« PreviousContinue »
I. H. 1825
TWO DEISTICAL WORKS,
“ THE NEW TRIAL OF THE WITNESSES," &c.
“ NOT PAUL BUT JESUS."
BY BEN DAVID.
Longa est injuria,
And David took a stone and flang it, and smote the Philistine in his fore.
PRINTED FOR R. HUNTER, 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD.
No writings have been more misapplied than the Epistles of Paul: and it is remarkable that the persons who are loudest in their praise have been foremost to pervert them in the support of Antichristian doctrines and of dogmas unfriendly to the improvement of mankind. This circumstance has created a strong prejudice against this Apostle, especially in the advocates of freedom, if they happened not to be believers in revelation. Nor is there any method so effectual to vindicate his character from the charges imputed to him in sceptical publications, as to place his writings in their true point of light. When these are viewed in their native force and simplicity ; when examined in connection with the circumstances that called them forth; when the tenets and character are brought to light of those false teachers whom Paul nobly opposed ;—then, and not till then, the imputations of enemies and the perversions of mistaken friends, like thick clouds, will disperse, and the author will stand forth as the sun, with unrivalled splendour and purity. It was this conviction that led me to offer, in the first part of this work, an account of Antichrist and its
propagation, as a previous requisite to give a complete answer to the work entitled “Not Paul but Jesus.”
To the second part, which contains my answer
to Gamaliel Smith, I intended to add a third, containing the direct proofs for the divine authority of the Apostle Paul. These proofs are drawn from certain passages in the narrative of Luke, in his own Epistles, or in other writings of that age. The nature of the object in which he engaged, namely, the conversion of the gentiles, and the consequent destruction of superstition and vice, together with the consummate wisdom, patience and self-denial which he displayed in the fulfilment of this glorious end, led me to contrast his principles and conduct with those of the pagan philosophers ; and this necessarily embraces a field of inquiry too spacious for my present purpose. For this reason I have withheld the third part for the present, but shall cheerfully lay it before the public if I find that my labour in this small performance has not been in vain. In the prospect of its completion I feel an animating hope, that I shall furnish the public with proofs the most satisfactory, evidence the most triumphant, that Paul of Tarsus was neither an impostor nor a fanatic; that he was neither himself deceived, nor that he attempted to deceive others ; but that he was, what he is represented to be in the Acts, an apostle of Christ, miraculously converted, and endowed by him with divine power and wisdom to reform the world ; and that, in the discharge of this high commission, he exhibited an assemblage of virtues that place him next to Jesus of Nazareth in the records of the human race.