FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
THE SAINTLY "FATHERS" OF THE FAITH
SEGMENTS:R R CONFESSINON OF PATRISTIC UNTRUSTWORTHINESS R R PATRISTIC "TRADITION" R R THE TWELVE "TRADITIONAL" APOSTLES
RR THE APOSTLES R R APOSTOLIC GREED AND STRIFE R R THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS R R 1 Clement of Rome R R 2 Ignatius R R 3 Polycarp
RR 4 Barnabas R R 5 Hermas R R THE SUB-APOSTOLIC FATHERS R R 6 Papias R R 7 Justin Martyr R R 8 Irenaeus R R JESUS DIED OF OLD AGE!
RR 9 Tertullian R R 10 Clement of Alexandria R R 11 Origen R R 12 Lactantius R R THE PAGAN "LOGOS" CHRISTIANIZED R R 13 Augustine
RR AUGUSTINE "PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY" R R CHRISTIAN PAGANISM R R RETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"The greater Saint, the greater Liar." Diegesis.
"The principal historians of the patristic period cannot always be completely trusted." (CE. vi, 14.)
EMBRACED WITHIN CE.'s confession of patristic untrustworthiness and perversion of truth is every "Father" and Founder of the Church of Christ of the first three centuries of the fabrication of the new Faith,-as by their own words will now be demonstrated. Yet upon these self-same not-to-be-trusted fabulists and forgers do the truth and validity of the Christ and the Christian religion solely and altogether depend. They destroy it.
The Fathers of our country, framers of our Constitution and form of government, were men of personal honor and of public probity; the most of them were Infidels. The "Fathers" and founders of the Christian religion and Church of Christ were, all of them, ex-Pagan charlatans-"we who formerly used magical arts," as Father Justin Martyr admits (I Apology, xiv), who took up the new Christian superstition and continued to ply the same old magical arts under a new veneer, upon the ignorant and superstitious pagans and near-pagans, as the ensuing pages will demonstrate. The, Fathers will show themselves to be wholly destitute of common sense of opinion and of common honesty of statement, credulous and mendacious to the n-th degree.
It is of capital importance to an intelligent and adequate understanding of the Christian religion, of which these Fathers were the originators and propagandists, to see their work in the making, and to know the mental and moral limitations and obliquities of these fatuous, fabling, forging Fathers of the Church. We shall see them to be grotesquely credulous of every fable, many of which themselves fabricated: reckless of truth to the highest degree; fluent and unscrupulous Liars of the Lord, whose lies, if thereby the "glory of God" were made the more to abound, they, like Paul, counted it no sin (Rom. iii, 7), as we have seen confessed. lake Paul, "being crafty," they made a holy craft of catching the credulous with guile; and like Paul, they boasted of it. (2 Cor. xii, 16.)
For the ampler appreciation of the utter incapacity of these pious ex-Pagan and ex-Magician Fathers to comprehend truth or to tell it, and of their childish and reckless irresponsibility in relating as truth what they knew was not true, we need but look briefly at their records and wonder at their moronic mentality. For this purpose, and to watch the snow-ball-like roll and growth of their Fatherly "traditions" and fabrications into forged Church, Creed, and Dogma, a brief sketch is given, in chronological order-a veritable Roll of Dishonor-of the chiefest of them; citing under each name a few-out of innunierable-of their extravagant, childish-minded and tortuous precepts and practices of Christian propaganda; together with sundry forgeries perpetrated by them or in their sainted names.
An admirable norm and test of trustworthiness is stated by Middleton, one of the keenest critics of the Miracle-mongering of the Feathers: "The authority of a writer who affirms any questionable fact, must depend on the character of his veracity and judgment. In many cases the want of judgment alone has all the same effect, as the want of veracity, too, towards invalidating the testimony of a witness; especially in cases of an extraordinary or miraculous nature, where the weakness of men is more apt to be imposed upon." (A Free Inquiry, P. 26.) It will give pause to think, to that yet great and priest-taught clash of Believers who, like the Fathers themselves, "think the credibility of a witness sufficient evidence of the certainty of all facts indifferently, whether natural or supernatural, probable or improbable, and knowing no difference between faith and facts, take a facility of believing to be the surest mark of a good Christian." (Ibid, Preface, v.) Their faith reasons-if at all-in the terms of Father Tertullian: "It is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd; the fact is certain, because it is impossible." (De Carne Christi, ch. v, ANF. iii, 525.)
The mental limitations of the Fathers we have seen several times admitted and apologized for by CE.; further it confesses of them: "It was natural that in the early days of the Church, the Fathers, writing with little scientific knowledge, should have a tendency" to fall into sundry comical and preposterous errors "now entirely abandoned" (iii, 731). This is but another of its many luminous confessions of the ignorance and uncritical credulity of the pious Fathers, extending over fifteen hundred years of Church history, and even yet!
The childlike mental processes of the Fathers, their all-accepting credulity, and the utter worthlessness of their opionns and "traditions" as to things divine and human, is oft-admitted and will be made manifest. We shall soon see that the Four Gospels which Christians, with childlike faith accept as the genuine handiwork of the apostles and immediate companions of Christ, are anonymous forgeries of a century and more after their time, and that the other New Testament booklets, Acts and Epistles of the alleged apostles, are so many other forgeries made long after their times.
The forged New Testament booklets and the foolish writings of the Fathers, are the sole "evidence" we have for the alleged facts and doctrines of our most holy Faith, as is admited by (CE.: "Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development, are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures and various sub-Apostolic writings, the authenticity of which we must to a great extent take for granted here. (CE, iii, 712.) The Christian religion and the Church thus confessedly exist upon data and documents the authenticity and verity of which "must be taken for granted,"-but which are well known, and are here easily shown, to be false and fabricated, with deceptive intent.
This word "tradition," of Fathers and Church, we shall frequently meet, such "tradition" being urged as evidence of the reality and verity of these things with easy gesture "taken for granted" by the beneficiaries of the System based upon them. What, then, is "tradition"? Of what value is "tradition," as evidence of things naturally incredible and unverifiable,-of alleged events and miraculous happenings over a century before the "traditions"-invariably contradictory-which first allege them as facts for Faith? For instance: "The famous texts of Irenaeus on Apostolic Succession are a testimony to the faith [i.e. "traditions"] of the second century, rather than an example of historical narrative." (CE. vii, 341.)
Tradition is popular stories and hand-me-down reports or gossip current in the community or passing current among any particular class of people; it is of the same stuff as legend is made of. One pious Father or propagator of the Faith would aver some wonder-tale which would attract credulous interest; the next, in repeating it, invariably embroiders it with new fancies, and so it grows like a snowball of fables. We have seen the example of the garnishments of the Fathers to the forged Aristeas-tale regarding the Septuagint; we shall see the Fatherly "traditions" suddenly crop up a century or two after some alleged event, embroider and expand-and contradict themselves from Father to Father in the telling, with respect to every single instance: Gospel-tales, forged "apocrypha" narratives, false foundations of churches, bishops, popes, apostolic successions. Thus the Fathers inflated their originally fictitious "traditions" of this and that, and on such bases the New Testament and the Church of Christ arose. Of course, the credibility of any "tradition" or alleged fact depends wholly on the credit of the first narrator of it, to all later repeaters it is purely hearsay, and gains no further credit from the number of those repeating the original tale. If a thing is a lie when first told, repetaion ad infinitum cannot make it into a truth.
In a note to one instance of patristic tradition recorded in the bulky collection, the editors of the ANF., to which we are indebted for most of what follows regarding these fatuous Fathers, make fhis sententious comment: "Hearsay at second-hand, and handed about among many, amounts to nothing as evidence." And this is the comment of Father Bishop Eusebius, the first Church historian, on the "traditions" of good Father Bishop Papias, firist of the sub-Apostolic Fathers: "These sayings [of Jesus Christ and apostles] consisted of a number of strange parables, and doctrines of our Saviour, which the authority of so venerable a person, who had lived with the apostles, imposed on the Church as genuine." (Mist. Eccles. Bk. III, ch. 39.) But this is simply another fictitious "tradition," that Papias "lived with the apostles," for he did not, as his own words and CE. will disclose when we come to sketch that pious fabulist of a Father. Such are patristic and ecclesiastical "traditions," of which sufficient examples are yet to be noticed.
THE TWELVE "TRADITIONAL" APOSTLES
There were Twelve Tribes of Israel: and Moses, coming down from Sinai, appointed twelve young men "according to the twelve tribes of Israel" to sacrifice at the twelve phallic pillars which he get up to celebrate the giving of the Law. (Ex. xxiv, 4-5.) So "tradition" has it that Jesus appointed Twelve Apostles: "The number twelve was symbolical, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel" (EB. i, 264); but the whole story is fictitious, says EB. (iii, 2987), with the soundest Scriptural basis for its conclusion. As this-and many other fictional features of the Christ-biographies-are fully examined in my Is It God's Word? (Chaps. XIII-XIV), I must refer to it for the confused "traditions" of the Twelve, for the purpose of showing their wholly fictitious character,
After the same "symbolical" fashion the legendary "Seventy Elders of Israel," commanded by Yahveh and chosen by Moses (Num. xi, 16, 24), had their counterpart in the equally legendary "Seventy Disciples, whom also the lord appointed" (Luke x, 1),-and who furnished so many zealous missionaries and early church-founders, as their "records" pretend, and so many of which are by CE,. declared to be fraudulent and forged. Bear in mind that the "Gospel"' records, as we shall see, are anonymous forgeries of a century and more after the "traditional" events recorded; and the unreliable nature of "tradition" is further illutitrated.
The probability if not assurance will appear the stronger, as we proceed with the Fathers and with the "sacred writings," that the Holy Twelve had no exintence in the flesh, but their "cue" being taken from the Old Testament legends, they were mere names-dramatic persons,-masks of the play,-of "tradition," such as Shakespeare and all playwrights and fiction-writers create for the actors of their plays and works of admitted fiction.
A very curious and challenging admission is made by CE. in speaking of the noted forgeries, long regarded as inspired, of the "Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite," who "clove unto Paul" after his Mar's Hill harangue (Acts xvii, 34), and all whose name many precious forgeries-"a series of famous writings" (CE. v, 13)-were forged by pious Christians "at the very earliest in the latter half of the fifth century," and which were "of highest and universully acknowledged authority, both in the Western and in the Eastern Church, lasting until the beginning of the fifteenth century," followed by a "period of aharp conflict Waged about their authenticity, begun by Laurentius Valla, and closing only within recent years." (CE. v, 15.) "Those writings," says CE.-with more far-reaching suggestion than intinded "with intent to deceive, weave into their narrative certain fictitious personages, such as Peter, James, John, Timothy, Carpus, and others." (CE. vii, 345.) If these great Apostles and "pillars of the Faith" are "fictitious personages" in the long-revered but now admitted forgeries of Pseudo-Dionysius, by what token may they be any the less fictitious personages in the hundreds of other equally forged Christian writings Which we shall notice,-as also in the to-be-deomonstrated forgeries of Gospel, Acts and Epistles, in which the identical personages, or dramatis personae, play their imaginary and self-contradictory roles, as we shall promptly see? For fifteen hundred years, and until "only within recent years," were the Dionysian forguries tenaciously proclaimed as genuine by the Holy-Ghost-guided Church; may it not have been equally misguided as to the "suthenticity" of its Gospels and other "sacred writings"? If, in the venerated "pseudo-Areopagite," the sainted Peter, Paul, John, et als., are admittedly "fictitious personages," how do they acquire the flesh and blood of actual persons in Gospels and Epistles? We shall see.
