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“ He was the greatest impostor, except Mahomet, that ever appeared in the world, and had all the craft and enterprising boldness of that Arab, but much more knowledge ; for he was excellently skilled in all the learning of the East that was in his time ; whereas the other could neither write nor read ; and particularly he was thoroughly versed in the Jewish religion, and in all the sacred writings of the Old Testament that were then extant, which makes it most likely, that he was, as to his origin, a Jew. And it is generally said of him, that he had been a servant to one of the prophets of Israel, and that it was by this means that he came to be so well skilled in the holy scriptures, and all other Jewish knowledge ; which is a farther proof, that he was of that people; it not being likely, that a prophet of Israel should entertain him as a servant, or instruct him as a disciple, if he were not of the same seed of Israel, as well as of the same religion with him ; and that especially since it was the usage of that people, by principle of religion, as well as by long received custom among them, to separate themselves from all other nations, as far as they were able. And it is farther to be taken notice of, that most of those who speak of his original, say, that he was of Palestine, within which country the land of Judea was. And all this put together, amounts with me to a convincing proof, that he was first a Jew, and that by birth, as well as religion, before he took upon him to be prophet of the Magian sect.
“He did not found a new religion, as his successor in imposture Mahomet did, but only took upon him to revive and reform an old one, that of the Magians, which had been for many ages past, the ancient national religion of the Medes, as well as of the Persians : for it having fallen under disgrace on the death of those ringleaders of that sect, who had usurped the sovereignty after the death of Cambyses, and the
slaughter which was then made of all the chief men among them, it sunk so low, that it became almost extinct, and Sabianism every where prevailed against it, Darius and most of his followers on that occasion going over to it. But the affection which the people had for the religion of their forefathers, and which they had all been brought up in, not being easily to be rooted out, Zoroaster saw, that the revival of this was the best game of imposture that he could then play; and, having so good an old stock to graft upon, he did with the greater ease make all his new scions
which he inserted into it. • The chief reformation which he made in the Magian religion was in the first principle of it: for whereas before they had held the being of two first causes, the first light, or the good god, who was the author of all good ; and the other darkness, or the evil god, who was the author of all evil; and that of the mixture of these two, as they were in a continual struggle with each other, all things were made; he introduced a principle superior to them both, one supreme God, who created light and darkness, and out of these two, according to the alone pleasure of his own will, made all things else that are, according to what is said in the 45th chapter of Isaiah, 5, 6, 7. “ I am the Lord, and there is none else : there is no God besides me; I girded thee, though thou hast not known me, that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all these things.” For these words being directed to Cyrus, king of Persia, must be understood as spoken in reference to the Persian sect of the Magians, who then held light and darkness, or good and evil, to be the supreme beings, without acknowledging the great God who is superior to both. And I doubt
not it was from hence that Zoroaster had the hint of mending this great absurdity in their theology. But to avoid making God the author of evil, his doctrine was, that God originally and directly created only light or good, and that darkness or evil followed it by consequence, as the shadow doth the person; that light or good had only a real production from God, and the other afterwards resulted from it, as the defect thereof. In sum, his doctrine as to this particular was, that there was one supreme Being, independent and self-existing from all eternity. That under him there were two angels, one the angel of light, who is the author and director of all good ; and the other the angel of darknesss, who is the author and director of all evil ; and that these two, out of the mixture of light and darkness, made all things that are; that they are in a perpetual struggle with each other; and that where the angel of light prevails, there the most is good, and where the angel of darkness prevails, there the most is evil; that this struggle shall continue to the end of the world ; that then there shall be a general reserrection, and a day of judgment, wherein just retribution shall be rendered to all according to their works; after which the angel of darkness, and his disciples, shall go into a world of their own, where they shall suffer in everlasting darkness the punishments of their evil deeds : and the angel of light, and his disciples, shall also go into a world of their own, where they shall receive in everlasting light, the reward due unto their good deeds; and that after this they shall remain separated for ever, and light and darkness be no more mixed together to all eternity.-And all this the remainder of that sect, which is now in Persia and India, do without any variation, after so many ages, still hold even to this day.”
Let us now consider, what Zoroaster says shall take place at the end of the world, and compare it:
with the creeds of most Christians. He says-" then there shall be a general resurrection.” This article Zoroaster no doubt learned from his acquaintance with the Jewish Scriptures, for the resurrection from the dead, was the ultimate hope of believers in Christ, who was promised to the fathers. At this resurrection, he says there shall be "a day of judgment."This, Zoroaster could not learn from the Old Testament, for it does not teach such a doctrine, and when he made his creed, the New was not in existence. The phrase “ day of judgment,” used by him, is that now used by Christians, and in the same sense as he used it. In my answer to Mr. Sabine, I examined every text in which this phrase is found, and showed, that it is not once used in the Bible, in the sense which Zoroaster and Christians have attached to it. To it I beg leave to refer the reader, who inclines to examine this subject. Christians must have borrowed the sense they attach to the phrase "day of judgment" from his creed, for he could not borrow it from theirs, as the chronology of the cases show. But let us hear Zoroaster, about what shall take place at the day of judgment? He says—“just retribution shall be rendered to all according to their works." It cannot be denied, that this is the very sentiment and language of Chris. tian creeds. But I ask, how Zoroaster could learn either this sentiment or its phraseology from the Old Testament? If he did, intelligent and orthodox men have erred greatly in admitting that this doctrine is not taught at all, or at least very doubtful in the Old Testament. Jahn, in his Archaeology, thus writes,
398.-“We have not authority, therefore, decidedly to say, that any other motives were held out to the ancient Hebrews to pursue the good and avoid the evil, than those, which were derived from the rewards and punishments of this life. That these were the motives which were presented to their minds in order
to influence them to pursue a right course of conduct, is expressly asserted, Isai. 26 : 9, 10. and may be learnt also from the imprecations, which are met with, in many parts of the Old Testament.
Every orthodox man must believe that the devil with his disciples, or all wicked men, are to suffer in a world of their own “in everlasting darkness the punishment of their evil deeds,” and that “the angel of light, and his disciples, shall also go into a world of their own, where they shall receive in everlasting light the reward due unto their good deeds : and that after this they shall remain separated for ever, and light and darkness be no more mixed together to all eternity.” What man would be deemed orthodox, who refused to believe these things ? And why not allow, that Zoroaster, the greatest impostor that ever arose, Mahomet excepted, was in these things as orthodox as they are? In these things he was orthodox long before them. There is only one of the above articles about which they differ from him in opinion. To the honour of our orthodox brethren be it spoken, they do not say, that the disciples of the angel of light receive future blessedness as a reward for good deeds done by them here. No, they say, it is not of works but of grace,
lest any man should boast. It is true, the grace whereby they save men, is rather a purchased grace, than free grace, but on this we forbear remarking.
But it is added by Prideaux—“and all this the remainder of that sect which is now in Persia and India, do without any variation, after so many ages still hold even to this day." If they hold all the above articles, " without any variation to this day," and if they are all true, as Dean Prideaux asserts, why be at so much trouble and expense to send them missionaries? The chief articles in modern Christian creeds were propa. gated there many ages before the Christian religion