Chapter 33: Apollonius, Osiris, Magus, Etc. -- Gods
MIRACULOUS AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF OTHER GODS AND DEMI-GODS OF ANTIQUITY
THE age in which Christ flourished, as before remarked, was
pre-eminently an age of miracle. The practice of thaumaturgy, and
the legends invested with the display of the miracle-working power,
both preceding and subsequent to that era, rose to a great height.
"All nations of that time," says a writer, "were mightily bent on
working miracles." And the disciples who acted the part of
biographers for the various crucified Gods and sin-atoning Saviors,
throughout the East, seemed to vie with each other in setting off
the lives and histories of their favorite objects of worship
respectively, with marvelous exploits and the pageantry of the most
astounding prodigies. And the miracles in each case were pretty
much of the same character, thus indicating a common course for
their origin, -- all probably having been cast in the same mold --
in the theological schools of the once famous, world-renowned city
of Alexandria, the capital of Egypt. Having, in the preceding
chapters, presented the miraculous achievements of the Hindoo Gods,
Chrishna and Saki, we will here bring to notice those of other
THE MIRACLES RECORDED OF ALCIDES, OSIRIS, AND OTHER GODS OF EGYPT
- We have the miraculous birth by a virgin in the case of
- Osiris, while a sucking infant in his cradle, killed two
serpents which came to destroy him.
- Alcides performed many miraculous cures.
- According to Ovid he cured by a miracle the daughter of
- Also the wife of Theogenes, after the doctors had given her
- And both these Gods converted water into wine.
- Both of them frequently cast out devils.
- Julius declares Alcides raised Tyndarus and Hippolitus from
- When Zulis was crucified, the sun became dark and the moon
refused to shine.
- Both he and Osiris were resurrected by a miracle.
- Both ascend to heaven in sight of many witnesses.
- And finally we are told that from Alexandria the whole
empire became filled with the fame of these miracle-workers, who
restored the blind to sight, cured the paralytic, caused the dumb
to speak, the lame to walk, &c. All these miracles were as credibly
related of these Gods as similar miracles of Jesus Christ.
MIRACLES PERFORMED BY PYTHAGORAS AND OTHER GODS OF GREECE
With respect to his character, it is said that "for humility,
and practical goodness, and the wisdom of his moral precepts, he
stood without a rival." He discarded bloody sacrifices, discouraged
wars, forbade the use of wine and other intoxicating drinks,
enjoined the forgiveness of enemies and their kind treatment, and
also respect to parents. He was a special friend to the poor, and
taught that they were the favorites of God. "Blessed are ye poor."
He practiced and recommended the silent worship of God. He retired
from the world, and often fasted, and was a great enemy to riches
(like Jesus Christ). He considered poverty a virtue, and, despised
the pomp of the world. He recommended (like Christ) the abandonment
of parents, relations, and friends, houses and lands, &c., for
religion's sake. His disciples, like those of Christ, had a common
treasury and a general community of goods, to which all had free
access, so that there was no poverty or suffering amongst them
while the supply lasted. All shared alike. In fact, with respect to
the spirit of his precepts, his moral lessons, and nearly his whole
practical life, he bore a striking resemblance to Jesus Christ, and
presented the same kind of evidence, and equally convincing
evidence, of being a God. And as he was born into the world five
hundred and fifty-four years before Christ, the latter probably
obtained the materials of his moral system from that Grecian
teacher, or in the same school of the Essenian Buddhists, in which
both Pythagoras and Christ appear to have taken lessons.
- Pythagoras was a spirit in heaven before he was born on
- His birth was miraculously foretold.
- His mother conceived him by a specter (the Holy Ghost).
- His mother (Pytheas) was a holy virgin of great moral
- Plato's mother, Paretonia (says Olympiodorus), conceived
him by the God Apollo.
- Pythagoras in his youth astonishes the doctors by his
- Was worshiped as the "Son of God," "Paraclete," "Child of
- Could see events many ages in the future (says Richardson,
- Could bring down the eagle from his lofty height by
- Could approach and subdue the wild, ferocious Daunian
- Could, like Christ, appear at two places at once.
- Could walk on the water and travel on the air.
- Could discern and read the thoughts of his disciples.
- Could handle poisonous reptiles with impunity.
- Cured all manner of diseases.
- Restored sight to the blind.
- He "cast out devils."
- Jamblicus says he could allay storms on the sea.
- Raised several persons from the dead.
- And, finally, "a thousand other wonderful things are told
of him," says Jamblicus.
MIRACLES OF THE ROMAN GODS QUIRINUS AND PROMETHEUS
We cite these lists of miraculous events as if real facts, not
because we believe they were such, but as possessing the same
degree of credibility as those related of Jesus Christ.
- Prometheus was honored with a miraculous birth.
- Quirinus was miraculously preserved in infancy, when
threatened with destruction by the tyrant ruler Amulius.
- He performed the miracles, according to Seneca and Hesiod,
of curing the sick, restoring the blind, raising the dead, and
casting out devils.
