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he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In the same manner these authors represented it as the opinion of some, that Porphyry, while in words the son of 14.!! Mnesarchus, was really the son of Apollo*.
To the mother of Jesus, we are told, an angel appeared, saying, “Blessed art thou among women; behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son." A similar salutation is made to the mother of Pythagoras, who assures her that she should give birth to a son that would excel all others in beauty and wisdom, and prove a blessing to the whole race of mankind. Jesus received his wisdom from the inspiration of God. From the gods came the philosophy of Pythagoras . Jesus-increased in wis. .. dom and in stature, and in favour with God and men. Pythagoras was distinguished by the same high qualities. Jesus, after his baptism, was pointed out by a voice from heaven, as the son of God. Pythagoras received from many the same honourable appellation g. The heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended on Jesus in the form of a dove. Pythagoras, while teaching his disciples that the gods communed with men by means of signs and omens, brought down an eagle, which alighted upon him; and which, after touching, he dismissed.
“ When he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your
* Τινας δε Απολλωνος αυτον ιστορειν και Πυθαϊδος των γονω, hoyw de Muroapxou pro sv Apolovios. Porphyr.de Vita Pyth.p. 5.
+ Προειπεν η Πυθια την γυναικα κυειν τε ηδη και τεξεσθαι τον παιδα τον πωποτε καλλει και σοφια διοισοντα, και τα ανθρωπινω γενει μεγιςον οφελος εις συμπαντα τον βιον εσόμενον. . Iamb. de Vit. Pyih. cap. 2.
I Cap. 1. και ωςε υπο των πολλων εικότως βεβαιουσθαι, το θεου παιδα
nets for a draught. And Simon, answering, said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and taken nothing; nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, and their net burst; and they beckoned unto their associates who were in the other ships, that they should come and help them; and they came and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, O my Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man; for he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. But Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not.”. Luke v. 4. To this miracle, which was symbolical of the success the Apostles would meet with in propagating the Gospel, these two heathens opposed the following fiction respecting Pythagoras: “While * about this time he was going from Sybaris to Croton, he came up to some men who were dragging a net to the shore. He told them the exact number of all the fishes which the net contained, and which was. yet spread in the deep. The men waited his further commands in case his prediction should turn qut correct. He commanded them all to throw back the fishes alive, having first correctly numbered them; and what is wonderful, not one of these fishes died, though they continued out of the water all the time they were reckoning them. Having given their value to the fishermen, he departed to Croton: the transaction they spread throughout the country, and all who heard of it were eager to see the stranger.” This story is sufficiently absurd; but it is calculated to throw an air of ridicule over the real miracle done by Christ; and this apparently was its intention.
* Jamb. c. 8.
To the conduct of our Lord in stilling the tempest, as stated in Matt. viii. 24, and in walking on the sea, John vi. 16, is opposed the following narrative respecting Pythagoras in his voyage to Egypt : “He was conveyed,” says lamblichus, “ to that country by some Egyptian mariners, who most seasonably arrived at the foot of Mount Carmel, where Pythagoras tarried in a temple. These men cheerfully received him on board, foreseeing, if they sold him, they should derive great profit from his fine person. But when in sailing they saw with what sobriety and dignity he behaved, and how conformably to his peculiar way of life, they became better disposed towards him, and looked upon the youth as having something in him above the nature of man. They recollected also how, when they came a-shore, he descended from Mount Carmel (which was deemed the most sacred, and inaccessible to most people) with tranquil steps; neither casting a look behind, nor receiving any obstruction from the steepness, or the ruggedness of the rocks. When he embarked, he only asked whether they were bound for Egypt? On their answering in the affirmative, he took his seat in silence, where he was the least. likely to be in the way of the sailors: and thus he continued in one and the same posture two days and three nights, without food or drink, or even sleep, unless, indeed, he slumbered a little unobserved. But when they sailed, contrary to expectation, with a direct and uninterrupted course, as if aided by the presence of some god,-on putting together all the circumstances, they concluded with confidence that he who sailed with them from Syria to Egypt
was a divine being. Accordingly they behaved, during the rest of the voyage, with more decorum towards one another, until they arrived with the utmost speed along the unruffled surface of the sea on the Egyptian shore." Iamb. de Vit. Pyth. cap. 3.
It is said of Jesus, that he was meek and lowly in heart; that his yoke is easy and his burden light: that it was foretold of him, that he should not strive nor cry, nor should his voice be heard in the streets: that he should not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.-A character equally mild and benign is given to Pythagoras: after saying that he was looked upon by all with wonder, and proved by many to be a son of God, lamblichus adds, “ that whatever he said or did, he said and did it with inimitable serenity and calmness, so that, while he remained at Samos, he was, as if a su.“ perior being, never influenced either by anger, or laughter, or envy, or any other rash and violent emotion *.'
Pythagoras, according to his biographers, was deeply versed in magic; and such were his skill and efficacy in those arts, that he could convey himself from one place to another, and that in a short time. “He was seen,” says Porphyry, “in one and the same day at Metapontus in Italia and Tauromenium in Sicily; and this was fully confirmed by his friends in both places. If any," continues he, “ laboured under bodily disorder, Pythagoras cured him; if he languished under mental pain, the same author solaced his grief, partly by incantations and the magical arts, and partly by music. For he had
* ντε ελαλει η επραττεν ευδια και αμιμητω τινι γαληνη, μητε οργη ποτε μηδε γελωτι, μητε ζηλω, μήτε φιλονεικια, μητε αλλη ταραχή η προπετεια αλισκομενος. cap. 2.
certain peculiar spells, by which, when sung, he healed the disorders of the body, and restored the sick to their pristine health*." The design of these gross falsehoods was to lead the reader to conclude that the following miracles done by Christ were done by the same means, and thus to set aside his claims as the author of life and immortality to mankind. “ And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all. sick
persons, that laboured under divers pains and diseases, and those who were possessed with demons, and those who were lunatic, and those who had the palsy ; and he healed them.”
Jesus Christ demands the attention of mankind, not only as a divine messenger, but as a reformer and a legislator. His example and his precepts are calculated to produce the most salutary effects on individuals and whole communities: they tend to destroy wars between nations, and discord between families; to eradicate slavery, political and mental; to humble pride; to confine the love of wealth and power within proper bounds; to banish luxury and extravagance; to eradicate envy and malice; and to establish in the heart piety towards God, and benevolence towards mankind, as the chief principles of conduct. These happy effects the Gospel is calculated to produce, and has produced them in all ages, especially on its first propagation, while it yet operated in its native purity, uncontaminated by the prejudices of mankind. Porphyry and lamblichus have the effrontery to ascribe similar effects
Porph. de Vit. Pyth. p. 34.