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is but one of many given by men to that apparent source of light, heat, and life. It was shewn by an appeal to facts, defying contradiction, that Christ no more had a real existence than the Chrishna of India, the Adonis of Phenecia, or the Hercules of Egypt and Greece. Chrishna, Adonis, Hercules, Mithra, and a score of others, were personifications of the Sun; and the character of Christ in all its essentials, is but a copy of these, thereby proving the gospel history an imposition; or, in the words of our first Letter, an idle tale, having no foundation whatever in truth, a mere fiction -stolen from the mythological fables of ancient nations.
By reference to scripture texts it has been demonstrated that the history of Jesus Christ, as set forth in the gospels, and as commonly received, must be false; for the texts prove, either, that the gospel account is allegoric, that is, expresses one thing and means another, having no literal truth; or those who insist upon a literal interpretation, and are willing to abide by the naked meaning—who insist that Jesus Christ actually lived and was really crucified, will be forced to admit that he was crucified three times over, at three different places; which extraordinary scriptural evidence, as it involves a contradiction, and an absolute impossiblity, must utterly destroy the belief that Jesus was actually crucified.
These Letters have also made manifest that when Jesus Christ was born, is now a mystery, and was equally a mystery among the first Christians, who knew literally nothing about so important a matter, each sect, as Mosheim observes, holding contradictory opinions thereupon. As to where the infant Saviour first saw the light, it is a question involved in obscurity; for though Luke and Matthew agree that he was born in Bethlehem, and the orthodox, as in duty bound, echo the same, yet it is certain, as Dr. Strauss observes, and we have proved, that there is not a single guarantee that Bethlehem was the place of his birth. Christians who dare think and reason for yourselves, we ask you, is it likely, is it credible, that if the Saviour had come upon earth to regenerate the world-had he been conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, and brought forth by a virgin-that even up to this very day none should know when he was born, or where he was brought forth? Is it credible, nay, is it possible, if such an important personage had really lived, his apostles would have failed to make everything known respecting his earthly career? whereas, even now, none know where he was born, or when; Christians, ancient and modern, holding contradictory opinions thereupon; which is a strong collateral
proof that he was not born at all; besides, the probability of Mosheim is annihilated by the impossibility of the circumstances, for he thought it probable the infant Jesus was born about a year and six months before the death of Herod; but alas! the unlucky bungler, Luke, not being chronologically inspired, seemingly having the most profound contempt for mental, and every other species of arithmetic, has "by slight mistakes," blown-up the whole story; for, as though his brains had been made of bran, or some equally soft material, he makes Mary pregnant with Jesus when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, that is, ten years after the death of Herod; so, according to this probable invention, the virgin-mother was pregnant with the Saviour ten years after the said Saviour was born! This could not be believed, even though it had been written under the influence of inspiration, with a quill from the wing of the Angel Gabriel himself.
The insanity of looking for truth with regard to the origin of the Christian fiction, in the early writings of the church, has been fully pointed out, as also the very equivocal character of the gospels, so snugly and carefully selected-pronounced genuine, to boot, by men of such easy virtue as the early saints, who "were canonized by the ignorance of the times," and the early fathers, who, like Synesius, thought, as darkness suits the blear-eyed better than light, so falsehood was better fitted for the vulgar than truth. It may be fairly presumed that such unique specimens of holiness would treat the people as blear-eyed, to whom the full blaze of intellectual light would be highly prejudicial; in short, this work has so shewn-up the old curiosities, called saints and fathers, that all must feel, the less said about them the better for their reputation; for, like the quack doctors of our own times, their business was to physic the fools-of course, in a spiritual sense; in one point, they agreed to a tee with the mesmerizers of our own times, which is, that there is one nature, one disease, and one cure- -that nature a fallen one; its disease, knowledge; its cure, delusion-delusion-and nothing but delusion! These were the spiritual quacks who voted which should be the true life of Jesus-the genuinely inspired gospels. Who will wonder, then, that they should, as Gibbon said of Eusebius, "relate or select whatever might redound to the glory of their own church, and suppress all that could tend to bring disgrace on their religion." Of their extraordinary ignorance we have left ourselves no room to speak; but thus much may be said, that no set of men ever carried on such a profitable trade in humbug, with so little intellectual
capital; whilst their cruel vindictiveness made them the ever-ready aiders and abettors of all villanies useful to orthodoxy? These, or such as these, pious and holy men it was, who pricked on Constantine, and the other diademed scamp, Theodosius, to issues infa mous decrees that all writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion should be committed to the flames! If such autho rities are to be quoted as respectable, heaven help us from such respectability!if such men were pious and holy, who lean be im pious and unholy? Surely the authority of such sinful saints, and childishly quackish fathers, is sufficient to bear down any cause it is brought to support; at all events, the gospels of their choosing are suspiciously odious, and, as we have proved, shew in every page that they were written by characters compounded and re-compounded of knavery and folly, swing dogs w.droweldr wi Next, the forgery of Josephus was fully exposed; and the whole framework of sophistry urged in favour of the existence as a human being of Jesus, so laboriously and ingeniously constructed by Infi del philosophers, completely demolished. The most remarkable of these writers is Hennel, who, with an industrious ingenuity, worthy of admiration, endeavoured to prove it was beyond question, that Jesus, the peasant of Galilee, actually existed, and played strange pranks in Jerusalem and elsewhere; being an enthusiast, full of ambitious projects, and a first-rate conjuror, whose hands being much quicker than the best Jews' eyes, did practise slight-ofhand with wonderful dexterity; but being overreached at last, completely, like the Diable, out shot at his own bow, was caught and nailed upon the cross. But, the course of lying, like the course of love, rarely does run smooth; and Hennel, as shewn in the last Letter, in the very book written to prove that Jesus actually existed, he has unconsciously furnished one of the most astounding facts ever yet adduced in disproof of his existence, and, as before remarked, never in the history of sophistry was self-refutation so complete.
