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Vestiges of Druidism in the Ceremonies of the Church of Rome

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THERE is no religion so pure and simple, and yet so mystic and divine as the religion of the Christians. What need is there of arguments to prove that it is derived from heaven, for what mortal mind could have conceived so grand and touching a principle, as that of a God who filled with love and pity could descend from His throne of bliss and honor to save from destruction this one poor star, this one faint mote in the vastness of His firmament. To twelve men the dear Jesus left his precepts and commands. From the children of these men and of their disciples sprang a noble flock who, like their great Master, suffered harsh words and cruel torments, and death itself in a holy cause. When God rewarded them by shedding peace upon the church from without, dissensions from within played Satan's work with her chastity and her love. Swords were then drawn for the first time by Christians against each other--swords which never thence till now have been for a moment sheathed. The Christian religion is divided into three established churches, the Church of Rome, the Church of Greece, and the Church of England. Besides these, there are sects whose origins have been abuse upon the one hand, and ambition upon the other hand, and whose very titles it would occupy pages to enumerate. Between the vulgar members of these three churches burns a heathenish and diabolical hatred. Its root is jealousy. Each church affects to be the only ladder to heaven, and damns all such souls as refuse to ascend by them. They are barbarians and place themselves in the same scale with the tribe of the Cherokee Indians, who firmly believe that the Black Hawks will not be admitted to the pleasures of the happy hunting grounds because they are not Cherokees. Between the doctrines and ceremonies of the Greek and Romish Churches, there are but a few delicate and unimportant distinctions. Yet the Patriarch of the Church, every Holy Thursday, solemnly excommunicates the Pope and all his followers. The Church of England, and the Church of Rome worship the same Christ. Between these two churches, as between two armies, is waged a scandalous, vituperative war, and each fresh convert is a battle won. The Romish Church was sullied by many abuses, which authorized a schism and a separation among its members. Since many of those plague-spots still remain, it is right that this separation should continue. But a dark and dangerous heresy has long been creeping silently into the heart of our religion, and converting its ministers into false vipers who, warmed and cherished by the bosom of this gentle church, use their increasing strength in darting black poison through all her veins. They wish to transmit to our church those papist emblems and imagery, those ceremonies and customs which are harmless in themselves, but which by nourishing superstition elevate the dangerous power of the priests. We can at present be proud of our priesthood. They constitute a body of pious, honorable, hardworking men. It is because they can exercise no undue power. Give them supreme power, and they will be Neros who will fasten us with iron chains, and murder us if we disobey them. The priesthood of the Druids stands almost alone in the history of the past. It was directed by men, with minds elevated by philosophy and learned in the human heart. But read the religious history of other nations, and you will discover how frightfully the power of the priests has been abused. The priests invented a thousand Gods; the priests told a thousand lies; the priests instituted a thousand absurd and horrible customs. Who first taught nations to be idolaters, to be murderers but the priests. Who instituted the festival of the juggernaut, the Inquisition, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, but the priests. Calvin, a priest of the Reformation, ordered his victims to be burnt with green wood--a truly Christian refinement of cruelty! Aaron, a priest, manufactured a golden calf and taught the Jews to insult their God. And it was Caiaphas, a high priest, who committed that murder of which the more virtuous heathen Pilate washed his hands. Look everywhere, look everywhere, and you will see the priests reeking with gore. They have converted popular and happy nations into deserts, and have made our beautiful world into a slaughter house drenched with blood and tears. Englishmen! they are planting images, they are performing ceremonies in your houses of worship which you find it impossible to understand. They are hidden from your eyes by a dark veil; it is the veil of a Pagan goddess; it is the veil of Isis. I would not raise this veil, and disclose the heathen origin of emblems and ceremonies which so many sanctify and revere, were it not to answer some good purpose. I write then in the hope that the church may be preserved in its simplicity--and its priesthood in that honor and integrity which now, as a body, they possess to an extent unequalled in any instance that the priest-history of the past or the present can afford. It is indeed seldom that an English clergyman becomes a wolf clothed in lamb-skin, and preys upon his flock under words and looks of religion. But we know that power presents temptations, which minds fortified only by three years education at a college are often unable to resist. Before letters were invented, symbols were necessary to form a language; and it is still an argument