[The Classic Christian] The Two Babylons: (Alexander Hislop) Chapter II Secti…

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

The Two Babylons 
Alexander Hislop

 

Chapter II 
Section III 
The Mother of the Child

Now while the mother derived her glory in the first instance from the divine character attributed to the child in her arms, the mother in the long-run practically eclipsed the son. At first, in all likelihood, there would be no thought whatever of ascribing divinity to the mother. There was an express promise that necessarily led mankind to expect that, at some time or other, the Son of God, in amazing condescension, should appear in this world as the Son of man. But there was no promise whatever, or the least shadow of a promise, to lead any one to anticipate that a woman should ever be invested with attributes that should raise her to a level with Divinity. It is in the last degree improbable, therefore, that when the mother was first exhibited with the child in her arms, it should be intended to give divine honours to her. She was doubtless used chiefly as a pedestal for the upholding of the divine Son, and holding him forth to the adoration of mankind; and glory enough it would be counted for her, alone of all the daughters of Eve, to have given birth to the promised seed, the world’s only hope. But while this, no doubt, was the design, it is a plain principle in all idolatries that that which most appeals to the senses must make the most powerful impression. Now the Son, even in his new incarnation, when Nimrod was believed to have reappeared in a fairer form, was exhibited merely as a child, without any very particular attraction; while the mother in whose arms he was, was set off with all the art of painting and sculpture, as invested with much of that extraordinary beauty which in reality belonged to her. The beauty of Semiramis is said on one occasion to have quelled a rising rebellion among her subjects on her sudden appearance among them; and it is recorded that the memory of the admiration excited in their minds by her appearance on that occasion was perpetuated by a statue erected in Babylon, representing her in the guise in which she had fascinated them so much. *

 

* VALERIUS MAXIMUS. Valerius Maximus does not mention anything about the representation of Semiramis with the child in her arms; but as Semiramis was deified as Rhea, whose distinguishing character was that of goddess Mother, and as we have evidence that the name, “Seed of the Woman,” or Zoroaster, goes back to the earliest times–viz., her own day (CLERICUS, De Chaldoeis), this implies that if there was any image-worship in these times, that “Seed of the Woman” must have occupied a prominent place in it. As over all the world the Mother and the child appear in some shape or other, and are found on the early Egyptian monuments, that shows that this worship must have had its roots in the primeval ages of the world. If, therefore, the mother was represented in so fascinating a form when singly represented, we may be sure that the same beauty for which she was celebrated would be given to her when exhibited with the child in her arms.

This Babylonian queen was not merely in character coincident with the Aphrodite of Greece and the Venus of Rome, but was, in point of fact, the historical original of that goddess that by the ancient world was regarded as the very embodiment of everything attractive in female form, and the perfection of female beauty; for Sanchuniathon assures us that Aphrodite or Venus was identical with Astarte, and Astarte being interpreted, is none other than “The woman that made towers or encompassing walls”–i.e., Semiramis. The Roman Venus, as is well known, was the Cyprian Venus, and the Venus of Cyprus is historically proved to have been derived from Babylon. Now, what in these circumstances might have been expected actually took place. If the child was to be adored, much more the mother. The mother, in point of fact, became the favourite object of worship. *

 

* How extraordinary, yea, frantic, was the devotion in the minds of the Babylonians to this goddess queen, is sufficiently proved by the statement of Herodotus, as to the way in which she required to be propitiated. That a whole people should ever have consented to such a custom as is there described, shows the amazing hold her worship must have gained over them. Nonnus, speaking of the same goddess, calls her “The hope of the whole world.” (DIONUSIACA in BRYANT) It was the same goddess, as we have seen, who was worshipped at Ephesus, whom Demetrius the silversmith characterised as the goddess “whom all Asia and the world worshipped” (Acts 19:27). So great was the devotion to this goddess queen, not of the Babylonians only, but of the ancient world in general, that the fame of the exploits of Semiramis has, in history, cast the exploits of her husband Ninus or Nimrod, entirely into the shade. 

In regard to the identification of Rhea or Cybele and Venus, see note below.

To justify this worship, the mother was raised to divinity as well as her son, and she was looked upon as destined to complete that bruising of the serpent’s head, which it was easy, if such a thing was needed, to find abundant and plausible reasons for alleging that Ninus or Nimrod, the great Son, in his mortal life had only begun.