As to Josephus, it was noted, that he has specially mentioned John the Baptist, but wrote not a line about the man Jesus, or the Christ, and the scandalous forgery of the Christians thereby exposed; but what will astonish the orthodox still more, is, that this very John the Baptist was a worshipper, not of the man or the god Jesus, but Mithra, the god Sun of the Persians! This highly im portant fact has been long known to the literati, and is particularly noticed by Godfrey Higgins, who observes, *" John the Baptist See Anacalypsis, vol. 2, p. 66.
was nothing but one of the followers of Mithra, with whom the deserts of Syria and the Thebais of Egypt abounded, under the name of Essenes. He was a Nazarite; and it is a striking circumstances that the fountain Enon, or Enon, where he baptized, was sacred to the Sun. Though said to have baptized Jesus, it is very remarkable that John established a religion of his own," &c.; remarkable, indeed, it must be to those who believe that Jesus actually existed; for who can suppose that John would have worshipped the god Mithra, or have set up a religion of his own, had he known Jesus to have been the son of the living God?
The testimony of Tacitus, that forlorn hope of the sceptical believer in Jesus that pillar of orthodoxy, upon which all classes of Christians so confidently repose, as not to be shaken, has been snapped in this work, with as much ease as Sampson is said to have broken the pillars of the house of Dagon. It is, indeed, a broken pillar, that not only basely failed, but has cruelly wounded those who rested upon it. In plain language, the passage in Tacitus has not only been proved insufficient, but absolutely made to tell against those who used it; for, fairly examined, it shews this, and nothing more, that the Christians were, in the times of which he wrote the history, a despicable sect, only known as the professors of a malignant superstition men who, under the vulgar appellation of Christians, were branded with deserved infamy." Again, Suetonius speaks of one Christ exciting sedition under Claudius, at Rome; while Tacitus writes of a certain Christ, put-to-death by Pontius Pilate, at Jerusalem, in the reign of Tiberius; which conflicting evidence, as before urged, not merely balance, and, as it were, hold each other in equilibrio, but are mutually destructive, at most, their joint effect is to shew that there did exist in Jerusalem, and at Rome, a sect called Christian (which no one ever dreamt of denying), while they leave untouched the only question which really concerns us, namely, the actual existence of the god, prophet, or man, called Jesus, who is described in the gospels.
With regard to Dr. Strauss, and his "Life of Jesus," we feel much pleasure in expressing our admiration of his great ability; but, as said by a German critic, "The Leben Jesu of Dr. Strauss is not properly a life of Jesus, but rather a critical comparison and analysis of the apocryphal and canonical gospels; though the work is worthy of all praise as a stupendous monument of patient and * Annals XV. 44.
laborious research, it is really no more a Leben Jesu than a life of Casper Hauser, or Alexander Selkirk."
It would have been easy to have swollen this little work into a ponderous tome, by piling proof upon proof against the existence of Jesus; but were we to write for an age, it would be impossible to do more than disprove his existence, which, it is presumed, is in this work effectually done. Those who will not read what is here written, it is obvious, will not be convinced by its arguments. Such as decide without examination, are bigots!-and wisdom is the price of bigotry. Those who have not the courage to examine it, are fettered by their fears-a mental condition beyond the reach of moral surgery: and as to those who cannot reason, they are the fools of society-the prescriptive property of knaves. All of the latter class have a kingdom not of this world, that is, the world of reason and reality, but one in regions somewhere beyond the moon; the willing dupes of such worthies as Tertullian, who, in the true spirit of the faithful, says, "Why am I not ashamed of maintaining that the Son of God was born? Why, because it is itself a shameful thing. I maintain that the Son of God died. Well; that is wholly credible, because it is monstrously absurd. I maintain that after having been buried he rose again; and that I take to be unquestionably true, because it is absolutely impossible."-Those who with Tertullian will maintain all this farrago of absurdities, and more, if necessary, will not be moved by this book, except to burn it, or or to see it burned by the common hangman.
In conclusion; though to the critical eye this work may appear disfigured by imperfections-by all who look for bold and wholesome truth, it will be hailed as one of the most useful that has ever issued from the press. A work which has forced its way to public notice, under circumstances the most discouraging and difficult, not the least of these was the spiteful-frantic opposition of bigot theologians; those interpreters of celestial things, who, when the spark of truth is thrown among them, are explosive and dangerous as gunpowder; in short, it has furnished irresistible evidence in Disproof of the Existence of Jesus Christ, in spite of bigots, who will not reason; slaves, who dare not reason; and fools, who cannot reason!
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