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Jesus rose from the dead, and all your fathers could do or say did not prevent them. Permit me to express my surprise, that any candid Jew should continue to reject Christianity on such evidence against it. I am not aware that any thing better was ever urged to disprove Christ's resurrection. Until something better is produced, you could not expect a Christian to renounce his faith in it.
8th. It is near two thousand years since the destruction of your city and temple, and dispersion among all nations. Did your prophets predict that those events should precede, or follow the coming of your Messiah? If they were to precede it, he is yet to come, and you are acting wisely in patiently waiting for his coming. It is also certain, that for nearly two thousand years Christians have been believing in one of the greatest impostors the world ever produced. But if the events which have befallen your nation were to follow the coming of your Messiah, is it any wonder that the wrath of Jehovah has been poured out so long upon you? Nor does there seem to be any hope that it will be turned away from you, until your hearts are turned to him concerning whom your fathers said, "away with him; crucify him; his blood be upon us and upon our children.”
3d. To Deists. I agree with you that credulity is the mark of a weak mind, and that there are many credulous Christians. But, did it never occur to you that incredulity is also the mark of a weak mind? A strong, candid mind is regulated in believing, by the degree of evidence presented, that the thing proposed for belief is true. There may be credulous deists as well as credulous Christians, and deism may be imbibed in the nursery as well as Christianity. You cannot accuse me of believing just as the Church believes, and holding fast my nursery no
tions, whether right or wrong, for I have freely animadverted on some corruptions of Christianity, and am sorry to find you rejecting it, yet holding fast these corruptions. As you have rejected the fact of Christ's resurrection from the dead, on which my hope rests for existence beyond the grave. you can have no objection that I examine the foundation of your hope.
Most deists believe in a future state of existence. I am aware, that there are mortal and immortal deists, but so far as I know, deists in the present day are of the latter denomination. Permit me then to ask, what you expect shall live after death? It cannot be your body, for it must be raised from the dead, which is a miracle, which all deists deny. It must then be your souls you expect to live after death. I have then to ask, how you came by this article in your creed? How do you know that there is any life for man after death? Or that he has a soul which will survive it? From what source did you derive this information? You cannot say any of your friends have returned from the state of the dead to impart it, for this would be very like a miracle, a thing you hold in abhorrence. Well, did Mr. Paine, or some other deistical writer teach you this? But this only provokes the question, how came they by this knowledge? You cannot say God revealed this information to deists, for you deny all revelation. I press you then with the question, how came you by the information, that you shall live or be happy after death? It would be little to your honor, to say you derived it from the Bible, after discarding it. But I have shown from the Bible, that no such doctrines are taught in it. I rather think, you must after all confess, that these are notions you learned in the nursery. You pride yourselves in being men of reason, and free from all vulgar notions and preju
dices. But is this all the reason you have to give for the hope that is in you? You laugh at Christians, for their traditionary faith and nursery notions, but are deists reduced to the same degraded condition? You unquestionably are, and Christians might here turn the laugh against you, were they not in the same condition. I do not wish to turn the laugh against either of you, but I urge both of you soberly to consider, if it is any honor to deism or Christianity, to adopt mere heathen notions as articles of your creeds.
It will not do for you to urge, that the immortality of the soul and its existence after death, are articles which have been believed among all nations throughout past ages. No. For this would be a mere traditionary faith and nothing better than nursery notions. Besides, on this principle you must believe many other things which you and Christians both discard as heathen superstitions. Nor will it answer to say, the strong desire men have after immortality proves they shall live after death. Shall I become a god or an arch-angel after death, if I only strongly desire it? And has not many a man strongly desired to be rich, yea, labored hard to attain it, yet died in the almshouse? But perhaps you found your hope of future life on the justice, wisdom and goodness of God? Stop. This is rather premature in a deist, for he has got first to prove there is such a God, without the aid of divine revelation. But, granting you that there is such a God, it is presumption in you or any man to hope for future life until he gives you a promise of this life? Man's existence here is a gift, its continuance is a favor, and God, in taking it away, does man no injustice. We have no claim on him for its continuance an hour, far less forever. Every reptile that lives, on the same ground might urge his plea for an endless life
beyond death. If deists, like other men are sinners, they ought rather to conclude that they had forfeited all existence.
A deist has but one of two things to choose on this subject. First, to renounce all hope of existence after death. Should he choose this, then he is consistent with himself, in denying the necessity of any divine revelation. But, to hope for an endless life after death, yet deny all revelation, is very inconsist ent. It renders you childishly inconsistent; for, allowing the Bible to be all a fable, why not derive your hope of this from a Christian fable, just as well as from a heathen fable? It is certain your present hope has no better foundation. You are self-condemned to reject the Christian fable, yet cling to the other for hope of future existence. But, as rational free thinkers, I insist upon it, that you reject both if both are fables, for hope founded on fable must be a fabulous hope.
Whether man shall live, or in what way he shall live beyond death, depends entirely on the good pleasure of God. If it is not his pleasure, there is no necessity for a divine revelation. But if it is his pleasure, let deists come forward and show how his pleasure can be known without it. Reason can no more discover to us that we shall live after death, than that we shall see and hear, be hungry and thirsty, be benumbed with cold, or scorched with heat, after death. Scripture, reason, past experience, and daily observation all prove that man dies and returns to dust. Nor do these inform him that he has an immortal soul which survives death, and ex ists in a disembodied state. If you say, it is not God's pleasure that we shall live after death, why then do you hope for this? But I ask, how came you to know that it was not his pleasure, unless you have had a revelation on the subject? As you treat a
divine revelation with contempt, you cannot take this ground. It may then be true, for aught you know to the contrary, that it is God's pleasure to bestow on man future existence by raising him from the dead incorruptible and glorious. If this was not an object of sufficient importance to require a divine revelation, permit me to ask, what object could be of sufficient importance? And if you admit a divine revelation necessary in any case, please state how it can be sufficiently attested without miracles.
I can see no other alternative left you but either boldly to affirm that there is no future existence, or believe in divine revelation. To the faith of divine revelation you must come, or adopt this as the only article of your creed—“ Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." You have either gone too far, in rejecting divine revelation, or, you have not gone far enough to maintain consistency. To be without hope, and without God, or atheists in the world, go together in Scripture, Eph. 2: 12; and they go together on the principles of reason and common sense. The heathen world had no written revelation to believe, and you place yourselves in the same condition by rejecting the one given. They were unbelievers from necessity, you remain so from choice. They had no hope of a resurrection from the dead, but, like you, deemed it incredible, and mocked at it. But, you are far behind them in consistency of creed, for you patch up a creed, taking your God from Christians, and your future hope from them. Even the Sadducees put you to the, blush, for they not only denied a resurrection from the dead, but all future existence. They believed like you in one God, and in this they were consistent, for they admitted a divine revelation, which you deny. The heathen were consistent with themselves,