Infomotions, Inc.Examination of the passages in the New Testament, quoted from the Old, and called prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. [electronic resource] : To which is prefixed an essay on dream, shewing by what operation of the mind a dream is produced in sleep, and a / Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809




Author: Paine, Thomas, 1737-1809
Title: Examination of the passages in the New Testament, quoted from the Old, and called prophecies concerning Jesus Christ. [electronic resource] : To which is prefixed an essay on dream, shewing by what operation of the mind a dream is produced in sleep, and a
Publisher: New-York: : Printed for the author., [1807]
Tag(s): rationalism; dreams in the bible; messiah prophecies; christianity controversial literature; testament; jesus; isaiah; jesus christ; matthew; christ; new testament; herod; chap; prophecy; old testament; prophesy; israel; passage; prophecies; verse; joseph
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EXAMINATION 

OF THE PASSAGES IN THE 

NEW TESTAMENT, 



QUOTED FROM THE OLD AND CALLED PROPHECIES COW 

v 

CERNING 

Jesus Christ. 



TO WHICH IS PREFIXED, 

fc- An ESSAY on ]}REAM, 

Shewing by what operation of the mind a Dream is produced in sleep / 
and applying the same to tte account of Dreams in the 

New Testament ; * 

With an APPENDIX containing my 

Private Thoughts of a Future State y 

And REMARKS on the Contradictory Doctrine in the Books of 
MATTHEW and MARK* . 



BY THOMAS PAINE* 



NEW-YORK : 
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR, 



To the Ministers and Preachers of all 
Denominations of Religion. 



IT is the duty of eviery man, as far as his ability extends, to 
detect and expose delusion and error. But nature has not given. 
to every one a talent for the purpose; and among those to whom 
such a talent is given, there is often a want of disposition or of 
courage to do it. 

The world, or more properly speaking, that small part of it 
called Christendom, or the Christian world, has besn amused for 
more than a thousand years with accounts of Prophecies in the 
Old-Testament, about the coming of the person called Jesus 
Christ, and thousands of sermons have been preached, and vol 
umes written, to make man believe it. 

In the following treatise 1 have examined all the passages in the 
INew-Testament, quoted from the old and called prophecies con 
cerning Jesus Christ, and I find no such thing as a prophecy of any 
such person, and I deny there are any. The passages all relate 
to circumstances, the Jewish nation was in at the time they were 
written or spoken, and not to any thing that was, or was not, to 
happen in the world several hundred years afterwards ; and I have 
shewn what the circumstances were, to which the passages apply 
or refer. I have given chapter and verse for every thing I have 
said, and have not gone out of the books of the Old and New- 
Testament for evidence, that the passages are not prophecies ot 
the person called Jesus Christ. 

The prejudice of unfounded belief often degenerates into the 
prejudice of custom, and becomes at last, rank hypocrisy. When 
men from custom or fashion or ary worldly motive profess, or pre 
tend to believe x what they do not believe, nor can give any reason 
for believing, they unship the helm of their morality, and being 
no longer honest to their own minds, they feel no moral difficulty 
in being unjust to others. It is from the influence of this vice, hy 
pocrisy, that we see so many church and meeting going profes 
sors and pretenders to religion, so full of trick and deceit in their 
dealings, and so loose in the performance of their engagements, 
that they are not to be trusted further than the laws of the country 
will bin dthem. Morality has no hold on their minds, no restraint 
on their actions. 



DEFACE. 

One set of preachers make salvation to consist in believing. 
They fell their congregations that if they believe in Christ their 
sins shall be forgiven. This, in the first place, is an encourage 
ment (o sin, in a similar manner, as when a prodigal young fellow 
is told his father will pay all his debts, he runs into debt the faster 
and becomes the more extravagant ; Daddy, says he,pays all,and on 
he goes. Just so in the other case, Christ pays all and on goes the 
sinner. 

In the next place, the doctrine these men preach is not true. 
The New-Testament rests itself for credibility and testimony on 
what are called prophecies in the Old-Testament, of the person 
called Jesus Christ, and if there are no such thing as prophecies 
of any such person in the Old-Testament, the New-Testament is 
a forgery of the Councils of Nice and Laodocia and the faith 
founded thereon, delusion and falsehood.* 

Another set of preachers tell their congregations that God pre 
destinated and selected from all eternity, a certain number to be 
saved, and a certain number to be damned eternally. If this were 
true the day of Judgment is VAST, their preaching is in vain, and 
they had better work at some useful calling for their livelihood. 

