« FöregåendeFortsätt »
hair, and rams' skins dyed red, and badger skins, &c. chap. xxv. ver. 3; and in one of the pretended prophecies I have just examined, God is made to give directions how they should kill, cook, and eat a he-lamb or a hegoat. And Ezekiel, chap. iv. to fill up the measure of abominable absurdity, makes God to order him to take ** wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and make a loaf or a cake thereof, and bake it with human dung and eat it;" but as Ezekiel complained that this mess was too strong for his stomach, the matter was compromised from man's dung to cow dung, Ezekiel, chap. iv. Compare all this ribaldry, blaspheinously called the word of God, with the almighty power that created the universe, and whose eternal wisdom directs and governs all its mighty movements, and we sliall be at a loss to find a name sufficiently contemptible for it.
In the promises which the Old Testament pretends that God made to his people, the same derogatory ideas of him prevail. It makes God to promise to Abraham, that bis seed should be like the stars in heaven and the sand on the sea shore for multitude, and that he would give them the land of Canaan as their inheritance for ever. But observe, reader, how the performance of this promise was to begin, and then ask thine own reason, if the wisdom of God, whose power is equal to his will, could, consistently with that power and that wisdom, make such a promise.
The performance of the promise was to begin, accord. ing to that book, by four hundred years of bondage and affiction. Genesis, chap. xv. ver. 13, “And God said unto Abraham, know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall aftlict them four hundred years." This promise then to Abraham, and his seed for ever, to inherit the land of Canaan, had it been a fact instead of a fable, was to operate, in the commencement of it, as a curse upon all the people and their children, and their children's children for four hundred years.
But the case is, the book of Genesis was written after the bondage in Egypt had taken place; and in order to get rid of the disgrace of the Lord's chosen people, as they called themselves, being in bondage to the Gentiles, they inake God to be the author of it, and annex it as a condition to a pretended promise; as if God, in making that proinise, had exceeded his power in performing it, and consequently his wisdom in making it, and was obliged to compromise with them for one half, and with the Egyptians, to whom they were to be in bondage, for the other half.
Without degrading my own reason by bringing those wretched and contemptible tales into a comparative view, with the almighty power and eternal wisdom, which the Creator hath demonstrated to our senses in the creation of the universe, I will confine myself to say, that if we compare them with the divine and forcible sentiments of Cicero, the result will be, that the human mind has degenerated by believing them. Man, in a state of grorelling superstition, from which he has not courage to rise, loses the energy of his mental powers.
I will not tire the reader with more observations on the Old Testament.
As to the New Testament, if it be brought and tried by that standard, which, as Middleton wisely says, God has revealed to our senses, of his alınighty power and wis. dom in the creation and government of the visible uni. verse, it will be found equally as false, paltry, and absurd, as the Old.
Without entering, in this place, into any other argument, that the story of Christ is of human invention and not of divine origin, I will contine myself to shew that it is derogatory to God, by the contrivance of it, because the means it supposes God to use, are not adequate to the end to be obtained; and therefore are, derogatory to the amightiness of his power, and the eternity of his wisdom.
The New Testament supposes that God sent his Son upon earth to make a new covenant with man; which the church calls the covenant of Grace, and to instruct mankind in a new doctrine, which it calls Faith, meaning thereby, not faith in God, for Cicero and all true Deists always had and always will have this; but faith in the person called Jesus Christ, and that whoever had not this faith should, to use the words of the New Testament, be DALINED.
Now, if this were a fact, it is cousistent with that attribute of God called his Goodness, that no time should be lost in letting poor unfortunate man know it; and as that goodness was united to almighty power, and that power to almighty wisdom, all the means existed in the hand of the Creator to make it known immediately over the whole earth, in a manner suitable to the almightiness of his divine nature, and with evidence that would not leave man in doubt; for it is always incumbent upon us, in all cases, to believe that the Almighty always acts, not by imperfect means as imperfect man acts, but consistently with his almightiness. It is this only that can become the infallible criterion by which we can possibly distinguish the works of God from the works of man.
Observe now, reader, how the comparison between this
tament tells us thing thereinen applied to
supposed mission of Christ, on the belief or disbelief or which they say man was to be saved or damned-observe, I say, how the comparison between this and the almighty power and wisdom of God demonstrated to our senses in the visible creation, goes on.