- Both these Gods were crucified amid signs, and wonders, and
- All nature was convulsed, and the saints arose when they
- The sun was also darkened, and refused to shine.
- Both descended to hell, and rose from it by divine power.
- And Prometheus was seen to ascend to heaven.
MIRACLES AND RELIGION OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA
The reader will observe that the foregoing list of analogies,
drawn from the history of Apollonius, as furnished us by his
disciple Damos and his biographer Philostratus, are found also, in
almost every particular, in the history of Jesus Christ. And the
list might have been extended. It is declared, "A beauty shone in
his countenance, and the words he uttered were divine," which
reminds us of Christ's transfiguration. And his "staying a plague
at Ephesus" revives the case of Christ stilling the tempest on the
waters. Now, the question very naturally arises here, How came the
histories of Apollonius and Christ to be so strikingly alike? Was
one plagiarized from the other? As for the miraculous history of
Apollonius being reconstructed from that of Jesus Christ, as some
Christians have assumed, there is not the slightest foundation for
such a conclusion, as the following facts will show, viz.: --
- Everything was subject to his miraculous power.
- He performed many miraculous cures.
- He restored sight to the blind.
- He cast out devils, which sometimes "cut up" like those of
- He enabled the lame to walk.
- He re-animated the dead.
- He could read the thoughts of bystanders.
- Sometimes disappeared in a miraculous manner.
- Caused a tree to bloom, while Christ made another
tree to wither away.
- The laws of nature obeyed him.
- Could speak in many languages he had never learned.
- Was at one time transfigured, like Christ.
- His birth was miraculously foretold by an angel.
- Was born of a spotless virgin.
- There were demonstrations of joy and singing at his birth.
- Exhibited proofs in infancy of being a God.
- Manifested extraordinary wisdom in childhood.
- He was called "the Son of God."
- Also "the image of the Eternal Father manifested in the
- He was also styled "a prophet."
- Like Christ, he retired into mystic silence.
- His religion was one of exalted spirituality.
- He taught the doctrine of "the Inner Life."
- He possessed exalted views of purity and holiness.
- Like Christ, he was a religious ascetic.
- His religion, as in the case of Christ, forbade him to
- He ate no animal food, and would wear no woolen garments.
- Gave his substance to the poor.
- Eschewed love for wine and women.
- Refrained from artificial ornaments and sumptuous living.
- He was a high-toned moral reformer.
- He condemned external sacrifices.
- Also condemned gladiatorial shows.
- He religiously opposed dancing and sexual pleasures.
- He recommended the pursuit of wisdom.
- Was of a serene temper, and never got angry.
- Was a true prophet, foresaw and foretold many future
- Foresaw a plague, and stopped it after it had commenced.
- Crowds were attracted by his great miracles and his
- He disputed with and vanquished the wise men of Greece and
Asia, as Christ did the learned doctors in the temple.
- When imprisoned by Domitian and loaded with chains, he
disinthralled himself by divine power.
- He was followed by crowds when entering Alexandria, like
Christ when entering Jerusalem.
- Was crucified amidst a display of divine power.
- He rose from the dead.
- Appeared to his disciples after his resurrection.
- Like Christ, he convinced a Tommy Didymus by getting him
to feel the print of the nails in his hands and feet.
- Was seen by many witnesses after his resurrection, and was
hailed by them as the "God Incarnate," "the Lord from Heaven."
- He finally ascended back to heaven, and now "sits at the
right hand of the Father," pleading for a sinful world.
- When he entered the temple of Diana, "a voice from above
was heard saying, 'Come to heaven.'"
- Accordingly he was seen no more on earth only as a spirit.
- The Cappadocian Savior (Apollonius) was born several years
anterior to the advent of the Christian Savior, and appeared at an
earlier date upon the stage of active life, and thus got the start
of Christ in the promulgations of his doctrines and the exhibition
of his miracles. Christ's active life, Christians concede and the
bible proves, did not commence till about his twenty-eighth or
thirtieth year, which was long after Apollonius had inaugurated his
religion, and long after he had commenced the promulgation of his
doctrines, and attested them by wonderful miracles, according to
his biographer Philostratus.
- The New American Cyclopedia tells us, "Apollonius labored
for the purity of Paganism, and to sustain its tottering edifice
against the assaults of the Christians." So that, being placed in
a hostile attitude toward the representatives of the Christian
faith, it is not likely he would condescend to borrow their
doctrines and the miraculous history of their incarnate God, to
invest his own life with. He was probably one of the "anti-Christs"
spoken of in the New Testament; but this circumstance reflects
nothing dishonorable upon his character; for some of those
distinguished personages denounced as "anti-Christ," by Christ's
gospel biographers, were, according to impartial history, noble,
honest, and righteous men. Their only offense consisted in robbing
Christ of his divine laurels, by claiming similar titles, and
claiming to perform the same kind of miracles; and there is as much
proof that they did achieve these prodigies as that Christ did.