Two of them, the principal, Peter and John, are described to be "anthropoi agrammatoi kai idiotai-unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts iv, 13); all Twelve were of the same type and well matched. They were variously picked up from among the humblest and most superstitious of the Galilee peasants, fishermen and laborers, "called" personally, we are told by the Son of God, the proclaimed King-to-be of the Jews, to be his counsellors and associates in the establishment of his earthly and heavenly Kingdoms-of Jews. As for the King-to-be and his prospective Court, a saddening and repellent portraiture is sketched in the inspired Biographies: though it is true, "The chronology of the birth of Christ and the subsequent Biblical events is most uncertain." (CE. vii, 419.) His parents and family regarded him as insane and sought to resrtrain him by foree. (Mark iii, 21; cf. John x, 20.) He and his Apostle-band toured Palestine with a retinue of bare-foot and unwrshed peasant men and women, shocking polite people by their habits of not washing even their hands to eat when invited as guests, and by the violence of their language. These traits ran in his peasant family and relatives, His cousin, known as John the Baptist, was a desert dervish, unwashed and unshorn, who wore a leather loin-strap for clothes and whose regular diet, was wild bumble-bee honey and raw grasshoppers. His own brother James was an unkempt and filthy as any Saint in the calendar; of him Bishop Eusebius records: "James, the brother of the Lord, ... a razor never came upon his head, he never anointed with oil, and never used a bath"! (HE. II, 23.) With the Master at their head, the Troupe wandered up and down the little land, proclaiming the immediate end of the world, playing havoc with the legions of devils who infested the peasantry, and preaching Hell and Damnation for all who would not heed their fanatical preachments.
APOSTOLIC GREED AND STRIFE.
As for the Twelve, the hope of great reward was the inspiredly recorded motive of these peanants; who left their petty crafts for hope of greater gain by following the lowly King-to-be. The zeal and greed for personal aggrandizement of the Chosen Twelve is constantly revealed throughout the inspired record. hardly had the Holy Twelve gotten organized and into action, when the cunning and crafty Peter, spokesman for the craft, boldly came forward and advanced the itching palm: "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" (Matt. xix, 27.) And the Master came back splendidly with the Promise: "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. xix, 28). But even these brillant future rewards could not satisfy the greed of the Holy Ones, and led not to gratitude, but to greater greed and strife.
The Mother of James and John, probably inspired by them, and zealous for their greater glory, came secretly with her two sons, to Jesus, "worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him" (Matt. xx, 20); and when Jesus asked her what it was, "she saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom." (v. 21.) But Mark contradicts the assurance of Matthew that it was Mrs. Zebedee who came and made the request, and avers that "James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, stying, Maister, we would that thou shouldst do for us whatsoever we shall desire," and stated their own modest demands for preferment. (Mark x, 35-37.) But, in either contradictory event, both agree that "when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren." (Matt. xxix, 24; Mark x, 41.)
Not during the whole one-or three-years of association with their Master, did these holy Apostles abate their greed and strife. Several times are recorded desputes among them as to "who should be greatest among them" (Matt. xviii, 1; Mark ix, 33-34; Luke ix, 46)-here again the "harmony of the Gospels" assuring the constant inharmony of the Apostles. And even at the Last Supper, when Jesus had announced that one of them would that night betray him to death, "there was also strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." (Luke xxii, 24.) And great was the disgust of the Master at his miserable Apostles, and especially at the craven and crafty Peter, Jesus had spurned him with blasting scorn, "and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offense to me" (Matt. xvi, 23); and again the Gospels are in harmony (Mt. xvi, 23; Mk. viii, 33). Such are the Holy Apostles of Jesus Christ, said to be painted by some of themselves through inspiration. This "Satan" Peter, later constituted "Saint" Peter, shall again deserve our attention.
THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS
Under this rubric CE. lists, as those who were "converted with the apostles," and, after them, were the first propagandists of the Truth, the Catholic Saints Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Barnabas, and Hermas; they fill up the first half of the second century of the era. The "traditions" preserved of these saintly Fathers of the Church are very scanty and dubious; but from what exists they were all within the apostolic description of Peter and John, "ignorant and unlearned men," and like Bishop Pipias, as described by Bishop Eusebius, "men of very small minds, if we may judge from their own words," of which we shall now read for ourselves. It will be noted that all these Fathers, like all the sub-apostolic Fathers for the first two centuries and more, were ex-Pagans, and (with the alleged exception of "Pope" Clement), were Greeks, of scattered parts of the Empire, who wrote and taught in Greek, and with the very questionable exception of Clement, had nothing to do with "the Church which sojourns at Rome." Each was the Bishop and head of his own local, and independent, Church; and never once does one of them (except Clement of Rome, in a forged Epistle), speak of or mention the Church of Rome, or more than barely mention Peter (and only as one of the Apostles), nor mention or quote a single book of the New Testament,-though they are profuse in quoting the Old Testament books, canonical and apocryphal, the Pagan gods, and the Sibylline oracles, as inspired testimonies of Jesus Christ. The significance of all this will appear.
1. Clement of Rome (about 30-96 A.D.)
He is alleged to be the first, second, third, or fourth, Bishop, or Pope, of Rome (CE. iv, 13); and to be the author of two Epistles to the Corinthians, besides other bulky and important forgeries, thus confessed and catalogued by CE:
"Many writings have been falsely attributed to Pope St. Clement: (1) The 'Second Clementine Epistle to the Corinthians.' Many critics have believed them genuine [they having been read in the Churches]. ... But it is now admitted on all hands that they cannot be by the same author as the genuine [?] Epistle to the Corinthians. ... (2) Two Epistles to Virgins.' (3) At the head of the Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals stand five letters attributed to St. Clement. (4) Ascribed to Clement are the 'Apostolic Constitutions,' 'Apostolic Canons,' and the "Testament of our lord.' (5) The 'Clementines' or 'Pseudo-Clementines,' including the Recognitions and Homilies," hereafter to be noticed. (CE. iv, 14-15; cf. 17, 39.)
The second of these alleged Epistles of Clement to the Corinthians is thus admittedly a forgery, together with everything else in his name but the alleged First Epistle. The case for this First Epistle is little if any better; but as it is the very flimsy basis of one of the proudest claims of Holy Church-though suppressed as "proof" of another claim which it disproves,-it is, as it were, plucked as a brand from the burning of all the other Clementine forgeries, and placed at the head of all the writings of the Fathers. Of this I Clement EB. says: "The author is certainly not Clement of Rome, whatever may be our judgment as to whether or not Clement was a bishop, a martyr, a disciple of the apostles. The martyrdom, set forth in untrustworthy Acts, has for its sole foundation the identification of Clement of Rome with Flavius Clement the consul, who was executed by cominand of Domitian,"-A.D. 81-96. (EB. iii, 3486.) This First Epistle is supposed to have been written about the year 96-98, by Clement, friend and coworker of Paul, according to the late "tradition" first set in motion by Dionysius, A.D. 170. But "This Clement," says CE., after citing the Fathers, "was probably a Philippian." (CE. iv, 13.) "Who the Clement was to whom the writings were ascribed, cannot with absolute certainty be determined." (ANF. i, 2.)
It is notable that the pretendedly genuine "First Epistle" does not contain or mention the name of any one as its author, nor name Clement; its address is simply: "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojurning at Corinth." There is only one MS. of it in existence, a translation into Latin from the original Greek. This is the celebrated MS. of "Holy Scripture" known as Codex A, which was discovered and presented to Charles I of England by Cyril of Alexandria, in 1628; the Fathers cited both I and II Clement as Scripture. On this MS., at the end of I Clement, is written, "The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians": a subscription which proves itself a forgery and that it was not written by Clement, who could not know that a later forger would write a "Second Clement," so as to give him occasion to call his own the First. (ANF. viii, 55-56.)
By whomever this "First Epistle" was written, by Father, Bishop, or Pope of Rome, his zeal and his intelligence are demonstrated by his argument, in Chapter xxv, of the truth of the Resurrection; in proof of which he makes this powerful and faith-compelling plea: "Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the City called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the 500th year was completed." (ANF. i. p. 12. Note: "This fable respecting the phoenix is mentioned by Herodotus (ii, 73) and by Pliny (Nat. X, 2), and is used as above by Tertullian (De Resurr., see. 13), and by others of the Fathers." CF,. iv, 15.)
The occasion for the pretended writing of this Epistle, and the very high significance of it, will be noticed when we treat of the origin of the Church which sojourns at Roine.
Saint, Bishop of Antioch (born in Syria, c. 50-died rather latitudinously "between 98 and 117"). "More than one of the early ecclesiastical writers has given credence, though apparently without good reason, to the legend that Ignatius was the child whom the Saviour took up in his armos, as described in Mark, ix, 35." (CE. vii, 644.) "If we include St. Peter, Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch," (CE, vii, 644),-thus casting doubt on another and a most monumental but confused Church "tradition." He was the subject of very extensive forgeries; fifteen Epistles bear the name of Ignatius, including one to the Virgin Mary, and her reply; two to the apostle John, others to the Philippians, Tarsians, Antiocheans, Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrneans, and to Polycarp, besides a forged Martyrium; the clerical forgers were very active with the name of Saint Ignatius. Of these, eight Epistles and the Martyrium are confessedly forgeries; "they are by common consent set aside as forgeries, which were at various dates and to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch" (ANF. i, 46; CE. vii, 645); though, says CE., "if the Martyrum is genuine, this work has been greatly interpolated." As to the seven supposed by some to be genuine, "even the genuine epistles were greatly interpolated to lend weight to the personal views of its author. For this reason they are incapable of bearing witness to the original form" (CE. vii, 645); and even the authenticity of the "genuine seven" was warmly disputed for several centuries. The dubious best that CE. can say is: "Perhaps the best evidence for their authenticity is to be found in the letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, which mentions each of them by name ... UNLESS, indeed, that of Polycarp itself be regarded as interpolated or FORGED." (Ib. p. 646.)
As good proofs as may be that these "seven genuine" are late forgeries, are: of each one of them, as printed in the ANF., there are "two recensions, a shorter and a longer," printed in parallel columno, thus demonstrating that the longer at least is "greatly interpolated"; the most significant being a refercnce to Peter and Paul, constituting the "interpolated" part of Chap. vii of the Epistle to the Romans, hereafter noticed. That as a whole they are late forgeries, is further proved by the fact, stated by Cardinal Newman, that "the whole system of Catholic doctrine may be discovered, at least in outline, not to say in parts filled up, in the course of his seven Epistles" (CE, vii, 646); this including the impossibilities-for that epoch-of the elaborated hierarchy of the Imperial Church as having been instituted by the humble Nazarene,-who was to "come again" and put an end to all earthly things within the generation; the infallibility of the Church, the supernatural virtue of virginity, and the primacy of the See of Rome,-at the supposed time of Ignatius, a little horde of nondescripts burrowing in the Catacombs of imperial Rome! Oh, Church of God: never a scrap of paper even touched by you but was a loathsome forgery to the glory of your fictitious God and Christ! So as Father Saint Ignatius did not write anything authentic, he escapes the self-condemnation of the other Apostolic Fathers. May his martyred remains rest in peace.
3. Polycarp: (69-155)
Saint, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr. Only one Epistle, addressed to the Philippians, remains of Polycarp, and of it CE. discusses the "serious question" of its genuineness, which depends upon that of the Ignatian Epistles, and vice versa, above discussed; it says: "If the former were forgeries, the latter, which supports-it might almost be said presupposes-them, must be a forgery from the same hand." (CE. xii, 219.) Poor Church of God, cannot you produce something of your Saints that isn't a forgery?
