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the Scriptures are not embraced by every man, whatever be the difpofition of his mind.

This is a property that no divine production whatever possesses; and to require it is equally unreasonable as to infift that for a book to be perfectly legible it must be capable of being read by those who shut their eyes upon

it. Mr. Paine holds up the advantages of the book of nature in order to disparage that of Scripture, and informs us that “ No deist can doubt ♡ whether the works of nature be God's works." An admirable proof this that we have arrived at The age of reason! Can no Atheist doubt it? I might as well say, no Christian doubts the truth of the Scriptures : the one proves just as much as the other.

A prejudiced mind difcerns nothing of divine beauty either in nature or fcripture ; yet each may include the most indubitable evidence of being wrought by the finger of God.

If Christianity can be proved to be a religion that inspires the love of God and man, yea and the only religion in the world that does fo; if it endues the mind of him that embraces it with a principle of justice, meekness, chastity, and goodness, and even gives a tone to the morals of society at large, it will then appear to carry its evidence along with it. The effects which it produces will be its letters of recommendation; written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. Moreover, If Christianity can be proved to be in harmony with itself, correfpondent with obfervation and experience, and consistent with the cleareft dictates of fober reason, it will further appear to carry in it its own evidence: Come through whose hands it may, it will evince

itself to be what it professes to be, a religion from God.

I will only add in this place, that the Christianity here defended is not Christianity as it is corrupted by popith superstition, lowered by philofophical ingenuity, or as interwoven with national establishments, for the accomplishment of secular purposes; but as it is taught in the New Testament, and practised by sincere Christiang. There is no doubt but that in many instances Christianity has been adopted by worldly men, even by infidels themselves, for the purposes of promoting their political designs. Finding the bulk of the people inclined to the christian religion under some particular form, and attached to certain leading persons amongst them who sustained the character of teachers; they have considered it as a piece of good policy to give this religion an establishment, and these teachers a share in the government. It is thus that religion, to its great dishonour, has been converted into an engine of state. The politician may be pleased with his success, and the teacher with his honours, and even the people be so far misled as to love to have it fo; but the mischief resulting from it to religion is incalculable. Even where such establishments have arisen from piety, they have not failed to corrupt the minds of Christians from the fimplicity which is in Christ. It was by these means that the church at an early period, from being the bride of Christ, gradually degenerated to a harlot, and in the end became the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. The good that is done in such communities is not in consequence of their peculiar ecclefiaftical constitution, but in spite of it: it arises from the virtue of individuals which operates notwithstanding the disadvantages of their situation.

These are the things that afford a handle to unbelievers. They feldom chufe to attack Christianity as it is drawn in the sacred writings, and exemplified in the lives of real christians, who stand at a distance from worldly parade, political struggles, or state intrigues ; but as it is corrupted and abused by worldly men. Mr. Paine racks his imagination to make out a resemblance betwixt the heathen mythology and Christianity. While he is going over the ground of Christianity as instituted by Christ and his apostles, the resemblance is faint indeed. There are only two points in which he even pretends to find an agreement; and these are formed by his misrepresenting the scriptures. The heathen deities were said to be celestially begotten ; and Christ is called the Son of God.* The heathens had a plurality of deities, even twenty or thirty thoufand; and Christianity has reduced them to three ! It is easy to see that this is ground not suited to Mr. Paine's purpose: he therefore haftens to corrupted Christianity; and here he finds plenty of materials. “ The statue of Mary, he says, succeeded the statue “ of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes “ changed into the canonization of saints. The

mythologists had gods for every thing. The “ Christian mythologists had faints for every thing. " The Church became as crowded with the one,

as the Pantheon had with the other ; and Rome was the place of both.”+ Very true, Mr. Paine;

* To give a colour to this statement, he is obliged to affirm that orly gentiles believed Jefus to be the Son of God. What a palpable falfohond.

Age of Reason, Part I. p. 5.


but you are not so ignorant as to mistake this for Christianity. Had you been born and educated in Italy, or Spain, you might have been excused in calling this “ The Christian theory;" but to write in this manner with your advantages is disingenuous. Such conduct would have disgraced any cause but yours. It is capable however of some improvement. It teaches us to defend nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus. It also affords presumptive evidence in its favour : for if Christianity itself were false, there is little doubts but that you, or some of your fellow-labourers, would be able to prove it fo ; and this would turn greatly to your account. Your neglecting this, and directing your artillery chiefly against its corruptions and abuses, betrays a consciousness that the thing itself is, if not invulnerable, yet not so easy of attack. If Christianity had really been a relic of heathenism, as you suggest, there is little reason to think that you would have so strenuously opposed it.

The Gospel its own Witness:

Esc. &c.






HE greatest enemies of Christianity would still be thought friendly to morality, and will plead for it as neceffary to the well-being of mankind. However immoral men may be in their practice, and to whatever lengths they may proceed in extenuating particular vices; yet they cannot plead for immorality in the grofs. A sober, upright, humble, chaste, and generous character is allowed on all hands to be preferable to one that is profligate, treacherous, proud, unchaste, or cruel. Such indeed is the sense which men poffefs of right and wrong, that whenever they attempt to disparage the former, or vindicate the latter, they are reduced to the necessity of covering each with a false disguise. They cannot traduce good as good, or justify evil as evil. The love of God must be called fanaticism, and benevolence to men methodism, or fome fuch opprobrious name, before they can run them down. Theft, cruelty, and murder, on the other hand, must assume the names of wisdom, and good policy,


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