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36. Mr. Paine has the audacity repeatedly to call St. Paul a fool.
Mr. Locke, Lord LITTLETON, and Mr. Paler, will settle the matter of the Apostle's foolishness with this doughty champion for unbelief.
After all these instances of ignorance, falsehood, malin ciousness, or misrepresentation, will any person undertake to say that Mr. PAINE is a wise man ?
37. Mr. Paine roundly asserts, “ that there was no « such book as the New Testament till more than 300 " years after CHRIST."
If priests and prophets are such “ lying rascals,” that there is no believing any thing they say, I close this long catalogue of strange assertions, by asking--Who is the liar
The principal books of which the New Testament consists, were in existence, and read as sacred writ, from the time they were first composed by the authors whose names they respectively bear. I defy Mr. PAINE, or any other man, to disprove this assertion*.
I give these as so many specimens of the false, ignorant, or malicious representations of this vain-glorious man. It were an easy matter to increase the number. These, however, may suffice. It can be of little use to enlarge the selection. From the whole, it appears, that misapprehension, misrepresentation, false wit, empty declamation, scur. rilous language, and bitter invective, are the sum total, that the keenest capacity and most vitulent enmity can produce against the Sacred Writings. I have examined his books repeatedly, and with scrupulous attention, and I declare, upon my salvation, that it does not appear to me he has made good, and fairly substantiated, any one objection to the Sacred Volume, that, in the smallest degree, affects the business of human redemption, or the credit of the Divine Records. He has, indeed, done his best. The book and the authors whom Milton, LOCKE, ADDISON, BOYLE, HALLER, EULER, and Newton had in reverence, almost to adoration, this ignorant and conceited * See SIMPSON's Essay on the Authenticity of the New Testament, P 3
man hath treated with all possible indignity and contempt. We have given the reader a few specimens of his ignorance; we will produce also a few instances of his insolence.Among other malignant things, with which his pamphlets abound, he says: “ The books of Moses were is written by some very ignorant and stupid pretenders to " authorship.”-“ Moses was one of the most vain and « arrogant of coxcombs.”—“Genesis is but an anonymous 'ss book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented s absurdities, or of downright lies.”—“ Among the de“ testable villains that in any period of the world have dis“ graced the name of man, it is impossible to find a
greater than Moses.”-“ The Bible is such a book of “ lies and contradictions, there is no knowing which part “ to believe, or whether any."-" The book of RUTH “ is an idle, bungling story, foolishly told, nobody knows “ by whom, about a strolling country girl creeping slily “ to bed to her cousin Boaz."-" Wrinkled fanati“ cism.”—“ Priestly ignorance.”—“ Studied craft of the “ scripture-makers.”—“ Cant phrase of all the pro
phets. "Z" Barefaced perversion.”—“The lying pro
phet and impostor Is AIAH, and the book of falsehoods « that bears his name.”—“ The traitor Jeremiah.'
Stupidity of the Bible.”-“ A stupid book-maker, “ under the name of JEREMIAH."-" The prophets are “ impostors and liars.”_" JEREMIAH, another of the “ lying prophets.”—“The poetical, musical, conjuring, “ dreaming, strolling gentry, the prophets.”—“ELISHA “ was a conjurer.”_" The prophets were famous for
lying.”—“Some of them exulted in cursing.”—“Fran“ tic writing,” of the prophets.--" The vicious and ma
lignant character of a Bible-prophet, or a predicting “ priest.”-“ The cant language of a Bible-prophet."“ This lying book the Bible.”—“The virgin Mary was “ debauched by a ghost.”—“ Matthew was a dashing « writer."-" The writer of the book of MATTHEW was “ an exceeding weak and foolish man."-" The sum“ total of a parson's learning.”-“ Priests and conjurers
are of the same trade."-" It is better, far better, that “ we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to
“roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of “ devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted * one such impostor or monster as Moses, JOSHUA, SA* MUEL, and the Bible-prophets, to come with the pre“ tended Word of God in his mouth, and have credit
among us.”-“ What is it the Bible teaches us ? Rá
pine, cruelty, and murder.”_"What is it the Testament os teaches us ? To believe that the ALMIGHTY commit"ted debauchery with a woman engaged to be married ; " and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.”