But if Saint Polycarp did not write anything genuine, his Church of Smyrna did itself proud in doing honor to his pretended Martyrtioin, in A.D. 154-5, or 165-6 (lb.)-so exact is Church "tradition." In one of the earliest Encyclicals-(not issued by a Pope)-the wondrous tale is told. It it; addressed: "The "The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium, and to all the congregations of the holy and Catholic-[first use of term]-Church in every place"; and proceeds in glowing words to recount the virtues, capture, trial and condemnation to death by fire, of the holy St. Polycarp. Just before his capture, polycarp dreamed that his pillow was afire; he exclaimed to those around, "prophetically, 'I am to be burned alive.'" The forged and fabling Epistle proceeds: "Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, 'Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp.' No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice" (Ch. ix). Then the details of his trial before the magistrates, and the verbatim report of his prayer when led to his fate (xiv). Then (Chap. xv):
"When he had pronounced this amen, and so finished his prayer, those who were appointed for the purpose kindled the fire. And as the flame blazed forth in great fury, we, to whom it was given to witness it, beheld a great miracle, and have been preserved that we might report to others what then took place. For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch., like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle of fire the body of the martyr. And he appeared within not like flesh which is burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold and silver glowing in a furnace. Moreover, we prececived such a sweet odor (coming from the pile), as if frankincene or some such precious spices had been smoking there. (Ch. xvi.) At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished"! (Letter of the Church at Smyrna, ANF. i. 39-44; CE. xii, 221.)
Even this holy Encyclical, at least as to its appended date, is not without suspicion; for, "The possibility remains that the subscription was tampered with by a later hand. But 155 must be approximately correct." (CE. xii, 221.) Oh, for something saintly above suspicion!
4. Barnabas: (no dates given):
Saint, a Jew; styled an Apostle, and variously a Bishop, and wholly "traditional." "Though nothing is recorded of Barnabas for some years, he evidently acquired a high position in the Church"; for "a rather late tradition recorded by Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius-[over 200 years later]-says he was one of the Seventy Disciples; but Acts (iv, 36-37)" indicates the contrary. "Various traditions represent him as the first Bishop of Milan, as preaching at Alexandria and at Rome, whose fourth Bishop, St. Clement, he is said to have converted, and as having suffered martyrdom in Cyprus. The traditions are all late and untrustworthy. He is credited by Tertullian (probably falsely) with the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the so-called Epistle attributed to him." (CE. ii, 300, 301.) Saint Barnabas, or his clerical counterfeiter, had some queer notions of natural history. Expounding the reasons why Moses banned certain animals as "unclean" and unfit for "Kosher" food, the Saintly writer says: that Moses banned the hare, "Because the hare multiplies, year by year, the places of its conception; for as many years as it lives, so many it has"; and the hyena, "Wherefore? Because that animal annually changes its sex, and is at one time male, and at another female"; and the weasel, "For this animal conceives by the mouth." (Epist. Barnabas, Ch. x,; ANF. i, 143.) Perhaps from this, other holy Fathers derived the analogous idea, to save the rather imperiled virginity of "the proliferous but ever Virgin mother of God," Mary, that she "per aurem concepit-conceived through her ear"-as sung in the sacred Hymn of the Church:
"Gaude Virgo, mater Christi,
Thus we have, in CE. (supra) several Fathers imputed as liars, and a suspicion suggested as to Paul's inspired Epistle to the Hebrews (which is another forgery), and the admission of a forged Epistle of Saint Barnabas. Poor Church of Christ!
Saint, Martyr, seems to have missed being Bishop, "first or second century,"-though the Church Saint record is so confused that I cannot vouch whether this one is the reputed author of the forged Epistle of Barnabas. But "in the lists of the Seventy Apostles by the Pseudo-Doretheus and the Pseudo-Hippolytus [two more forgeries], Hermas figures as Bishop of Philippi. No one any longer supposes that he was the author of the Shepherd of Hermas, the date of which is about 40 A.D., though from Origen onwards Church-writers have expressed this view, and accordingly have given that allegorical work a place among the writings of the apostolic Fathers." (EB. ii, 2021; cf. CE. vii, 268.) The latter says that this "work had great authority in ancient times and was ranked with Holy Scripture" and included as such in the MSS. of Holy Writ; but it is called "apocryphal and false,"-like everything else the Holy Church has ever had for "Scripture" or for self-aggrandizement. The pious author quotes the quaint forged Eldad and Medad as Scripture, and the Pagan Sibyls as inspired Oracles of God.
THE SUB-APOSTOLIC FATHERS
6. Papias: (about 70-155 A.D.)
Bishop of Hieropolis, in Phrygia, of whose "life nothing is known" (CE. xi, 459); who, after the Apostles and contemporary with the early Presbyters, was the first of the sub-Apostolic Fathers. He was an ex-Pagan Greek, who flourished as a Christian Father and Bishop during the first half of the second Christian century; the dates of his birth and death are unknown. He is said to have written five Books entitled "Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord"-that is, of the Old Testament "prophecies"; these are now lost, "except a few precious fragments" (CE. vi, 5), whether fortunately or otherwise may be judged from the scanty "precious fragments" preserved in quotations by some of the other Fathers. According to Bishop Eusebius (HE. iii, 39), quoted by CE. (xi, 549), "Papias was a man of very small mind, if we may judge by his own words";-though again he calls him "a man well skilled in all manner of learning, and well acquainted with the [O.T.] Scriptures." (HE. iv, 36,) As examples, Eusebius cites "a wild and extraordinary legend about Judas Iscariot attributed to Papias," wherein he says of Judas; "his body having swollen to such extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out." (ANF. i, 153.) This Papian "tradition" of course impeaches both of the other contradictory Scriptural traditions of Judas, to wit, that "he went and hanged himself" (Matt. xxvii, 5), and Peter's alleged statement that "falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out." (Acts i, 15-18.) Bishop Eusebius says that Bishop Papias states that "those who were raised to life by Christ lived on until the age of Trajan,"-Roman Emperor from 98-117 A.D. Father Papias falls into what would by the Orthodox be regarded as "some" error, in disbelieving and denying the early crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ-evidently not then a belief; for he assures us, on the authority of what "the disciples of the Lord used to say in the old days," that Jesus Christ lived to be an old man; and so evidently died in peace in the bosom of his family, as we shall see explicitly confessed by Bishop Irenaeus. Father Papias relates the raising to life of the mother of Manaimos; also the drinking of poison without harm by Justus Barsabas; which fables he supported by "strange parables of the Savior and teachings of his, and other mythical matters," says Bishop Eusebius (quoted by CE.), which the authority of so venerable a person, who had lived with the Apostles, imposed upon the Church as genuine." (Eusebius, Hist. Eccles. Bk. III, ch. 39.) But Father Papias-this is important to remember-is either misunderstood or misrepresented, in his claim to have known the Apostles, or at least the Apostle John; for, says CE., in harmony with EB. and other authorities: "It is admitted that he could not have known many Apostles. ... Irenaeus and Eusebius, who had the works of Papias before them, understood the presbyters not to be Apostles, but disciples of disciples of the Lord, or even disciples of disciples of the Apostles." (CE. xi, 458; see Euseb. HE. III, 39.) This fact Papias himself admits, that he got his "apostolic" lore at second and third hand: "If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings,-what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord's disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice." (Papias, Frag. 4; ANF. i, 153.)
One of the "wild and mythical matters" which good Father Papias relates of Jesus Christ, which is a first-rate measure of the degree of his claimed intimacy with John the Evangelist, and of the value of his pretended testimony to the "Gospels" of Matthew and Mark, to be later noticed, is the "curious prophecy of the miraculous vintage in the Millennium which he attributes to Jesus Christ," as described and quoted by CE. In this, Papias assures us, on the authority of his admirer Bishop Irenaeus, that he "had immediately learned from the Evangelist St. John himself," that: "the Lord taught and said, That the days shall come in which vines shall spring up, each having 10,000 branches, and in each branch shall be 10,000 arms, and on each arm of a branch 10,000 tendrils, and on each tendril 10,000 bunches, and on each bunch 10,000 grapes, and each grape, on being pressed, shall yield five and twenty gallons of wine; and when any one of the Saints shall take hold of one of these bunches, another shall cry out, 'I am a better bunch, take me, and bless the Lord by me.'" The same infinitely pious twaddle of multiplication by 10,000 is continued by Father Papias with respect to grains of wheat, apples, fruits, flowers and animals, precisely like the string of jingles in the nursery tale of The House that Jack Built; even Jesus got tired of such his own alleged inanities and concluded by saying: "And those things are believable by all believers; but the traitor Judas, not believing, asked him, 'But how shall these things that shall propagate thus be brought to an end by the Lord?' And the Lord answered him and said, 'Those who shall live in those times shall see.'" "This, indicates," explains Bishop Irenaeus, who devotes a whole chapter to the repetition and elaboration of this Christ-yarn as "proof" of the meaning of Jesus, that he would drink of the fruit of the vine with his disciples in his father's Kingdom,-"this indicates the large size and rich quality of the fruits." (CE. xi, 458; Iren. Adv. Haer. IV, xxxiii, 4; ANF. i, 564.) How far less wild a myth, one may wonder, is this prolific propagation than that fabled by this same John the Evangelist in his supposed "Revelation," wherein he saw in heaven the River of Life proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb, and "in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the River, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations." (Rev. xxii, 1, 2.) Verily, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise"! (Mt. xxi, 16.)
7. Justin Martyr: (c. 100-165):
Saint, Martyr, a foremost Christian Apologist. A Gentile ex-Pagan of Samaria, turned Christian, and supposed to have suffered martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, in whose name he forged a very preposterous rescript. His principal works, in Greek, are his two Apologies, the first addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, whose reply he also forged; the second to "the sacred Senate" of Rome; his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, and his Hortatory Address to the Greeks. He describes himself and fellow Christian Fathers as "we who formerly used magical arts." (I Apol. ch. xiv.) The burden of his arguments is Pagan "analogies" of Christianity, the contents of many of his chapters being indicated by their captions, as "The Demons Imitate Christian Doctrine," and "Heathen Analogies to Christian Doctrine," in chapters xiv and xv of his First Apology, and elsewhere. His whole faith in Christ and in Christianity, he declares, is confirmed by these heathen precedents and analogies: "Be well assured, then, Trypho, that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the Devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by [Jupiter's] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? ... And when he [the devil] brings forward AEsculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? ... And when I hear that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, I understand that the deceiving serpent counterfeited this also." (Dial, with Trypho, ch. lxix; ANF. i, 233.)
Father Justin accepts the heathen gods as genuine divine beings; but says they are only wicked demons who lead men astray; and he says that these "evil demons, effecting apparitions of themselves, both defiled women and corrupted boys." (I Apol. ch. v, eh. liv, passim.) The devils "having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, ... they put forward many to be called the sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said in regard to Christ were more marvelous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. The devils, accordingly, when they heard these prophetic words, said that Bacchus was the son of Jupiter, and gave out that he was the discoverer of the vine"; and so through many twaddling chapters, repeating the argument with respect to Bellerophon and his horse Pegasus, of Perseus, of Hercules, of AEsculapius, etc., as "analogies" prophetic of baptism, sacraments, the eucharist, resurrection, etc., etc. The Pagan myths and miracles are true; therefore like fables of the Christ are worthy of belief: "And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified. and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. ... But as we have said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. And if we assert that the Word of God was born in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word [Logos] of God. ... And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in what we say that he made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by AEsculapius." (I Apol., chs. xxi, xxii; ANF. i, 170; cf. Add. ad Grace. ch. lxix; Ib. 233.)
