From the desk of John Kirk Robertson
Alchemy does not refer to the changing of lead into gold. It symbolizes the transmutation of the Lower Self.
Gold Atma Will Leo Sun
Quicksilver Buddhi Intuition Virgo Mercury
Lead Manas II Lower Mind Capricorn Saturn
The dull thick mind of the Lower Self must be taught to flash and scintillate with the Intuition of Virgo ruled by Mercury (Quicksilver). Only then can the Will - Atma of Leo begin to transmute the lower desires into the spiritual soul-hunger for unity with the Divine Source.
The alchemical meditation is an inner dialogue with someone who is invisible, as also with God (the Monad), or with oneself, or with one's good angel (genius or Higher Self). Only through meditation can the King (Sol or Sun) and the Queen (Luna or Moon) give birth to the precious child of Wisdom (Christchild or Horus ed.). This is the Stone of the Philosopher.
He who wishes to be initiated into the alchemical art of Wisdom must be devout, righteous, of profound understanding, humane, of cheerful countenance and a happy nature.
The Wisdom of Solomon I
I was a child of parts, and a good soul fell to my lot; nay rather, being good, I came into a body undefiled. But perceiving that I could not otherwise possess wisdom except God gave her me I said, Give me wisdom. Send her forth out of the holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory bid her come, that being present with me she may toil with me, and that I may learn what is well-pleasing before thee.
A corruptible body weigheth down the Soul. Who ever gained knowledge of thy counsel except thou gavest wisdom and sentest thy holy spirit from on high. Give me wisdom, her that sitteth by thee on thy throne.
When the Soul of a righteous man descends into the dungeon of the physical body she goes down with him and leaves him not until he is brought the sceptre of his Father's kingdom. What is richer than wisdom which worketh in all things.
Her I loved and sought out from my youth, I sought to take her for my bride and became enamoured of her beauty. For she is a breath of the power of God and a clear effulgence of the glory of the Almighty. I love her and choose to have her rather than Light because her bright shining is never laid to sleep. I prayed and understanding was given me, I called upon God and he gave me the Spirit of Wisdom. (7-8)
The Wisdom of Solomon II
What wisdom is and how she came into being I will declare, and I will not hide mysteries from you; but I will trace her out from the beginning of creation, and bring the knowledge of her into clear light, and I will not pass by the truth. A multitude of wise men is salvation to the world.
She gave me an unerring knowledge of the things that are, to know the constitution of the world, and the operation of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternation of the solstices and the changes of seasons, the circuits of years and the positions of stars.
She is fairer than the Sun and above all the constellations of the stars: being compared with light, she is found to be before it. She knoweth the things of old, and divineth the things to come: she understandeth subtilties of speeches and interpretations of dark sayings: she forseeth signs and wonders, and the issues of seasons and times.
Her true beginning is desire of discipline; and the care for discipline is love of her; and love of her is observance of her laws; and to give heed to her laws confirmeth incorruption; and incorruption bringeth near unto God.
She is an effulgence of the everlasting light, an unspotted mirror of the power of God and an image of his goodness. (7-8)
The Wisdom of Solomon III
Wisdom is radiant and fadeth not away; and easily is beheld of them that love her, and found of them that seek her. She forestalleth them that desire to know her, making herself first known. He that riseth up early to seek her shall have no toil, for he shall find her sitting at his gates.
Wisdom guarded to the end the first formed Father of the world that was created alone. She guided holy men (the Monads) along a marvellous way, and became unto them a covering in the daytime, and a flame of stars through the night. She brought them over the Red Sea (Pisces) and led them through much water. Out of the bottom of the deep she cast them up. When the earth was drowning with a flood wisdom again saved it.
Wisdom delivered a righteous man when he fled from the fire that descended out of heaven on Pentapolis. When a righteous man was a fugitive from a brother's wrath, wisdom guided him in straight paths. When a righteous man was sold she went down with him into a dungeon.
(This descent from the fire refers to the descent of the Monad from Aries. The fugitive from the brother is the Monad as a Gemini twin descending into the Higher Self in Leo.)