This doctrine also like the former hath a direet tendency to de 
moralize mankind. Can a bad man be reformed by telling him 
that if he is one of those who was decreed to be damned before he 
was born his reformation will do him no good; and if he was de 
creed to be saved, he will be saved whether he believes it or not, 
for this is the result of the doctrine. Such preaching and such 
preachers do injury to the moral world. They had better be at 
the plough. 

As in my political works my motive and object have been to 
give man an elevated sense of his own character, and to free him 
from the slavish and superstitious absurdity of monarchy and hered 
itary government, so in my publications on religious subjects my 
endeavours have been directed to bring man to a right use of the 
reason that God has given him, to impress on him the great prin 
ciples of divine morality, justice mercy and a benevolent disposi 
tion to all men, and to all creatures, and to inspire in him a apirit of 
trust, confidence, and consolation in his creator, unshackled by the 
fables of books pretending f o be the word of God. 

THOMAS PAINE. 

* The councils of Nice and Laodocia were held about 350 
years aiter the time Chris^ is said to have lived, and the books, 
that now compose the New-Testament, were then voted for by 
YEAS and NAYS, as we now vote a law. A great many that were 
offered had a majority of nays and were rejected. This is tke 
way the New-Testament came into being. 



INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER. 



AS a great deal is said in the New Testament about dreams, 
it is first necessary to explain the nature of dream, and to shew by 
what operation of the mind a dream is produced during sleep. 
When this is understood we shall be the better enabled to judge 
whether any reliance can be placed upon them ; and consequently, 
whether the several matters in the New Testament related of 
dreams deserve the credit which the writers of that book and 
priests and commentators ascribe to them. 



An ESS AY on Dream. 



l 



N order to understand the nature of dream, or of that which 
passes in ideal vision during a state of sleep, it is first necessary to 
understand the composition and decomposition of the human mind* 

The three great faculties of the mind are IMAGINATION, JUDG 
MENT and MEMORY. Every action of the mind comes under one 
or other of these faculties. In a state of wakeiulness, as in the 
day time, these three faculties are all active ; but that is seldom 
the sase in sleep, and never perfectly ; and this is the cause that 
our dreams are not so regular and rational as our wukihg thoughts. 

The seat of that collection of powers or faculties that constitute 
what is called the mind is in the brain. There is not, and cannot 
be, any visible demonstration of this anatomically, but accidents 
happening to living persons, shew it to be so. An injury done to 
the brain by a fracture of the scull will sometimes change a wise 



2 AN ESSAY 

man into a childish idiot ; a being without a mkid. But so care 
ful has nature been of that sanctum sanctorum of man, the brain, 
that of all the external accidents to which humanity is subjecf, 
this happens the most seldom. But we often see it happening by 
long and habitual intemperance. 

Whether those three faculties occupy distinct apartments of the 
brain, is known only to that almighty power that formed and or" 
ganised it. We can see the external effects of muscular motion 
in all the members ot the body, though its primum mobile, or first 
moving cause, is unknown to man. Our external motions are 
sometimes the effect of intention, and sometimes not. If we are 
sitting and intend to rise, or standing and intend to sit, or to walk, 
the limbs obey that intention as if they heard the order given. But 
we make a thousand motions every day, and that as well waking 
as sleeping, that have no prior intention to direct them. Each 
member acts as if it had a will, or mind of its own. Man governs 
the whole when he please to govern, but in the interims the se 
veral parts, like little suburbs, govern themselves without consult 
ing the sovereign. 

But all these motions, whatever be the genrating cause, are ex 
ternal and visible. But with respect to the brain, no occular ob 
servation can be made upon it. All is mystery ; all is darkness, 
in that womb of thought. 

Whether the brain is a mass of matter in continual rest ; whe 
ther it has a vibrating pulsative motion, or a heaving and falling 
motion like matter in fermentation ; whether different parts of the 
brain have different motions according to the faculty that is em 
ployed, be it the imagination, the judgment, or the memory, man 
knows nothing of. He knows not the cause of his own wit. His 
own brain conceals it from him. 

Comparing invisible by visible things, as metaphysical can some 
times be compared to physical things, the operations of these dis- 



ON DREAM, 3 

tinct and several faculties have some resemblance to the median* 
i-sm of a watch. The main spring, which puts all in motion, cor 
responds to the imagination ; the pendulum, or balance, which 
corrects and regulates that motion, corresponds to the judgment, 
and the hand and dial, like the memory, record the operations. 

