Christians and Chrestians

The common argument adduced against the Jaina claim, of having been the source of the restoration of ancient Buddhism, that the principal tenet of the latter religion is opposed to the belief of the Jai'nas, is not a sound one. Buddhists, say our Orientalists, deny the existence of a Supreme Being; the Jarnas admit one, but protest against the assumption that the "He" can ever interfere in the regulation of the universe. We have shown in the preceding chapter that the Buddhists do not deny any such thing. But if any disinterested scholar could study carefully the Jaina literature, in their thousands of books preserved — or shall we say hidden — in Rajpootana, Jusselmere, at Patun, and other places;* and especially if he could but gain access to the oldest of their sacred volumes, he would find a perfect

* We were told that there were nearly 20,000 of such books.

identity of philosophical thought, if not of popular rites, between the Jai'nas and the Buddhists. The Adi-Buddha and Adinatha (or Adiswara) are identical in essence and purpose. And now, if we trace the Jai'nas back, with their claims to the ownership of the oldest cave-temples (those superb specimens of Indian architecture and sculpture), and their records of an almost incredible antiquity, we can hardly refuse to view them in the light which they claim for themselves. We must admit, that in all probability they are the only true descendants of the primitive owners of old India, dispossessed by those conquering and mysterious hordes of white-skinned Brahmans whom, in the twilight of history, we see appearing at the first as wanderers in the valleys of Jumna and Ganges. The books of the Srawacs — the only descendants of the Arhatas or earliest Jai'nas, the naked forest-hermits of the days of old, might throw some light, perhaps, on many a puzzling question. But will our European scholars, so long as they pursue their own policy, ever have access to the right volumes? We have our doubts about this. Ask any trustworthy Hindu how the missionaries have dealt with those manuscripts which unluckily fell into their hands, and then see if we can blame the natives for trying to save from desecration the "gods of their fathers."

To maintain their ground Iren^us and his school had to fight hard with the Gnostics. Such, also, was the lot of Eusebius, who found himself hopelessly perplexed to know how the Essenes should be disposed of. The ways and customs of Jesus and his apostles exhibited too close a resemblance to this sect to allow the fact to pass unexplained. Eusebius tried to make people believe that the Essenes were the first Christians. His efforts were thwarted by Philo Judeus, who wrote his historical account of the Essenes and described them with the minutest care, long before there had appeared a single Christian in Palestine. But, if there were no Christians, there were Christians long before the era of Christianity; and the Essenes belonged to the latter as well as to all other initiated brotherhoods, without even mentioning the Christnites of India. Lepsius shows that the word Nofre means Chrestos, "good," and that one of the titles of Osiris, "Onnofre," must be translated "the goodness of God made manifest."* "The worship of Christ was not universal at this early date," explains Mackenzie, "by which I mean that Christolatry had not been introduced; but the worship of Chrestos — the Good Principle — had preceded it by many centuries, and even survived the general adoption of Christianity, as shown on monuments still in existence. . . . Again, we have an inscription which is pre-Christian on an epitaphial tablet (Spon. Misc. Erud., Ant., x. xviii. 2). Uacinqe Larisaiwn Dhmosie Hrw" Crhste Caire , and de Rossi (Roma Sotteranea, tome i. tav. xxi.) gives us another example from the catacombs — '^lia Chreste, in Pace.' "+ And, Kris, as Jacolliot shows, means in Sanscrit "sacred."

The meritorious stratagems of the trustworthy Eusebius

* Lepsius, "Konigsbuch," b. 11, tal. i. dyn. 5, h. p. in 1 Peter ii. 3, Jesus is called "the Lord Crestos." f Mackenzie, "Royal Masonic Cyclopedia," p. 207.

thus proved lost labor. He was triumphantly detected by Basnage, who, says Gibbon, "examined with the utmost critical accuracy the curious treatise of Philo, which describes the Therapeute," and found that "by proving it was composed as early as the time of Augustus, he has demonstrated, in spite of Eusebius and a crowd of modern Catholics, that the Therapeute, were neither Christians nor monks."

As a last word, the Christian Gnostics sprang into existence toward the beginning of the second century, and just at the time when the Essenes most mysteriously faded away, which indicated that they were the identical Essenes, and moreover pure Christists, viz.: they believed and were those who best understood what one of their own brethren had preached. In insisting that the letter Iota, mentioned by Jesus in Matthew (v. 18), indicated a secret doctrine in relation to the ten eons, it is sufficient to demonstrate to a kabalist that Jesus belonged to the Free-masonry of those days; for I, which is Iota in Greek, has other names in other languages; and is, as it was among the Gnostics of those days, a pass-word, meaning the SCEPTRE of the FATHER, in Eastern brotherhoods which exist to this very day.

But in the early centuries these facts, if known, were purposely ignored, and not only withheld from public notice as much as possible, but vehemently denied whenever the question was forced upon discussion. The denunciations of the Fathers were rendered bitter in proportion to the truth of the claim which they endeavored to refute.

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