The Wisdom of Ecclesiastious
He that hath applied his soul and meditateth in the law of the Most High will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients. He will keep the discourse of the men of renown, and will enter in amidst the subtilties of parables. He will seek out the hidden meaning of proverbs, and be conversant in the dark sayings of parables.
If the great Lord will, he shall be filled with the spirit of understanding; he shall pour forth the words of his wisdom, direct his counsel and knowledge and meditate on God's secrets. He shall show forth the instruction which he hath been taught and shall glory in the law.
A man's soul is sometime wont to bring him tidings more than seven watchmen that sit on high on a watchtower. (This refers to the seven chakrams along the spine.)
Blessed is the man that shall meditate in wisdom, and that shall discourse by his understanding. He that considereth her ways in his heart shall also have knowledge in her secrets. Take counsel with the wise. Let thy converse be with men of understanding and let all thy discourse be in the law of the Most High.
Gather instruction from thy youth up and even unto hoar hairs thou shall find wisdom. Come unto her with all thy soul, and keep her ways with thy whole power. Search and seek, and she shall be made known unto thee. And when thou hast got hold of her let her not go. Be willing to listen to listen to every godly discourse and let not proverbs of understanding escape thee.
Meditate continually on the Lord's commandments.
The Nature of the Stone
The philosopher's stone or white stone of the Mysteries is the purified Soul or Monad.
The polished stone or ashlar is the Higher Self, Solar Triad, or Individuality.
The rough stone is the Lower Self, Lunar Triad or Personality.
The alchemist's stone is the trikona or covering of the muladhara chakram at the base of the spine beneath which lies the fountain of kundalini, the serpent-fire.
The millstone used for the grinding of corn gives the soul the wheat of experience or staff of life. Hence the use of wheat as a symbol in the Mysteries.
Bread, corn or grain is related to Virgo and Intuition ruled by the planet Mercury. The two mill-stones of Spirit (Atma) and Matter create consciousness or fire by friction. The balance point between the wheels is Libra, related to the Higher Mind.
The unmoving centre of the wheel is the Chinese Tao or Way of Enlightenment. The spokes of the wheel are the houses of the zodiac. If four they are the Great Elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
Take the millstone and grind meal. (Is. 47.2)
Transform Yourselves From Dead Stones
The Alchemy of the Self
Carry out the transformation
Of silver into gold,
Raise the Lower to the Higher
And with Mercury be bold.
Go fearless into furnace
With father-lead of black,
Assert red Will of Aries
And nothing you will lack.
The higher gold will glisten
In the rays of Atma-Sun,
The dragon will be conquered
The two shall now be One.
Behold the seals, once broken
Will fuse as lamp of light,
Borne by the Hermit
In the depths of Spirit-Night.
The sunlit skies will open,
And a chariot of fire,
Will carry yet the Pilgrim,
To regions ever higher.
To Sun and Stars exultant,
And elders 'fore the Throne,
Bowed down before the Light of Lights,
That shines from Lapis Stone.
The Alchemical Key to the Christian Mysteries
"Take silver and gold and make crowns." (Zech. 6.11)
The following table gives the key to the alchemical process in man which is represented by the Spiritual marriage of the Sun and the Moon. The Sun represents as ruler of Leo the Atma or Spirit in man. It also symbolises the Higher Self as a Triad. The Moon is the Lower Self or Personality Triad.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE MICROCOSM
SIGN PRINCIPLE NATURE METAL PLANET
Leo Atma ) Spirit Gold Sun
Virgo Buddhi ) Intuition Quicksilver Mercury
Libra Manas I ) Synthetic Mind Brass (Copper) Venus
Earth Bridge Anahkarana Lead Saturn
Moon Manas II ) Analytic Mind Silver Moon
Scorpio Kama ) Desires Iron Mars
Sagittarius Sthula ) Sensations Tin Jupiter
The Lead of the Lower Triad (under the control of Saturn the Initiator, Lord of the Bridge) is transformed into the Spiritual Gold of Atma - Leo ruled by the Sun, through the action of Mercury or Quicksilver, which is the Intuition in Man. (See Jer. 6.29)
Through meditation the consciousness of the Lower Self (Personality) is given spiritual truths by the Intuition so that the alchemical marriage of the Sun and Moon can be achieved. Man becomes God.