Father Justin also retails to the Emperor the old fable of Simon Magus and his magical miracles at Rome, and attributes it all to the work of the devils. For "the evil spirits, not being satisfied with saying, before Christ's appearance, that those who were said to be sons of Jupiter were born of him, but after he appeared, ... and when they learned how He had been foretold by the prophets, put forward again other men, the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did many mighty works by magic; ... and so greatly astonished the sacred Senate and people of the Romans that he was considered a god, and honored with a statue; ... which statue was erected in the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription in the language of Rome: 'Simoni Deo Sancto-To Simon the holy God" (I Apol. chs. xxvi, lvi; ANF. i, 171, 182; cf. Iren. Adv. Haer. ch. xxiii; ANF. i, 347-8; Euseb. HE. II, 13.) We have seen this much embroidered "tradition" myth exploded, and the statue discovered and deciphered, it being a simple private pious monument to a Pagan god!
Father Justin in many chapters cites and appeals for Christian proofs to "The Testimony of the Sibyl," of Homer, of Sophocles, of Pythagoras, of Plato. (Add. ad Grace. chs. 18-20; ANF. i, 279-280.) Of the Sibyl, so often quoted: "And you may in part learn the right religion from the ancient Sibyl, who by some kind of potent inspiration teaches you, through her oracular predictions, truths which seem to be much akin to the teachings of the prophets. ... Ye men of Greece, ... do ye henceforth give heed to the words of the Sibyl, ... predicting, as she does in a clear and patent manner, the advent of our Savior Jesus Christ," quoting long verses of Christian-forged nonsense. (Ib. chs. 37-38; ANF. i, 288-289.)
8. Irenaeus (120-c. 200)
Saint, Martyr, Bishop of Lyons; ex-Pagan of Smyrna, who emigrated to Gaul and became Bishop; "information of his life is scarce, and [as usual] in some measure inexact. ... Nothing is known of the date of his death, which may have occurred at the end of the second or beginning of the third century." (CE., vii, 130.) How then is it known that he was a Martyr? Of him Photius, ablest early critic in the Church, warns that in some of his works "the purity of truth, with respect to ecclesiastical traditions, is adulterated by his false and spurious readings" (Phot.; Bibl. ch. cxx);-though why this invidious distinction of Irenaeus among all the clerical corruptors of "tradition" is not clear. The only surviving work of Irenaeus in four prolific Books is his notable Adversus Haereses, or, as was its full title, "A Refutation and Subversion of Knowledge falsely so Called,"-though he succeeds in falsely subverting no little real knowledge by his own idle fables. This work is called "one of the most precious remains of early Christian antiquity." Bishop St. Irenaeus quotes one apt sentiment from Homer, the precept of which he seems to approve, but which he and his Church confreres did not much put into practice:
"Hateful to me that man as Hades' gates,
Who one thing thinks, while he another states."
(Iliad, ix, 312, 313; Adv. Haer. III, xxxiii, 3.)
JESUS DIED OF OLD AGE!
Most remarkable of the "heresies" attacked and refuted by Bishop Irenaeus, is one which had just gained currency in written form in the newly published "Gospels of Jesus Christ," in the form of the "tradition" that Jesus had been crucified to death early in the thirties of his life, after a preaching career of only about one year, according to three of the new Gospels, of about three years, according to the fourth. This is rankly false and fictitious, on the "tradition" of the real gospel and of all the Apostles, avows Bishop Irenaeus, like Bishop Papias earlier in the century; and he boldly combated it as "heresy." It is not true, he asserts, that Jesus Christ died so early in life and after so brief a career. "How is it possible," be demands, "that the Lord preached for one year only?"; and on the quoted authority of John the Apostle himself, of "the true Gospel," and of "all the elders," the saintly Bishop urges the falsity and "heresy" of the Four Gospels on this crucial point. Textually, and with quite fanciful reasonments, he says that Jesus did not die so soon:
"For he came to save all through means of Himself-all, I say, who through Him are born again to God-infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age; a youth for youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming an example to them likewise. Then, at last, He came on to death itself, that He might be 'the first-born from the dead.'
"They, however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding that which is written, 'to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,' maintain that he preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus], they are forgetful to their own disadvantage, destroying His work and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honorable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also, as a teacher, He excelled all others. ...
"Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onward to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, (affirming) that John conveyed to them that information. AND HE REMAINED AMONG THEM UP TO THE TIMES OF TRAJAN [Roman Emperor, A.D. 98-117]. Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other Apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to [the validity of ] the statement. Whom then should we rather believe?" (Iren. Adv. Haer. Bk. II, ch. xxii, secs. 3, 4, 5; ANF. I, 891-2.)
Bishop's closing question is pertinent, and we shall come back to it in due course.
Irenaeus also vouches his belief in magic arts, repeating as true the fabulous stories of Simon Magus and his statue in the Tiber and the false recital of the inscription on it; and as a professional heresy-hunter he falls upon Simon as the Father of Heresy: "Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all heresies derive their origin. ... The successor of this man was Menander, also a Samaritan by birth; and he, too, was a perfect adept in the practice of magic." (Adv. Haer. I, xxiii; ANF. i, 348.)
Bishop of Carthage, in Africa; ex-Pagan born about 160, died 220. He was "the first of the Latin theological writers; ... and the first witness to the existence of a Latin Bible ... Tertullian's canon of the O.T. included the deutero-canonical books-[i.e. the forged apocrypha]. ... He also cites the Book of Henoch [Enoch] as inspired, ... also recognizes IV Esdras and the Sibyl." (CE. xiv, 525.)
He was the most violent diatribist of them all in promoting the Christian religion, but renounced Christianity after 200 and became equally violent in propagating the extravagant heresy of Montanus. In this recantation of faith he gave evidence that he was in error in his former complete acceptance of Christianity as the last word and irrevocable posture in revealed truth,-and revealed his own errant credulity. In attacking the heretics-before he became one, of the most preposterous sect,-he thus formulates the assurance of the finality of Christian Faith: "One has succeeded in finding definite truth, when he belie lies. ... After we have believed, search should cease." (Against Heresies, ch. xi; ANF. iii, 248.) Tertullian is noted for several declamations regarding the assurance of faith which have become famous, as they are fatuous: "Credo quia incredibilis est-I believe because it is unbelievable"; and, like Paul's "I am become a fool in glorying," he vaunts thus his own folly: "Other matters for shame I find none which can prove me to be shameless in a good sense, and foolish in a happy one, by my own contempt for shame. The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed [to believe it] because men must needs be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible." (De Carne Christi, ch. v; ANF. iii, 525.) Reasoning thus,-or quite without reason-Christians yet believe these confessed absurdities and impossibilities.
Tertullian denounces the sin of theater-going, and in this awful illustration he invokes his God to witness of one of his lies to God's glory: "We have the case of the woman-the Lord Himself is witness-who went to the theater, and came back possessed. In the outcasting (exorcism), accordingly, when the unclean creature was upbraided with having dared to attack a believer, he firmly replied: 'And in truth I did most righteously, for I found her in my domain.'" (De Spectaculis, ch. xxvi; ANF. iii, 90.) In one of his sumptuary diatribes on woman's dress-yet a favorite theme of the Vicars of God, though nowadays the complaint is of nether brevity-he warns and assures: "to us the Lord has, even by revelations, measured the space for the veil to extend over. For a certain sister of ours was thus addressed by an angel, beating her neck," and telling her that she had as well be "bare down to your loins" as any elsewhere below the neck. (On the Veiling of Virgins, ch. xvii; ANF. iv, 37.) And he expresses the clerical concept of women, saying that "females, subjected as they are throughout to men, bear in their front an honorable mark of their virginity." (Ib. ch. x, p. 33.) The celibate Fathers all glorified the suppression of sex: "Marriage replenishes the earth, virginity fills Paradise," says St. Jerome. (Adv. Jovianum, I, 17; N&PNF. vi, 360.) The Fathers regarded Woman as did St. Chrysostom: "a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic peril, a deadly fascination, and a painted ill!" Good Father Tertullian, in his Exhortation to Chastity, has chapters captioned: "Second Marriage a Species of Adultery," and "Marriage Itself Impugned as akin to Adultery." (On Chastity, chs. ix, x; ANF. iv, 55.)
Strongly, and upon what seems good physiological reason, he "denies the virginity of Mary, the mother of Christ, in part, though he affirms it [oddly] ante partum." (CE. xiv, 523.) Father Tertullian was strong in advocacy of virginity not alone feminine, but of the men, exclaiming, "So many men-virgins, so many voluntary eunuchs" (Ib.). He commends with marked approval the fanatical incitation of the Christ to self-mutilation "for the kingdom of heaven's sake" (Mt. xix, 11), and avers that to this same cause was due Paul's much-complained-of "thorn in the flesh," saying: "The Lord Himself opens the kingdoms of heaven to eunuchs, as being Himself a virgin; to whom looking, the apostle [Paul] also-for this reason-gives the preference to continence (I Cor. vii, 1, 7, 37, 40). ... 'Good,' he says, 'it is for a man not to have contact with her, for nothing is contrary to good except evil."' (On Monogamy, ch. iii; ANF. iv, 60.) For like reason it was, he assures, that Noah was ordered to take two of each animal into the ark, "for fear that even beasts should be born of adultery. ... Even unclean birds were not allowed to enter with two females each." (Ib. ch. iv; p. 62.) Father Tertullian shares the fantastic notions of natural history stated by Bishop St. Barnabas; in proof of the eternal renovation of all things, Tertullian says: "The serpent crawls into a cave and out of his skin, and uncoils himself in a new youth; with his scales, his years, too, are repudiated. The hyena, if you observe, is of annual sex, alternately masculine and feminine. ... The stag, feeding on the serpent, languishes-from the effects of the poison-into youth." (On the Pallium, ch. iii; ANF. iv, 7.) Magic admirably supplements nature and medical remedies as cure for the scorpion's sting, assures Father Tertullian: "Among cures certain substances supplied by nature have very great efficacy; magic also puts on some bandages." (Scorpiace, ch. i; ANF. iii, 633.)
Like all the credulous ex-Pagan Fathers of Christianity, Tertullian is a confirmed Sibyllist, and believes the forged Pagan oracles as inspired truth of God. Citing several of her "prophecies," he assures with confidence: "And the Sibyl is thus proved no liar." (Pallium, ch. ii; ANF. iv, 6.)
Tertullian admits, in a tu quoque argument, that the Christians are sun-worshippers: "You [Pagans] say we worship the sun; so do you." (CE. xiv, 525; Ad. Nationes, xiii; ANF. iii, 123.) He is in common with the Fathers in the belief in magic and astrology, which since Christ, however, are turned into holier channels in token of His divinity: "But Magi and astrologers came from the East (Matt. ii). We know the mutual reliance of magic and astrology. The interpreters of the stars, then, were the first to announce Christ's birth, the first to present gifts. ... Astrology now-a-days, forsooth, treats of Christ-is the science of the stars of Christ; not of Saturn, or of Mars. But, however, that science has been allowed until the Gospel, in order that after Christ's birth no one should thenceforward interpret anyone's nativity by the heaven." (On Idolatry, ch. ix; ANF. iii, 65.)
In common with all the Fathers, Tertullian appeals to the Phoenix as proof supreme of the resurrection of the body. It will be noticed, that the modern false translators of our Bibles have slipped in another bit of falsification by suppressing the word "phoenix" in the passage quoted by Tertullian, and have substituted the word "palm-tree" to express the flourishing state of the righteous, as there depicted:
"Then take a most complete and unassailable symbol of our hope [of resurrection], subject alike to life and death. I refer to the bird which is peculiar to the East, famous for its singularity, marvelous from its posthumous life, which renews its life in a voluntary death; its dying day is its birthday, for on it it departs and returns: once more a phoenix where just now there was none; once more himself, but just now out of existence; another, yet the same. What can be more express and more significant for our subject; or to what other thing can such a phenomenon bear witness? God even in His own Scripture says: 'The righteous shall flourish like the phoenix' [Greek Septuagint: Dikaios os phoenix anthesei; Ps. xcii, 12]. Must men die once for all, while birds in Arabia are sure of a resurrection?" (Tert., On the Resurrection of the Flesh, ch. xiii; ANF. iii, 554.)