Fragments of morality are irregularly and thinly scat«tered in the books of the New Testament."The "obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament.”— “ Faith hath its origin in a supposed debauchery. “ The descent of the Holy Ghost is such absurd stuff, " as is fit only for tales of witches and wizards.”_" The
grovelling tales and doctrines of the Bible and the Testa., "ment are fit only to excite contempt.'
These are some of the flowers of Mr. PAINE's Age of Reason. I have not one word to reply. If any of my readers find a stomach for such stuff, he is very welconie to it. I envy not his taste. If he would give himself the trouble to read over Bishop Watson's Apology for the Bible, he will see most of these scurrilities handsomely chastised. I shall only apply the words of one of these Bible-writers, as he contemptuously calls them, to the case in hand :-Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? Thy tongue deviseth mischief; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue! But God shall destroy thee forever; be shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. The righteous- also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him. La, this is the man, that made not God his strength-but strengihened himself in his wickedness.-Ps. lii.
To proceed to other considerations :
“ Some men of great ingenuity have very seriously “ called in question the very existence of Jesus Christ, " and have contended, that there never was any such person upon earth."
Those that will call in question whether there ever existed upon earth such a person as Jesus CHRIST, may with much greater reason question the existence of ALEXANDER, CÆSAR, POMPEY, and all the other heroes of antiquity.
“ Others there have been, who have presumed to reject " the authority of the New Testament.
Those who will undertake to deny the genuineness and authenticity of the four Gospels, with the writings of PETER, PAUL, JAMES, and John, may, with much more appearance of truth, deny the authenticity of the writings of HOMER and HESIOD, of PLÀto and XENOPHON, of HORACE and VIRGIL ; seeing there is much more evi. dence for the authenticity of the former than of the latter.
“ Does it not appear unaccountable, that the whole
Jewish nation should entertain such a warm expectation o of their Messiah's appearance, and that they should “ reject Christ when he actually did come, if he had “ not been an impostor ?”
It is well known that many thousands of the Fews and religious proselytes were at first converted to the faith of CHRIST.' This sufficiently proves, that the very general rejection of CHRIST was not owing to a want of evidence concerning his mission, but to causes of a different nature.
If it is inquired what those causes were, it inay be replied-Many false Messiahs arose about that time. This circumstance was calculated to perplex the minds of simple people, and leave them undetermined which was
The meanness of our SAVIOUR's parentage ; his dwelling in Galilee ; his rejecting all worldly honour; the simplicity of his life and doctrine; the ignominy, of his death; the sublime language of the prophets concerne ing his kingdom ; but, above all, the general wickedness of the generation in which he appeared these seem to be sufficient causes for the rejection of the MESSIAH, with. out considering him in the light of an inpostor.
Besides, by the infidelity of the Fews, we gain a large number of unsuspected witnesses to the truth of the Old
1 Testameni; and, by their dispersion into all countries, they
are God's witnesses, and as a seed sown for the future conversion of the nations: by their infidelity too, are fulfilled abundance of prophecies : it is, moreover, a great advantage to the Gospel, to have been first preached in a nation of unbelievers : it is a means of making the prophecies more attended to and more studied : it serves to shew that God did not choose the Jews from among the nations, for their own sakes: it is a warning to us to beware of the same infidelity: we are taught by it likewise, that it is not being of any particular nation or church, which saveth a man : and, lastly, it is well calculated to correct a vain opinion, which every one is apt to entertain, that had we lived in the times of our Saviour, and conversed personally with him, we should have been better Christians, and obeyed without doubt and without reserve.
“Say what you please, you shall never persuade me to “ believe abundance of things contained in the book call“ed the Bible.”
Very good. Take your own way. I wish not to force your conviction, contrary to evidence. Only weigh the matter seriously and conscientiously, and may the AUTHOR of
your being direct your determination !-But suppose you feel yourself incapable of receiving the New Testament as a religious system, founded in truth, cannot you receive it as a system of morals, founded in policy? This will not make you a religious man indeed, but it may make you a good subject, and a respectable member of civil society. It is well known, that the importance of Religion, to the well-being of every civil community, is a point on which the greatest politicians, no less than the most respected moralists, have been generally agreed; and it is an undisputed fact, established in the page of history, that, in proportion as the influence of Religion has declined in any country, in that same proportion the state itself has tended to its dissolution. Is not this an unanswerable argument, founded in universal experience, if not for the truth, yet for the utility of Religion? “ But, suppose I should be convinced of the fallacy
my own opinions, and the truth of Christianity,