Now in proportion as these several faculties sleep, slumber, or 
keep awake, during the continuance of a dream, in that propor 
tion will the dream be reasonable or frantic, remembered or for 

gotten. 

If there is any faculty in mental man that never sleeps it is that 
volatile thing the imagination. The case is different with the 
judgment and memory. The sedate and sober constitution of the 
judgment easily disposes it to rest, and as to the memory it records 
in silence and is active only when it is called upon. 

That the judgement soon goes to sleep may be perceived by our 
sometimes beginning to dream beiore we are fully asleep ourselves. 
Some random thought runs in the mind, and we start, as it were, 
into recollection that we are dreaming between sleeping and wak 
ing. 

If the judgment sleeps whilst the imagination keeps awake, the 
dream will be a riotous assemblage of misshapen images and ranting 
ideas, and the more active the imagination is the wilder the dream 
will be. The most inconsistent and the most impossible things 
will appear right ; because that faculty whose province it is to 
keep order is in a state of absence. The master of the school is 
gone out and the boys are in an uproar. 

If the memory sleeps we shall have no other knowledge of the 
dream than that we have dreamt, without knowing what it was 
about. In this case it is sensation rather than recollection that 
acts. The dream has given us some sense of pain or (rouble, and 
we feel it as a hurt, rather than remember it as a vision. 



4 AN ESSAY 

If memory only slumbers we shall have a faint remembrance oi 
the dream, and after a few minutes it will sometimes happen that 
the principal passages of the dream will occur to us more fully. 
The cause of this is thai the memory will sometimes continue slum 
bering or sleeping after we are awake ourselves, and that so fully, 
that itina), and sometimes do, happen, that we do not immedi 
ately recollect where we are, nor what we have been about, or 
have to do. But when the memory starts into wakefulness it brings 
the knowledge of these things back upon us, like a flood of light, 
and sometimes the dream with it. 

But the most curious circumstance of the mind in a state of dream, 
is the power it has to become the agent of every person, character 
and thing, of which it dreams, It carries on conversation with 
several, asks questions, hears auswers, gives and receives inform 
ation, and it acts all these parts itself. 

But howev.r various and eccentric the imagination may be in 
the creation of images and ideas, it cannot supply the place of me 
mory, with respect to tnings that are forgotten when we are awake. 
For example, if we have forgotten the name of a person, and 
dream of seeing him, and asking him his name, he cannot tell it; 
for it is ourselves askmg ourselyes the question. 

But though the imagination cannot supply the place of real me 
mory it has the wild faculty of counterfeiting memory. It dreams 
of persons it never knew, and talks with them as if it remember 
ed them as old acquaintances. It relates circumstances that never 
happened, and tells them as if they had happened. It goes to 
places that never existed, and knows where all the streets and 
houses are as if it had been there before. The scenes it creates 
'often appear as scenes remembered. It will sometimes act a 
dream within a dream, and in the delusion of dreaming tell a 
dream it never dreamed and tell it as if it was from memory. It 
jay also be remarked, that the imagination, in a dream, has no 



ON DREAM. * 

idea of time, s time. It counts only by circumstances ; and if a 
succession of circumstances pass in a dream that would require a 
great length of time to accomplish them, it will appear to the 
dreamer that a length of time equal thereto has passed also. 

As this is the state of the mind in dream it may rationally be 
said that every person is mad once in twenty-four hours, for were 
he to act in the day as he dreams in the night he would be con 
fined for a lunatic. In a state of wakefulness those three faculties 
being all active and acting in unison constitute the rational man. 
In dream it is otherwise, and therefore that state which is called 
insanity appears to be no other than a disunion of those faculties 
and a cessation of the judgment, during wakefulness, that we so 
often experience during sleep ; and idiocity, into which some per 
sons have fallen, is that cessation of all the faculties of which we 
can be sensible when we happen to wake before our memory. 

In this view of the mind how absurd is it to place reliance upon 
dreams, and how more absurd to make them a foundation for re 
ligion ; yet the belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God, begot 
ten by the holy ghost, a being never heard of before, stands on 
the story of an old man's dream. " And behold the angel of the 
" Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of 
" David, ftar not to take unto thee Mary thy wije, for that tvhich w 
conceived in her is of the holy ghost." Matt. ch. 1, v. 20. 