The Roman Church maintains that it was not so much the seed of the woman, as the woman herself, that was to bruise the head of the serpent. In defiance of all grammar, she renders the Divine denunciation against the serpent thus: “She shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise her heel.” The same was held by the ancient Babylonians, and symbolically represented in their temples. In the uppermost story of the tower of Babel, or temple of Belus, Diodorus Siculus tells us there stood three images of the great divinities of Babylon; and one of these was of a woman grasping a serpent’s head. Among the Greeks the same thing was symbolised; for Diana, whose real character was originally the same as that of the great Babylonian goddess, was represented as bearing in one of her hands a serpent deprived of its head. As time wore away, and the facts of Semiramis’ history became obscured, her son’s birth was boldly declared to be miraculous: and therefore she was called “Alma Mater,” * “the Virgin Mother.”

 

* The term Alma is the precise term used by Isaiah in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, when announcing, 700 years before the event, that Christ should be born of a Virgin. If the question should be asked, how this Hebrew term Alma (not in a Roman, but a Hebrew sense) could find its way to Rome, the answer is, Through Etruria, which had an intimate connection with Assyria. The word “mater” itself, from which comes our own “mother,” is originally Hebrew. It comes from Heb. Msh, “to draw forth,” in Egyptian Ms, “to bring forth” (BUNSEN), which in the Chaldee form becomes Mt, whence the Egyptian Maut, “mother.” Erh or Er, as in English (and a similar form is found in Sanscrit), is, “The doer.” So that Mater or Mother signifies “The bringer forth.”

It may be thought an objection to the above account of the epithet Alma, that this term is often applied to Venus, who certainly was no virgin. But this objection is more apparent than real. On the testimony of Augustine, himself an eye-witness, we know that the rites of Vesta, emphatically “the virgin goddess of Rome,” under the name of Terra, were exactly the same as those of Venus, the goddess of impurity and licentiousness (AUGUSTINE, De Civitate Dei). Augustine elsewhere says that Vesta, the virgin goddess, “was by some called Venus.”

Even in the mythology of our own Scandinavian ancestors, we have a remarkable evidence that Alma Mater, or the Virgin Mother, had been originally known to them. One of their gods called Heimdal, who is described in the most exalted terms, as having such quick perceptions as that he could hear the grass growing on the ground, or the wool on the sheep’s back, and whose trumpet, when it blew, could be heard through all the worlds, is called by the paradoxical name, “the son of nine virgins.” (MALLET) Now this obviously contains an enigma. Let the language in which the religion of Odin was originally delivered–viz., the Chaldee, be brought to bear upon it, and the enigma is solved at once. In Chaldee “the son of nine virgins” is Ben-Almut-Teshaah. But in pronunciation this is identical with “Ben-Almet-Ishaa,” “the son of the virgin of salvation.” That son was everywhere known as the “saviour seed.” “Zera-hosha” and his virgin mother consequently claimed to be “the virgin of salvation.” Even in the very heavens the God of Providence has constrained His enemies to inscribe a testimony to the great Scriptural truth proclaimed by the Hebrew prophet, that a “virgin should bring forth a son, whose name should be called Immanuel.” The constellation Virgo, as admitted by the most learned astronomers, was dedicated to Ceres (Dr. JOHN HILL, in his Urania, and Mr. A. JAMIESON, in his Celestial Atlas), who is the same as the great goddess of Babylon, for Ceres was worshipped with the babe at her breast (SOPHOCLES, Antigone), even as the Babylonian goddess was. Virgo was originally the Assyrian Venus, the mother of Bacchus or Tammuz. Virgo then, was the Virgin Mother. Isaiah’s prophecy was carried by the Jewish captives to Babylon, and hence the new title bestowed upon the Babylonian goddess.

That the birth of the Great Deliverer was to be miraculous, was widely known long before the Christian era. For centuries, some say for thousands of years before that event, the Buddhist priests had a tradition that a Virgin was to bring forth a child to bless the world. That this tradition came from no Popish or Christian source, is evident from the surprise felt and expressed by the Jesuit missionaries, when they first entered Thibet and China, and not only found a mother and a child worshipped as at home, but that mother worshipped under a character exactly corresponding with that of their own Madonna, “Virgo Deipara,” “The Virgin mother of God,” * and that, too, in regions where they could not find the least trace of either the name or history of our Lord Jesus Christ having ever been known.