Tertullian vouches, too, with the other Fathers, for the bogus official Report of Pilate to Caesar, and for Pilate's conversion to Christianity, saying: "All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius. Yes, and even the Caesars would have believed on Christ, if either the Caesars had not been necessary for the world, or if Christians could have been Caesars." (Apol. ch. xxi; ANF. iii,. 35.) Father Tertullian gives fall credence to the fable of the Septuagint, and assures the Emperors: "To this day, at the temple of Serapis, the librariis of Ptolemy are to be seen, with the identical Hebrew originals in them." (Apology, to the Rulers of the Roman Empire, I, xviii; ANF. iii, 32.) And, as all the other Fathers, he gives full faith and credit to the Pagan gods, as "effective witnesses for Christ";-"Yes, and we shall prove that your own gods are effective witnesses for Christ ... "Yes, and we shall prove that your own gods are effective witnesses for Christ. ... Against the Greeks we urge that Orpheus, at Piera, Musaeus at Athens, (etc.) imposed religious rites. ... Numa Pompilius laid on the Romans a heavy load of costly superstitions. Surely Christ, then, had a right to reveal Deity." (Apol. ch. xxi; ANF. iii, 36.) Like the other Fathers, Tertullian is also in the ranks of patristic forgers of holy fables, being either the author or the publisher of "The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas," the fabulous Martyrdom of two of the Church's most celebrated bogus Saints, annexed to his accredited works. (ANF. iii, 699-706.)
10. Clement of Alexandria: (c. 153-c. 215).
Ex-Pagan; head of the catechetical school of Alexandria; tutor of Origen. He wrote an Exhortation to the Heathen, the Poedagogus, or Instructor, and eight books called Stromata, or Miscellanies. From the latter a few random assays are taken which fully accredit him among the simple-minded and credulous Fathers of Christianity.
Clement devotes ample chapters to showing the 'Plagiarism by the Greeks of the Miracles related in the Sacred Books of the Hebrews"; he quotes as inspired the forged book "Peter's Preaching," and the heathen Sibyls and Hystaspes; he assures us, with his reason therefor, that "The Apostles, following the Lord, preached the Gospel to those in Hades. For it was requisite, in my opinion, that as here, so also there, the rest of the disciples should be imitators of the Master." Abraham was a great scientist: "As thin in astronomy we have Abraham as an instance, so also in arithmetic we have the same Abraham," the latter diploma being founded on the feat that Abraham, "hearing that Lot had been taken captive, numbered his own. servants, 318"; this mystic number, expressed in Greek letters T I E, used as numerals: "the character representing 300 (T) is the Lord's sign (Cross), and I and E indicate the Savior's name," et cetera, of cabalistic twaddle. (Strom. VI, xi; ANF. ii, 499.) Clement believes the heathen gods and the Sibyls, and all the demigods and myths of Greece: "We have also demonstrated Moses to be more ancient, not only than those called, poets and wise men, but than most of their deities. Not alone he, but the Sibyl, is more ancient than Orpheus. ... On her arrival at Delphi she sang:
'O Delphians, ministers of far-darting Apollo,
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, about, 165; a wild fanatic, he made himself "a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake"; died at Tyre or Caesarea about 254; was the first of the' Fathers said to be born of Christian parents; he was a pupil and protege of Clement of Alexandria. Origen was the greatest theologian and biblical scholar of the Church up to his time; he was the author of the famous Hexapla, or comparative edition of the Bible in Hebrew, with Greek transliteration and the Greek texts of the Septuagint and other versions, in six parallel columns. Origen was badly tainted with the Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and was deposed from the priesthood, but his deposition was not generally recognized by all the Churches,-which again proves that they were not then subject to Rome. For sheer credulity and nonsense Father Origen was the peer of any of the Pagan-born Patriarchs of "the new Paganism called, Christianity," as is evidenced by the following extracts from his chief works.
Accepting as living realities the heathen gods and their miracles, he argues that the Hebrews must have had genuine miracles because the heathens had many from their gods, which were, however, only devils; that the Hebrews viewed. "with contempt all those who were considered as gods by the heathen" as not being gods, but demons, 'For all the gods of the nations are demons' (Ps, xcvi, 5). ... In the next place, miracles were performed in all countries, or at least in many of them, as Celsus himself admits, instancing the case, of AEsculapius, who conferred benefits on many, and who foretold future events to entire cities,"-citing instances. If there had been no miracles among the Hebrews "they would immediately have gone over to the worship of those demons which gave oracles and performed cures." (Contra Celsum, III, ch. ii-iii; ANF. iv, 466.) The heathen oracles were indeed inspired and true, but were due to a loathsome form of demoniac inspiration, which he thus-(with my own polite omissions)-describes:
"Let it be granted that the responses delivered by the Pythian and other oracles were not the utterances of false men who pretended to a divine inspiration; but let us see if, after all, that they may be traced to wicked demons,-to spirits which are at enmity with the human race. ... It is said of the Pythian priestess, that when she sat down at the mouth of the Castalian cave, the prophetic spirit of Apollo entered her private parts; and when she was filled with it, she gave utterance to responses which are regarded with awe as divine truths. Judge by this whether that spirit does not show its profane and impure nature." (Contra Cetsum, VII, iii; ANF. iv, 611-612). ... "It is not, then, because Christians cast insults upon demons that they incur their revenge, but because they drive them away out of the images, and from the bodies and souls of men." (Ib. c. xliii, p. 655.)
Father Origen clung to the pagan superstition that comets and new stars portend and herald great world-events, and urges that this undoubted fact gives credibility to the fabled Star of Bethlehem: "It has been observed that, on the occurrence of great events, and of mighty changes in terrestrial things, such stars are wont to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the happening of such circumstances as may cause commotions upon the earth"-why not then the Star of Bethlehem? (Contra Celsum, I, lix; ANF. iv, 422.) All the stars and heavenly bodies are living, rational beings, having souls, as he curiously proves by Job and Isaiah, as well as upon clerical reason:
"Let us see what reason itself can discover respecting sun, moon, and stars. ... To arrive at a clearer understanding on these matters, we ought first to inquire whether it is allowable to suppose that they are living and rational beings; then, whether their souls came into existence at the same time with their bodies, or seem to be anterior to them; and also whether, after the end of the world, we are to understand that they are to be released from their bodies; and whether, as we cease to live, so they also will cease from illuminating the world. ... We think, then, that they may be designated as living beings, for this reason, that they are said to receive commandments from God, which is ordinarily the case only with rational beings: 'I have given commandments to all the stars' (Isa, xiv, 12), says the Lord." (De Principiis, I, vii; ANF. iv, 263.)
12. Lactantius: (-?-330).
Ex-Pagan, and eminent Christian author and defender of the faith. On account of his great reputation for learning, he was invited by the Emperor Constantine to become the tutor of his son Crispus, about 312-318 A.D. Thus, omitting two entire volumes (V and VI) of the Fathers, we are brought to the beginning of Christianity as the official or state religion-accredited yet by fables and propagated by superstitious myth. The great work of Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, dedicated to the Emperor, was thus addressed: "We now commence this work under the auspices of your name, O mighty Emperor Constantine, who were the first of the Roman princes to repudiate errors, and to acknowledge and honor the majesty of the one and only true God." (I, i.) This work, in seven lengthy Books, occupies over 200 double-columns of vol. VII of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.
Written for the purpose of confirming Constantine in his very uncertain "Christian" faith, and to appeal for conversion of the higher classes of the Pagans under the imperial favor, no work of the Fathers is more positive in the recognition of the Pagan gods as divine realities, who are rather demons of very active malignity; and none equalled him in profuse appeals to the Pagan gods and the Sibyls as their prophetesses, as divine "testimonies" to Jesus Christ and virtually every natural and supernatural act attributed to him in the romantic Gospels. In fact, his whole work is a sort of digest of Paran mythology taken as divinely true and inspired antecedents and evidences of the fictitious "facts" of the new Paganism called Christianity. We have already noticed some of his tributes to the Sibyls as prophecies of Jesus Christ; as it is impossible to cite but a few out of exceeding many, these are selected, demonstrating the origins of the heathen gods as actually demons; the verity of their being, words and deeds, and that they one and all testify of Jesus Christ and the holy mysteries of the Christian faith. In a word, Christianity is founded on and proved by Pagan myths. And first, of the demon-gods, for whom he thus vouches:
"God in his forethought, lest the devil, to whom from the beginning He had given power over the earth, should by his subtility either corrupt or destroy men, ... sent angels for the protection and improvement of the human race; and inasmuch as He had given these a free will, He enjoined them above all things not to defile themselves. ... He plainly prohibited them from doing that which He knew that they would do, that they might entertain no hope of pardon. Therefore, while they abode among men, that most deceitful ruler of the earth ... gradually enticed them to vices, and polluted them by intercourse with women. Then, not being admitted into heaven on account of the sins into which they had plunged themselves, they fell to the earth. Thus from angels the devil makes them to become his satellites and attendants.
"But they who were born from these, because they were neither angels nor men, but bearing a kind of mixed nature, were not admitted into hell as their fathers were not into heaven. Thus there became two kinds of demons; one of heaven, the other of the earth. The latter are the evil spirits, the authors of all the evils which are done, and the same devil is their Prince. Whence Trismegistus calls him the ruler of demons. ... They are called demons, that is, skilled and acquainted with matters; for they think that these are gods.
"They are acquainted, indeed, with many future events, but not all since it is not permitted to them entirely to know the counsel of God. These contaminated and abandoned Spirits, as I say, wander over the whole earth, and contrive a solace for their own perdition by the destruction of men. Therefore they fill every place with snares, frauds and errors for they cling to individuals, and occupy whole houses from door to door. ... And these, since spirits are without substance and not to be grasped, insinuate themselves into the bodies of men; and secretly working in their inward parts, they corrupt the health, hasten diseases, terrify their souls with dreams, harass their maids with frenzies, that by these means they may compel men to have recourse to their aid." (Lact. Divine Instit. II, xv; ANF. vii, 64.)
He assures us, in chapter headings, and much detail of text: "That Demons have no Power over Those who are Established in the Faith" (Ch. xvi); "That Astrology, Soothsaying, and Similar Arts are the Inventions of Demons" (Ch. xvii). These demon-gods are the most potent witnesses to the Christian faith, and scores of times he cites and appeals to them. The Hermes Trismegistus so often quoted and vouched for, is the god Mercury "Thrice Greatest," and is the greatest of the Christian witnesses. In many chapters the "divine testimonies" of Trismegistus, Apollo, and the other demon-gods, are confidently appealed to and their proofs recited. He proves the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the dead by renewed appeals to Hermes, Apollo, and the Sibyl: "Of the Soul, and the Testimonies concerning its Eternity" (Ch. xiii). "And I will now allege the testimony of the prophets. ... Hermes, describing the nature of man, that he might know that he was made by God, introduced this statement. ... Let us therefore seek greater testimony. A certain Polites asked Apollo of Miletus whether the soul remains after death or goes to dissolution; and he replied in these verses [quoting the response]. What do the Sibylline poems say? Do they not declare that this is so, when they say that the time will come when God will judge the living and the dead?-whose authority we will hereafter bring forward. ... Therefore the Son of the most high and mighty God shall come to judge the quick and the dead, as the Sibyl testifies and says [quoting]. ... 'Dies irae, dies illa, Teste David et Sibylla.'" (Ibid, VII, chs. xiii, xxii; ANF. vii, 210, 218.)
Malignantly powerful as these demon-gods are, the simple but potent name of Christ, or the "immortal sign" of the Cross, on the instant renders them impotent and puts them to flight; all the demon-gods may be evoked by magic, only Christ cannot be thus conjured.
