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know before-hand that he can. I shall not stop to inquire into the justness of Mr. Paine's reasoning, from what God can do to what he will do; it is sufficient for me that he admits it to be "rational to believe that God will call men to account for the manner in which they have lived here." And can he admit this truth, and not tremble? Mark his firmness. After acknowledging that a future judgment is the object of rational belief, he retracts what he has said by reducing it to only a probability, which is to have the influence of belief: yea, and as if that were too terrible an idea, he brings it down to a mere possibility. The reason which he gives for these reductions is, that "If we knew it as a fact, we should be the mere slaves of terror." Indeed? But wherefore? Christians believe in a judgment to come, and they are not the slaves of terror. They have an Advocate as well as a Judge, by believing in whom the terror of judgment is removed. And though Mr. Paine rejects this ground of consolation, yet if things be as he has represented them, I do not perceive why he should be terrified. He writes as though he stood on a very respectable footing with his Creator; he is not "an out-cast, a beggar, or a worm;" he needs no mediator: no indeed! He "stands in the same relative condition with his Maker he ever did stand since man existed."t Very well; of what then is he afraid? "God is good, and will exceed the very best of us in goodness." On this ground Lord Shaftesbury assures us, "Deists can have no dread or suspicion to render them uneasy for it is malice only, and not goodness, which can make them afraid." Very well, I say again, of what then is Mr. Paine afraid? If a Being full of goodness will not hurt him, he will not be hurt. Why should he be terrified at a certain hereafter. Why not meet his Creator with cheerfulness and confidence? Instead of this, he knows of no method by which he may be exempted from terror but that of reducing future judg ment to a mere possibility; leaving room for some faint hope, at least, that what he professes to believe as true, may, in the end, prove false. Such is the courage of your blustering hero. Un
+ Age of Reason, Part I. p. 21.
* Age of Reason, Part II. p. 100. Characteristics, Vol. I. § 5.
happy man; unhappy people! Your principles will not support you in death, nor so much as in the contemplation of an hereafter. Let Mr. Paine's hypothesis be admitted, and that in its lowest. form, that there is only a possibility of a judgment to come, this is sufficient to evince your folly, and, if you thought on the subject, to destroy your peace. This alone has induced many of you in your last moments to wish you had lived like Christians. If it be possible that there may be a judgment to come, why should it not be equally possible that Christianity itself may be true? And if it should, on what ground do you stand? If it be otherwise, Christians have nothing to fear. While they are taught to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, whatever may prove true with respect to another, it is presumed they are safe: but if that Saviour whom you have despised should be indeed the Son of God: if that name which you have blasphemed should be the only one given under heaven and among men by which you can be saved; what a situation must you be in! You may wish at present not to be told of him; yea, even in death it may be a vexation, as it was to Voltaire, to hear of him; but hear of him you must, and, what is more, you must appear before him.
I cannot conclude this address without expressing my earnest desire for your salvation; and, whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear, reminding you that our Redeemer is merciful. He can have compassion on the ignorant, and them who are out of the way. The door of mercy is not yet shut. At present you are invited and even entreated to enter in. But if you still continue hardened against him, you may find to your cost that the abuse of mercy gives an edge to justice; and that to be crushed to atoms by falling rocks, or buried in oblivion at the bottom of mountains, were rather to be chosen than an exposure to the wrath of the Lamb.
TO THE JEWS.
Beloved for the fathers' sakes!
HE whom you have long rejected, looked upon Jerusalem and wept over it. With tears he pronounced upon that famous city a doom, which, according to your own writer, Josephus, was soon afterwards accomplished. In imitation of our Lord and Saviour we also could weep over your present situation. There are thousands in Britain, as well as in other nations, whose daily prayer is, that you may be saved. Hear me patiently, and candidly. Your present and everlasting good is the object of my desire.
It is not my design, in this brief address, to go over the various topics in dispute between us. Many have engaged in this work, and I hope to some good purpose. The late addresses to you, both from the pulpit and the press, as they were dictated by pure benevolence, certainly deserve, and I trust have gained, in some degree, your candid attention. All that I shall say will be comprised in a few suggestions, which I suppose to arise from the subject of the preceding pages.