After this we have the childish stories of three or four other 
dreams ; about Joseph going into Egypt ; about his coming back 
again ; about this, and about that, and this story of dreams has 
thrown Europe into a dream for morethnn a thousand years. Ali 
the efforts that nature, reason, and conscience have made to a- 
waken man from it have been ascribed by priestcraft and supersti 
tion to the workings of the devil, and had it not been for the Ame 
rican revolution, which by establishing the nntiersal right of con 
science, first opened the way to free discussion, and for the French 
revolution which followed, this religion of dreams had continued 



6 AN ESSAY 

to be preached, and that after it had ceased to be believed. Those. 
who preached it and did not believe it, still believed the delusion 
necessary. They were not bold enough to be honest, nor honest 
enough to be bold. 

I shall conclude this Essay on Dream with the two first verses 
of" the 36 chapter of Ecclesiasticus one of the books of the Apo 
crypha. 

v. I . " The hopes of a man void of understanding are vain and 
"false ; and dreams lift up fools. Whoso regardeth dreams is like 
" him that catcheth at a shadow, andfollozveth after the wind." 

I now proceed to an examination of the passages in the bible call 
ed prophecies of the coming of Christ, and to shew there are no 
prophecies of any such person. That the passages clandestinely 
stiled prophecies are not prophecies, and that they refer to circum 
stances tne Jewish nation was in at the time they were wiitten or 
spoken, and not to any distant or future time or person. 

THOMAS PAINE. 






AN 



OF THE 



Passages in the Ne^v Testament, 

4UOTED FROM THE OLD AND CALLED PROPHECIES OF THE 
COMING OF 

JESUS CHRIST. 



T. 
HE passages called Prophecies of, or concerning, Jesus Christ 

In the Old Testament may be classed under the two following 
.heads. 

First, those referred to in the four books of the New Testament, 
called the four Evangelists, Matthew 9 Mark, Luke and John. 

Secondly, those which translators and commentators, have, of 
their own imagination, erected into prophecies and dubbed with 
ihat title at the head of the several chapters of the Old Testa 
ment. Of these it is scarcely worth while to waste time, ink and 
paper upon, I shall therefore confine myself chiefly so those referred 
to in the aforesaid four books of the New Testament. If I shew that 
these are not prophesies of the person called Jesus Christ, nor have 
reference to any such person, it will be perfectly needless to com 
bat those which translators or the church have invented, and for 
which they had no other authority than their own imagination. 



8 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

I begin with the book called the gospel according to St. Mat 
thew. 

In the first chap. v. 18, it is said " now the birth of Jesus Christ 
" was in this wise : tuhen as his mother Mary ivas espoused to Joseph > 
t( before they came together, SHE WAS FOUND WITH CHILD BY 
" THE HOLY GHOST." This is going a little too fast ; because to 
make this verse agree with the next, it should have said no more 
than that the was found with child ; for the next verse says, " Then 
"Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a 
" public example, was minded to put her away privately" Conse 
quently Joseph had found out rib more than that she was with child, 
and he knew it was not by himself. 

v. 20. " And white lie thought of these things" (that is, whether 
he should put her away privately, or rhake a public example of her) 
"behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him IN A DREAM/' (that 
is, Joseph dreamed that an angel appeared unto him) " saying, 
"Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take un*o thee Mary thy wife, 
"for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she 
" s/z// bring forth a son and call his name Jesus, for he shall save his 
" people from their sins" 

Now without entering into any discussion upon the merits or de 
merits of the account here given, it is proper to observe, that it has 
no higher authority than that of a dream ; for it is impossible to a 
man to behold any thing in a dream buMhat which he dreams of, 
I ask not, therefore, whether Joseph, if there were such a man, had 
such a dream or not, because, admitting he had, it proves nothing, 
So wonderful and irrational is the faculty of the mind in dream, 
that it acts the part of all the characters its imagination creates, 
and what it thinks it hears from any of them is no other than what 
the roving rapidity of its own imagination invents. It is therefore 
nothing to me what Joseph dreamed of; whether of the fidelity or 
infidelity of his wife; I pay no regard to my own dreams, and 
I should be weak indeed to put faith in the dreams of another. 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 9 

The verses that follow those I have quoted, are the words of the 
writer of the book of Matthew. " Now (says he) all this (that is 
'< all this dreaming and this pregnancy) was done that it might be 
"fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying. 

" Behold a Virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, 
" and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which f being interpreted, 
" is God with us." 