of the Greek and Romish Churches that pictures and images are the books of those who cannot read. They say also that since man is not a disembodied spirit like the angels, it is also impossible that he can worship the Deity with his heart alone. And it cannot be denied that dim and shadowy lights, sweet perfumes, majestic processions and strains of music will elevate the soul towards God and prepare the mind to receive heavenly and sublime impressions. Without objecting to the use of such aids to devotion, I wish to guard people from attaching a peculiar sanctity to the bare aids in themselves, which is nothing less than idolatry. This I can best prevent by showing them how they first came into a Christian Church. And in doing so, I shall depart little from the original design of this chapter which is to investigate the vestiges of Druidism in the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Religion. Not only the ceremonies, but also the officers and many of the doctrines of the Church of Rome may be traced to heathen sources. The Pope of Rome exactly resembles the Secular High-Priest of ancient Rome, and in Latin his title is the same--Pontifex Maximus. The office was probably an imitation of that of the Arch-Druid, who, as I have described, had supreme power over secular as well as ecclesiastical affairs, and who was surrounded by a Senate of the Chief Druids, as the Pontifex Maximus was by Flamines, and the Pope by Cardinals. The distinguishing sign of the flamen was a HAT; and "the cardinal's hat" is a European proverb. The Arch-Druid held his foot to be kissed on certain occasions by the common people. Julius Cæsar who had observed this custom, on being made Pontifex Maximus, compelled Pompey to do the same; in this he was followed by Caligula and Heliogabalus, whom the Pope also has wisely imitated. The tonsure of the Romish priests is the same as that of the priests of Isis whose heads were shaved, a practice forbidden by God: (Levit. xx. 1. Ezek xliv. 20). Their celibacy is also heathenish. Origen when emasculated himself, only imitated the Hierophantes of Athens who drank an infusion of hemlock to render themselves impotent. St. Francis who, when tempted with carnality, would throw himself naked on the snow making balls which he applied to his body calling them his maid and his wife, did but copy Diogenes who lived in a tub-a cloak, his covering--a wallet, his kitchen--the palm of his hand, his bottle and cup; who in the searching heat of summer would lie naked on the hot gravel, and in the harshest frost would embrace stone statues covered with snow. Plato, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Democritus and Zeno, the prince of Stoics, imposed celibacy upon their disciples. The priests of Cybele, the Megabyzes of Ephesus and the priests of Egypt maintained the vow of chastity. Eneas (Æneid lib vi.) in passing through the infernal regions saw no priests there but such as had passed their lives in celibacy. It need not be proved that there were many hermits and orders of monks among the heathen. Even the begging friars of the Romish church are not original. There was a tribe of lazy mendicant priests among the heathens, against whom Cicero wrote in his Book of Laws, who used to travel from house to house with sacks on their backs, and which were gradually filled with eatables by the superstition of their hosts. Pythagoras established an order of nuns over whom he placed his daughter. The Roman vestals were nuns who took a vow of chastity, and who, like Christian nuns that we have heard of, were punished with death if they disgraced it. There was a sisterhood of Druidesses at Kildare in Ireland, whose office it was, like the Roman Vestals, to preserve a holy fire ever burning. They devoted themselves to the service of Brighit, the Goddess of Poetry, of Physics, and of Smiths, and who is spoken of in the old Irish MSS. as the Presiding Care. When Druidism was abolished, these priestesses became Christian nuns, and Brighit became St. Bridget, the tutelary saint of Ireland. The fire was still preserved in honor of this Christian saint, and though extinguished once by the Archbishop of London, was relighted and only finally extinguished at the suppression of the monasteries in the reign of King Henry the Eighth. The dress and ornaments of the Romish priest are borrowed from the heathens. The Phœnician priests wore surplices. Lambskin was worn by the Persian priests. The pelt, which the canons wear with the fur outward, is a memorial of the custom of the early heathens, who having killed the beasts for sacrifice, flayed them and taking the skins put them over their head with the fur outwards. On the saccos, or episcopal garment of the Russian bishops are suspended small silver bells, which were also worn on the robes of the priests of Persia and of the High-Priest of the Jews. The crosier, or pastoral staff of the Pope was also used by the Druids, and answers to the lituus of the Roman augurs and the hieralpha of the Hindoos. The Arch-Druid wore bands precisely resembling those which the Romish and English clergy wear now, and which a short time ago the students of our universities were compelled to wear in their public examinations. Votive offerings and pilgrimages are known by all to be of Pagan extraction. The fasts, penances and self-tortures of the Romish priests find a parallel among the Yogees or Gymnosophists of India, who wandered about the world naked as they had been born, sometimes standing on one leg on the burning sands--passing weeks without