You have long sojourned among men who have been called Christians. You have seen much evil in them, and they have seen much in you. The history of your own nation, and that of every other, confirms one of the leading doctrines of both your and our scriptures-the depravity of human nature. But, in your commerce with mankind, you must have had opportunity of distinguishing between nominal and serious Christians. Great numbers in your nation, even in its best days, were wicked men ; and great numbers in every nation, at present are the same. But cannot you perceive a people scattered through various denominations of Christians, who fear God and regard man; who instead of treating you with a haughty contempt, as being strangers scattered among the nations, discover a tender regard toward you on that very account; who, while they are grieved for the hardness of
your hearts, and hurt at your scornful rejection of Him whom their soul loveth, are nevertheless ardently desirous of your salvation? Are you not acquainted with Christians, whose utmost revenge, if they could have their will of you, for all your hard speeches, would be to be instrumental in turning you from what they believe to be the power of Satan, unto God?
Let me farther appeal to you, Whether Christians of this des cription be not the true children of Abraham, the true successors of your patriarchs and prophets, rather than those of an opposite spirit, though literally descended from their loins. You must be aware, that even in the times of David, a genuine Israelite was a man of a pure heart; and in the times of the prophets, apostate Israelites were accounted as Ethiopians.* Your ancestors were men of whom the world was not worthy but where will you now look for such characters among you as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as Samnel, David, Hezekiah and Josiah; as Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and many others? While you garnish their sepulchres, have you not manifestly lost their spirit; This is a fact that ought to alarm you, and lead you seriously to examine whether you have not forsaken their faith. There is one thing which has particularly struck my mind, and which I would earnestly recommend to your consideration; namely, the temper of modern Infidels toward your fathers, toward you, and toward us.
You need not be told that deistical writers invariably treat your fathers with scorn and dislike. Just as Appion and other Greek writers poured contempt upon your nation; just as the more ancient Moabites reproached, and proudly magnified themselves against the people of the Lord of Hosts ;† so do all our modern Infidels. But from the time that your fathers rejected Him in whom we believe as the Lord Messiah, though you have been exposed to the chastisements of heaven, and to much injurious treatment from pretended Christians; yet Deists, the common enemies of revelation, have been, comparatively speaking, reconciled to you. So, however, it appears to me. I do not recollect to have met with a single reflection upon you in any of their writings. On the con
Psa. lxxiii. 2. Amos ix. 7.
+ Zeph. ii. 10.
trary, they seem to feel themselves near akin to you. Your enmity to Jesus seems to be the price of their forgiveness: like Herod and Pontius Pilate, you became friends in the day of his crucifixion. Mr. Paine, though his writings abound in sneers against your nation, prior to its rejection of Christ, yet appears to be well reconciled to you, and willing to admit your lame account of the body of Jesus being stolen away.* Ought you not to be alarmed at these things? Seriously examine whether you have not forsaken the God of your fathers, and become the friends and allies of men who hate both Him and them.
The hatred of Infidels has long been transferred from you to us. Whether, in the language of the New Testament, we be the true children of Abraham, or not, we inherit that reproach and dislike from unbelievers which was heretofore the portion of the godly Israelites. On what account were your fathers hated by the practical atheists of their day? Was it not because of their devotedness to God? It was this in David that provoked the resentment of the children of Belial, and rendered them his determined enemies. They were continually jeering at his prayers, his tears, and his trust in Jehovah; turning that which in reality was his glory into shame; and afflicting him in his affliction, by scornfully inquiring, Where is thy God? Such is the treatment which the godly part of your nation received in all ages, both from heathens abroad and impious characters at home ;‡ and such is the treatment which serious Christians continue to receive from ungodly men to this day; but are you hated and reproached on this account?
Of late years it has been frequently pleaded, that the principal objections to your embracing the Christian religion, are found in the doctrines of the trinity, the deity of Christ, and atonement by his death; doctrines which the greater part of Christians hold to be taught in the New Testament. But those who impute your conduct to these causes, must have nearly as mean an opinion of
Age of Reason, Part I. pp. 6, 7.
+ Psa. xxii. 8. iv. 2. xlii. 3. xxix. 18. xl. 15.
Psa. lxix. 10. cxv. 2. Joel ii. 17. Micah. vii.. 8-10. Isa. lxvi. 5.