Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/166

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

Christianisa-.[1] Although this fact is now generally admitted, Toland puts the case so well that it is best to give his own words:—

"The Christians," he says, "were careful to remove all obstacles lying in the way of the Gentiles. They thought the most effectual way of gaining them over to their side was by compounding the matter, which led them to unwarrantable compliances, till at length they likewise set up for mysteries. Yet not having the least precedent for any ceremonies from the Gospel, excepting Baptism and the Supper, they strangely disguised and transformed these by adding to them the pagan mystic rites. They administered them with the strictest secrecy; and to be inferior to their adversaries in no circumstance, they permitted none to assist at them but such as were antecedently prepared or initiated."

The parallel Toland proceeds to draw is extremely instructive, and could only be improved on in our own day by tracing both Pagan and Christian rites to their antecedent origins in India. What

  1. In a letter in his Vindicius Liberius he says: "As for the Christian religion in general, that book is so far from calling it in question that it was purposely written for its service, to defend it against the imputations of contradiction and obscurity which are frequently objected by its opposers."