nourishment, years without repose--exposed to the sun, to the rain, to the wind--standing with their arms crossed above their heads till the sinews shrank and their flesh withered away--fixing their eyes upon the burning sun till their moisture was seared and their light extinguished. When a Brahmin became a grandfather he gave up the management of his affairs to his son, and quitted the city for the desert, the company of men for eternal solitude. He dressed in the bark of trees; he was not permitted to wear linen nor to cut his nails. He bathed nine times a day; he read and meditated ever on the Holy Vedas. At night alone he slept, and then on the bare ground. In the summer months he sat in the full blaze of the sun, surrounded by four fires; in the four months of rain, he dwelt in a stage raised above the water by four poles but unroofed; during the four winter months he sat all night in the cold water. And always performing the fast of Chanderayan. Soon his spirits would sink, and tired of life he was allowed to commit suicide, which was considered the sure passport to heaven. Some burn themselves, some drowned themselves, some flung themselves from precipices, and some walked, walked, walked till they dropped down dead. The fast of Chanderayan consisted in eating one mouthful a day, and increasing a mouthful every day for a month, and then decreasing a mouthful every day for the same length of time. A tribe of the Egyptian priests fasted perpetually, abstaining from eggs which they considered liquid meat, and from milk which they esteemed a kind of blood. The members of the Greek Church are more scrupulous than those of Rome, for they will not eat eggs or fish when fasting. The religious rites of the Romish Church are closely assimilated to those of the heathens. In the Dibaradané or offering-of-fire, the officiating Brahmin always rang a small bell. Also the women-of-the-idol, the dancing girls of the Indian pagodas had golden bells attached to their feet. The wax tapers which are constantly kept burning in Roman Catholic churches remind us of the practice of most of the ancient nations who preserved fires continually burning in their temples; for instance in the pagodas of the Brahmins; in the sanctuaries of Jupiter Ammon; in the Druidic temple at Kildare; in the Capitol at Rome; and in the temple of the Gaditanian Hercules at Tyre. The Egyptians used lamps in the celebration of their religious services. They had one festival which they called The Feast of Lamps, which they used to celebrate by sailing down the Nile to the temple of Isis at Sais by torchlight. Those who were unable to attend, lighted the lamps, which were small cups filled with salt and oil, and a lighted wick floated within. It is curious that this Pagan observance should be still preserved by the Papists. A few years ago I was in the house of a Roman Catholic at vesper time. "I cannot attend vespers to-day," he said, "so I do this." And he fetched a glass saucer which was filled with oil, and lighted a wick which was floating in the midst. After some few minutes the light died out, "Now," said he, "vespers are over." The Persians used a kind of holy water which was named zor. But it is needless to produce such instances. Water, as a principle of generation, and as one of the four elements was revered by all heathendom. The very aspersoire or sacred water-pot which the ancient Romans. used for their temple, may be found among the implements of their successors. Their turnings and genuflexions are copied from the deisuls of the Druids. The Druidic religious dances which were performed in a circle, in imitation of the revolution of the heavenly bodies, are preserved to posterity by the cardinals who advance to the Pope in a circle, by the Turkish dervishes, and by the French and English peasantry in various rural dances. The heathens were not without their liturgies. The Persians used a long form of prayer for the ceremony of marriage, and the use of the ring on the third finger of the left hand was known to a the ancients as Tertullian himself admits. In the Greek Church of Russia the couple are crowned with garlands which are removed on the eighth day. This, an ancient Roman observance, is not a traditional superstition of the Russians, but a ceremony authorized by their religion, and a service in their liturgy. The veil which our brides wear is also a remnant of ancient Rome. \--Dudum sedet illa parato Flammeolo.--Juv. Sat. X. As is also the superstition among Papist that it is unlucky to marry in the month of May. Ovid records it in a distich. Nec viduæ tœdis eadem nec virginis apta Tempora. Quæ nupsit non diuturna fuit. Hac quoque de causâ si te proverbia tangunt Mense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait. Our funeral practice of throwing three handfuls of earth on the coffin, and saying : earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, was in use among the ancient Egyptians, and our mutes resemble the hired mourners of all the ancient nations. The Vedas are full of exorcisms against those evil spirits which, as the Hindoos supposed, crowded about the sacrifice and impeded the religious rites. There are forms of exorcism used by Romish priests, and in the first liturgy of Edward VI, there was a form of exorcism in the baptismal service which since has been erased. The Romans used to consecrate their temples, when first built, with prayers and sacrifices, and sprinklings of holy water. The mass is acknowledged by the Catholic priests to be a sacrificial service, and the host made of wheat flour