The Cycle of the Stone
The wine (spiritual energies) went out (descended into manifestation) of Nabal (the Monad) and he became a stone (reached the physical or densest plane of manifestation. (I Sam. 25.37)
God is the rock. (Ps. 62.7)
A stone for foundations. (Jer. 51.26)
Jacob set up the stone pillar (the spine). (Gen. 28.18)
The rock (spine) had seven eyes (chakras). (Zech. 3.9)
The Lord turneth the flint (stone) into a fountain. (Ps. 114.8)
Speak ye unto the rock and it shall give forth waters. (Num. 20.8)
He openeth the rock and the waters gushed out. (Ps. 105.41)
Hide it (Euphrates-kundalini) in a hole in the rock. (Jer.13.4)
The earth (stone) is moved. (Jer. 49.21)
The angel rolled back the stone. (Matt. 28.2)
He rolleth a stone. (Ecc.27.6; Prov. 26.27)
There arose fire (kundalini) out of the rock. (Judges 6.21)
Saying to a stone. Thou hast brought me (the soul) forth. (Jer. 2.27)
By self purification and meditation the soul can be freed from the rock of the physical body as Andromeda was by Perseus. The winged horse is the purified (white) soul power. The sea is the Cosmic Ocean of Pisces. The monster is the desire-mind or Kama-Manas, entangled with the Astral Plane.
The Purification of Silver:
The Fiery Furnace (A)
He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. (Mal .3.3) (The Higher Self can assist in the purification of the Personality.)
I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. (Zech. 13.9) (The third part is the Personality Triad. The other two parts are the Higher Self or Individuality, and the Lower Self or Personality.
There was lifted up a talent of lead (Saturn) and this is the woman (soul) that sitteth in the midst (Zech. 5.7) The lead of Saturn represents the materialistic nature of the Lower Self. It is transmuted by the energies of the Soul (woman).
The purification is achieved by the purifying powers of the mind which can remove the dross from the silver of the Lower Self. This purification occurs within the oven or furnace.
The day cometh, that shall burn as an oven. (Mal. 4.1)
He shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. (Is. 10.16)
Unto us a child is born… with burning and fuel of fire. (Is. 9.5-6
I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire. (Is.54.16) (This smith is Hephaestus, Govanon and Tubal Gain, the worker in brass, or Hiram. (See I Kings 7.14)
Can a man take fire in his bosom. (Ecc. 6.27)
The Purification of Silver:
The Fiery Furnace (B)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were cast in the fiery furnace.
(Dan. 3.20) Nebuchadnezzar, the king who ordered this said:-
"Lo I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire… and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Dan. 3.25)
The three men are the triune powers of the Self.
Hence the reference to the Son of God. The furnace was heated "seven times more" (Dan. 3.19) because the serpent fire has to rise from the base of the spine through the seven main chakras, depicted elsewhere in the Bible as a scroll or stone with seven eyes. The furnace represents the alchemical purification of the Lower Self or Personality.
Just as a high temperature caused by a fever can burn out the dross or impurities in the physical body so can tu-mo (Chinese or Tibetan term for the flow of psychic energy as heat) warm the physical body in extremely cold weather.
The fire-walking ceremonies held in Fiji and Hawaii demonstrate the power of the mind over heat, internal or external. The furnace of the alchemists is not an external thing. It resides within the body and is similar to the stove mentioned in certain texts in Taoist yoga. The fire is kundalini, and the life energies (or heat) are pranas.
Gold, Silver, Brass and Iron (A)
Iron (Mars) is taken out of the earth (Capricorn) and brass (Libra) is molten out of the stone (Capricorn).
There is a vein for silver (Moon) and a place for gold (Sun). (Job. 28.1-2)
The gold, silver, brass and iron shall come into the treasury of the Lord. (Josh. 6.19)
The Heaven that is over thy head (Higher Self) shall be brass (Libra) and the Earth that is under thee shall be iron (Lower Self of Scorpio-Dan). (Deut. 27.23)
A land whose stones are iron (Mars) and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass (Libra). (Deut. 8.9) (This refers to the marriage of Mars-Scorpio, the Desire Mind, with the Higher Mind of Venus-Libra. Mars and Venus were caught in a net by Hephaestus the smith, fashioner of the weapons of the gods or the powers of the Spirit. Hephaestus lives in the volcano where kundalini, the serpent-fire, dwells at the base of the spine. This is the alchemical furnace.)