 

* See Sir J. F. DAVIS’S China, and LAFITAN, who says that the accounts sent home by the Popish missionaries bore that the sacred books of the Chinese spoke not merely of a Holy Mother, but of a Virgin Mother. For further evidence on this subject, see note below.

The primeval promise that the “seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head,” naturally suggested the idea of a miraculous birth. Priestcraft and human presumption set themselves wickedly to anticipate the fulfilment of that promise; and the Babylonian queen seems to have been the first to whom that honour was given. The highest titles were accordingly bestowed upon her. She was called the “queen of heaven.” (Jer 44:17,18,19,25) *

 

* When Ashta, or “the woman,” came to be called the “queen of heaven,” the name “woman” became the highest title of honour applied to a female. This accounts for what we find so common among the ancient nations of the East, that queens and the most exalted personages were addressed by the name of “woman.” “Woman” is not a complimentary title in our language; but formerly it had been applied by our ancestors in the very same way as among the Orientals; for our word “Queen” is derived from Cwino, which in the ancient Gothic just signified a woman.

In Egypt she was styled Athor–i.e., “the Habitation of God,” (BUNSEN) to signify that in her dwelt all the “fulness of the Godhead.” To point out the great goddess-mother, in a Pantheistic sense, as at once the Infinite and Almighty one, and the Virgin mother, this inscription was engraven upon one of her temples in Egypt: “I am all that has been, or that is, or that shall be. No mortal has removed my veil. The fruit which I have brought forth is the Sun.” (Ibid.) In Greece she had the name of Hesita, and amongst the Romans, Vesta, which is just a modification of the same name–a name which, though it has been commonly understood in a different sense, really meant “The Dwelling-place.” *

 

* Hestia, in Greek, signifies “a house” or “dwelling.” This is usually thought to be a secondary meaning of the word, its proper meaning being believed to be “fire.” But the statements made in regard to Hestia, show that the name is derived from Hes or Hese, “to cover, to shelter,” which is the very idea of a house, which “covers” or “shelters” from the inclemency of the weather. The verb “Hes” also signifies “to protect,” to “show mercy,” and from this evidently comes the character of Hestia as “the protectress of suppliants.” Taking Hestia as derived from Hes, “to cover,” or “shelter,” the following statement of Smith is easily accounted for: “Hestia was the goddess of domestic life, and the giver of all domestic happiness; as such she was believed to dwell in the inner part of every house, and to have invented the art of building houses.” If “fire” be supposed to be the original idea of Hestia, how could “fire” ever have been supposed to be “the builder of houses”! But taking Hestia in the sense of the Habitation or Dwelling-place, though derived from Hes, “to shelter,” or “cover,” it is easy to see how Hestia would come to be identified with “fire.” The goddess who was regarded as the “Habitation of God” was known by the name of Ashta, “The Woman”; while “Ashta” also signified “The fire”; and thus Hestia or Vesta, as the Babylonian system was developed, would easily come to be regarded as “Fire,” or “the goddess of fire.” For the reason that suggested the idea of the Goddess-mother being a Habitation, see note below.

As the Dwelling-place of Deity, thus is Hestia or Vesta addressed in the Orphic Hymns:

 

“Daughter of Saturn, venerable dame, 
Who dwell’st amid great fire’s eternal flame, 
In thee the gods have fix’d their DWELLING-PLACE, 
Strong stable basis of the mortal race.” *

 

* TAYLOR’S Orphic Hymns: Hymn to Vesta. Though Vesta is here called the daughter of Saturn, she is also identified in all the Pantheons with Cybele or Rhea, the wife of Saturn.

Even when Vesta is identified with fire, this same character of Vesta as “The Dwelling-place” still distinctly appears. Thus Philolaus, speaking of a fire in the middle of the centre of the world, calls it “The Vesta of the universe, The HOUSE of Jupiter, The mother of the gods.” In Babylon, the title of the goddess-mother as the Dwelling-place of God was Sacca, or in the emphatic form, Sacta, that is, “The Tabernacle.” Hence, at this day, the great goddesses in India, as wielding all the power of the god whom they represent, are called “Sacti,” or the “Tabernacle.” *

 

* KENNEDY and MOOR. A synonym for Sacca, “a tabernacle,” is “Ahel,” which, with the points, is pronounced “Ohel.” From the first form of the word, the name of the wife of the god Buddha seems to be derived, which, in KENNEDY, is Ahalya, and in MOOR’S Pantheon, Ahilya. From the second form, in like manner, seems to be derived the name of the wife of the Patriarch of the Peruvians, “Mama Oello.” (PRESCOTT’S Peru) Mama was by the Peruvians used in the Oriental sense: Oello, in all likelihood, was used in the same sense.