is an exact imitation of the consecrated cakes which were used by the heathens. The ancient Persians carried their infants to the temple a few days after they were born, and presented them to the priest who stood before the holy fire in the presence of the burning sun. He took the child and plunged it into a vase full of water for the purification of its soul. After which it was anointed, received the sign of the cross, and was fed with milk and honey. Such is the origin of infant baptism, of the font, and of the ceremony of signing the forehead with the figure of the cross-none of which are derived from God or from His Holy Scriptures. When the child had arrived at the age of fifteen years, the priest invested him with the robe called Sudra and with the girdle, and initiated him into the mysteries of their religion. This is plainly the same as the Christian confirmation, before which the church does not permit us to receive the sacrament. We first hear of the sacramental offering of bread and wine as used by Melchisedek. I have described it among the ceremonies of Druidism. Among the Hebrews it was called qum whence our word "communion." I have now to consider the great symbol of the Christian religion--the cross. Were it regarded as a mere emblem of our Lord's suffering I should be silent upon the matter; but since it is an object of actual idolatry in the Roman Catholic church, and threatens to become the same in our own, I must endeavor to correct the abuse by exposing its Pagan origin. This cross which the Roman Catholics worship on Good Friday by taking off their shoes and approaching it on their knees, and reverently kissing it, was once as common a symbol among Pagans as the circle, the serpent or the bull. In Ezekiel, IX. 4-6, we read that God directed the six destroyers to kill all whom they found in the city of Jerusalem, except those on whose forehead the Taw was inscribed. This letter Taw is the last in the Hebrew alphabet, and according to its ancient method of writing, exactly resembles a cross, as St. Jerome remarked 1400 years ago. The crux ansata of the Egyptians, according to Ruffinus and Sozomen, was hieroglyphic, and imparted the time that was to come. The was a phallic emblem in Egypt. Thereby also the Syrians and Phoenicians represented the planet Venus. On some of the early coins of the latter nation, we find the cross attached to a chaplet of beads placed in a circle so as to form a rosary, such as the Lamas of Thibet and China, the Hindoos and the Roman Catholics now tell over as they pray. On a Phœnician medal discovered by Dr. Clarke in the ruins of Citium, are inscribed the cross, the rosary and the lamb. were the monograms of Osiris, Venus and Jupiter Ammon. of the Scandinavian Teutates or Tuisco. The Vaishnavas of India mark one of their idols with crosses, thus and with triangles. On the Egyptian monuments in the British Museum may be seen the mystic cross in great numbers of places, and upon the breast of one of the mummies in the Museum of the London University is a cross exactly in this shape. The two principal pagodas of India, those of Benares and Mathura are built in the form of a cross. The Mexican temples are built in the form of a cross and face the four cardinal points. Crosses have been discovered on the Scandinavian "Mark" stones in the Scottish Isles, and there are many ancient monuments in Great Britain which, but for the cross engraved upon them, would be considered Druidical. That the Druids, like the aborigines of America and the ancient conjurers of Lapland, revered the form of the cross can hardly be doubted. Schedius de Mor. Germ. informs us that it was their custom to seek studiously for an oak tree large and handsome, growing up with two principal arms in the form of a cross beside the main stem. If the two horizontal arms were not sufficiently adapted to the figure, they fastened a cross beams to it. Then they consecrated it by cutting upon the right branch in fair characters the word Hesus, upon the middle stem, the word Taranis, upon the left branch Belenus, and over them the word Thaw. The tree so inscribed, they would make their Kebla like the Jewish Jerusalem, the Turk's Mecca, and the Christian's altar to which they would direct their faces when they prayed. I can best explain the adoration of this symbol by deriving it from that constellation The Southern Cross, which appears only in tropical skies and which perhaps the heathens, attracted by its beauty, learned to worship, as they worshipped the sun for its God like grandeur, and the moon for its beneficent light. The idolatry of the Roman Catholics is not confined to emblems. They have deified martyrs and other holy men, and render them a worship that is only due to God. It is true that they draw a distinction between the adoration which they pay to God, and the homage which they pay to Saints, calling the one in the language of the schools Latria, from worship due to God only, and the latter Dulia, from an inferior kind of worship. But this distinction is too delicate for the illiterate to understand. A plurality of Gods I have shown to be one of the abuses of ancient heathenism. In this abuse, they have been imitated by the modern idolaters of Rome, not only in the abstract but in the concrete: there is not only assimilation, but a reproduction. The Romans ridiculed the Gods of Egypt whom they themselves adored but under different names. They burnt Serapis, Anubis, and Isis; they revered Pluto, Mercury and Ceres. So the Roman Catholics while pretending to abjure the Gods