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God make themselves known, compared with this pretended salvation by Jesus Christ.
Psalm 19th. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work-Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge-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 them hath he set a chamber for the sun. Which is a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race- -his going forth is from the end of the neaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing nid 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 characters that all nations would have understood, the whole earth had known it in twentyfour 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 prophecies of Jesus Christ, and shown there is no such thing.
I have examined the story told of Jesus Christ, and compared the several circumstances of it with that revelation, 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 ascribed 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 employed, 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 accomplishment of the end proposed, and, therefore, the whole is a fabulous invention, and undeserving 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 infidelity. I will define what it is. HE THAT BELIEVES IN THE STORY OF CHRIST IS AN INFIDEL TO GOD.
CONTRADICTORY DOCTRINES IN THE
MATTHEW AND MARK.
IN the New Testament. Mark, chap. xvi. ver. 16, it is said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; 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 makes 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 judgment, where the whole world is represented to be divided into two parts, the righteous and the unrighteous, mataphorically 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 kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world-for 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 thee in, or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick and in prison, and came unto thee?
"And the king shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Here is nothing about believing in Christ-nothing about that phantom of the imagination called Faith. The works here spoken of, are works of humanity and benevolence, or, in other words, an endeavour to make God's creation happy. Here is nothing about preaching and making long prayers, as if God must be dictated to by man; nor about building churches and meetings, nor hiring priests to pray and preach in them. Here is nothing about predestination, that lust which some men have for damning one another. Here is nothing about baptism, whether by sprinkling or plunging, nor about any of those ceremonies for which the Christian church has been fighting, persecuting, and burning each other, ever since the Christian church began.
If it be asked, why do not priests preach the doctrine contained in this chapter? The answer is easy;-they are not fond o. practising it themselves. It does not answer for their trade. They had rather get than give. Charity with them begins and ends at home.
Had it been said, Come ye blessed, ye have been liberal in paying the preachers of the word, ye have contributed largely towards building churches and meeting-houses, there is not a hired priest in Christendom but would have thundered it continually in the ears of his congregation. But as it is altogether on good works done to men, the priests pass over it in silence, and they will abuse ine for bringing it into notice.
I HAVE said, in the first part of the Age of Reason, that "I hope for happiness after this life." This hope is comfortable to me, and I presume not to go beyond the comfortable idea of hope, with respect to a future state.
I consider myself in the hands of my Creator, and that he will dispose of me after this life consistently with his justice and goodness. I leave all these matters to him, as my Creator and friend, and I hold it to be presumption in man to make an article of faith as to what the Creator will do with us hereafter.
I do not believe because a man and a woman make a child, that it imposes on the Creator the unavoidable obligation of keeping the being so made, in eternal existence hereafter. It is in his power to do so, or not to do so, and it is not in our power to decide which he will do.
The book called the New Testament, which I hold to be fabulous and have shown to be false, gives an account in the 25th chapter of Matthew, of what is there called the last day, or the day of judgment. The whole world, according to that account, is divided into two parts, the righteous and the unrighteous, figuratively called the sheep and the goats. They are then to receive their sentence. To the one, figuratively called the sheep, it says, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." To the other, figuratively called the goats, it says, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Now the case is, the world cannot be thus divided-the moral world, like the physical world, is composed of numerous degrees of character, running imperceptibly one into the other, in such a
manner that no fixed point of division can be found in either That point is no where, or is every where. The whole world might be divided into two parts numerically, but not as to moral character; and, therefore, the metaphor of dividing them, as sheep and goats can be divided, whose difference is marked by their external figure, is absurd. All sheep are still sheep; all goats are still goats; it is their physical nature to be so. But one part of the world are not all good alike, nor the other part all wicked alike. There are some exceedingly good; others exceedingly wicked. There is another description of men who cannot be ranked with either the one or the other-they belong neither to the sheep nor the goats.
My own opinion is, that those whose lives have been spent in doing good, and endeavouring to make their fellow-mortals happy, for this is the only way in which we can serve God, will be happy hereafter and that the very wicked will meet with some punishment. This is my opinion. It is consistent with my idea o God's justice, and with the reason that God has given me.