« EelmineJätka »
at the present moment, predominates, in a considerable degree, in France, (though it is believed, notwithstanding the wise and virtuous decrees of the national convention against CHRISTIANITY,*
* It is noticed here, with pleasure, that since writing the above, the author hath been informed, the unjustifiable malignity and rage of the nacional convention against christianity, have very considerably abated. This is manifest from their decree (the reading of the report of which, was “ frequently interrupted by warm applauses') "for assuring the freedom of religious opinions and worship, pasled Feb. 21, 1795. The Šth article of which, is in the following words.
" Whoever fall disturb by violence, the ceremonies of any worship, or insult the objects of it, fhall be punished according to the law of correc., tional police.” The convention, indeed, decree, that they will not afford any pecuniary aid for the support of religion ; and certain it is, that christianity demands not such affiftance ; nor does its existence, or prosperity require it. Its state was more prosperous when discountenanced, and even perfecuted by earthly powers, than in fucceeding ages; and, perhaps, a greater evil could pot have happened to the christian church, than the honors and emoluments which were lavished on it, by Constantine the great !t † See Morheim's ecclefiaftical history, vol. I.
there are yet in that country, more than éven seven million who have not bowed the knee, to the new formied idol, DEISM) it is rational to conclude, from our connection with that republic, and fimilarity of political opinions, attempts will be made, by some of its citizens, to diseminate among us their deiítical principles.
Mr. Paine, now an inhabitant of France, has already made his appearance here as a champion of infidelity ; and, with almost unparralleled effrontry, taken upon him to calumniate and blafpheme the christian religion ; and it is not unreasonable to imagine, that he will be succeeded by other deistical authors, equally modest and sagacious ; equally capable of insulting virtue and common sense, and of retailing stale invectives against christianity, under the seinblance of arguments of REASON!
The design of this publication, is not only to refute Mr. Paine's objections against christianity, but to be a general defence of divine revelation, againft the attacks of deifts of every description ; and, therefore, in this performance, the principal objections which deifts have made to christianity, are confuted; numerous arguments are advanced
Christianity, however, cannot be eradicated ; neither by the mistaken acts of benevolence, of its friends ; nor by the deeds of violence, of its enemies,can it be destroyed! “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it !" Matt. xvi. 18.
ceat. IV. part 1. chap 1. 5. X. XXIII. chap. II.
in its favor, and also, the most important doc
; trines of the gospel, are illustrated and estab. lished.
The author regrets, that some person of superior abilities had not appeared to execute this office ;* and laments, that through various inci. dents, (especially indisposition) that the press might not be retarded in its operations,it was ne. cellary, several of the following theets should be printed, almost as soon as composed.t
maanmananca * When the proposals were issued to publish this work, the author was not informed of the intention of any American to answer Mr. Paine's pamphlet; nor had the writer the knowledge of any reply to “ The Age of reafon," except the. “ Examination” of it, by Mr. Wakefield, whose performance was printed in London, and hath been reprinted in New York.
This publication, the author is forry to remark, he read with disapprobation ; Mr. Wakefield having, in a great measure, betrayed the cause he undertook to advocate. As this gentleman hath embraced the errors of the Socinians, he, in several important particulars, (to sanction his own unfcriptural tenets) endeavors to give validity to Mr. Paine's objections. The writer regards it as a melancholy truth, that Mr. Wake. field's system of religion, is but little superior to fome schemes of deismo
† But a few pages only of this performance were written, when it was put to press.
This circumftance, it is hoped, will occasion the learned and judicious reader, to behold with a more favorable eye, such imperfections as he may perceive in this publication.
T was proposed, that to The Deist Unmasked,
io's prejudices destroyed ; a short method with the deists; a fermon on II. Pet. i. 16; an ad. dress to deists; and also, an address to the profellors of christianity in these states.
But as The Deift Unmasked hath been very con. fiderably extended beyond the limits originally contemplated, it hath been thought adviseable, to omit all the pieces intended to have been added to it, except the short method with the deifts, and to have the performance thus enlarged, neatly bound and lettered, in two volumes.
In this form it is now offered, at the price of three fourths of a dollar, each volume. If any subscriber, however, thall not approve of this al. teration, and enlargement of the publication, he is at liberty to regard his subscription to be of no cfficacy.
Newark, State of New Jersey, May 3, 1795.
INCE writing the above, the author, in some degree, perceives his conjecture already verified, that Mr. Paine would be succeeded by other
deistical writers from France. Mr. Boulanger, * as a second GOLIA from that country, has lately arrived here, and raises his impious voice to revile and blafpheme the nature and revelation of the living God, and to propagate his licentious System of infidelity! A system that wholly rejects the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, or a future state ; that teaches that men can only sin by injuring each otber ; that their conduct, however impious, cannot offend GOD, and declares i that the whole duty of men consists in their being i good members of civil society; and advises, that) they thall be made fo, either by the allurements of temporary rewards'; or the infliction of tempor rary punishmentsot This admirable system of DEISM, so grateful
fo to libertines, differs but little from that of Tho. mas Paine, except that he professes to believe he hall exist hereafter ; but merely, it is probable,
connoisin onaren * The author of a pamphlet, entitled “chriftianity unveiled."
+ Mr. Boulanger appears to be the entire politician, though, in reality, an extremely weak one; his views are wholly confined to this world; he ridicules piety, and treats with contempt, the idea of future rewards and punishinents.
But when libertine POLITICIANS quit their Sphere, and, like the ancient pagans, take upon
, them to form Gods and religions, it is not surpri. sing that the work of their hands, Mould be " altogether like unto themselves /”