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OF course, all Gods must be heroes — physically or intellectually, or both. The more danger they encounter, and the earlier they manifest a precocious or preternatural smartness, the more like Gods.
And hence we find several of the Saviors in very early childhood displaying great physical prowess in meeting and conquering danger, while others exhibit their superiority mentally by vanquishing their opponents in argument. Christ first began to exhibit proof of his divine character and greatness by meeting and silencing the doctors in the temple when only about twelve years of age.
And similar proofs of divinity at or near this age is found in the history of some of the pagan Saviors.
Of Christ it is declared, “There went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” (Luke iv. 14.) And of the Grecian Esculapius it is likewise declared, “The voice of fame soon published the birth of a miraculous child,” and “the people flocked from all quarters to behold him. Of Confucius of China it is declared, “His extensive knowledge and great wisdom soon made him known, and kings were governed by his counsels, and the people adored him wherever he went.” And it is further declared of this “Divine Man,” that he seemed to arrive at reason and the perfect use of his faculties almost from infancy. It is reported of the God Chang-ti, that when questioned on the subject of government and the duties of princes and rulers while yet a child, his answers were such as to astonish the whole empire by his knowledge and wisdom.
It is related of a Grecian God that he demolished the serpents which attempted to bite or destroy him while in his cradle. “The proof of Osiris’s divinity was a blaze of light shining around his cradle soon after he was born. Relative to Pythagoras of the same country, we have it upon the authority of a Christian writer, that he exhibited such a remarkable character, even in youth, as to attract the attention of all who saw and heard him speak.” And the author further testifies of him that he “never was at any time overcome with anger, laughter, or perturbation of mind or precipitation of conduct.” “His fame having reached Miletus and neighboring cities,” it is said by another writer, “the people flocked to see and hear him, and he was reverenced by multitudes.”
Luke declares of Christ, that the people “were astonished at his understanding and answers.” (Luke ii. 47.) And the “Gospel of the Infancy” tells us that his tutor Zacheas was astonished at his learning, which reminds us of the statement found in “The Divine Word” of the Hindoos (The Mahabarat), that the parents of the Savior Chrishna, in making arrangements to give him an education, sent him to a learned Brahmin as tutor, whom he instantly astonished with his vast learning, and under whose tuition he mastered the whole circle of sciences in a day and a night. “Men, seeing the wonders performed by this child, told Nanda (his adopted father) that this could not possibly be his son.”
it is told of Budha Sakia of India that, “as soon as he was born, a light shone around his cradle, when he stood up and proclaimed his mission, and that the River Gange, during this time rose in a miraculous manner, which was stilled by his divine power, as Christ stilled the tempest on the sea.” “He was born,” says the New American Cyclopedia (vol. iv. p. 61), “amidst great miracles, and soon as born, most solemnly proclaims his mission.”
Of Narayan, “the Holy,” it is declared that “mysterious words dropped from his lips on various occasions, giving hints of his divine nature and the purposes for which he had come down to the earth.” (Prog. Rel. Ideas, vol. i.p. 128.) The divine power and mission of Yu of China was very early evinced by the display of great miracles.
And here let us observe that some of the Old Testament or Jewish heroes — as Moses, Solomon and Samuel — are reported as exhibiting great superiority of mind in very early life; thus proving (it was thought) that if they were not Gods, they were at least from God — that is, endowed by him with divine power while yet mere children. Thus the histories of all Gods and divine personages run in parallel grooves.