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"the miraculous powers which the Christians possessed, were not in the least owing to enchantments, (which he makes Celsus seem to have objected,) but to their pronouncing the name I. E.S. U. S, and making mention of some remarkable occurrences of his life. Nay, the name of I. E.S.U. S, has had such power over demons, that it has sometimes proved effectual, though pronounced by very wicked persons."-Answer to Celsus, chap. 6.
62. "And the name of I. E.S.U.S, at this very day, composes the ruffled minds of men, dispossesses demons, cures diseases; and works a meek, gentle, and amiable temper in all those persons, who make profession of Christianity, from a higher end than their worldly interests."-Ibid. 57. So says Origen. No Christian will for a moment think that there is any salving of the matter in such a statement. Friar's balsam was found in every case without fail; to heal the wound, even after a man's head was clean cut off, provided his head were set on again the right way.
63. "When men pretend to work miracles, and talk of immediate revelations, of knowing the truth by revelation, and of more than ordinary illumination; we ought not to be frightened by those big words, from looking what is under them; nor to be afraid of calling those things into question, which we see set off with such high-flown pretences. It is somewhat strange that we should believe men the more, for that very reason, upon which we should believe them the less."-Clagit's Persuasive to an Ingenuoxs Trial of Opinions, p. 19, as quoted by Tindal, p. 217.
64. St. Chrysostom declares, "that miracles are only proper to excite sluggish and vulgar minds, that men of sense have no occasion for them, and that they frequently carry some untoward suspicion along with them."-Quoted in Middleton's Prefatory Discourse to his Letter from Rome,
In this sentiment it must be owned, that the Christian saint strikingly coincides with the Pagan philosopher Polybius, who considered all miracles as fables, invented to preserve in the vulgar a due sense of respect for the deity."-Reimmann, Hist. Ath. p. 233.
65. The great theologian, Beausobre, in his immense Histoire de Manicheé, tom. 2, p. 568, says, "We see in
* See similar mystical senses of the epithets, Christ and Chrest, under the articles Serapis, and Adrian's Letter.
+"On voit dans l'histoire que j'ai rapportée, une sorte d'hypocrisie, qui
the history which I have related, a sort of hypocrisy, that has been perhaps, but too common at all times: that churchmen not only do not say what they think, but they do say, the direct contrary of what they think. Philosophers in their cabinets; out of them, they are content with fables, though they well know that they are fables. Nay more: they deliver honest men to the executioner, for having uttered what they themselves know to be true. How many Atheists and Pagans have burned holy men under the pretext of heresy? Every day do hypocrites consecrate, and make people adore the host, though as well convinced as I am, that it is nothing but a bit of bread."
66. The learned Grotius has a similar avowal: "He that reads ecclesiastical history, reads nothing but the roguery and folly of bishops and churchmen."-Grotii Epist. 22.
No man could quote higher authorities.
OF THE ESSENES OR THERAPEUTS.
A KNOWLEDGE of the character and tenets of that most remarkable set of men that ever existed, who were known by the name of Essenes or Thereapeuts, is absolutely necessary to a fair investigation of the claims of the New Testament, in the origination and references of which, they bear so prominent a part.
The celebrated German critic, Michaelis, whose great work, the Introduction to the New Testament, has been translated by Dr. Herbert Marsh, the present Lord Bishop of Peterborough, defines them as "a Jewish sect, which began to spread itself at Ephesus, and to threaten great mischief to Christianity, in the time (or, indeed, previous to the time) of St. Paul; on which account, in his epistles to the Ephesians, to the Colossians, and to Timothy; he declares himself openly against them." +
n'a peut-être été que trop commune dans tous les tems. C'est que des ecclésiastiques, non seulement ne disent pas ce qu'ils pensent, mais disent tout le contraire de ce qu'ils pensent. Philosophes dans leur cabinet, hors delà, ils content des fables, quoiqu'ils sachent bien que ce sont des fables. Ils font plus; ils livrent au bourreau des gens de biens pour l'avoir dit. Combiens d'athées et de prophanes ont fait brûler de saints personnages, sous pretexte d'hérésie! Tous les jours des hypocrites consacrent et font adorer l'hostie, bien qu'ils soient aussi convaincus que moi, que ce n'est qu'un morceau de pain."-Ibid.
+ Michaelis, vol. 4, p. 79.
But surely this admission of the sect's beginning to spread itself at Ephesus, and its existence at Colosse, and in the diocese of Timothy, to a sufficient extent to call for the serious opposition of one who, in any calculations of chronology, must have been the contemporary of Jesus Christ; is no disparagement of the fact of its previous establishment in Egypt; while the admitted fact,* that these three Epistles of St. Paul, in which he so earnestly opposes himself to this sect, were written before any one of our four Gospels, involves the à fortiori demonstration; that their tenets and discipline, whatever they were, were not corruptions or perversions of those gospels, however those gospels may turn out to be improvements or plagiarisms upon the previously established tenets and discipline of that sect.