of heathenism have actually adopted many of them. The petty divinities of the Pagans were deified men, and were intercessors with Osiris, Zeus or Jupiter, as the canonized saints of the Catholic Church are with the God of the Christians. The Chaldees divided the year into twelve months with an angel over each month. The saints perform the same office in the Romish Calendar, and in several of the Greek churches there are twelve pictures for the twelve months representing the twelve principal saints. The divi, or inferior Gods of the Romans worked miracles; altars were erected in their honor with lights continually burning before them; their relics were worshipped; convents were formed of religious men and women who took the name of divus or inferior God, to whom they devoted themselves, such as the Quirinals from Quirinus or Romulus; the Martiales from Mars; the Vulcanates from Vulcan. So also the Augustines from Augustine; the Franciscans from Francis; the Dominicans from Dominic. The Roman divi were tutelary Gods over various vocations--as Neptune over mariners--Pan over shepherds--Pales over husbandmen--Flora over courtezans--Diana over huntsmen. So the seamen, among Catholics, pray to St. Nicholas--the shepherds to St. Windoline--the husbandmen to St. John the Baptist--the courtezans to St. Magdalene--and the huntsmen to St. Hubert. The saints too have received the equipage of the divi. To St. Wolfgang, the hatchet or hook of Saturn--to Moses, the horns of Jupiter Ammon--to St. Peter, the keys of Janus. In the same way as the Pagans worshipped these divi but stigmatized them--Apollo as a rake, Mercury as an arrant thief, and Venus as a courtezan; there are things recorded by pious Catholics themselves of those Popes which are infallible and of saints which are said to be in heaven, quite as little to their credit. Minutius Felix jeers the Pagans for the vile drudgery they have put upon their Gods. "Sometimes," says he, "Hercules is set to empty dung; Apollo turns cow-herd to Ametus; Neptune hires himself to Laomedon as bricklayer to build up the walls of Troy, and is cheated out of his wages." So among the glorious miracles of the Holy Virgin, we find that she descends from heaven to bleed a young man in the arm; to take the place of a naughty abbess who has eloped with a monk; to mend the gown of St. Thomas of Canterbury who had torn it on a nail, and to wipe the sweat off the faces of the monks of Chevraux whilst they were at work. But as I have said before, there has been something more than imitation. There has been adoption. The Roman Catholics have canonized several of the pagan gods. Bacchus, the God of topers, has become St. Baccus, a worshipful saint of the perennial calendar; and Brighit, the Goddess of the Druids, St. Bridget, a patron saint of Ireland. The most distinguishing feature of the Roman Catholic religion is the idolatrous worship of the Virgin Mary. It is idolatrous, for to this woman whom it is palpable from Scripture that Christ treated as a being inferior to himself, are rendered prayers and honors as numerous and high as those which are rendered to Him, and in all instances they are placed upon a level with each other. They have made her immaculate, although she was the wife of a carpenter, and although the. brethren of Jesus are more than once mentioned in the gospels. And as there was no mention made in Scripture of her death, they inferred that, like Enoch and Elijah and her Holy Son, she had been taken up into Heaven. Upon this bare conjecture, the doctrine was assiduously inculcated into the minds of the ignorant, and a service was introduced into the liturgy called "The Assumption of the Virgin Mary." Bonaventura who was canonized a saint, and who is spoken of by his brother-catholics as the Seraphic Doctor, wrote a book called "The Imitation of the Virgin Mary," after St. Thomas-a-Kempis' well-known work, in which he exhorts all faithful catholic; to pray to the Virgin Mary by whose intercession their souls may be saved. In the Psalter which St. Bonaventura edited, he changes in each of the 150 Psalms the word Lord or God, for that of Lady or Mary, interspersing in some much of his own composition, and adding the Gloria Patri to each. For instance in the 148th Psalm-(page 491 of the Psalter). "Praise our Lady of Heaven, glorify her in the highest. Praise her all ye men and cattle, ye birds of the heaven and fishes of the sea. Praise her sun and moon, ye stars and circles of the planets. Praise her Cherubin and Seraphin, thrones and dominions and powers. Praise her all ye legions of angels. Praise her all ye orders of spirits on high. "Let everything that hath breath praise our Lady." Theophilus Raynaud, a Jesuit of Lyons, in his work entitled Diptycha Mariana thus writes:-- "The torrents of Heaven and the fountains of the great deep, I would rather open than close in homage of the Virgin. And if her son Jesus has omitted anything, as to the pre-eminence of the exaltation of his own mother, I a servant, I a slave, not indeed with effect, but with affection would delight in filling it up." Again:-- "In like manner are her feet to be blessed with which she carried the Lord, the womb in which she carried him, the heart whence she courageously believed in him and fervently loved him, the breasts with which she gave him suck, the hands with which she nourished him, the mouth and tongue with which she gave to him the happy kisses of our redemption, the nostrils with which she smelled the sweet-smelling fragrance of his humanity, the ears with which she listened