Now in her, as the Tabernacle or Temple of God, not only all power, but all grace and goodness were believed to dwell. Every quality of gentleness and mercy was regarded as centred in her; and when death had closed her career, while she was fabled to have been deified and changed into a pigeon, * to express the celestial benignity of her nature, she was called by the name of “D’Iune,” ** or “The Dove,” or without the article, “Juno”–the name of the Roman “queen of heaven,” which has the very same meaning; and under the form of a dove as well as her own, she was worshipped by the Babylonians.

 

* DIODORUS SIC. In connection with this the classical reader will remember the title of one of the fables in OVID’S Metamorphoses. “Semiramis into a pigeon.” 

** Dione, the name of the mother of Venus, and frequently applied to Venus herself, is evidently the same name as the above. Dione, as meaning Venus, is clearly applied by Ovid to the Babylonian goddess. (Fasti)

The dove, the chosen symbol of this deified queen, is commonly represented with an olive branch in her mouth, as she herself in her human form also is seen bearing the olive branch in her hand; and from this form of representing her, it is highly probable that she has derived the name by which she is commonly known, for “Z’emir-amit” means “The branch-bearer.” *

 

* From Ze, “the” or “that,” emir, “branch,” and amit, “bearer,” in the feminine. HESYCHIUS says that Semiramis is a name for a “wild pigeon.” The above explanation of the original meaning of the name Semiramis, as referring to Noah’s wild pigeon (for it was evidently a wild one, as the tame one would not have suited the experiment), may account for its application by the Greeks to any wild pigeon.

When the goddess was thus represented as the Dove with the olive branch, there can be no doubt that the symbol had partly reference to the story of the flood; but there was much more in the symbol than a mere memorial of that great event. “A branch,” as has been already proved, was the symbol of the deified son, and when the deified mother was represented as a Dove, what could the meaning of this representation be but just to identify her with the Spirit of all grace, that brooded, dove-like, over the deep at the creation; for in the sculptures at Nineveh, as we have seen, the wings and tail of the dove represented the third member of the idolatrous Assyrian trinity. In confirmation of this view, it must be stated that the Assyrian “Juno,” or “The Virgin Venus,” as she was called, was identified with the air. Thus Julius Firmicus says: “The Assyrians and part of the Africans wish the air to have the supremacy of the elements, for they have consecrated this same [element] under the name of Juno, or the Virgin Venus.” Why was air thus identified with Juno, whose symbol was that of the third person of the Assyrian trinity? Why, but because in Chaldee the same word which signifies the air signifies also the “Holy Ghost.” The knowledge of this entirely accounts for the statement of Proclus, that “Juno imports the generation of soul.” Whence could the soul–the spirit of man–be supposed to have its origin, but from the Spirit of God. In accordance with this character of Juno as the incarnation of the Divine Spirit, the source of life, and also as the goddess of the air, thus is she invoked in the “Orphic Hymns”:

 

“O royal Juno, of majestic mien, 
Aerial formed, divine, Jove’s blessed queen, 
Throned in the bosom of caerulean air, 
The race of mortals is thy constant care; 
The cooling gales, thy power alone inspires, 
Which nourish life, which every life desires; 
Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone 
Producing all things, mortal life is known; 
All natures show thy temperament divine, 
And universal sway alone is thine, 
With sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea 
And rolling rivers roar when shook by thee.” *

 

* TAYLOR’S Orphic Hymns. Every classical reader must be aware of the identification of Juno with the air. The following, however, as still further illustrative of the subject from Proclus, may not be out of place: “The series of our sovereign mistress Juno, beginning from on high, pervades the last of things, and her allotment in the sublunary region is the air; for air is a symbol of soul, according to which also soul is called a spirit.”

Thus, then, the deified queen, when in all respects regarded as a veritable woman, was at the same time adored as the incarnation of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of peace and love. In the temple of Hierapolis in Syria, there was a famous statue of the goddess Juno, to which crowds from all quarters flocked to worship. The image of the goddess was richly habited, on her head was a golden dove, and she was called by a name peculiar to the country, “Semeion.” (BRYANT) What is the meaning of Semeion? It is evidently “The Habitation”; * and the “golden dove” on her head shows plainly who it was that was supposed to dwell in her–even the Spirit of God.