He shall cast them into a furnace of fire (kundalini) then shall the righteous shine forth as the Sun (Leo-Atma). (Matt. 13.42-43) The silver and gold are hid in the earth of the tent (of the physical body which is the alchemical alembic or furnace). (Josh. 7.21)
Man shall cast his silver and gold into the rock (of the furnace). (Is. 3.20-21) This is the marriage of the Higher Self (Leo-Fire-Sun) with the Lower Self (Scorpio-Water-Moon).
Gold, Silver, Brass and Iron (B)
Libra, ruled by Venus, represents the Higher Mind. First of all the Lower Self has to be purified.
Take away the dross from the silver. (Ess. 25.4)
Thy silver is become dross, I will purge it. (Is. 1.22 & 25) Then the Lower Self is weighed in the balance of the Scales (Libra) exactly as depicted in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (trans. Budge).
They weigh silver (the Lunar Lower Self) in the balance (Libra). (Is. 46.6) A potsherd, (the physical body) is covered with silver dross. (Ecc. 26.23) It is reprobate silver. (Jer. 6.30) Everyone made an offering of silver. (Exod. 35.24)
Hiram, the widow's son (the power of the Higher Mind or Libra-Venus) is a worker in brass. (I Kings 7.14) Jeremiah speaks of "the pillars of brass and the cauldron." (Jer. 52.18) Ezekiel advises us to "take thee balances and weigh.
This is the reasoning or balancing power of the judicial Higher Hind, the integrative consciousness. (Ezek. 5.1) We must meditate to raise consciousness to this level where we can obtain intuitive guidance from the Higher Self.
The pillars of brass cast by Hiram (I Kings 7.15) are the Taurus-Scorpio and Aries-Libra axes of Venus-Mars, related to the spinal column.
The Alchemical Process in Genesis (A)
: Ab the Father (Saturn)
: Ra the Sun
: Aum or Amen
Sarah is the Great Mother. (Venus in Pisces) (Gen. 23.19)
Isaac, son of Abraham, is the Sun Initiate, offered as a sacrifice by his father. (Gen. 22.9)
Abraham sees a ram (Aries) caught in a thicket. (The Aries-Libra axis down which the Monad descends.) (Gen. 22.13) The ram is then sacrificed in place of Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah who gave birth to Esau and Jacob, (Gen. 25.25) Esau who was red (Aries - Monad) sold his birthright to Jacob. (Gen. 25.33-34) Esau is the Monad in Gemini (the Twins). The other twin is Jacob who has to descend into manifestation as the Lower Self.
The servant of Abraham took ten camels and departed. (Gen. 24.10) (This is the descent of the Soul through the ten planes from Aries to Capricorn. ) The servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham. (Gen. 24.9) The servant (consciousness) has descended from the head (Aries-Ram) to the base of the spine (Scorpio - thigh).
The servant (Mind) met Rebekah (Soul) at the well (muladhara chakram). (Gen. 24.43) He gave her silver (the Lunar Personality) and gold (the Higher Self) to effect the alchemical marriage. (Gen.24.53) Then Rebekah married Isaac, the Monad. (Gen. 24.67) The death of the mother at age 40 (Gen. 24.67) is the killing out of the Lower Quaternary (4) of the Personality.
The Alchemical Process in Genesis (B)
Jacob's ladder (Gen. 28.11-12) is the spine of man along which he saw angels ascending and descending.
The stone he slept on at Haran is the Lapis Philosophorum or Philosopher's stone needed for the alchemical transformation of the powers of the Lower Self into the Higher or Solar Triad.
Jacob set up the stone pillar (spine) and poured oil upon it. This oil is the spiritual energy needed to bring about the unification of the Higher and the Lower Selves.
Unification of the Higher and Lower Selves (Star of David)
(Seal of Vishnu)
For man (the Higher Self) shall leave his Father (the Monad) and his Mother (Virgin Mary, Pisces) and cleave to his wife (the Lower Self). (Gen. 2.24) Thus the descent into manifestation is accomplished.
