For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink . . . naked and ye clothed me."! To complete the
* It was also called the "hook of attraction." Virgil terms it "Mystica vannus Iacchi," "Georgics," i., 166.
f In an Address to the Delegates of the Evangelical Alliance, New York, 1874, Mr. Peter Cooper, a Unitarian, and one of the noblest practical Christians of the age, closes it with the following memorable language: "In that last and final account it will be happy for us if we shall then find that our influence through life has tended to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and soothe the sorrows of those who were sick and in prison." Such words from a man who has given two million dollars in resemblance (Matthew iii. 12): John is made to describe Christ as Osiris, "whose fan (winnow or vannus) is in his hand, and who will "purge his floor and gather his wheat into the garner."
The same in relation to Buddhist legends. In Matthew iv. 19, Jesus is made to say: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men," the whole adapted to a conversation between him and Simon Peter and Andrew his brother.
In Schmidt's "Der Weise und der Thor,"} a work full of anecdotes about Buddha and his disciples, the whole from original texts, it is said of a new convert to the faith, that "he had been caught by the hook of the doctrine, just as a fish, who has caught at the bait and line is securely pulled out." In the temples of Siam the image of the expected Buddha, the Messiah Maitree, is represented with a fisherman's net in the hand, while in Thibet he holds a kind of a trap. The explanation of it reads as follows: "He (Buddha) disseminates upon the Ocean of birth and decay the Lotus-flower of the excellent law as a bait; with the loop of devotion, never cast charity; educated four thousand young girls in useful arts, by which they gain a comfortable support; maintained a free public library, museum, and reading-room; classes for working people; public lectures by eminent scientists, open to all; and been foremost in all good works, throughout a long and blameless life, come with the noble force that marks the utterances of all benefactors of their kind. The deeds of Peter Cooper will cause posterity to treasure his golden sayings in its heart. J "Aus dem Tibetischen ubersetzt und mit dem Originaltexte herausgegeben," von S. J. Schmidt.
out in vain, he brings living beings up like fishes, and carries them to the other side of the river, where there is true understanding."*
Had the erudite Archbishop Cave, Grabe, and Dr. Parker, who so zealously contended in their time for the admission of the Epistles of Jesus Christ and Abgarus, King of Edessa, into the Canon of the Scripture, lived in our days of Max Müller and Sanscrit scholarship, we doubt whether they would have acted as they did. The first mention of these Epistles ever made, was by the famous Eusebius. This pious bishop seems to have been self-appointed to furnish Christianity with the most unexpected proofs to corroborate its wildest fancies. Whether among the many accomplishments of the Bishop of C^sarea, we must include a knowledge of the Cingalese, Pehlevi, Thibetan, and other languages, we know not; but he surely transcribed the letters of Jesus and Abgarus, and the story of the miraculous portrait of Christ taken on a piece of cloth, by the simple wiping of his face, from the Buddhistical Canon. To be sure, the bishop declared that he found the letter himself written in Syriac, preserved among the registers and records of the city of Edessa, where Abgarus reigned. + We recall the words of Babrias: "Myth, O son of King Alexander, is an ancient human invention of Syrians, who lived in old time under Ninus and Belus." Edessa was one of the ancient "holy cities." The Arabs venerate it to this day; and the purest Arabic is there spoken. They call it still by its
* "Buddhism in Tibet," by Emil Schlagintweit, 1863, p. 213.
f "Ecclesiastical History," 1. i., c. 13.
ancient name Orfa, once the city Arpha-Kasda (Arphaxad) the seat of a College of Chaldeans and Magi; whose missionary, called Orpheus, brought thence the Bacchic Mysteries to Thrace. Very naturally, Eusebius found there the tales which he wrought over into the story of Abgarus, and the sacred picture taken on a cloth; as that of Bhagavat, or the blessed Tathagata (Buddha)} was obtained by King Binsbisara.§ The King having brought it, Bhagavat projected his shadow on it.** This bit of "miraculous stuff," with its shadow, is still preserved, say the Buddhists; "only the shadow itself is rarely seen."
In like manner, the Gnostic author of the Gospel according to John, copied and metamorphosed the legend of Ananda who asked drink of a Matangha woman — the antitype of the woman met by Jesus at the well,++ and was reminded by her
J Tathagata is Buddha, "he who walks in the footsteps of his predecessors"; as Bhagavat — he is the Lord.
§ We have the same legend about St. Veronica — as a pendant.