with delight to his eloquence, the eyes with which she devoutly looked upon him, the body and soul which Christ consecrated in her with every benediction. And these most sacred members must be saluted and blessed with all devotion, so that separate salutations must be addressed to the several members separately, namely, Hail Mary! two to the feet, one to the womb, one to the heart, two to the breasts, two to the hands, two to the mouth and tongue, two to the lips, two to the nostrils, two to the ears, two to the eyes, two to the soul and body. And thus in all there are twenty salutations which after the manner of a daily payment with separate and an equal number of kneelings, if it can be done before her image or altar, are to be paid to the glorious Virgin according to that psalm, (144). Every day will I give thanks unto thee and praise THY name for ever and ever." In the following extract from a little work published at Dublin, 1836, and entitled "The Little Testament of the Holy Virgin," God and the Virgin are placed upon an equality. "Mary! sacred name under which no one should despair. Mary! sacred name often assaulted but always victorious. Mary! it shall be my life, my strength, my comfort. Every day shall I invoke it and the divine name of Jesus. The Son shall awake the recollection of the mother, and the mother that of the son. Jesus and Mary! this is what my heart shall say at my last hour if my tongue cannot. I shall hear them on my death-bed, they shall be wafted on my expiring breath, and I with them to see THEM, know THEM, bless and love THEM for eternity. Amen." But she is sometimes made even greater than God. "My soul," says the blessed Eric Suzon, is in the hands of Mary, so that if the judge wishes to condemn me, the sentence must pass through this clement Queen, and she knows how to prevent its execution." It even became a custom at one time in their church to date the Christian era not from the birth of the Christ, but from the virgin mother of God. See Emanuel Acosta's Acts of the Jesuits in the East. Dilingæ. 1571. Ad annum usque a Deipara Virgine, 1568. The question now naturally arises, why does the Virgin Mary receive this worship and these honors which are only due to God. You will be surprised when I tell you that this also is a remnant of heathenism. In all nations, long before the Christian era, a female with a child in her arms had been worshipped. Among the Egyptians it was Isis, among the Etruscans it was Venus, among the Phrygians it was Atys. In fact as Isis was the original of the Proserpine, the Venus, the Diana, the Juno, the Maia and the Cere of ancient Rome, so she was the original of the Virgin Mary of the Roman Catholic Church. In Montfaucon we find several plates of Isis giving suck to the boy Horus. In the year 1747, a Mithraic monument was found at Oxford--a female nursing an infant-which Dr. Stukeley proved to be a representation of the Goddess of the Year nursing the God Day. It is indeed not improbable that Oxford with its seven hills, its river Isis, and the bull in its coat of arms had been established by priests who, like the Druids, were acquainted with Egyptian lore. An ancient Etruscan monument was discovered at Rome, the precise model of those pictures of the Madonna and her child so common in Italy and throughout the world. In many churches on the continent, the Virgin Mary is represented with a lily or lotus in her hand. This plant was sacred to Isis, and was held in reverence by the priests of Egypt and of India. Isis was the wife of Osiris, as the moon was called the wife of the sun. In the hymn of the Assumption, the Virgin is entreated "to calm the rage of her heavenly husband." The month of May was sacred to Isis. It is called by the Papists "Mary's month." Venus, the Isis of the Romans, was born from the foam of the sea. In the form of prayer called Litaniæ Lauritanæ, there are more than forty addresses to the Virgin, invoking her as the star of the sea, as the mystical rose, and by a variety of other heathen epithets. In another prayer she is named amica stella, naufragis, and in Sanval's Historie des Antiquités de Paris, étoile eclantante de la mer. The chief title of Venus was Regina Cæloium. And the Holy Virgin is repeatedly invoked in the Romish liturgy as the Queen of Heaven. Finally, on the 25th of March the ancient Phrygians devoted a festival to the mother of the Gods, which very day still bears among Catholics and their Protestant imitators the name of Lady's Day. All this does not impeach one iota or tittle of the truth of Christianity. I do not say that the Christians invented a personage, and called her the Virgin Mary. I merely prove that the Roman Catholics pay those idolatrous tributes to the Virgin Mary which their ancestors rendered to Isis in Egypt, or to Venus in Rome, and that they represent her in the same manner. For instance, in the pictures of the Madonna and the Child, we see the Virgin's head encircled by a crescent halo of light, and the child's by many luminous rays. The one is a symbol of the new moon sacred to Isis, the latter an imitation of the radiance of the sun of whom Horus was the offspring. The spires and towers of our churches are also imitated from the pyramids and obelisks of antiquity. These were erected as emblems of the sun's beams which fall pyramidically upon the earth. Many of the heathen festivals are still celebrated by Christians. In the liturgy of the Greek Church there is a ritual named "The Benediction of the Waters." A wooden temple, richly gilt and hung round with sacred