 

* From Ze, “that,” or “the great,” and “Maaon,” or Maion, “a habitation,” which, in the Ionic dialect, in which Lucian, the describer of the goddess, wrote, would naturally become Meion.

When such transcendent dignity was bestowed on her, when such winning characters were attributed to her, and when, over and above all, her images presented her to the eyes of men as Venus Urania, “the heavenly Venus,” the queen of beauty, who assured her worshippers of salvation, while giving loose reins to every unholy passion, and every depraved and sensual appetite–no wonder that everywhere she was enthusiastically adored. Under the name of the “Mother of the gods,” the goddess queen of Babylon became an object of almost universal worship. “The Mother of the gods,” says Clericus, “was worshipped by the Persians, the Syrians, and all the kings of Europe and Asia, with the most profound religious veneration.” Tacitus gives evidence that the Babylonian goddess was worshipped in the heart of Germany, and Caesar, when he invaded Britain, found that the priests of this same goddess, known by the name of Druids, had been there before him. *

 

* CAESAR, De Bello Gallico. The name Druid has been thought to be derived from the Greek Drus, an oak tree, or the Celtic Deru, which has the same meaning; but this is obviously a mistake. In Ireland, the name for a Druid is Droi, and in Wales Dryw; and it will be found that the connection of the Druids with the oak was more from the mere similarity of their name to that of the oak, than because they derived their name from it. The Druidic system in all its parts was evidently the Babylonian system. Dionysius informs us, that the rites of Bacchus were duly celebrated in the British Islands and Strabo cites Artemidorus to show that, in an island close to Britain, Ceres and Proserpine were venerated with rites similar to the orgies of Samothrace. It will be seen from the account of the Druidic Ceridwen and her child, afterwards to be noticed (see Chapter IV, Section III), that there was a great analogy between her character and that of the great goddess-mother of Babylon. Such was the system; and the name Dryw, or Droi, applied to the priests, is in exact accordance with that system. The name Zero, given in Hebrew or the early Chaldee, to the son of the great goddess queen, in later Chaldee became “Dero.” The priest of Dero, “the seed,” was called, as is the case in almost all religions, by the name of his god; and hence the familiar name “Druid” is thus proved to signify the priest of “Dero”–the woman’s promised “seed.” The classical Hamadryads were evidently in like manner priestesses of “Hamed-dero,”–“the desired seed”–i.e., “the desire of all nations.”

Herodotus, from personal knowledge, testifies, that in Egypt this “queen of heaven” was “the greatest and most worshipped of all the divinities.” Wherever her worship was introduced, it is amazing what fascinating power it exerted. Truly, the nations might be said to be “made drunk” with the wine of her fornications. So deeply, in particular, did the Jews in the days of Jeremiah drink of her wine cup, so bewitched were they with her idolatrous worship, that even after Jerusalem had been burnt, and the land desolated for this very thing, they could not be prevailed on to give it up. While dwelling in Egypt as forlorn exiles, instead of being witnesses for God against the heathenism around them, they were as much devoted to this form of idolatry as the Egyptians themselves. Jeremiah was sent of God to denounce wrath against them, if they continued to worship the queen of heaven; but his warnings were in vain. “Then,” saith the prophet, “all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee; but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil” (Jer 44:15-17). Thus did the Jews, God’s own peculiar people, emulate the Egyptians in their devotion to the queen of heaven.

