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persuade the world of the hypocrisy of priests, were themselves the most infamous of all hypocrites ; or, which will be equally fatal to your cause, you must attribute it to occasional convictions, which they felt and expressed, though contrary to the general strain of their writings. Is it not an unfavourable character of your cause, that in this particular, it exactly resembles that of vice itself ? Vicious men will often bear testimony in favour of virtue, especially on the near approach of death ; but virtuous men never return the compliment by bearing testimony in favour of vice. We are not afraid of Christians thus betraying their cause; but neither your writers nor your consciences are to be trusted in a serious hour. Thirdly : Consider How it COMES TO PASS THAT YOUR PRINCI
FAIL YOU, AS THEY ARE FREQUENTLY KNOWN TO DO A DYING HOUR. It is a rule with wise men, 80 to live as they shall wish they had when they come to die. How do you suppose you shall wish you had lived in that day? Look at the deaths of your greatest men, and see what their principles have done for them at last. Mark the end of that apostle and high-priest of your profession, Voltaire ; and try if you can find in it either integrity, or hope, or any thing that should render it an object of envy.* Why is it that so many of you faint in the day of trial ? If your cause were good, you would defend it with uprightness, and die
IN IN HIS CONSCIENCE FOR HAVING BEEN A CHRISTIAN.
* The following particulars, among many others, are recorded of this writer by his biographer, Condorcet, a man after his own heart. First : That he conceived the design of overturning the Christian religion, and that by his own hand. "I am wearied,” said he, “of hearing it repeated that twelve men were sufficient to establish Christianity; and I wish to prove there needs but one to destroy it." Secondly : That in pursuit of this object he was threatened with a persecution, to avoid which he received the sacrament, and publicly declared his respect for the church, and his disdain of his detractors, namely those who had called in question his Christianity! Thirdly : That in his last illness, in Paris, being desirous of obtaining what is called Christian burial, he sent for a priest, to whom he declared that he "died in the Catholic faith, in which he was born.” Fourthly : That another priest (Curate of the parish) troubled him with questions. Among other things he asked, “Do you believe the divinity of Jesus Christ?” “ In the name of God, Sir," replied Voltaire, “speak to me no more of that man, but let me die in peace.”
with inward satisfaction. But is it so ? Mr. Paine flatters bimself that his principles will bear him up in the prospect of death ;* and it is possible that he may brave it out in some such manner as David Hume did. Such instances, however, are rare. For one unbeliever that maintains his courage, many might be produced whose hearts have failed them, and who have trembled for the consequences of their infidelity.
On the other hand, you cannot produce a single instance of a Christian, WHO AT THE APPROACH OF DEATH WAS TROUBLED OR TERRIFIED Many have been afraid in that day lest their faith in Christ should not prove genuine ; but who that has put his trust in him was ever known to be apprehensive lest he should at last deceive him? Can you account for this difference? If you have discovered the true religion, and ours be all fable and imposture, how comes it to pass that the issue of things is what it is ? Do gold and silver and precious stones perisb in the fire ? and do wood and hay and stubble endure it?
I have admitted that Mr. Paine may possibly brave it out to the last; but if he does, his courage may be merely assumed. Pride will induce men to disguise the genuine feelings of their hearts, on more occasions than one. We hear much of courage among
duel. lists; but little credit is due to what they say, if, while the words proceed from their lips, we see them approach each other with paleness and trembling. Yea more, If Mr. Paine's courage in death be not different from what it already is in the prospect of it, it certainly will be merely assumed. He has given full proof of what his courage amounts to in what he has advanced on the certainty of a future state. He acknowledges the possibility of a future judgment; yea, he admits it to be rational to believe that there will be one.
" The power," he says, “ that called us into being, can, if he please and when he pleases, call us to account for the manner in which we have lived here ; and therefore, without seeking any further motive for the belief, it is rational to believe that he will, for we
Age of Reason, Part II. Preface.
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 ;' be needs no mediator: no indeed! He “ stands in the same relative condition with his Maker he ever did stand since man existed.”+ 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 be 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. Unhappy man ; unbappy people! Your principles will not support you in death, nor so much as in the contemplation of an hereafter.
Age of Reason, Part II. p. 100.
† Age of Reason, Part I. p. 21.
| Characteristics, Vol. I. $ 5.
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
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 bad opportanity of distinguishing between nominal and serious Cbristians. Great numbers in your pation, even in its best days, were wicked men ; and great numbers in every nation, at present are the same. not you perceive a people scattered through various denomina. tions 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