« הקודםהמשך »
persons and dispositions. His cajoling and shuffing with the Corinthians about money matters shews, that he was a per. fect adept in the art of deceit. At one moment, he wills them to give freely, at another, reproaches tbem for not have ing given any thing; though he does not want any thing from them, not he! he can work with his hands and bas“ robbed other churches,” because he would not be beholding to them who were unwilling to give. This unwillingness in the Corinthians seems to have been the cause of tbe bitter reproaches which he has cast upon them, and which he seems to shuflle out of at 2 Corinthians chap. 7. ver. 11, when they resented the imputations made. To the Philippians who gave freely he writes a most flattering Epistle!
Sucb was the character of the little crooked-tbighed, holloweyed, crooked-nosed Saint Paul, the evident founder of every thing tbat has appeared in Europe and America under the tbe name of Christianity. In different parts of bis Epistles, he is very free in calling himself a fool. “I speak as a fool,” he says at one place; but he was more rogue than fool, and his true character is tbat of a cunning little impostor—the little crooked dog has done more mischief, by the crookedness of his mind, than any other man who has lived The little lame and crooked Timour tbe Tartar or Tamerlane did not a bundredth part of the mischief to maukind that this wicked and crooked little Apostle of the Gospel of Uucircumcision bas done! It is a singular circumstance; but observation will justify the assertion, that these little deformed characters are generally forward in mischief, and some of them bave exercised great and malignant influence among mankind. There are honourable exceptions, one of wbich was Alexander Pope; but you will generally find them inspired; clever at something, either mischief or well doing: particularly when they are shoe-makers, or tent-makers, or tailors, or employ. ed with the needle in sedentary occupations! They will generally desert their regular occupations, if they can by any trick find an easier living.
By his first Epistle to the Corinthians, it appears, that Paul got himself trusted with some money to carry to the distressed saints in Asia, notwithstanding he was forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word there! and from the doleful nature of the second Epistle, the evident reproaches made upon him by the Corinthians, and his retorts upon money matters, I am inclined to think, that be applied “ their liberality towards the saints” to his own private purposes, as all things were lawful to him if the spirit was the mover.
The whole of his Second Epistle is an evasive answer to some reproaches that had been cast upon him, and a recount. ing of what he had suffered since he left them. His confession about the “thorn in the flesh" at chap. xii. ver. 7 is a corollery to my conjecture about the money matters. He evidently here put in practice his doctrine of committing sin that grace migbt the more abound in him! The answers of the Corin. thians to his accusations would be very useful in the way of elucidating bis vices.
Ah! Thomas Paine! thou wert not such an ia moral wretch as this man Paul, wbose followers bare buret thee in effigy, insulted thy grave, and belied thy whole character! Hadst thou been so, badst thou been less honest, badst thou sought to practice some impositions among maukind, instead of working to their improvement and increased happiness, the wretcbes would have sung thy praises, and honoured, if honour could come from them, thy memory! But honour shall yet be done to thy honourable exertions! The profiigacy of the Christians of the Gospel of Uncircumcision shall be duly exposed from the first to the last of them! Tby name shall be lisped with admiration, when the name of Saint Paul is forgotten, or if not forgotten, execrated! Thou wert the first Englishman, that "manfully assailed the Christian Idolatry! the first tbat did it openly! the first that did it with candour! It brought thee the insults of the ignorant and wretched Christians: but it could not bring pain to tby mind! Imitating thee, I wrap myself in thy mantle, and bid them defiance! And I swear by thy virtues, througbout life, I will strive to imitate them, and to do justice to thy character and worth!
Having shewn ap the little crooked-tbigbed, crookednosed, and angelic-faced Saint Paul in every position, we bave now got bim in Europe with his Gospel of uncircumcision; so let us see what sort of European Christians were those which be first made; what sort of lights they were, Bailey!