As for man-here occurring the famous epigram Homo ex humo: "He formed man out of the dust of the ground, from which he was called man, because he was made from the earth. Finally Plato says that the human form was godlike; as does the Sibyl, who says,-'Thou are my image, O man, possessed of right reason.' (Ib. II, lviii; p. 58.) Chapter vi is entitled, "Almighty God begat His Son; and the Testimonies of the Sibyls and of Trismegistus concerning Him"; and he urges: "But that there is a Son of the Most High God is shown not only by the unanimous utterances of the prophets, but also by the declaration of Trismegistus and the predictions of the Sibyls [quoting them at length]. The Erythrean Sibyl proclaims the Son of God as the leader and commander of all [quoting] ... And another Sibyl enjoins: 'Know him as your God, who is the Son of God'; and the Sibyl calls Him 'Counsellor.'" (Ib. IV, vi; p. 105.)
THE PAGAN "LOGOS" CHRISTIANIZED
Treating at length of the prolific adoption and adaptation by "that new Paganism later called Christianity," of the terms, rites and ceremonies of Paganism, CE. says: "Always the Church has forcefully molded words, and even concepts (as Savior, Epiphany, Baptism, Illimination, Mysteries, Logos, to suit her own Dogma and its expression. It was thus that John could take the [Pagan] expression 'Logos,' mould it to his Dogma, cut short all perilous speculation among Christians, and assert once for all that the 'Word was made Flesh' and was Jesus Christ." (CE. xi, 392.) And thus Father Lactantius, appealing to Pagan gods and Sibyls for cogent confirmation, deals with the ancient Pagan notion of the "Logos," converted now into a "revealed" and most holy Christian Mystery and the Son of God:
"For though He was the Son of God from the beginning, He was born again a second time according to the flesh: and this two-fold birth of His has introduced great terror into the minds of men, and overspread with darkness even those who retained the mysteries of true religion. But we will show this plainly and clearly. ... Unless by chance we shall profanely imagine, as Orpheus supposed, that God is both male and female. ... But Hermes also was of the same opinion, when he says that He was 'His own father' and 'His own mother' [self-father and self-mother']. ... John also thus taught: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.'
"But the Greeks speak of Him as the Logos, more befittingly than we do as the word, or speech: for Logos signifies both speech and reason inasmuch as He is both the speech and reason of God. ... Zeno represents the Logos as the arranger of the established order of things, and the framer of the universe. ... For it is the spirit of God which he named the soul of Jupiter. For Trismegistus, who by some means or other searched into almost all truth, often describes the excellence and majesty of the Word." (Lact. Div. Inst. IV, viii-ix; ANF. vii, 106-7.)
As there can be no more positive and convincing proof that the Christ was and is a Pagan Myth,-the old Greek "Logos" of Heraclitus and the Philosophers revamped by the Greek priest who wrote the first chapter of the "Gospel according to St. John" and worked up into the "Incarnate Son" of the old Hebrew God for Christian consumption as the most sacred Article of Christian Faith and Theology, I append to the admission of Father Lactantius the culminating evidences of the "Gospel" and the further confession of the Church through the Catholic Encyclopedia. The inspired "revelation" of the Holy Ghost concerning the holy Pagan doctrine of the "Creative, Logos" or "Word of God," made flesh in Jesus Christ, is thus "taken and molded to his dogma" by the Holy Saint John:
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him [i.e. by the Logos]; and without him was not anything made that was made." (John, i, 1-3.)
The doctrine of the Logos was a Pagan speculation or invention of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who lived 535-475 Before Christ, and had never heard of Christ. From it the science of Logic takes its name; and on it the first principle of Stoicism and the Christian doctrine of "The Word" are based. If this startling statement out of secular history is questioned, let CE. bear its clerical witness to the Pagan origin of the Logos and the curious Christian metamorphosis of it wrought by "St. John" and the Church Fathers:
"The word Logos (Gr. Logos; Lat. Verbum) is the term by which Christian theology in the Greek language designates the Word of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Before St. John had consecrated this term by adopting it, the Greeks and the Jews had used it to express religious conceptions which, under divers titles, have exercised a certain influence on Christian theology. ... It was in Heraclitus that the theory of the Logos appears for the first time, and it is doubtless for this reason that, first among the Greek philosophers, Heraclitus was regarded by St. Justin (Apol. I, 46) as a Christian before Christ. ... It reappears in the writings of the Stoics, and it is especially by them that this theory is developed. God, according to them, 'did not make the world as an artisan does his work-[though Genesis ii says he did]-but it is by wholly penetrating an matter-[thus a kind of ether]-that He is the Demiurge of the universe.' He penetrates the world 'as honey does the honeycomb' (Tertullian, Adv. Hermogenem, 44). ... This Logos is at the same time a force and a law-[How, then, a Second Person Trinitarian God?]. ... Conformably to their exegetical habit, the Stoics made of the different gods personifications of the Logos, e.g. of Zeus and above all of Hermes. ... In the [apocryphal] Book of Wisdom this personification is more directly implied, and a parallel is established between Wisdom and the Word. in Palestinian Robbinism the Word (Memra) is very often mentioned. ... it is the Memra of Jehovah which lives, speaks, and acts. ... Philo's problem was of the philosophical order; God and man are infinitely distant from each other; and it is necessary to establish between them the relations of action and of prayer; the Logos is here the intermediary. ... Throughout so many diverse [Pagan and Jewish] concepts may be recognized a fundamental doctrine: the Logos is an intermediary between God and the world; through it God created the world and governs it; through it also men know God and pray to Him. ... The term Logos is found only in the Johannine writings. ... This resemblance [to the notion in the Book of Wisdom] suggests the way by which the doctrine of the Logos entered into Christian theology." (CE. ix, 328-9.)
Thus confessedly is the Divine Revelation of the "Word made flesh" a Pagan-Jewish Myth, and the very Pagan Demiurge is the Christian Christ-"Very God"-and the "Second Person of the Blessed Trinity"! Here is the evolution of a Pagan speculation into a Christian revelation: Heraclitus first devised "the theory of the Logos"; by the Stoics "this theory is developed" into the Demiurge-"at the same time a force and a law"-which wrought the several works of creation instead of Zeus or Hermes. In the admittedly forged Book of Wisdom,-which is nevertheless part of the inspired Canon of the Catholic Bible,-the Pagan Demiurge becomes Divine Wisdom and "paralleled" with "the Word" of the Hebrew God, and "is the Memra of Jahveh which lives, speaks, acts." The Jewish philosopher Philo evolved it into "an intermediary-[Mediator]-between God and the world, through which God created the world." This Pagan notion echoes in: "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. ii, 5.) Then comes the Christian Greek priest who wrote the first chapter of "the Gospel according to John," and, Lo! "the Logos [Word] was God. ... All things were made by him"! The Pagan speculation is first philosophized, then personified, then Deified into the "Second Person" of a Blessed Trinity which was first dogmatized in 381 A.D.; and the blasphemy laws of England and a number of American States decree imprisonment for ridiculing this Most Holy Mystery of Christian Faith. Yet Christians decry the doctrine of Evolution and pass laws to outlaw teaching it.
Having pursued these incontestable Pagan "proofs" through his seven Books, and so vindicated the truth and divinity of Christianity, the eminent Doctor Lactantius concludes with this strange apostrophe to the near-Pagan Emperor, assuring him of the overthrow now of all error and the triumph of Catholic Truth: "But all fictions have now been hushed, Most Holy Emperor, since the time when the great God raised thee up for the restoration of the house of justice, and for the protection of the human race. ... Since the truth now comes forth from obscurity, and is brought into light"! (Ib. VII, xxvi; p. 131.) Father Lactantius then quite correctly, from a clerical viewpoint, defines truth and superstition, but oddly enough confuses and misapplies the terms so far as respects the Christian religion: "Truly religion is the cultivation of the truth, but superstition is that which is false. ... But because the worshippers of the gods imagine themselves to be religious, though they are superstitious, they are neither able to distinguish religion from superstition, nor to express the meaning of the names." (Ib. IV, xxviii; p. 131.)
13. Augustine (354-430):
Bishop of Hippo, in Africa; "Saint, Doctor of the Church; a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, dominating, like a pyramid, antiquity and the succeeding ages. ... Compared with the great philosophers of past centuries and modern times, he is the equal of them all; among theologians he is undoubtedly the first, and such has been his influence that none of the Fathers, Scholastics, or Reformers has surpassed it." (CE. ii, 84.) This fulsome paean of praise sung by the Church of its greatest Doctor, justifies a sketch of the fiery African Bishop and a look into his monumental work, De Civitate Dei-"The City of God," written between the years 413-426 A.D. This will well enough show the quality of mind of the man, a monumentally superstitious and credulous Child of Faith; and throw some light on the psychology of the Church which holds such a mind as its greatest Doctor, towering like a pyramid over the puny thinkers and philosophers of past centuries and of modern times. We may let CE. draw the biographical sketch in its own words, simply abbreviated at places to save space. Augustine's father, Patricius, was a Pagan, his mother, Monica, a convert to Christianity; when Augustine was born "she had him signed with the cross and enrolled among the catechumens. Once, when very ill, he asked for baptism, but, all danger being passed, he deferred receiving the sacrament, thus yielding to a deplorable custom of the times." when sixteen years old he was sent to Cartage for study to become a lawyer; "Here he formed a sinful liaison with the person who bore him a son (372)-[Adeodatus, "the gift of God"]-'the son of his sin'-an entanglement from which he only delivered himself, at Milan, after fifteen years of its thralldom." During this time Augustine became an ardent heretic: "In this same year Augustine fell into the snares of the Manichaeans. ... Once won over to this sect, Augustine devoted himself to it with all the ardor of his character; he read all its books, adopted and defended all its opinions. His furious proselytism drew into error [several others named]. it was during this Manichaean period that Augustine's literary faculties reached their full development." ...
In 383 Augustine, at the age of twenty-nine, went to Italy, and came to Milan, where he met and fell under the influence of Bishop Ambrose-[he who forged the Apostles' Creed]. "However, before embracing the Faith, Augustine underwent a three years' struggle. ... But it was only a dream; his passions still enslaved him. Monica, who had joined her son at Milan, prevailed upon him [to abandon his mistress]; and though he dismissed the mother of Adeodatus, her place was soon filled by another. At first he prayed, but without the sincere desire of being heard.-[In his "Confessions" (viii, 17) he addresses God: "Lord, make me pure and chaste but not quite yet"! Finally he resolved to embrace Christianity and to believe as the Church believed.]-The grand stroke of grace, at the age of thirty-three, smote him to the ground in the garden at Milan, in 386. ... From 386 to 395 Augustine gradually became acquainted with the Christian doctrine, and in his mind the fusion of Platonic philosophy with revealed dogmas was taking place. ... So long, therefore, as his philosophy agrees with his religious doctrines, St. Augustine is frankly neo-Platonist; as soon as a contradiction arises, he never hesitates to subordinate his philosophy to religion, reason to faith! (p. 86) ... He thought too easily to find Christianity in Plato, or Platonism in the Gospel. Thus he had imagined that in Platonism he had discovered the entire doctrine of the Word and the whole prologue of St. John." Augustine was baptized on Easter of 387. He did not think of entering the priesthood; but being in church one day at prayer, the clamor of the crowd caused him to yield, despite his tears, to the demand, and he was consecrated in 391, and entered actively into the fray. A great controversy arose "over these grave questions: Do the hierarchical powers depend upon the moral worth of the priest? How can the holiness of the Church be compatible with the unworthiness of its ministers?-[The moral situation must have been very acute to necessitate such a debate]. In the dogmatic debate he established the Catholic thesis that the Church, so long as it is upon earth, can, without losing its holiness, tolerate sinners within its pale for the sake of converting them" [?]-or their property.
