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AGE OF REASON,
PUBLISHED BY D. I. EATON ;
a Calvinistic Preacher,
AT YEOVIL, IN SOMERSETSHIRE;
AND LATE OF EMANUEL COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
ENTERED AT STATIONER'S HALL.
PRINTED BY MARCHANT AND GALABIN,
AN ANSWER, &c.
2 Epistle of Peter, ii. 1, 2. “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction: and many shall follow their pernicious ways, by whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”
The truth of the apostle's words is verified by the blasphemous books that are published against the authenticity of the Bible. In Thomas Paine's
Age of Reason," I shall point out his folly, and the darkness of his understanding concerning the scriptures, knowing that his former publications hurt many weak minds, and have made many become atheists; because his reasoning is so artful, and wickedly contrived to make a mock of the scriptures, and which men, by carelessly reading, may not discern his folly ; and therefore they are carried away with his pernicious doctrines. I have heard much talk of his books, and the injury they have done to many ; but I never read any of them, before the trial of Eaton, for publishing the third part of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, which was brought to ine. In reading it over at first I clearly saw the artful working of the book ; but did not at the first reading discern his folly ; but, on perusing it over with serious attention, I soon saw from whence his reasoning came, which he calls a divine gift, given him of God; but his reason, which he boasts of, came from the same source as St. Paul speaks of,—"That in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, which is the influence of the devil :" and this influence was over Paine's mind, that in seeing he could not see, nor in hearing he could not understand, in what manner Satan worketh upon the minds and hearts of men, to bring them to depart from the faith of the scriptures : and as Paine says there is no devil, he judged that the intluence upon his mind was a gift of reason, given to him from God.
I shall begin first to shew his folly, and how dark was his understanding, in what he says on Isaiah, chap. liii.
Paine says,—“ Isaiah employs the whole of this chapter in lamenting the sufferings of some deceased person, of whom he speaks very pathetically. It is a monody on the death of a friend; and which Isaiah, in deploring the hard fate and loss of his friend, mentions nothing of him but what the human lot of man is subject to.'
To his folly I answer, and prove that Paine had no wisdom given him from the Lord : for the ways of the Lord were unknown to him; and his judgment on this chapter must confound those that rely upon his wisdom.
I shall first take him upon his own grounds. He says, “ Isaiah was lamenting the death of his friend.” But how doth he make this
with the following words of Isaiah." He is despised and rejected of men ; and we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
If Isaiah had been speaking of a friend, that had been put to death, he would not have joined himself with those that despised him; but he says, “we esteeined him not;" as though all joined together in rejecting the person he is speaking of, and saith, "all we like sheep are gone astray; we
have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.” Now let us look at the beginning of the chapter. Isaiah begins with these words :-" Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?" Had this been a friend of Isaiah, as Paine has set forth, there would have been no cause to inquire who had believed the report; because a man being put to death, in the manner described in this chapter, in the days of Isaiah, must have been publicly known to them all; and there wanted no revelation from the Lord to confirm the death of a mere man; but it wanted the arm of the Lord to reveal who was to die for the transgression of man, and by whose stripes we were to be healed. When we come to the second verse, we find Isaiah was speaking of a person to come; as it says, “He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground;" which meaneth, poor ground; and so we find, that our Saviour was born of poor parents. And the prophet adds,—“He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him ; He is despised and rejected of men: as there were no riches, greatness or grandeur for them to desire, when he became flesh to dwell with men; therefore the Lord spoke by the mouth of his prophet what would be the language of men's hearts, when the prophecies of that chapter were fulfilled : and before it sprang forth the Lord warned of it; for He well knew how the devil would work in the hearts of the sons of men against his ANOINTED, when he became flesh to dwell on the earth. And now let us come to the birth of Christ; when he was born in Bethlehem, the arm of the Lord was revealed to the shepherds, who were keeping their flocks by night, as the angels of the Lord appeared to them. Luke ii. 10. But who believed their re
port? The arm of the Lord was revealed to Simeon, as it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. But who believed his report? This was despised and rejected by the Jews ; as they did not understand the meaning of this chapter, and many others that prophesied of our Saviour's first coming, to suffer for the transgression of man. They only looked to the prophecies, that speak of his coming in the clouds of heaven, and all the saints with him, to claim the kingdoms, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him, and to bring in everlasting righteous
Now as their eye was to his coming in power at the last, they did not observe the first, that he must first come to suffer; and therefore He was despised and rejected of them; as they saw nu greatness for them to desire him.
But Paine says, “ If Jesus Christ was the person the church represents him to be, that which would erclusively apply to him, must be something that could not apply to any other person ; something beyond the line of nature; something beyond the lot of mortal man; and there are no such expressions in Isaiah liii. nor any other chapter in the Old Testament."
This shews the absurdity of his reasoning, the darkness of his understanding, that he had not discernment enough to see that this chapter speaks of something more than belongs to mortal inan.
Can we be healed by the stripes of a mere man? or the chastisement of our peace be upon man? Can man make himself an offering for the sins of others, by laying down his life for them · Can a man so blindly discern what he reads, that the prophecy in this chapter can allude to any mortal man, to bear the sins of many, and make intercession for the transgressors. For this is the pro