The ancient writers who have given any account of this sect, are Philo, Josephus, Pliny, and Solinus. Infinite perplexity, however, is occasioned by modern historians attempting to describe differences and distinctions where there are really none. The Therapeuta and the Essenes are one and the same sect: the Therapeuta, which is Greek, being nothing more than Essenes, which is of the same sense in Egyptian, and is in fact a translation of it :-as, perhaps, Surgeons, Healers, Curates, or the most vulgar sense of Doctors, is the nearest possible plain English of THERAPEUTE. The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, or Therapeutæ, to those of the church of Rome, induced the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to seek for them an honourable origin. He contended, therefore, that they were Asideans, and derived them from the Rechabites, described so circumstantially in the 35th chapter of Jeremiah; at the same time, he asserted that the first Christian monks were Essenes.
Both of these positions were denied by his opponents, Drusius and Scaliger; but in respect to the latter, says Michaelis, certainly Serarius was in the right.
"The Essenes," he adds, "were indeed a Jewish, and not a Christian sect." Why, to be sure, it would be awkward enough for a Christian divine to admit them to the honours of that name before "that religion which St. Augustine tells us was before in the world,' began to be called Christian." (See Admission 12.) The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts). But sure, it was something more than the name that made them such; they * It is admitted by Dr. Lardner.
were none the less what the name signified, ere yet it was conferred on them: and the Essenes had every thing but the name."
"It is evident," continues Michaelis, "from the abovementioned epistles of St. Paul, that to the great mortification of the apostle, they insinuated themselves very early into the Christian church."
But is it not, in reason, as likely that the Christians, who were certainly the last comers, should have insinuated themselves into the Therapeutan community?
Eusebius has fully shown that the monastic life was derived from the Essenes; and, because many Christians adopted the manners of the Essenes, Epiphanius took the Essenes in general for Christians, and confounded them with the Nazarenes:-a confusion to which the similarity of this name, to that of the Nazarites of the Old Testament, might in some measure contribute. But we find this confusion still worse confounded, in the remarkable oversight of the passage, Matthew ii. 23, which betrays that Jesus himself was believed to be one of this fraternity of monks.*
Montfaucon and Helyot have attempted to prove them Christians, but have been confuted by Bouhier. Lange has contended that they were nothing more than circumcised Egyptians, but has been confuted by Henmann.Marsh's Michaelis, vol. 4, p. 79, 80, 81.
"It was in Egypt," says the great ecclesiastical historian, Mosheim," that the morose discipline of Asceticism+ (i. e. the Essenian or Therapeutan discipline) took its rise; and it is observable, that that country has in all times, as it were by an immutable law or disposition of nature, abounded with persons of a melancholy complexion, and produced, in proportion to its extent, more gloomy spirits than any other parts of the world. It was here that the Essenes dwelt principally, long before the coming of Christ.” -Mosheim, vol. 1, p. 196.
* Matthew ii. 23. "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene ;" that is (as we see from Epiphanius), a Thereapeut. It is certain that none of the Jewish prophets had so said. Some other equally sacred writings are referred to. Though their accomplishment by the mere resemblance of the name of the city in which Jesus is said to have resided, to that of the order of monks to which he was believed to have belonged, is a most miserable pun. The Jews, however, who think it reasonable to admit that such a person as Jesus really existed, place his birth near a century sooner than the generally assumed epocha.Basnage Histoire des Juifs, 1. 5, c. 14, 15.
From the Greek aσknois, exercise, discipline, study, meditation, signifying also self-mortification.
It is not the first glance, nor a cursory observance, that will sufficiently admonish the reader of the immense historical wealth put into his hand, by this stupendous admission, this surrender of the key-stone of the mighty arch,-this giving-up of every thing than can be pretended for the evidences of the Christian religion.
This admission of the great ecclesiastical historian (than whom there is no greater) will serve us as the Pythagorean theorem-the great geometrical element of all subsequent science, of continual recurrence, of infinite applicationever to be borne in mind, always to be brought in proofpresenting the means of solving every difficulty, and the clue for guiding us to every truth. "Bind it about thy neck, write it upon the tablet of thy heart "—EVERY THING OF CHRISTIANITY IS OF EGYPTIAN ORIGIN.
The first and greatest library that ever was in the world, was at Alexandria in Egypt. The first of that most mischievous of all institutions-universities, was the University of Alexandria in Egypt; where lazy monks and wily fanatics first found the benefit of clubbing together, to keep the privileges and advantages of learning to themselves, and concocting holy mysteries and inspired legends, to be dealt out as the craft should need, for the perpetuation of ignorance and superstition, and consequently of the ascendancy of jugglers and jesuits, holy hypocrites, and reverend rogues, among men.
All the most valued manuscripts of the Christian scriptures are Codices Alexandrini. The very first bishops of whom we have any account, were bishops of Alexandria. Scarcely one of the more eminent fathers of the Christian church is there, who had not been educated and trained in the arts of priestly fraud, in the University of Alexandria,that great sewer of the congregated feculencies of fanaticism.
In those early times, the professions of Medicine and Divinity were inseparable. We read of the divinity students studying medicine in the School, or University of Alexandria, to which all persons resorted, who were afterwards to practice in either way, on the weak in body or the weak in mind, among their fellow creatures. The Thereapeuts, or Essenes, as their name signifies, were expressly professors of the art of healing-an art in those days necessarily conferring the most mystical sanctity of character on all who were endued with it, and the most convenient of all others for the purposes of imposture and