In the City of God, which "is considered his most important work," Augustine "answers the Pagans, who attributed the fall of Rome (410) to the abolition of Pagan worship. In it, considering the problem of Divine Providence with regard to the Roman Empire, in a burst of genius he creates the philosophy of history, embracing as he does with a glance the destinies of the world grouped around the Christian religion, the only one which goes back to the beginning and leads humanity to its final term." (CE. ii, 84-89.) Let us now admire
AUGUSTINE'S "PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY"
whereof, says His present Holiness in a special Encyclical on the great Philosopher: "The teaching of St. Augustine constitutes a precious statement of sublime truths.", (Herald-Tribune, Apr. 22, 1930.)
The City of God, by which he intends the Christianized World-City of Rome, is a ponderous tome, which cost Augustine some thirteen years to write. Like the work of all the Fathers it is an embellished rehash of the myths of the Old Testament, highly spiced with "proofs" from the Pagan gods and their prophetic Sibyls, the same style of exegesis being also used for the Gospels, all of which he accepts as Gospel truth. He begins his philosophizing of history by swallowing the "Sacred Science" of Genesis whole; he entitles a chapter: "Of the Falseness of the History which allots Many Thousand Years to the World's Past"; and thus sneeringly dismisses those who knew better: "They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not yet 6,000 years have passed. ... There are some, again, who are of opinion that this is not the only world, but that there are numberless worlds." (Civ. Dei, Bk. xii, 10, 11; N&PNF. ii, 232, 233.) Such persons are not to be argued with but to be ridiculed: "For as it is not yet 6,000 years since the first man, who is called Adam, are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, so contrary to, the ascertained truth?" (Ib. xviii, 40; p. 384.) To prove that "there were giants in those days," and that the ante-Diluvians were of greater size than men of his times, he vouches: "I myself, along with others, saw on the shore at Utica a man's molar tooth of such a size, that if it were cut down into teeth such as we have, a hundred, I fancy, could have been made out of it. ... Bones of almost incredible size have been found by exposure of sepulchres." (xv, 9; p. 291.) And he shows how, "according to the Septuagint, Methuselah survived the Flood by fourteen years." (xv, 11; p. 292.) He accepts the earth as flat and inhabited on the upper side only: "As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men who are on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, is on no ground credible." (xvi, 9; p. 315.)
Augustine is credited with a scientific leaning towards the doctrine of Evolution and as recognizing the origin of species; but some of his species are truly singular, and withal are but variations from the original divine norm of Father Adam, who is father of them all. In all soberness, tinged with a breath of skepticism with respect to some, he thus philosophizes: "It is reported that some monstrous races of men have one eye in the middle of the forehead; some, the feet turned backward from the heel; some, a double sex, the right breast like a man, the left like a woman, and that they alternately beget and bring forth; others are said to have no mouth. ... They tell of a race who have two feet but only one leg, and are of marvelous swiftness, though they do not bend the knee; they are called Skiopedes, because in the hot weather they lie down on their backs and shade themselves with their feet. Others are said to have no head on their shoulders. ... What shall we say of the Cynocephali, whose doglike head and barking proclaim them beasts rather than men? But we are not bound to believe all we hear of these monstrosities. ... But who could enumerate all the human births that have differed widely from their ascertained parents? No one will deny that all these have descended from that one man, ... that one first father of all. ... Accordingly, it ought not to seem absurd to us, that as in the individual races there are monstrous births, so in the whole race there are monstrous races; ... if they are human, they are descended from Adam." (xvi, 8; p. 315.)
It is not alone in the realm of the genus homo that oddities exist, in the animal world there are some very notable singularities, for which the Saint vouches with all confidence as out of his personal knowledge and experience. Several times he repeats the marvel of the peacock, "which is so favored by the Almighty that its flesh will not decay," and "which triumphs over that corruption from which even the flesh of Plato is not exempt." He says: "It seems incredible, but a peacock was cooked and served to me in Carthage; and I kept the flesh one year and it was as fresh as ever, only a little drier." (xxi, 4, 5; pp. 455, 458.) The now exploded doctrine of abiogenesis was strong with Augustine; some animals are born without sexual antecedents: "Frogs are produced from the earth, not propagated by male and female parents" (xvi, 7; p. 314); "There are in Cappadocia mares which are impregnated by the wind, and their foals live only three years." (xxi, 5; p. 456.) There was much question as to the efficacy of hell-fire in toasting lost souls through eternity. The master philosopher of all time solves the knotty problem in two chapters, under the titles: "2. Whether it is Possible for Bodies to last Forever in Burning Fire," and, "4. Examples from Nature proving that Bodies may remain Unconsumed and Alive in Fire." In the first place, before the lamentable Fall of Adam, our own bodies were imperishable; in Hell we will again get unconsumable bodies: "Even this human flesh was constituted in one fashion before there was Sin,-was constituted, in fact, so that it could not die." (xxi, 8; p. 459.) But there are other proofs of this than theological say-so, the skeptical may have the proofs with their own eyes in present-day Nature: "There are animals which live in the midst of flames. ... The salamander is well known, that it lives in fire. Likewise, in springs of water so hot that no one can put his hand in it with impunity, a species of worm is found, which not only lives there, but cannot live elsewhere. ... These animals live in that blaze of heat without pain, the element of fire being congenial to their nature and causing it to thrive and not to suffer,"-an argument which "does not suit our purpose" on the point of painless existence in fire of these animals, in which particular the wisdom of God has differentiated the souls of the damned, that they may suffer exquisitely forever; in which argument Augustine implies the doctrine, as feelingly expressed by another holy Saint, the "Angelic Doctor" Aquinas: "In order that nothing may be wanting to the felicity of the blessed spirits in heaven, a perfect view is granted to them of the tortures of the damned"; all these holy ones in gleeful praise to God look down at the damned disbelievers "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night." (Rev. xiv., 10, 11.)
In the realm of inorganic nature are many marvels, a long catalogue of which our philosopher makes, and at several places repeats; some of these are by hearsay and current report, for which cautiously he does not vouch the truth; "but these I know to be true: the case of that fountain in which burning torches are extinguished, and extinguished torches are lit: and the apples of Sodom, which are ripe to appearance, but are filled with dust"! (xxi, 7; p. 458.) The diamond is the hardest known stone; so hard indeed that it cannot be cut or worked "by anything, except goat's blood." (p. 455.)
The greatest of Christian Doctors, pyramid of philosophers, has abiding faith in the reality of the Pagan gods, who, however, as held by all the Fathers, are really demons or devils; they are very potent as wonder-workers and magicians. Some of them, however, are evidently not of a malicious nature: "The god of Socrates. if he had a god, cannot have belonged to this class of demons." (xiii, 27; p. 165.) Time and again he vouches for and quotes the famous Hermes Trismegistus, who he assures us was the grandson of the "first Mercury." (viii, 23, 24; pp. 159, 161.) And for history he says, that "At this time, indeed, when Moses was born, Atlas is found to have lived, that great astronomer, the brother of Prometheus, and maternal grandson of the elder Mercury, of whom that Mercury Trismegistus was the grandson." (xviii, 39; p. 384.) Also that "Picus, son of Saturn, was the first king of Argos." (xviii, 15; p. 368.) He accepts as historic truth the fabulous founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus, their virgin-birth by the god Mars, and their nursing by the she-wolf, but attributes the last to the provident interference of the Hebrew God. Some of his comments might be applicable to One later Virgin-born. "Rhea, a vestal virgin, who conceived twin sons of Mars, as they will have it, in that way honoring or excusing her adultery, adding as a proof that a she-wolf nursed the infants when exposed. ... Yet, what wonder is it, if, to rebuke the king who had cruelly ordered them to be thrown into the water, God was pleased, after divinely delivering them from the water, to succor, by means of a wild beast giving milk, these infants by whom so great a City was to be founded?" (xviii, 21; p. 372.)
The great philosopher, at one with Cicero in this respect, distinguishes between the ancient fables of the gods in an age of ignorance and superstition, and those true histories of their later deeds in a time, such as that of the Founding of the City, when intelligence reigned among men. A singular reversion to the mental state of the Homeric ages would seem to have come upon men with the advent of the new Faith. Cicero had related the fables of Homer and contrasted them with the true history of Romulus and his more enlightened times, saying: "Homer had flourished long before Romulus, and there was now so much learning in individuals, and so generally diffused an enlightenment, that scarcely any room was left for fable. For antiquity admitted fables, and sometimes very clumsy ones; but this age of Romulus was sufficiently enlightened to reject whatever had not the air of truth"! On this the great Saint Augustine thus philosophizes,-accounting, indeed, for the age-long persistence of all superstitions, as due to inheritance and early teaching: "But who believed that Romulus was a god except Rome, which was then small and weak? Then afterwards it was necessary that succeeding generations should preserve the traditions of their ancestors; that, drinking in this superstition with their mother's milk, their nation should grow great and dominate the world"? (xxii, 6; p. 483.) In likewise it may be queried: Who believed that Jesus was a virgin-born god except superstitious Pagans who already believed such things of Romulus, Apollo, AEsculapius, et id omne genus? and the succeeding generations, "drawing in this superstition with their mother's milk," have passed it on through the Dark Ages of Faith even unto our own day. Even the great St. Jerome has said, that no one would have believed the Virgin-birth of Jesus or that his mother was not an adulteress, "until now, that the whole world has embraced the faith"-and would therefore believe anything-except the truth!
All who did not believe such things, when related by the ex-Pagan Christians, were heretics instigated by the devil; for "the devil, seeing the temples of the gods deserted, and the human race running to the name of the living Mediator, has moved the heretics under the Christian name to resist the Christian doctrine." (xviii, 51; p. 392.) Whether St. Augustine, in his earlier Pagan years, practiced the arts of magic, as did many of the other ex-Pagan Christian Fathers, he maintained a firm Christian faith in magic and magicians, and explains how the gift is acquired. He gives an account of a remarkable lamp which hung in a temple of Venus in a great candelabra; although exposed to the open air, even the strongest winds could not blow out the flame. But that is nothing strange to the philosophic mind of the Saint: "For to this [inextinguishable lamp] we add a host of marvels wrought by man, or by magic, that is, by man under the influence of devils, or by the devils directly,-for such marvels we cannot deny without impugning the truth of the sacred Scriptures we believe. ... Now, devils are attracted to dwell in certain temples by means of the creatures who present to them the things which suit their various tastes. ... The devils cunningly seduce men and make of a few of them their disciples, who then instruct others. ... Hence the origin of magic and magicians." (xxi, 6; p. 457.) A most notable example of magical power is that which transforms men into animals, sometimes effected by the potent word, sometimes through material means, as where sundry inn-keepers used to put a drug into food which would work the transformation of their guests into wild or domestic animals.
The philosopher Saint vouches for such magical metamorphoses as of his own knowledge and on unimpeachable authority. At much length he relates: "A certain man named Praestantius used to tell that it happened to his father in his own house, that he took that poison in a piece of cheese, ... and that he had been made a sumpter horse, and, along with other beasts of burden, had carried provisions for the Rhoetian Legion. And all this was found to have taken place just as he told. ... These things have not come to us from persons we might deem unworthy of credit, but from informants we could not suppose to be deceiving us. Therefore, what men say and have committed to writing about the Arcadians being often changed into wolves by the Arcadian gods, or demons rather, and what is told in the song about Circe transforming the companions of Ulysses, if they were really done, may, in my opinion, have been in the way I have said-[that is, by demons through the permission of God]. ... As for Diomede's birds, that they bring water in their beaks and sprinkle it on the temple of Diomede, and that they fawn on men of Greek race and persecute aliens, is no wonderful thing to be done by the inward influence of demons." (xviii, 18; p. 370.) To the Saint and to all the Fathers, the air was full of devils: "All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to these demons; chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians, yea, even the guiltless new-born infant." (De Divinatione Daemonorum, ch. iii),-a whole tome devoted to the prophetic works of the Devil, "after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders," as avouched in Holy Writ (II Thess. ii, 9); for: "The responses of the gods are uttered by impure demons with a strong animus against the Christians." (De Civ. Dei, xix, 23; p. 416.) And no wonder, for "by the help of magicians, whom Scripture calls enchanters and sorcerers, the devils could gain such power. ... The noble poet Vergil describes a very powerful magician in these lines," (quoting; xxi, 6; p. 457).