Then Jacob comes to Shalem (Venus or Salem) and erects an altar to Elohi-Israel (the Elohim). (Gen. 33.18-20)
Christ's Real Existence Impossible
The reader who accepts as divine the prevailing religion of our land may consider this criticism on "The Christ" irreverent and unjust.
And yet for man's true saviors I have no lack of reverence. For him who lives and labors to uplift his fellow men I have the deepest reverence and respect, and at the grave of him who upon the altar of immortal truth has sacrificed his life I would gladly pay the sincere tribute of a mourner's tears.
It is not against the man Jesus that I write, but against the Christ Jesus of theology; a being in whose name an Atlantic of innocent blood has been shed; a being in whose name the whole black catalogue of crime has been exhausted; a being in whose name five hundred thousand priests are now enlisted to keep
"Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne."
Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of humanity, the pathetic story of whose humble life and tragic death has awakened the sympathies of millions, is a possible character and may have existed; but the Jesus of Bethlehem, the Christ of Christianity, is an impossible character and does not exist.
From the beginning to the end of this Christ's earthly career he is represented by his alleged biographers as a supernatural being endowed with superhuman powers.
He is conceived without a natural father: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When, as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. i, 18).
His ministry is a succession of miracles.
With a few loaves and fishes he feeds a multitude: "And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled.
And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men" (Mark vi, 41-44).
He walks for miles upon the waters of the sea:
"And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray; and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea" (Matt. xiv, 22-25).
He bids a raging tempest cease and it obeys him: "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.... And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark. iv, 37 39).
He withers with a curse the barren fig tree: "And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee, henceforth, forever. And presently the fig tree withered away" (Matt. xxi, 19).
He casts out devils: "And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him and hurt him not" (Luke iv, 33, 35).
He cures the incurable: "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off; and when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed" (Luke xvii, I2-I4).
He restores to life a widow's only son: "And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and much people of the city were with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not; And he came and touched the bier; and they that bore him stood still.
And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother" (Luke vii, 12-15).
He revivifies the decaying corpse of Lazarus: "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.... Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.... And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth" (John xi, 14-44).
At his crucifixion nature is convulsed, and the inanimate dust of the grave is transformed into living beings who walk the streets of Jerusalem: "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
And, behold the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints, which slept, arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" (Matt. xxvii, 50-53).
He rises from the dead: "And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door.... And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail" (Matt. xxvii, 59, 60; xxviii, 2, 9.
He ascends bodily into heaven: "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven" (Luke xxiv, 50, 51).
These and a hundred other miracles make up to a great extent this so-called Gospel History of Christ. To disprove the existence of these miracles is to disprove the existence of this Christ.
Canon Farrar makes this frank admission: "If miracles be incredible, Christianity is false. If Christ wrought no miracles, then the Gospels are untrustworthy" (Witness of History to Christ, p. 25).
Dean Mansel thus acknowledges the consequences of the successful denial of miracles: "The whole system of Christian belief with its evidences,...all Christianity in short, so far as it has any title to that name, so far as it has any special relation to the person or the teaching of Christ, is overthrown" (Aids to Faith, p. 3.
Dr. Westcott says: "The essence of Christianity lies in a miracle; and if it can be shown that a miracle is either impossible or incredible, all further inquiry into the details of its history is superfluous" (Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 34).
A miracle, in the orthodox sense of the term, is impossible and incredible. To accept a miracle is to reject a demonstrated truth. The world is governed, not by chance, not by caprice, not by special Providences, but by the laws of nature; and if there be one truth which the scientist and the philosopher have established, it is this: THE LAWS OF NATURE ARE IMMUTABLE.
If the laws of Nature are immutable, they cannot be suspended; for if they could be suspended, even by a god, they would not be immutable. A single suspension of these laws would prove their mutability.
Now these alleged miracles of Christ required a suspension of Nature's laws; and the suspension of these laws being impossible the miracles were impossible, and not performed. If these miracles were not performed, then the existence of this supernatural and miracle-performing Christ, except as a creature of the human imagination, is incredible and impossible.
Hume's masterly argument against miracles has never been refuted:
"A miracle is a violation of the laws of Nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.