The first portrait that we have of them begins at Romans, cbap. i. ver. 26, where after saying, that some held tbe truth in unrighteousness, and after they had bad God made manifest to them, tbey neither glorified him nor were tbankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish beart was darkened, he says: “ For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even tbeir women did change the natural use into that which is against pature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in tbemselves that recompence of their error wbich was meet *"
This is a borrid picture and ought not to be in print in this day: much less ought it to be thrust into all hands as a sacred book! even into those of boys and girls! but with me tbere is an excuse : it is my duty and particular task to expose and condemn it. I have suffered five years imprisonment with other great injuries for calling this an obscene book; and at the end of those five years, I see Romau Catholics, Priests, and Laymen, avowing with me the obscenities of the Bible; and giving it as a reasou to the Protestants why they wish to withhold such a book from their flocks! Surely Mother Church is brought to a pretty pass; though she still keeps me her prisoner! I may hereafter leave it to Catholic Priesis and Barristers to expose the obscenities of the Bible and proceed to shew the bad foundation of its whole history. But all ought to know, that I keep a printed list of references to those beautiful obscenities. I see that I shall be driven to make a fortune, by illustraing a new edition of the Bible with becoming prints, if the Bible men will not see its beauties in the letter press. What I want to get is, a literal translation, with suitable notes and graphic illustrations. And to publish these in such numbers as to have a splendid coloured print with each. It will be a fortune for all who will engage in it: and if I cannot get it done otherwise, I will master the Hebrew Language, but that I will get it done by myself. · It has been denied that the shocking propensities mentioned in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans were at. tributed to early Cbristians; but nothing can be more clear. St. Paul would not allow the Heathen or Gentiles as they were called, to hold the truth, to know God, and to become vain in their imaginations. It is a sort of relapsed Christians of whom he is speaking. In the last verse of the chapter, he says of them: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” This cannot be mistaken: the Heathen knew nothing of St. Paul's God or St. Paul's God's system of morals. It is clear that he speaks (of avowed Christians. His fellow Apostle,
* This must allude to some disease, some kind of venereal disease; for there have been many kinds of it. The leprosy was one.
St. Barnabas, also stiles the first Christians as the “the most wicked of all the wicked.” But we have further corroborations in this book, the New Testament. At cbap. vi. ver. 19 of this Epistle, after thaoking God that they were the servants of sin, he says: “ for as ye bave yielded your members to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity." This is a complete corroboration of wbat is above quoted from the first cbapter.
This Epistle to the Romans, as it is called, is dated at Corinth, and this we must consider the first European town in which the Apostle of the Gospel of Uncircumcision figured. At chap. xvi. ver. 23, we are told, that Gaius was Panl's bost and the host of the whole church, that is, that the Church of Corinth counted no more members than could conveniently assemble in the house of Gaius; but whether they consisted of half a dozen or a dozen we are not informed. But before Paul left Corinth, it seems, by bis first Epistle to the · Corinthians, chap. i. ver. 11, that he had formed two churches or two houses full of Christians; and as soon as there were two, they began to quarrel and to accuse one another of miscouduct. “ For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Cbloe, that there are contentions among you." Then he says most empbatically at ver. 14: “I thank God that I baptized nope of you, but to Crispus and Gaius." Here he even thinks it would have been a disgrace to have baptised such Christians! And to set forth the worthlessness and inconsistency of this Apospostle as an Epistle writer, we have oply to go back to verses 4 to 7 where he says: “ I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God wbicb is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all ntterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come bebind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” do honest man could not have written in this contradictory stile. And here it may be seen too, that Paul's first preaching of Jesus Christ was, that he was coming, not that he had been.
The Epistle of the Church of ihe House of Chloe to Paul in accusation of the Church of the House of Gaius would be a delicious treat of scandal to us Anti-Christians, and so would the retort of the Church in the House of Gaius'upon Paul and upon those of the House of Chloe. At Ist Corinthians, cbap. v. ver. 1, we read: “ It is reported commonly that there is foruication among you, and such fornication as
is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.” And further on, he challenges them with glorying in this matter! Pretty primitive Christians!
I am of opinion, that the Epistles which now stand as single Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and others, were not originally written in the same manner; but that they are extracts from different Epistles compounded as one. On any other ground I cannot account for the incongruity and want of connection in the matter. Al Ist Corinthians chap, v. ver. 9, we read: “I wrote unto you in an epistle pot to company with fornicators.” This then as a wbole cannot be the first to the Corinthians. Subsequent chapters of this epistle correspond with that which he is previously said to have written.
Speaking of the Apostles, Paul says, at chap. iv. ver. 10 and following of this Epistle: “ We are fools for Christ's sake, but yé are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even un. to this present bour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat; we are made as the filth of the earth, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” Here is a very pretty picture of the Apostleship at its first starting! How unlike to our modern Apostles! Yet these were the men of whom it is said, that the gift of tongues was imparted to them by the Holy Ghost, and that they were under the special protection of ad omnipotent God! When fairly looked into, how truly human do all these things appear!
By the contents of the seventh chapter, it seems, that the Corinthians, baving been accused of improper fornication, wrote to Paul, to know what was a proper rule of conduct in this matter. This question seems to have puzzled little crooked Saint Paul; for he shufiles confoundedly in his answer. He says it is good for a man not to touch a woman-it is well to marry, but better not to marry; and if they cannot contain themselves, that is, if, like the Vicar of Cerne, they burn, it is better to marry than not to marry. There is a loop-bole all through the precepts, to suit all dispositions ; and one there is quite amiable: “ Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I