The worship of the goddess-mother with the child in her arms continued to be observed in Egypt till Christianity entered. If the Gospel had come in power among the mass of the people, the worship of this goddess-queen would have been overthrown. With the generality it came only in name. Instead, therefore, of the Babylonian goddess being cast out, in too many cases her name only was changed. She was called the Virgin Mary, and, with her child, was worshipped with the same idolatrous feeling by professing Christians, as formerly by open and avowed Pagans. The consequence was, that when, in AD 325, the Nicene Council was summoned to condemn the heresy of Arius, who denied the true divinity of Christ, that heresy indeed was condemned, but not without the help of men who gave distinct indications of a desire to put the creature on a level with the Creator, to set the Virgin-mother side by side with her Son. At the Council of Nice, says the author of “Nimrod,” “The Melchite section”–that is, the representatives of the so-called Christianity of Egypt–“held that there were three persons in the Trinity–the Father, the Virgin Mary, and Messiah their Son.” In reference to this astounding fact, elicited by the Nicene Council, Father Newman speaks exultingly of these discussions as tending to the glorification of Mary. “Thus,” says he, “the controversy opened a question which it did not settle. It discovered a new sphere, if we may so speak, in the realms of light, to which the Church had not yet assigned its inhabitant. Thus, there was a wonder in Heaven; a throne was seen far above all created powers, mediatorial, intercessory, a title archetypal, a crown bright as the morning star, a glory issuing from the eternal throne, robes pure as the heavens, and a sceptre over all. And who was the predestined heir of that majesty? Who was that wisdom, and what was her name, the mother of fair love, and far, and holy hope, exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and a rose-plant in Jericho, created from the beginning before the world, in God’s counsels, and in Jerusalem was her power? The vision is found in the Apocalypse ‘a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.'” *

 

* NEWMAN’S Development. The intelligent reader will see at a glance the absurdity of applying this vision of the “woman” of the Apocalypse to the Virgin Mary. John expressly declares that what he saw was a “sign” or “symbol” (semeion). If the woman here is a literal woman, the woman that sits on the seven hills must be the same. “The woman” in both cases is a “symbol.” “The woman” on the seven hills is the symbol of the false church; the woman clothed with the sun, of the true church–the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.

“The votaries of Mary,” adds he, “do not exceed the true faith, unless the blasphemers of her Son came up to it. The Church of Rome is not idolatrous, unless Arianism is orthodoxy.” This is the very poetry of blasphemy. It contains an argument too; but what does that argument amount to? It just amounts to this, that if Christ be admitted to be truly and properly God, and worthy of Divine honours, His mother, from whom He derived merely His humanity, must be admitted to be the same, must be raised far above the level of all creatures, and be worshipped as a partaker of the Godhead. The divinity of Christ is made to stand or fall with the divinity of His mother. Such is Popery in the nineteenth century; yea, such is Popery in England. It was known already that Popery abroad was bold and unblushing in its blasphemies; that in Lisbon a church was to be seen with these words engraven on its front, “To the virgin goddess of Loretto, the Italian race, devoted to her DIVINITY, have dedicated this temple.” (Journal of Professor GIBSON, in Scottish Protestant) But when till now was such language ever heard in Britain before? This, however, is just the exact reproduction of the doctrine of ancient Babylon in regard to the great goddess-mother. The Madonna of Rome, then, is just the Madonna of Babylon. The “Queen of Heaven” in the one system is the same as the “Queen of Heaven” in the other. The goddess worshipped in Babylon and Egypt as the Tabernacle or Habitation of God, is identical with her who, under the name of Mary, is called by Rome “The HOUSE consecrated to God,” “the awful Dwelling-place,” * “the Mansion of God” (Pancarpium Marioe), the “Tabernacle of the Holy Ghost” (Garden of the Soul), the “Temple of the Trinity” (Golden Manual in Scottish Protestant).

 

* The Golden Manual in Scottish Protestant. The word here used for “Dwelling-place” in the Latin of this work is a pure Chaldee word–“Zabulo,” and is from the same verb as Zebulun (Gen 30:20), the name which was given by Leah to her son, when she said “Now will my husband dwell with me.”

