Believing that God Sol was necessitated to remain at his post to direct the course of the sun, the ancient astrologers conceived the idea of teaching that, attended by a retinue of subordinate genii, he descended to earth through the medium of incarnations at the end of 600 year cycles, to perform the work of man’s redemption and, having made Virgo of the Zodiac the mother of the Solar divinity, they taught in their allegorical Astronomy, or scriptures, that his incarnations were born of a Virgin. Hence we find that God Sol, usually designated by the title of the Word, “was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” John i., 14.
In a discourse upon this text delivered by Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the year 1680, published in the fourth volume of Woodhouse’s edition of his Grace’s sermons, in the year 1744, concerning the Incarnation of our blessed Saviour, he explains the necessity of incarnation by saying that “There was likewise a great inclination in mankind to the worship of a visible Deity, so God was pleased to appear in our nature, that they, who were so fond of a visible Deity, might have one, even a true and natural image of God the Father, the express image of his person.” It only requires a little reflection to appreciate the Prelate’s covert irony and want of faith.
Having ascribed to the imaginary incarnations of God Sol the characteristics of heaven-descending, virgin-born, earth-walking, wonder-working, dying, resuscitated and ascending sons of God, the ancient Astrologers attached to them the several titles of Saviour, Redeemer, Avatar, Divine-Helper, Shiloh, Messiah, Christ; and, in reference to their foster-father, that of Son of Man. Teaching that they continued to make intercession for sin, after their ascension to the right hand of the Father, they were also called Intercessors, Mediators or Advocates with the Father. From teaching their appearance every 600 years originated the Egyptian legend of the Phoenix, a bird said to descend from the sun at these intervals, and, after being consumed upon the altar in the temple of On, or city of the sun–called Heliopolis by the Greeks–would rise from its ashes and ascend to its source. According to the civil laws of Egypt, manhood was not attained until the age of thirty years. Hence the earthly mission of incarnate Saviours was made to begin at that age; and for the reason that, relating to the apparent transit of the sun through the twelve signs of the Zodiac, it was completed during the period of one year.
To impress the ignorant masses with the belief that the scriptures were literal histories, and the incarnate Saviours real personages, the ancient Astrologers caused tombs to be erected in which it was claimed they were buried. Such sepulchres were erected to Hercules at Cadiz, to Apollo at Delphi, and to other Saviours at many other places, to which their respective votaries were induced to perform pilgrimages. In Egypt the pyramids were built, partly for astronomical purposes, and partly as tombs for Saviours, claimed to have been kings, who had once ruled over the country; and why should we not recognize that magnificent structure known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, at Jerusalem, as but another of those tombs of Saviours in which no Saviour was ever entombed?
Thus we have shown that it was God Sol, the only begotten of the Father, or second person in the sacred Triad, to whom supreme adoration was inculcated in all forms of the ancient Astrolatry; and that its cultured votaries, understanding that the doctrines pertaining to the fall and redemption of man were evolved from the figurative death and resurrection of the solar divinity, recognized the doctrine of incarnation as a priestly invention intended only for the ignorant masses.