** "Introduction a l'Histoire du Bouddhisme Indien," E. Burnouf, p. 341. ff Moses was a most notable practitioner of Hermetic Science. Bearing in mind that Moses (Asarsiph) is made to run away to the Land of Midian, and that he "sat down by a well" (Exod. ii.), we find the following:
The "Well" played a prominent part in the Mysteries of the Bacchic festivals. In the sacerdotal language of every country, it had the same significance. A well is "the fountain of salvation" mentioned in Isaiah (xii. 3). The water is the male principle in its spiritual sense. In its physical relation in the allegory of creation, the water is chaos, and chaos is the female principle vivified by the Spirit of God — the male principle. In the "Kabala," Zachar means "male"; and the Jordan was called Zachar ("Universal History," vol. ii., p. 429). It is curious that the Father of St. John the Baptist, the Prophet of Jordan — Zacchar — should be called Zachar-ias. One of the names of Bacchus is Zagreus. The ceremony of pouring water on the shrine was sacred in the Osirian rites as well as in the Mosaic institutions. In the Mishna it is said, "Thou shalt dwell in Succa and pour out water seven, and the pipes six days" ("Mishna Succah," p. 1). "Take virgin earth . . . and work up the dust with living WATER," prescribes the Sohar (Introduction to "Sohar"; "Kabbala Denudata," ii., pp. 220, 221). Only "earth and water, according to Moses, can bring forth a living soul," quotes Cornelius Agrippa. The water of Bacchus was considered to impart the Holy Pneuma to the initiate; and it washes off all sin by baptism through the Holy Ghost, with the Christians. The "well" in the kabalistic sense, is the mysterious emblem of the Secret Doctrine. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink," says Jesus (John vii.).
Therefore, Moses the adept, is naturally enough represented sitting by a well. He is approached by the seven daughters of the Kenite Priest of Midian coming to fill the troughs, to water their father's flock. Here we have seven again — the mystic number. In the present biblical allegory the daughters represent the seven occult powers. "The shepherds came and drove them (the seven daughters) away, but Moses stood up, and helped them, and watered their flock." The shepherds are shown, by some kabalistic interpreters, to represent the seven "badly-disposed Stellars" of the Nazarenes; for in the old Samaritan text the number of these Shepherds is also said to be seven (see kabalistic books).
Then Moses, who had conquered the seven evil Powers, and won the friendship of the seven occult and beneficent ones, is represented as living with the Reuel Priest of Midian, who invites "the Egyptian" to eat bread, i.e., to partake of his wisdom. In the Bible the elders of Midian are known as great soothsayers and diviners. Finally, Reuel or Jethro, the initiator and instructor of Moses, gives him in marriage his that she belongs to a low caste, and may have nothing to do with a holy monk. "I do not ask thee, my sister," answers Ananda to the woman, "either thy caste or thy family, I only ask thee for water, if thou canst give me some." This Matangha woman, charmed and moved to tears, repents, joins the monastic Order of Gautama, and becomes a saint, rescued from a life of unchastity by Sakya-muni. Many of her subsequent actions were used by Christian forgers, to endow Mary Magdalen and other female saints and martyrs.
"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward," says the Gospel (Matthew x. 42). "Whosoever, with a purely believing heart, offers nothing but a handful of water, or presents so much to the spiritual assembly, or gives drink therewith to the poor and needy, or to a beast of the field; this meritorious action will not be exhausted in many ages,"* says the Buddhist Canon.
At the hour of Gautama-Buddha's birth there were 32,000 wonders performed. The clouds stopped immovable in the sky, the waters of the rivers ceased to flow; the flowers ceased unbudding; the birds remained silent and full of wonder; all daughter. This daughter is Zipporah, i.e., the esoteric Wisdom, the shining light of knowledge, for Siprah means the "shining" or "resplendent," from the word "Sapar" to shine. Sippara, in Chaldea, was the city of the "Sun." Thus Moses was initiated by the Midianite, or rather the Kenite, and thence the biblical allegory.
* Schmidt, "Der Weise und der Thor," p. 37.
nature remained suspended in her course, and was full of expectation. "There was a preternatural light spread all over the world; animals suspended their eating; the blind saw; and the lame and dumb were cured," etc.*
We now quote from the Protevangelion:
"At the hour of the Nativity, as Joseph looked up into the air, 'I saw,' he says, 'the clouds astonished, and the fowls of the air stopping in the midst of their flight. . . . And I beheld the sheep dispersed . . . and yet the sheep stood still; and I looked into a river, and saw the kids with their mouths close to the water, and touching it, but they did not drink.
"Then a bright cloud overshadowed the cave. But on a sudden the cloud became a great light in the cave, so that their eyes could not bear it. . . . The hand of Salome, which was withered, was straightway cured. . . . The blind saw; the lame and dumb were cured."+
When sent to school, the young Gautama, without having ever studied, completely worsted all his competitors; not only in writing, but in arithmetic, mathematics, metaphysics, wrestling, archery, astronomy, geometry, and finally vanquishes his own professors by giving the definition of sixty-four kinds of writings, which were unknown to the masters themselves.}
* "Rgya. Tcher. Rol. Pa.," "History of Buddha Sakya-muni" (Sanscrit), "Lalitavistara," vol. ii., pp. 90, 91.
f ."Protevangelion" (ascribed to James), ch. xiii. and xiv. J "Pali Buddhistical Annals," iii., p. 28; "Manual of Buddhism," 142. Hardy
And this is what is said again in the Gospel of the Infancy: "And when he (Jesus) was twelve years old . . . a certain principal Rabbi asked him, 'Hast thou read books?' and a certain astronomer asked the Lord Jesus whether he had studied astronomy. And Lord Jesus explained to him . . . about the spheres . . . about the physics and metaphysics. Also things that reason of man had never discovered. . . . The constitutions of the body, how the soul operated upon the body, . . . etc. And at this the master was so surprised that he said: 'I believe this boy was born before Noah. . . . he is more learned than any master.' "§
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