It is this idea which lay at the bottom of that sanctity which the early Church—and indeed the Roman Catholic Church to-day—ascribed, and does ascribe, to the condition of perfect continence; which can be traced quite clearly through the religious observances of so many Catholic nations, and which Buckle lashes so unmercifully in his History of Civilization, Vol. it, Chaps, i and v. We find it among the Nazarenes and Essenes of Judffia; the priests of India and of Egypt; in the remote mountains of Tartary and Thibet; and the history of the Immaculate Conception of our Lord, concerning which there has been so much illiterate conjecture and speculation, as well as downright ridicule, is only one of a host of similar miraculous motherhoods scattered throughout the legends and literature of Asia.
There is a Chinese legend which tells us that when there were but one man and one woman on the earth, the woman refused to sacrifice her virginity to him, even to people the globe; and the gods, honoring her purity, granted that she should conceive in her lover's sight, without sexual intercourse, and in this way a virgin mother became the parent of humanity. Many other like instances might be cited from various sources to show that Christianity is not alone in its creed as to the Immaculate Conception.*