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Where is the evidence that the person called Jesus Christ is the begotten Son of God? The case admits not of evidence either .o our senses or our mental faculties: neither has God given to man any talent by which such a thing is comprehensible. It cannot therefore be an object for faith to act upon, for faith is nothing more than an assent the mind gives to something it sees cause t believe is fact. But priests, preachers, and fanatics, put imagination in the place of faith, and it is the nature of the imagination to believe without evidence.

If Joseph the carpenter dreamed, (as the book of Matthew, chap. 1st, says he did,) that his betrothed wife, Mary, was with child, by the Holy Ghost, and that an angel told him SO ; I am not obliged to put faith in his dream, nor do I put any, for I put no faith in my own dreams, and I should be weak and foolish indeed to put faith in the dreams of others.

The Christian religion is derogatory to the Creator in all its articles. It puts the Creator in an inferior point of view, and places the Christian Devil above him. It is he, according to the absurd story in Genesis, that outwits the Creator, in the garden of Eden, and steals from him his favorite creature, man, and, at last, obliges him to beget a son, and put that son to death, to get man back again, and this the priests of the Christian religion, call redemption.

Christian authors exclaim against the practice of offering up human sacrifices, which, they say, is done in some countries; and those authors make those exclamations without ever reflecting that their own doctrine of salvation is founded on a human sacrifice. They are saved, they say, by the blood of Christ. The Christian religion begins with a dream and ends with a murder.

As I am now well enough to sit up some hours in the day, though not well enough to get up without help, I employ myself as I have always done, in endeavouring to bring man to the right use of the reason that God has given him, and to direct his mind immediately to his Creator, and not to fanciful secondary beings called mediators, as if God was superannuated or ferocious.

As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the word of God. It is a book of lies and contradiction, and a history of bad times and bad men. There is but a few good characters in the whole book. The fable of Christ and his twelve apostles, which is a parody on the sun and the twelve signs of the Zodiac,

copied from the ancient religions of the eastern world, is the least hurtful part. Every thing told of Christ has reference to the sun. His reported resurrection is at sunrise, and that on the first day of the week; that is, on the day anciently dedicated to the sun, and from thence called Sunday; in latin Dies Solis, the day of the sun; as the next day, Monday, is Moon-day. But there is no room in a letter to explain these things.

While man keeps to the belief of one God, his reason unites with his creed. He is not shocked with contradictions and horrid stories. His bible is the heavens and the earth. He beholds his Creator in all his works, and every thing he beholds inspires him with reverence and gratitude. From the goodness of God to all, he learns his duty to his fellow-man, and stands self-reproved when he transgresses it. Such a man is no persecutor.

But when he multiplies his creed with imaginary things, of which he can have neither evidence nor conception, such as the tale of the garden of Eden, the talking serpent, the fall of man, the dreams of Joseph the carpenter, the pretended resurrection and ascension, of which there is even no historical relation, for no historian of those times mentions such a thing, he gets into the pathless region of confusion, and turns either frantic or hypocrite. He forces his mind, and pretends to believe what he does not believe. This is in general the case with the methodists. Their religion is all creed and no morals.

I have now my friend given you a fac simile of my mind on the subject of religion and creeds, and my wish is, that you make this letter as publicly known as you find opportunities of doing.

Yours, in friendship,

N. Y Aug. 1806.





The following fugitive pieces were written by Mr. Paine occa sionally to pass off an idle hour, and communicated for the Prospect, to aid his friend, Mr. Palmer, in support of that publication. Perhaps, in some cases, it may appear that the same ideas have been expressed in his other works; but, if so, the various points of view, in which they are here placed, it is presumed, will no. fail to give an interest to these miscellaneous remarks.

The same signatures are continued as were subscribed to the original communications.


[The following piece, obligingly communicated by Mr. Paine, for the Prospect, is full of that acuteness of mind, perspicuity of expression, and clearness of discernment for which this excellent author is so remarkable in all his writings.]