pictures, is erected upon the Neva at St. Petersburg when it is frozen, and a procession is formed by the clerks, the deacons, the priests and the bishops dressed in their richest robes, and bearing the tapers and the sacred pictures, and the service is read within the temple. This is not unlike "The Feast of Lamps" before described, which the Egyptians partly celebrated on the Nile, a river which in one of the prayers of the Greek Church is called "The Monarch of the Floods." The conception of the Virgin Mary is represented on the same day (the 2nd of February) as that of the miraculous conception of Juno by the ancient Romans. This, says the author of the Perennial Calendar, is a remarkable coincidence. It is also a remarkable coincidence that the Feast of All-Saints, which is celebrated by the Roman Catholics on the 2nd of November and which retains its place in the Protestant calendar, should have been on the same day as the Festum dei Mortis of the Romans, and should still be annually kept by the Buddhists of Thibet, and by the natives of South America and as a Druidic custom by the rustic classes of Ireland. It is also a remarkable coincidence that the Romans should have had their Prosipernalia, or Feast of Candles or Candlemass in February-their Palelia, or shepherd's feast on Midsummer Day which is sacred to St. John the Baptist, and that the Romish Carnival should be held at the same time as the ancient Saturnalia, and should resemble so closely those orgies which were of a masquerade character. Thus we see that the Roman Catholics have been in the habit of celebrating Christian festivals upon days which were held sacred by the heathens. Whether this was from mere slavish imitation, or from a fondness for old associations, or from a desire to sanctify those days unhallowed by paganism it is impossible to say. One of the most extraordinary examples of this custom is to be found in our grand festival of Christmas. All will allow, I think, that there is no evidence to prove that the twenty-fifth of December was the actual day upon which Christ was born. And that He really arose on Easter Day can scarcely be believed, since the fixing of that day was not arranged among the early Christians till after swords as well as words had been used in the conflict, and several fierce battles had been fought. I hope that I shall not weaken the genial feelings with which Christmas Day, that holiday of the year, is greeted by the nation if I expose the real origin of the festival. But that I feel sure is impossible. It would need something more than a few facts from old books to blot out all those happy associations which crowd around that glorious festival, which though it may be celebrated on the wrong day is kept in the right manner. I may, however, show those Christians who worship the letter and not the spirit, who attach more sanctity to the day than to the festival, who set their children over grave books and who forbid them to laugh on that day when there is a smile even on the poor man's lips, I may show those word-mongers, those silly Puritans, those harsh blunderers in religion what honor they have paid to heathenism all their lives. The festival of the twenty-fifth of December, which we call Christmas, was observed by the Druids on that day by lighting great fires on the tops of hills. The festival was repeated on the twelfth day afterwards, which we call old Christmas Day. And even now there are certain rites performed under the sacred mistletoe on Christmas Day which certainly have little to do with Christianity. The Jews also celebrated a festival on the twenty-fifth of December which -they called or the feast of light, and which Josephus believed to have been instituted by Judas Maccabaeus. The twenty-fifth of December too was the birthday of the God Mithra, and it was an old custom of the heathens to celebrate the birthdays of their Gods. And now I will explain when this day was first established as the birthday of Christ. The Cœnobite monks finding that in their monasteries (most of which were pagan seminaries built before the Christian era) a day had been from time immemorial dedicated to the God Sol as his birthday, and that he bore the name of Lord--this Lord they conceived must be their Lord, and after many disputes the twenty-fifth of December was established as the anniversary of Christ, and so the Druidic festival of the winter solstice became a Christian ceremony. The origin of Sunday is very similar; but while the heathen festival of Christmas has received a Christian name, this has retained its Pagan appellation. Such was the abhorrence which the early Christians felt for their persecutors, the Jews, that they were wont to reject all that was Jewish, as the first Puritans rejected all that was Romish without considering its intrinsic merits. God had ordained the seventh day for man's rest and recreation. He had given forth that edict from Mount Sinai not to the Israelites only, but to the whole world. But since the Jews faithfully kept this commandment, the Christians hated the Sabbath and took a step which was wholly unauthorized by their Master, or by any of his Apostles. They changed the day. They called this new day the Lord's Day, or the Day-of-the-Sun. The word Lord is heathen, and is equivalent to Baal in Chaldee and to Adonis in Phoenician. It first crept into the Scripture thus: The Jews, in obedience to the law "thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain," never wrote or spoke His name except on the most solemn occasions. And the first translators