Some may possibly be inclined to defend such language, by saying that the Scripture makes every believer to be a temple of the Holy Ghost, and, therefore, what harm can there be in speaking of the Virgin Mary, who was unquestionably a saint of God, under that name, or names of a similar import? Now, no doubt it is true that Paul says (1 Cor 3:16), “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” It is not only true, but it is a great truth, and a blessed one–a truth that enhances every comfort when enjoyed, and takes the sting out of every trouble when it comes, that every genuine Christian has less or more experience of what is contained in these words of the same apostle (2 Cor 6:16), “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” It must also be admitted, and gladly admitted, that this implies the indwelling of all the Persons of the glorious Godhead; for the Lord Jesus hath said (John 14:23), “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” But while admitting all this, on examination it will be found that the Popish and the Scriptural ideas conveyed by these expressions, however apparently similar, are essentially different. When it is said that a believer is “a temple of God,” or a temple of the Holy Ghost, the meaning is (Eph 3:17) that “Christ dwells in the heart by faith.” But when Rome says that Mary is “The Temple” or “Tabernacle of God,” the meaning is the exact Pagan meaning of the term–viz., that the union between her and the Godhead is a union akin to the hypostatical union between the divine and human nature of Christ. The human nature of Christ is the “Tabernacle of God,” inasmuch as the Divine nature has veiled its glory in such a way, by assuming our nature, that we can come near without overwhelming dread to the Holy God. To this glorious truth John refers when he says (John 1:14), “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (literally tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In this sense, Christ, the God-man, is the only “Tabernacle of God.” Now, it is precisely in this sense that Rome calls Mary the “Tabernacle of God,” or of the “Holy Ghost.” Thus speaks the author of a Popish work devoted to the exaltation of the Virgin, in which all the peculiar titles and prerogatives of Christ are given to Mary: “Behold the tabernacle of God, the mansion of God, the habitation, the city of God is with men, and in men and for men, for their salvation, and exaltation, and eternal glorification…Is it most clear that this is true of the holy church? and in like manner also equally true of the most holy sacrament of the Lord’s body? Is it (true) of every one of us in as far as we are truly Christians? Undoubtedly; but we have to contemplate this mystery (as existing) in a peculiar manner in the most holy Mother of our Lord.” (Pancarpium Marioe) Then the author, after endeavouring to show that “Mary is rightly considered as the Tabernacle of God with men,” and that in a peculiar sense, a sense different from that in which all Christians are the “temple of God,” thus proceeds with express reference to her in this character of the Tabernacle: “Great truly is the benefit, singular is the privilege, that the Tabernacle of God should be with men, IN WHICH men may safely come near to God become man.” (Ibid.) Here the whole mediatorial glory of Christ, as the God-man in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, is given to Mary, or at least is shared with her. The above extracts are taken from a work published upwards of two hundred years ago. Has the Papacy improved since then? Has it repented of its blasphemies? No, the very reverse. The quotation already given from Father Newman proves this; but there is still stronger proof. In a recently published work, the same blasphemous idea is even more clearly unfolded. While Mary is called “The HOUSE consecrated to God,” and the “TEMPLE of the Trinity,” the following versicle and response will show in what sense she is regarded as the temple of the Holy Ghost: “V. The Lord himself created HER in the Holy Ghost, and POURED HER out among all his works. V. O Lady, hear,” &c. This astounding language manifestly implies that Mary is identified with the Holy Ghost, when it speaks of her “being poured out” on “all the works of God”; and that, as we have seen, was just the very way in which the Woman, regarded as the “Tabernacle” or House of God by the Pagans, was looked upon. Where is such language used in regard to the Virgin? Not in Spain; not in Austria; not in the dark places of Continental Europe; but in London, the seat and centre of the world’s enlightenment.

The names of blasphemy bestowed by the Papacy on Mary have not one shadow of foundation in the Bible, but are all to be found in the Babylonian idolatry. Yea, the very features and complexions of the Roman and Babylonian Madonnas are the same. Till recent times, when Raphael somewhat departed from the beaten track, there was nothing either Jewish or even Italian in the Romish Madonnas. Had these pictures or images of the Virgin Mother been intended to represent the mother of our Lord, naturally they would have been cast either in the one mould or the other. But it was not so. In a land of dark-eyed beauties, with raven locks, the Madonna was always represented with blue eyes and golden hair, a complexion entirely different form the Jewish complexion, which naturally would have been supposed to belong to the mother of our Lord, but which precisely agrees with that which all antiquity attributes to the goddess queen of Babylon. In almost all lands the great goddess has been described with golden or yellow hair, showing that there must have been one grand prototype, to which they were all made to correspond. The “yellow-haired Ceres,” might not have been accounted of any weight in this argument if she had stood alone, for it might have been supposed in that case that the epithet “yellow-haired” was borrowed from the corn that was supposed to be under her guardian care. But many other goddesses have the very same epithet applied to them. Europa, whom Jupiter carried away in the form of a bull, is called “The yellow-haired Europa.” (OVID, Fasti) Minerva is called by Homer “the blue-eyed Minerva,” and by Ovid “the yellow-haired”; the huntress Diana, who is commonly identified with the moon, is addressed by Anacreon as “the yellow-haired daughter of Jupiter,” a title which the pale face of the silver moon could surely never have suggested. Dione, the mother of Venus, is described by Theocritus as “yellow-haired.” Venus herself is frequently called “Aurea Venus,” the “golden Venus.” (HOMER’S Iliad) The Indian goddess Lakshmi, the “Mother of the Universe,” is described as of “a golden complexion.” (Asiatic Researches) Ariadne, the wife of Bacchus, was called “the yellow-haired Ariadne.” (HESIOD, Theogonia) Thus does Dryden refer to her golden or yellow hair:

 

“Where the rude waves in Dian’s harbour play, 
The fair forsaken Ariadne lay; 
There, sick with grief and frantic with despair, 
Her dress she rent, and tore her golden hair.”

