This fable spread wherever the Babylonian system spread; and, accordingly, at this day, the Chinese celebrate, as they have done from time immemorial, a festival in honor of a Mother, who by her son was rescued from the power of death and the grave. The festival of the Assumption in the Romish Church is held on the 15th of August. The Chinese festival, founded on a similar legend, and celebrated with lanterns and chandeliers, as shown by Sir J. F. Davis in his able and graphic account of China, is equally celebrated in the month of August. Now, when the mother of the Pagan Messiah came to be celebrated as having been thus "Assumed," then it was that, under the name of the "Dove," she was worshipped as the Incarnation of the Spirit of God, with whom she was identified. As such as she was regarded as the source of all holiness, and the grand "PURIFIER," and, of course, was known herself as the "Virgin" mother, "PURE AND UNDEFILED." (PROCLUS, in TAYLOR'S Note upon Jamblichus) Under the name of Proserpine (with whom, though the Babylonian goddess was originally distinct, she was identified), while celebrated, as the mother of the first Bacchus, and known as "Pluto's honored wife," she is also addressed, in the "Orphic Hymns," as
"Associate of the seasons, essence bright,
All-ruling VIRGIN, bearing heavenly light."
Whoever wrote these hymns, the more they are examined the more does it become evident, when they are compared with the most ancient doctrine of Classic Greece, that their authors understood and thoroughly adhered to the genuine theology of Paganism. To the fact that Proserpine was currently worshipped in Pagan Greece, though well known to be the wife of Pluto, the god of hell, under the name of "The Holy Virgin," we find Pausanias, while describing the grove Carnasius, thus bearing testimony:
"This grove contains a statue of Apollo Carneus, of Mercury carrying a ram, and of Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres, who is called 'The HOLY VIRGIN.'"
The 'holy' virgin
The purity of this "Holy Virgin" did not consist merely in freedom from actual sin, but she was especially distinguished for her "immaculate conception"; for Proclus says, "She is called Core, through the purity of her essence, and her UNDEFILED transcendency in her GENERATIONS." Do men stand amazed at the recent decree? There is no real reason to wonder. It was only in following out the Pagan doctrine previously adopted and interwoven with the whole system of Rome to its logical consequences, that that decree has been issued, and that the Madonna of Rome has been formally pronounced at last, in every sense of the term, absolutely "IMMACULATE."
Now, after all this, is it possible to doubt that the Madonna of Rome, with the child in her arms, and the Madonna of Babylon, are one and the same goddess? It is notorious that the Roman Madonna is worshipped as a goddess, yea, is the supreme object of worship. Will not, then, the Christians of Britain revolt at the idea of longer supporting this monstrous Babylonian Paganism? What Christian constituency could tolerate that its representative should vote away the money of this Protestant nation for the support of such blasphemous idolatry? *
* It is to be lamented that Christians in general seem to have so little sense either of the gravity of the present crisis of the Church and the world, or of the duty lying upon them as Christ's witnesses, to testify, and that practically, against the public sins of the nation. If they would wish to be stimulated to a more vigorous discharge of duty in this respect, let them read an excellent and well-timed little work recently issued from the press, entitled An Original Interpretation of the Apocalypse, where the Apocalyptic statements in regard to the character, life, death, and resurrection of the Two Witnesses, are briefly but forcibly handled.
Were not the minds of men judicially blinded, they would tremble at the very thought of incurring the guilt that this land, by upholding the corruption and wickedness of Rome, has for years past been contracting. Has not the Word of God, in the most energetic and awful terms, doomed the New Testament Babylon? And has it not equally declared, that those who share in Babylon's sins, shall share in Babylon's plagues? (Revelation 18:4)
The guilt of idolatry is by many regarded as comparatively slight and insignificant guilt. But not so does the God of heaven regard it. Which is the commandment of all the ten that is fenced about with the most solemn and awful sanctions? It is the second:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."
These words were spoken by God's own lips, they were written by God's own finger on the tables of stone: not for the instruction of the seed of Abraham only, but of all the tribes and generations of mankind. No other commandment has such a threatening attached to it as this.
The sin of idolatry
Now, if God has threatened to visit the SIN OF IDOLATRY ABOVE ALL OTHER SINS, and if we find the heavy judgments of God pressing upon us as a nation, while this very sin is crying to heaven against us, ought it not to be a matter of earnest inquiry, if among all our other national sins, which are both many and great, this may not form "the very head and front of our offending"? What though we do not ourselves bow down to stocks and stones? Yet if we, making a profession the very opposite, encourage, and foster, and maintain that very idolatry which God has so fearfully threatened with His wrath, our guilt, instead of being the less, is only so much the greater, for it is a sin against the light. Now, the facts are manifest to all men. It is notorious, that in 1845 anti-Christian idolatry was incorporated in the British Constitution, in a way in which for a century and a half it had not been incorporated before. It is equally notorious, that ever since, the nation has been visited with one succession of judgments after another. Ought we then to regard this coincidence as merely accidental? Ought we not rather to see in it the fulfillment of the threatening pronounced by God in the Apocalypse? This is at this moment an intensely practical subject. If our sin in this matter is not nationally recognized, if it is not penitently confessed, if it is not put away from us; if, on the contrary, we go on increasing it, if now for the first time since the Revolution, while so manifestly dependent on the God of battles for the success of our arms, we affront Him to His face by sending idol priests into our camp, then, though we have national fasts, and days of humiliation without number, they cannot be accepted; they may procure us a temporary respite, but we may be certain that "the Lord's anger will not be turned away, His hand will be stretched out still." *
* The above paragraph first appeared in the spring of 1855, when the empire had for months been looking on in amazement at the "horrible and heart-rending" disasters in the Crimea, caused simply by the fact, that official men in that distant region "could not find their hands," and when at last a day of humiliation had been appointed. The reader can judge whether or not the events that have since occurred have made the above reasoning out of date. The few years of impunity that have elapsed since the Indian Mutiny, with all its horrors, was suppressed, show the long-suffering of God. But if that long-suffering is despised (which it manifestly is, while the guilt is daily increasing), the ultimate issue must just be so much the more terrible.