Why is it more than probable that all men must die; that lead cannot of itself remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood, and is extinguished by water; unless it be that these events are found agreeable to the laws of Nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or, in other words, a miracle, to prevent them? Nothing is esteemed a miracle if it ever happens in the common course of Nature.
It is no miracle that a man, seemingly in good health, should die suddenly, because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet been frequently observed to happen. But it is a miracle that a dead man should come to life; because that has never been observed in any age or country.
There must, therefore, be a uniform experience against any miraculous event, otherwise the event would not merit the appellation. And as a uniform experience amounts to a proof, there is here a direct and full proof, from the nature of the fact, against the existence of any miracle" (Essay on Miracles).
Alluding to Christ's miracles, M. Renan, a reverential admirer of Jesus of Nazareth, says: "Observation, which has never been once falsified, teaches us that miracles never happen but in times and countries in which they are believed, and before persons disposed to believe them. No miracle ever occurred in the presence of men capable of testing its miraculous character.
It is not, then, in the name of this or that philosophy, but in the name of universal experience, that we banish miracles from history" (Life of Jesus, p. 29).
Christianity arose in what was preeminently a miracle-working age. Everything was attested by miracles, because nearly everybody believed in miracles and demanded them.
Every religious teacher was a worker of miracles; and however trifling the miracle might be when wrought, in this atmosphere of unbounded credulity, the breath of exaggeration soon expanded it into marvelous proportions.
To show more clearly the character of the age which Christ illustrates, let us take another example, the Pythagorean teacher, Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of the Galilean.
According to his biographers and they are as worthy of credence as the Evangelists his career, particularly in the miraculous events attending it, bore a remarkable resemblance to that of Christ.
Like Christ, he was a divine incarnation; like Christ his miraculous conception was announced before his birth; like Christ he possessed in childhood the wisdom of a sage; like Christ he is said to have led a blameless life; like Christ his moral teachings were declared to be the best the world had known;
like Christ he remained a celibate; like Christ he was averse to riches; like Christ he purified the religious temples; like Christ he predicted future events; like Christ he performed miracles, cast out devils, healed the sick, and restored the dead to life; like Christ he died, rose from the grave, ascended to heaven, and was worshiped as a god.
The Christian rejects the miraculous in Apollonius because it is incredible; the Rationalist rejects the miraculous in Christ for the same reason.
In proof of the human character of the religion of Apollonius and the divine character of that of Christ it may be urged that the former has perished, while the latter has survived. But this, if it proves anything, proves too much. If the survival of Christianity proves its divinity, then the survival of the miracle-attested faiths of Buddhism and Mohammedanism, its powerful and flourishing rivals, must prove their divinity also.
The religion of Apollonius languished and died because the conditions for its development were unfavorable; while the religions of Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed lived and thrived because of the propitious circumstances which favored their development.
With the advancement of knowledge the belief in the supernatural is disappearing. Those freed from Ignorance, and her dark sister, Superstition, know that miracles are myths. In the words of Matthew Arnold, "Miracles are doomed; they will drop out like fairies and witchcraft, from among the matter which serious people believe" (Literature and Dogma).
What proved the strength of Christianity in an age of ignorance is proving its weakness in an age of intelligence. Christian scholars themselves, recognizing the indefensibility and absurdity of miracles, endeavor to explain away the difficulties attending their acceptance by affirming that they are not real, but only apparent, violations of Nature's laws; thus putting the miracles of Christ in the same class with those performed by the jugglers of India and Japan.
They resolve the supernatural into the natural, that the incredible may appear credible. With invincible logic and pitiless sarcasm, Colonel Ingersoll exposes the lameness of this attempt to retain the shadow of the supernatural when the substance is gone:
"Believers in miracles should not try to explain them. There is but one way to explain anything, and that is to account for it by natural agencies. The moment you explain a miracle it disappears. You should not depend upon explanation, but assertion. You should not be driven from the field because the miracle is shown to be unreasonable.
Neither should you be in the least disheartened if it is shown to be impossible. The possible is not miraculous."
Miracles must be dismissed from the domain of fact and relegated to the realm of fiction. A miracle, I repeat, is impossible. Above all this chief of miracles, The Christ, is impossible, and does not, and never did exist.