Again, like all the holy Fathers and Popes down at least to Benedict XIV, elsewhere quoted, the great philosopher and Saint is [omission] utterances of these Pagan Seeresses, inspired by the devil through the permission of the Christian God to reveal the holy mysteries of the Christian Faith. Augustine devotes a chapter, entitled "Of the Erythraean Sibyl, who is known to have sung many things about Christ more plainly than the other Sibyls," to these signal Pagan proofs of the Christ; and he dwells with peculiar zest on the celebrated "Fish Anagram." On this theme he enlarges: "This Sibyl certainly wrote some things concerning Christ which are quite manifest [citing instances]. ... A certain passage which had the initial letters of the lines so arranged that these words could be read in them: 'Iesous Xristos Theou Uios Soter'-[quoting the verses at length]. ... If you join the initial letters in these five Greek words, they will make the word Ixthus, that is, 'fish,' in which word Christ is mystically understood, because he was able to live, that is, to exist, without sin, in the abyss of this mortality as in the depths of water." (xviii, 23; p. 372-3.)
With full faith the great Doctor Augustine accepts the old fable of the miraculous translation of the Septuagint, and to it adds some new trimmings betraying his intimate knowledge of the processes and purposes of God in bringing it about: "It is reported that there was an agreement in their words so wonderful, stupendous, and plainly divine, each one apart (for so it pleased Ptolemy to test their fidelity), they differed from each other in no word, or in the order of the words; but, as if the translators had been one, so what all had translated was one, because in very deed the one Spirit had been in them all. And they received so wonderful a gift of God, in order that these Scriptures might be commended not as human but divine, for the benefit of the nations. who should at some time believe, as we now see them doing. ... If anything is in the Hebrew copies and not in the version of the Seventy, the Spirit of God did not choose to say it through them, but only through the prophets. But whatever is in the Septuagint and not in the Hebrew copies, the same Spirit chose rather to say it through the latter, thus showing that both were prophets." (xviii, 42, 43; pp. 385-387.) If this latter be true, that some divine revelation is found in the Septuagint which is not in the Hebrew, and vice versa how then can it be true, as the Saint has just said, and as all the Fathers say, that there was perfect agreement between the Hebrew original and the Greek translations? If matters in the Hebrew text were omitted in the Greek, then the inspired truth of God was not in those parts of the original, or else what was inspired truth in the Hebrew became now false; and if there was new matter now in the Greek, such portions were not translation but were interpolations or plain forgeries of the translators, yet inspired by God. The divine origin of the Hebrew language, as invented by God for the use of Adam and Eve and their posterity, is thus fabled by the great Doctor: "When the other races were divided by their own peculiar languages [at Babel], Heber's family preserved that language which is not unreasonably believed to have been the common language of the race, and that on this account it was henceforth called Hebrew." (p. 122.) As for the origin of writing, our Saint agrees with St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, and other erudite Saints, that "God himself showed the model and method of all writing when he delivered the Law written with his own finger to Moses." (White, Warfare of Science against Theology, ii, 181.)
This greatest philosopher of all time attacks with profound learning a problem which, he says, he had "previously mentioned, but did not decide," and he proceeds with acutest wisdom to solve the question: "Whether angels, inasmuch as they are spirits, could have bodily intercourse with women?" With all the powers of his mighty philosophico-clerical mind he reasons on the ethereal nature of angels, and reaches the conclusion, fortified by many ancient instances, that they can and do. There are, be points out, "many proven instances, that Sylvans and Fauns, who are commonly called 'Incubi,' had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lusts upon them: and that certain devils, called Duses by the Gauls, are constantly attempting and effecting this impurity." (City of God, xv, 23; p. 303.) As the greatest Doctor and Theologian of the Church, he discusses weightily what books of Scripture are inspired and canonical, which are fables and apocryphal: "Let us omit, then, the fables of those Scriptures which are called apocryphal. ... We cannot deny that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, left some divine writings, for this is asserted by the Apostle Jude in his canonical Epistle"! (Ibid,, p. 305.) Thus the great Doctor vindicates the potentiality of the Holy Ghost, in the guise of the angel Gabriel, to maintain carnal copulation with the "proliferous yet Ever Virgin" Mother of God; and vouches for the divinity of the crude Jewish forgery of the Book of Enoch, which is duly canonized as genuine and authentic work of the mythical Patriarch, by the equally mythical "Apostle" author of the forged Epistle of Jude. So great a Doctor of the Church looks, by now, very much like an extraordinary "quack doctor" peddler of bogus nostrums.
Such are a few picked from numberless examples of the quasi-divine wisdom and philosophy of this unparalleled, pyramidal Saint and Doctor of the Church, who "never hesitated to subordinate his reason to Faith." Most luminously and profoundly of all the Fathers and Doctors, Augustine spoke the mind and language of the Church and of its Pagan-born Christianity; more ably than them all he used the same methods of propaganda of the Faith among the superstitious ex-Pagan Christians; with greater authority and effect than all the others, he exploited the same fables, the same falsehoods, the same absurdities, exhibited to the n-th degree the same fathomless fatuity of faith and subjugation of reason to credulity.
A final appeal to the Pagan Sibyls and to the fabulous Phoenix for "proofs" of the Christian mysteries, I add from the famous forged Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, falsely through the centuries attributed as the individual and collective inspired work of the mythic Twelve: "If the Gentiles laugh at us, and disbelieve our Scriptures, let at least their own prophetess Sibylla oblige them to believe, who says thus in express words: [quoting]. If, therefore, this prophetess confesses the Resurrection ... it is vain for them to deny our doctrine. They say there is a bird single in its kind which affords a copious demonstration of the Resurrection. ... They call it a phoenix, and relate [here repeating the old Pagan fable of the self-resurrecting phoenix]. If, therefore, as even themselves say, a resurrection is exhibited by means of an irrational bird, wherefore do they disparage our accounts, when we profess that He who by His power brings that into being which was not in being before, is able to restore this body, and raise it up again after its dissolution?" (Apost. Const. V, 1, vii; ANF. vii, 440-441.)
The whole of Paganism we have seen taken over bodily into "that new Paganism later called Christianity," by the ex-Pagan Fathers of the Christ's Church, and all its myths and fables urged by them as the credible and only "evidence of things not seen" of the new Faith. What does it all signify for proof of Christian Truth? "Nothing stands in need of lying but a Lie"; and by that unholy means we see the holy false new Faith established among the ignorant and superstitious Pagans.
These sainted ex-Pagan Fathers of Christianity, one and all, fully and explicitly accepted and believed in childlike simplicity of faith the reality and potency of their old heathen gods, reducing them only in immortal rank to demons or devils of fantastic origin and powers permitted by the One True God to work true miracles; by their inspired oracles to foretell futurity and the most sacred mysteries of the Christian faith, and maliciously to "imitate'-hundreds of years in advance-its most holy rites and sacraments; to endow their votaries with the gift of magic and the powers of magical practices,-practices to this day performed by their priestly successors under more refined euphemisms of thaumaturgy. To the malignant works of the Devil and the hordes of devils the Fathers imputed, and their now-a-day successors yet impute, the working of mighty lying wonders designed to thwart, and often very effective in "queering" the inscrutable plans and providences of their Almighty God. "When pious Christians," mordantly says Middleton, "are arrived at this pitch of Credulity, as to believe that evil spirits or evil men can work real miracles, in defiance and opposition to the authority of the Gospels, their very piety will oblige them to admit as miraculous whatever is wrought in the defense of it, and so of course make them the implicit dupes of their wonder-workers." (A Free Inquiry, p. 71.)
This review of the ex-Pagan Fathers of Christ's True Church is made at some length because of its capital, fatal importance to the notion of the "authority," veracity and credibility of these the sole witnesses and vouchers for the pretended truth and validity of the new faith, and the "Gospel" wonders reputed as having occurred a century and more before their times, and for the foundation of the Church and the miraculous fundamentals of the Christian religion. Fabling, false and fatuous in point of every single pretended "proof" which they offer for Christianity, in every respect fatal to their intelligence, their intellectual honesty, their common veracity and general and particular credibility with respect to matters both natural and supernatural-How can they be believed as to the miracles and miraculous and incredible basic "truths" of Christianity? False in one thing, false and discredited in all, must be the verdict of every one concerned to know the truth of the new Faith sponsored and established alone through the mongering of Pagan myths of these fatuous, childishly credulous, unscrupulous ex-Pagan Fathers of Christianity. They knew not fable from fact, and scrupled not to assert fable for fact, recklessly lying to the greater glory of God and glorification of themselves and their Paganized Church, in the name of Divinely revealed Truth of God. But, as we have seen, there can be no "divine revelation" of fanciful "fact" and dogma which for centuries had been, and in the early Christian ages were, the current mythology of credulous Pagandom. Thus the system of veneered Paganism which the ex-Pagan Fathers revamped under the name of Christianity, cannot be true; by a thousand tokens and tests of truth it is not true.
In the words of Macbeth is the whole mythical scheme to be appraised, and adjudged-and junked:
"...... It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
But-"What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"
Our review of the fabling forging Fathers of Christianity brings us through, the epoch of the establishment of Christianity-the whole of the second and third centuries of the Christ,-the epoch (in the latter half of the second), when the forged "Gospel" biographies of the Demiurge-Christ, and the forged Epistles of the Apostles, were, out of hundreds of like pious Christian forgeries, worked into shape and put into circulation by the growing Churches zealously gathering swarms of illiterate and superstitious ex-Pagan "converts" into the Fold of Christ. With Eusebius and Lactantius, contemporaries and retainers of the "Christian" Constantine, we see the official "triumph" of Christianity in the early fourth century; with the Sainted Augustine, late in the fourth and early in the fifth centuries, we see the new Faith, by dint of Christian persecuting laws and of patristic lying, well established in the Empire,-"the human race running to the name of the living Mediator," but yet, at the instigation of the Devil, disturbed and threatened with extinction by the Christian "heretics," of whom Augustine says there were ninety-three warring sects up to his time; and against whom this great Doctor and Saint produced that fearful text of the Wedding Feast, "Compel them to come in," and that other fatal bloody precept of the Christ: "Those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me,"-murderous slogans of the Church Persecutrix which bloodily carried it to final triumph through a thousand years of the Dark Ages of Faith, as we shall soon see.
Others of the noted Fathers of the epochs under review will be noticed as the occasion arises. There are many of them; the four "great Latin Fathers ... are undoubtedly Sts. Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, and Gregory the Great"; died 604. (CE. vi, 1.) Vast is their output of puerile superstition and pettifogging dialectic, of which we have seen but some random examples. The overwhelming volume of patristic palaver of nonsense is evidenced by the "Migne Collection." of their writings, which comprises 222 ponderous tomes in Latin and 161 in Greek. (CE. vi, 16.)
In the next chapter we shall consider the "canonical" Gospels and Epistles, and the palpable convincing and convicting evidences of their forgery by the priests and Fathers-original forgeries themselves with multiplied forged "interpolations" or purpose-serving later additions to each of the original sacred forgeries.
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