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CHAP.
IV.

There is no doubt that while the visions of the Bundehesh derived their colouring, and in part Opposition their substance also, from Semitic or from quasiMithraism Christian influences, the advocates of Mithra-wortianity. ship in the earlier centuries of our era were

between

and Chris

engaged with more or less of system in retarding the triumphant march of Christianity'. At a period when the claims of our religion were put forward with an irresistible charm alike in the unspotted lives and the heroic deaths of its true-hearted converts, many of the heathen, still unwilling to embrace it, so far yielded to vibrations it excited in all quarters, as to recognise in it the hidden working of a supernatural virtue. We discern this tendency amid the swarm of startling heresies that sprang up in its track; for most of them were anxious to embody one or more dissevered doctrines of the Gospel with their wild and heathenish speculations; and others have been also charged with mimicking the smaller details of its ritual system. We discern this tendency still more in

1 This is one of Von Hammer's conclusions, in which Creuzer (I. 329) apparently acquiesces, extending the remark to other heathen 'orgies' and 'mysteries' of the postChristian period. Yet, as various writers have complained, there was occasionally a disposition in apologists of the early Church to lay undue stress on some points of resemblance between Mithraism and Christianity.

2 e. g. Tertullian (De Præscript. Hær. c. XI) alludes to such apparent mimicries in speaking of Mithraism itself: 'Sed quæritur, a quo intellectus intervertatur eorum, qui ad hæreses faciant? A diabolo scilicet,

cujus sunt partes intervertendi veritatem: qui ipsas quoque res sacramentorum divinorum in idolorum mysteriis æmulatur. Tingit et ipse quosdam, utique credentes et fideles suos [referring to the ceremony of initiation when water was poured by the mystagogue on the aspirant's head] expositionem delictorum de lavacro repromittit: et si adhuc initiat Mithra, signat illic in frontibus milites suos; celebrat et panis oblationem' (referring perhaps, to a kind of Parsee communion, where bread was blessed by the priest and eaten, in conjunction with draughts of the homa-plant: cf. Döllinger, p. 373).

IV.

fusion of

one particular instance, bearing on the present CHAP. theme, for almost every thing that Zoroaster taught of Mithra' was perpetuated in the school of Mani, with the noticeable difference that the Persian misbeliever did not scruple to transfer it all directly to his Christ'. And, strange though Wide dif such an issue may appear, not Mani's system only Mithraism. but the heathen form of Mithraism as well, was able, in the breaking up of old religions, to attract unto itself a multitude of followers both in East and West. It flourished in alliance with some kindred systems in the mother-city of the Roman empire: it was planted, by the ardour of the foreign legionaries, in the Roman capital of Britain2.

of the Gen

tiles.

Vain, however, and unfruitful was the zeal put Christ the forward in transplanting these fantastic shadows True Light of exhausted paganism. The western world, excited by the general 'shaking of the nations,' was now yielding to the voice of the celestial Charmer: it was gazing on the silent march of that obscure yet glorious, of that suffering yet majestic system, to whose birthplace the inquiring Magi came of old, the first-fruits of the Gentile harvest. When they saw the young child, with Mary his mother, they fell down and worshipped Him.' And Christians of all future times have counted it their highest glory to prolong that wondrous act of love and

1 Neander, Ch. Hist. II. 177. 2 See Wellbeloved's Eburacum, pp. 80-86, York, 1842; and, for some very curious matter with regard to this and kindred subjects, An Essay on the Neo-Druidic Heresy in Britannia (ascribed to the late Mr Algernon Herbert), pp. 29 sq. Lond.

1838. The Druidizing Mithriacs'
referred to in this essay are supposed
to be an offshoot from a sort of
magical association' that 'had grown
up in the eastern parts of the Roman
dominions, founded upon the doc-
trines and mysteries of the Persian
Magi.'

IV.

CHAP. adoration. They are conscious that in Christ are fully satisfied the cravings of a spiritual hunger which religions of the world may stimulate but have no power to appease. While Bráhmans, in despair of all the helpers whom their own imagination had created, were still dreaming of some future and more permanent avatára; while the Buddhist, equally in north and south, abandoned the original Buddha and sought comfort now in picturing to himself the distant paradise of Amitábha 'the unmeasured Light,' and now in praying for the gracious intervention of some Buddha of the future; while the primitive vision of the helper Sosiosh, dim and fluctuating at the best, was blotted from the Persian mind entirely, or was fading under the augmented brilliance of the younger Mithra;-Christ and Christ alone, expected in the old œconomy and made manifest in the new, the living, reigning and historic Christ, the brightness of the Father's glory and the 'first-born' of a human brotherhood, was everywhere imprinting on the world an image of His love, which neither time nor space could deaden. He 'lighteth every man' by shining down into the heart. He is the true Sun, of which all heathen mediators are but transient and confused parhelia; for while Mithra, once his mighty rival and as such rejoicing in the name of 'the Invincible,' has left no traces, save in monumental sculptures, of the homage rendered to him in the early centuries of our era, Christ, the sovereign Lord of all, is going forward on His peaceful conquest of the nations, 'the same yesterday and to-day and for ever.'

APPENDIX I.

Alleged Connexion between Coptic and Hebrew.

(See above, p. 21, n. 3.)

THROUGH the kindness of my friend, Professor Jarrett, I am now in a position to supply the following brief comparison of ordinary words in Coptic and Hebrew. It seems to shew that so far as vocabulary is concerned, the relationship between the two languages can hardly be established.

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(1) of the above words those marked † are identical:, being used

of the Nile.

(2) The words marked have considerable resemblance, which may point to a common origin.

ever.

(3) The remainder, a vast majority, appear to have no connexion what

The following is a short list of accidental resemblances which have also occurred to Professor Jarrett (the Coptic words meaning the same as the words set against them):

C&Resap-iens.

JWT = Turkish; atta,

Gothic, 'father.'

C&XI=sag-en.

oron = van, 'is,"are,'Magyar.

оropпwerf-en.

=

κολη = κλεπ-τειν.

2009 = όφις.

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