The Old Testament tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, and every thing therein, in six days. The term sir days is ridiculous enough when applied to God; but leaving out that absurdity, it contains the idea of almighty power acting unitedly with almighty, wisdom, to produce an immense work, that of the creation of the universe and every thing therein, in a short time.
Now as the eternal salvation of man is of much greater importance than his creation, and as that salvation de*pends, as the New Testament tells us, on man's knowledge of, and belief in the person called Jesus Christ, it necessarily follows from our belief in the goodness and justice of God, and our knowledge of his almighty power and wisdom, as demonstrated in the creation, that all this, if true, would be made known to all parts of the world, in as little time, at least, as was employed in making the world. To suppose the Almighty would pay greater regard and attention to the creation and organization of inaniinate matter, than he would to the salvation of innumerable millions of souls, which himself had created, “ as the image of himself,'' is to offer an insult to his goodness and his justice.
Now observe, reader, how the promulgation of this pretended salvation by a knowledge of, and a belief in Jesus Christ went on, compared with the work of creation.
In the first place, it took longer time to make the child than to make the world, for nine months were passed away and totally lost in a state of pregnancy; which is more than forty times longer time than God employed in making the world, according to the Bible account. Se. condly; several years of Christ's life were lost in a state of human infancy. But the universe was in maturity the moment it existed. Thirdly; Christ, as Luke asserts, was thirty years old before he began to preach what they call his inission. Millions of souls died in the mean time without knowing it. Fourthly; it was above three hun. dred years from that time before the book called the New Testament was compiled into a written copy, before which time there was no such book. Fifthly; it was above a, thousand years after that, before it could be circulated; because neither Jesus nor his apostles had knowledge of, or were inspired with, the art of printing: and consequently, as the ineans for making it universally known
did not exist, the means were not equal to the end, and therefore it is not the work of God.
I will here subjoin the nineteenth Psalın, which is truly Deistical, to shew how universally and instantaneously the works of God inake themselves known, compared with this pretended salvation by Jesus Christ.
Psalm 19th. “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy-work-Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth know. ledge-There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard--Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the bath he set a chamber for the Sun. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of liis chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race-his going forth is froin the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing bid from the heat thereof."
Now, had the news of salvation by Jesus Christ been inscribed on the face of the Sun and the Moon, in cha. racters that all nations would have understood, the whole earth had known it in twenty-four hours, and all nations would have believed it; whereas, though it is now almost two thousand years since, as they tell us, Christ came upon earth, not a twentieth part of the people of the earth know any thing of it, and among those who do, the wiser part do not believe it.
I have now, reader, gone through all the passages called propbecies of Jesus Christ, and shewn there is no such
I have examined the story told of Jesus Christ, and compared the several circumstances of it with that revela. tion, which, as Middleton wisely says, God has made to us of his power and wisdom in the structure of the universe, and by which every thing ascriled to him is to be tried. The result is, that the story of Christ has not one trait, either in its character, or in the means einployed, that bears the least resemblance to the power and wisdom of God, as demonstrated in the creation of the universe. All the means are human means, slow, uncertain and inadequate to the accomplishinent of the end proposed, and therefore the whole is a fabulous invention, and undesery. ing of credit.
The priests of the present day profess to believe it. They gain their living by it, and they exclaim against something they call intidelity. I will define what it is. JIE THAT BELIEVES IN THE STORY OF CHRIST IS AN INFIDEL TO GOD.
The New Testament,
MATTHEW AND MARK.
BY THOMAS PAINE.
In the New Testament, Mark, chap. xvi. ver. 16, it is said. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned." This is making salvation, or in other words the happiness of man after this life, to depend entirely on believing, or on what Christians call faith.
But the 25th chapter of The Gospel according to Matthew makes Jesus Christ to preach a direct contrary doctrine to The Gospel according to Mark; for it inakes salvation, or the future happiness of man, to depend entirely on good works; and those good works are not works done to God, for he needs them not, but good works done to man.
The passage referred to in Matthew is the account there given of what is called the last day, or the day of judg. ment, where the whole world is represented to be divided into two parts, the righteous and the unrighteous, metaphorically called the sheep and the goats.
To the one part, called the righteous, or the sheep, it says, “Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the king. doin prepared for you from the beginning of the worldfor I was an hungered and ye gave me meat- I was thirsty and ye gave me drink--I was a stranger and ye
took me in-Naked and ye clothed me~I was sick and ye · visited me I was in prison and ye came unto me.
“ Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee, or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took