to avoid the frequent repetition of the word, first used this hieroglyphic and afterwards the term which the Pagans applied to their God Sol, which in Greek was in Latin dominus, in Celtic adon, in Hebrew adoni. Now the Persians set apart every month four of these Lord's days or lesser festivals to the Sun. On these days, they had more solemn service in their temples than on other days, reading portions of their sacred books and preaching morality. But the most curious point of resemblance is that on these days alone they prayed standing. And in the sixteenth canon of the Council of Nice to kneel in prayer on Sundays is forbidden. Constantine, after pretending to be converted to Christianity, ordered the day Domini invicti Solis to be set apart for the celebration of peculiar mysteries in honor of the great god Sol. The early Christians were accused by the heathens of worshipping the sun, and Justin, as if loathing the very name of the Jewish Sabbath, preferred writing of it the day-of-the-sun. Since it would be now almost impossible to restore our weekly day of rest to that day which God thought fit to appoint, and which man thought fit to alter, I may be blamed for having made these disclosures which certainly do not redound to the honor of our religion. But I have had my reason. It is to show the folly of those who go word-mongering, to make triumphant comparisons between the Day-of-the-sun as observed by Christians, and God's Sabbath as observed by Jews; who bring out their religion, their consciences, their bibles, their sternest faces and their best clothes upon this day, and who believe or seem to believe that God sleeps all the week, and that if they go to church on Sunday they succeed in deceiving him. It is not at this hour or at that hour that God is to be worshipped. Lip-services resemble the treacherous kisses of a Judas, and the heart does not naturally aspire towards heaven at the striking of a clock or at the ringing of a church bell. Before concluding this chapter, I should wish to exculpate myself from the supposition that I have written in an unjust spirit against the members of the Roman Catholic Church. I know that they can boast of many devout disciples-of many enterprising missionaries-of many conscientious priests. I know that they are not now more foolish and bigoted than the members of the Protestant churches, as in former times the murderers of St. Bartholomew were no worse than the cruel Calvin, nor Bloody Mary than James the First. In those days a remnant of the horrible custom of human sacrifice was preserved by all alike. They martyred those of the same religion as themselves but not of the same sect, burning them, drowning them, tearing them limb from limb like the Pagans of old, as offerings to a kind and gracious God. It is true that the Roman Catholics were the most ruthless in barbarity and the most ingenious in torture, but it was because they possessed the most power. I know that Roman Catholic priests do not really worship those images of the saints to which they bend their knees. But though they are not idolaters themselves, it cannot be denied that they have taught their disciples to be idolaters. I do not suppose that men of genius or even of education ever yet were, or ever could be image worshippers. Listen to these words of the Emperor Julian, written in an age that is supposed to have been enslaved in idolatry : "The statues of the gods, the altars that are raised to them, and the holy fires that are burnt in their honor have been instituted by our fathers as signs and emblems of the presence of the Gods, not that we should regard them as Gods, but that we should honor the Gods in them." I might quote fifty other passages to prove that in all idolatrous nations the priests and philosophers, though affecting to be image-worshippers, have in their hearts scorned those pieces of wood and stone to which their dupes so devoutly kneeled. In papistry, there are as many dupes and as much idolatry as ever existed in Egypt, in Italy, or in Greece. Witness a Roman Catholic service, and you will see heads bowed before stone-images and prayers, murmured not in mere reverence but in actual adoration. Study the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Is not that an instance of the emblem being forgotten in the God? These abuses are melancholy to contemplate, for these alone it is which hold two Christian churches asunder. These with the Platonic dogma of purgatory upon which no man can decide, and upon which therefore it is foolish for man to contend. English priests beware how you nurse idolatry; for those who do so, enchain not only others but themselves. In the reign of Peter the Great, a law was passed by a synod of the Greek Church in Russia enacting that the use of pictures in churches was contrary to the principles in Christianity, and that all such should be removed from places of worship. The Emperor sanctioned this law, but feared to put it into execution lest it should cause a general insurrection. Superstition, born of Satan, fed and fostered by priests, like a hideous cuttle-fish has cast its white and slimy arms around the Harlot of Babylon, and. has bedaubed her with its black blood. Now she loves this blood and knows not that it defiles her; she loves these embraces and knows not that they enslave her. But some day aspiring to be free, she will attempt to rise from her grave of sand and foul weeds; and then seizing her in its horrible arms, that demon who so long has triumphed over her will sink with her forever beneath the waves.