Robert Hall, a protestant minister in England, preached and published a sermon against what he calls " Modern infidelity." A copy of it was sent to a gentleman in America, with a request for his opinion thereon. That gentleman sent it to a friend of his in New-York, with the request written on the cover-and this last sent it to Thomas Paine, who wrote the following observations on the blank leaf at the end of the sermon.

The preacher of the foregoing sermon speaks a great deal about infidelity, but does not define what he means by it. His harangue is a general exclamation. Every thing, I suppose,

that is not in

his creed is infidelity with him, and his creed is infidelity with me. Infidelity is believing falsely. If what christians believe is not true, it is the christians that are the infidels.

The point between deists and christians is not about doctrine, but about fact for if the things believed by the christians to be facts, are not facts, the doctrine founded thereon falls of itself. There is such a book as the Bible, but is it a fact that the bible is revealed religion? The christians cannot prove it is. They put tradition in place of evidence, and tradition is not proof. If it were, the reality of witches could be proved by the same kind of evidence.

The bible is a history of the times of which it speaks, and history is not revelation. The obscene and vulgar stories in the bible are as repugnant to our ideas of the purity of a divine Being, as the horrid cruelties and murders it ascribes to him, are repugnant to our ideas of his justice. It is the reverence of the Deists for the attributes of the DEITY, that causes them to reject the bible.

Is the account which the christian church gives of the person called Jesus Christ, a fact or a fable? Is it a fact that he was begotten by the Holy Ghost? The christians cannot prove it, for the case does not admit of proof. The things called miracles in the bible, such, for instance, as raising the dead, admitted, if true, of occular demonstration, but the story of the conception of Jesus Christ in the womb is a case beyond miracle, for it did not admit of demonstration. Mary, the reputed mother of Jesus, who must be supposed to know best, never said so herself, and all the evi dence of it is, that the book of Matthew says, that Joseph dreamed an angel told him so. Had an old maid of two or three hundred years of age, brought forth a child, it would have been much bet ter presumptive evidence of a supernatural conception, than Matthew's story of Joseph's dream about his young wife.

Is it a fact that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, and how is it proved? If a God he could not die, and as a man he could not redeem, how then is this redemption proved to be fact? It is said that Adam eat of the forbidden fruit, commonly called an apple, and thereby subjected himself and all his posterity for ever to eternal damnation. This is worse than visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. But how was the death of Jesus Christ to affect or alter the case?— Did God thirst for blood? If so, would it not have been better to


have crucified Adam at once upon the forbidden tree, and made a new man? Would not this have been more creator like than repairing the old one? Or, did God, when he made Adam, supposing the story to be true, exclude himself from the right of making another? Or impose on himself the necessity of breeding from the old stock? Priests should first prove facts, and deduce doctrines from them afterwards. But, instead of this, they assume every thing and prove nothing. Authorities drawn from the bible are no more than authorities drawn from other books, unless it can be proved that the bible is revelation.

This story of the redemption will not stand examination. That man should redeem himself from the sin of eating an apple, by committing a murder on Jesus Christ, is the strangest system of religion ever set up. Deism is perfect purity compared with this. It is an established principle with the quakers not to shed bloodsuppose, then, all Jerusalem had been quakers when Christ lived, there would have been nobody to crucify him, and in that case, if man is redeemed by his blood, which is the belief of the church, there could have been no redemption-and the people of Jerusalem must all have been damned, because they were too good to commit murder. The christian system of religion is an outrage on common sense. Why is man afraid to think?

Why do not the christians, to be consistent, make saints of Judas and Pontius Pilate, for they were the persons who accomplished the act of salvation. The merit of a sacrifice, if there can be any merit in it, was never in the thing sacrificed, but in the persons offering up the sacrifice-and, therefore, Judas and Pontius Pilate ought to stand first on the calendar of saints.



THE word religion is a word of forced application when used with respect to the worship of God. The root of the word is the latin verb ligo, to tie or bind. From ligo, comes religo, to tie or bind over again, or make more fast-from religo, comes the

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