The Gorgon Medusa before her transformation, while celebrated for her beauty, was equally celebrated for her golden hair:

 

“Medusa once had charms: to gain her love 
A rival crowd of anxious lovers strove. 
They who have seen her, own they ne’er did trace 
More moving features in a sweeter face; 
But above all, her length of hair they own 
In golden ringlets waves, and graceful shone.”

The mermaid that figured so much in the romantic tales of the north, which was evidently borrowed from the story of Atergatis, the fish goddess of Syria, who was called the mother of Semiramis, and was sometimes identified with Semiramis herself, was described with hair of the same kind. “The Ellewoman,” such is the Scandinavian name for the mermaid, “is fair,” says the introduction to the “Danish Tales” of Hans Andersen, “and gold-haired, and plays most sweetly on a stringed instrument.” “She is frequently seen sitting on the surface of the waters, and combing her long golden hair with a golden comb.” Even when Athor, the Venus of Egypt, was represented as a cow, doubtless to indicate the complexion of the goddess that cow represented, the cow’s head and neck were gilded. (HERODOTUS and WILKINSON) When, therefore, it is known that the most famed pictures of the Virgin Mother in Italy represented her as of a fair complexion and with golden hair, and when over all Ireland the Virgin is almost invariably represented at this day in the very same manner, who can resist the conclusion that she must have been thus represented, only because she had been copied form the same prototype as the Pagan divinities?

Nor is this agreement in complexion only, but also in features. Jewish features are everywhere marked, and have a character peculiarly their own. But the original Madonnas have nothing at all of Jewish form or feature; but are declared by those who have personally compared both, entirely to agree in this respect, as well as in complexion, with the Babylonian Madonnas found by Sir Robert Ker Porter among the ruins of Babylon.

There is yet another remarkable characteristic of these pictures worthy of notice, and that is the nimbus or peculiar circle of light that frequently encompasses the head of the Roman Madonna. With this circle the heads of the so-called figures of Christ are also frequently surrounded. Whence could such a device have originated? In the case of our Lord, if His head had been merely surrounded with rays, there might have been some pretence for saying that that was borrowed from the Evangelic narrative, where it is stated, that on the holy mount His face became resplendent with light. But where, in the whole compass of Scripture, do we ever read that His head was surrounded with a disk, or a circle of light? But what will be searched for in vain in the Word of God, is found in he artistic representations of the great gods and goddesses of Babylon. The disk, and particularly the circle, were the well known symbols of the Sun-divinity, and figured largely in the symbolism of the East. With the circle or the disk the head of the Sun-divinity was encompassed. The same was the case in Pagan Rome. Apollo, as the child of the Sun, was often thus represented. The goddesses that claimed kindred with the Sun were equally entitled to be adorned with the nimbus or luminous circle. From Pompeii there is a representation of Circe, “the daughter of the Sun” with her head surrounded with a circle, in the very same way as the head of the Roman Madonna is at this day surrounded. Let any one compare the nimbus around the head of Circe, with that around the head of the Popish Virgin, and he will see how exactly they correspond. *

 

* The explanation of the figure is thus given in Pompeii: “One of them [the paintings] is taken from the Odyssey, and represents Ulysses and Circe, at the moment when the hero, having drunk the charmed cup with impunity, by virtue of the antidote given him by Mercury [it is well known that Circe had a ‘golden cup,’ even as the Venus of Babylon had], draws his sword, and advances to avenge his companions,” who, having drunk of her cup, had been changed into swine. The goddess, terrified, makes her submission at once, as described by Homer; Ulysses himself being the narrator:

 

“Hence, seek the sty, there wallow with thy friends, 
She spake, I drawing from beside my thigh 
My Falchion keen, with death-denouncing looks, 
Rushed on her; she, with a shrill scream of fear, 
Ran under my raised arm, seized fast my knees, 
And

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