- The early Christian writers conceded that Apollonius and
the other oriental Gods did perform the miracles which are ascribed
to them by their respective disciples, but accounted for it by the
childish expedient of obsession. Christ was assumed to perform
miracles, by divine power, they by the power of the devil -- a
childish and senseless distinction truly, and one which can have no
logical force in this enlightened age.
MIRACLES AND CLAIMS FOR SIMON MAGUS. B.C.
The reader will call to mind that this Simon Magus is
mentioned and condemned in the Acts of the Apostles, for offering
to pay Peter for a bestowment of the gift of the Holy Ghost. And
yet every philosopher in this age must concede that Magus'
assumption in the case is more sensible and philosophical than that
of Peter's. For the latter calls it "a gift from God," whereas
every person now acquainted with the nature, principles, and
science of animal magnetism, knows that such manifestation as that
which Peter ascribes to God and the Holy Ghost, is a simple natural
phenomenon; and that, consequently, it can be no more a violation
of the rules of propriety to pay for the labor of making such
developments than it is to pay a teacher for developing the mind of
a child. It was certainly a greater act of courtesy to offer to pay
for it than to demand it as a gratuitous favor. Hence we infer he
excelled Peter in his demeanor as a gentleman, especially as he
bore Peter's severe reprimand with patience, and apparently with a
better spirit than that which dictated it. And we may remark here,
also, that notwithstanding this Samaritan Jew is so unsparingly
denounced by the godly Peter, and by the early Christian fathers
also, yet we have the historical proof that he was an honest,
pious, and ardently devout man. His whole life was absorbed in the
cause of religion, and his whole soul devoted to his religious
duties and the worship of his God. Hence we think Peter's rebuke
was uncalled for.
- It is declared, "he was in the beginning with God."
- That "he existed with God from all eternity."
- That "he took upon himself the form of a man."
- That "he was the Son of God," "the Word," &c.
- That "he was the second person in the godhead."
- That "he came down to destroy the devil and his works."
- That "he was the image of the Eternal Father."
- That "he was the first-born Son of God."
- That he could control the elements.
- That he could walk on the air as Christ did on the water.
- Could move anything by the command, "Be thou removed."
- That he could raise the dead.
- That he could transform himself into the image of any man.
- That he was "the Paraclete, or Comforter."
- That he came to "redeem the world from sin."
- Finally, he was the world's "Savior," "Redeemer," "the
Only Begotten of the Father," and "through his name men are to be
Let the reader note the fact here that there are three
circumstances amply sufficient to account for bibles and religious
books being profusely supplied with the reports of groundless
- As everybody then believed in miracles (at least everybody
who dared speak) there was nobody to investigate the reports of
such occurrences, to learn whether they were true or false.
- The few who attempted to disprove the truth of those
miraculous occurrences now found reported in sacred history, had
their books burned, as in the case of Porphyry and Celsus, in the
early history of Christianity, who called in question the truth of
- These marvelous facts were not usually recorded till long
after the period in which they are said to have occurred, when the
witnesses had left the stage of time, and every event exciting any
attention had grown to a monstrous prodigy. These circumstances, in
an age of boundless credulity and scientific ignorance, which
magnified every phenomenon, and looked upon every natural event as
a direct display of divine power, accounts most fully and
satisfactorily for the burdensome repetition of groundless
miraculous stories found upon nearly every page of the sacred
history of every religious nation, without driving us to the
necessity of challenging the veracity of the writers who recorded
them. They may all have been honest men.
CONFUCIUS OF CHINA, BORN 551 B.C.
This moral teacher, religious chieftain, and philosopher,
though not subjected to the ignominious death of the cross,
deserves a passing notice for the excellency of his morals and the
acquisition of a world-wide fame. In the following particulars his
history bears a strong analogy to that of Jesus Christ.
In the following respects his teachings were superior to those
of Christ: --
- He commenced as a religious teacher when about thirty years
- The Golden Rule (see Chap. XXXIV.) was his favorite maxim.
- Most of his moral maxims were sound and of a high order.
The New American Cyclopedia says (vol. v. p. 604), "His writings
approach the Christian standard of morality;" and in some respects
- He traveled in different countries, preaching and teaching
- He made a host of converts, amounting now to one hundred
and fifty millions.
- His religion and morals have been propagated by apostles
and missionaries, some of whom are now traveling in this country,
laboring to convert Christians to their superior religion and
morals. "There was a time," says the work above quoted, "when
European philosophers vied with each other in extolling Confucius
as one of the sublimest teachers of truth among mankind."
He constructed several hundred beautiful and instructive moral
maxims, which we have not space for here, and which amply prove
that "the holiest truths were inculcated by pagan philosophers."
- He taught that "the knowledge of one's self is the basis of
all real advances in morals and manners." A lesson Christ neglected
- "The duties man owes to society and himself are minutely
defined by Confucius," says the Cyclopedia. Another important work
Christ partially omitted.