This passage is in Isaiah, chap. 7, v. 14. and the writer of the 
book of Matthew endeavours to make his readers believe that this 
passage is a prophecy of the person called Jesus Christ. It is no 
such thing ; and I go to shew it is not. But it is first necessary 
that I explain the occasion of these words being spoken by Isaiah. 
The reader will then easily perceive that so far from their being a 
prophecy of Jesus Christ, they have not the least reference to such / 
a person, nor to any thing that could happen in the time that Christ 
is said to have lived, which was about seven hundred years after 
(he time of Isaiah. The case is this, 

On the death of Solomon the Jewish nation split into two monar 
chies ; one called the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was 
Jerusalem ; the other the kingdom of Israel, the capital of which 
was Samaria. The kingdom of Judah followed the line of David, 
and the kingdom of Israel that of Saul ; and these two rival mo 
narchies frequently carried on fierce wars against each other. 

At the time Ahaz was king of Judah, which was in the time of 
Jsaiah, Pekah was king of Israel; and Pekah joined himself to 
Xezin, king of Syria, to make war against Ahaz, king of Judah, 
and these two kings marched a confederated and powerful army 
against Jerusalemn. Ahaz and his people became alarmed at the 
danger, and " their hearts were moved as the trees of the wood arc 
" moved with the wind." Isaiah chap. 7, v. 2. 

In this perilous situation of things Isaiah addresses himself to 



10 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

Ahaz, and assures him in the name of the Lord, (the cant phrase 
of all the prophets) that these two kings should not succeed against 
him ; and to assure him that this should be the case (the case how 
ever was directly contrary,*) tells Ahaz to ask a sign of the Lord. 
This- Ahaz declined doing, giving as a reason that he would not 
tempt the Lord ; upon which Isaiah, who pretends to be sent from 
God, says, v. 14-, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you 
" a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son Butter and 
" honey shall he eat that he may know to refuse the evil and chuse 
" the good For before the child shall know to refuse the evil and 
*' chuse the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken 
" of both her kings," meaning the king of Israel and the king of 
Syria who were marching against him. 

Here then is the sign, which was to be the birth of a child, and 
that child a son ; and here also is the time limited for the accom 
plishment of the sign, namely, before the child should know to 
refuse the evil and chuse the good. 

The thing therefore to be a sign of success to Ahaz must be 
something that would take place before the event of the battle then 
pending between him and the two kings could be known. A thing 
to be a sign must precede the thing signified. The sign of rain 
must be before the rain. 

It would have been mockery and insulting nonsense for Isaiah 



* Chron. chap. 28. v. 1st. Ahaz was twenty years old whew he 
began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years injerusalemn, but he did 
not that which was right in the sight of the Lord. v. 5. Wherefore 
the Lord his God delivered him into the hand oj the king of Syria, and 
they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captive 
and brought them to Damascus, and he was also delivered into the hand 
Of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter. 

v. 6. And Pekah (king of Israel) slew in Judah an hundred and 
twenty thousandin one day. v. 8. And the children of Israel carried 
away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women t sons and 
daughters. 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. H 

to have assured Ahaz as a sign that these two kings should not pre 
vail against him, that a child should be born seven hundred years 
after he was dead, and that before tfye child so born should know 
to refuse the evil and choose the good, he, Ahaz, should be deli 
vered from the danger he was then immediately threatened with. 

But the case is, that the child of which Isaiah speaks was his 
own child, with which his wife or his mistress was then pregnant, 
for he says in the next chapter, v. 2, " and I took unto me faith- 
* l ful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of 
" Jeberechiah, and I went unto the prophetess and she conceived and 
" bear a son" and he says at 1 8 v. of the same chapter, " 'Behold I 
* and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for 
? wonders in Israel." 

It may not be improper here to observe that the word translated 
a virgin in Isaiah does not signify a virgin in Hebrew, but merely 
a young woman. The Tense also is falsified in the translation. 
Levi gives the Hebrew text of the 1 4 v. of the 7 th chapter of Isaiah 
and the translation in English with it " Behold a young woman 
"is with child and beareth a son. 11 The expression, says he, is 
in the present tense. This translation agrees with the other cir 
cumstances related of the birth of this child which was to be a sign 
to Ahaz. But as the true translation could not have been im 
posed upon the world as a prophecy of a child to be born seven 
hundred years afterwards, the Christian translators have falsified 
the original ; and instead of making Isaiah to say behold a young 
woman is with child and beareth' a. son, they have made him to 
say, Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son/' It is, how 
ever, only necessary for a person to read the 7th and 8th chapters 
of Isaiah and he will be convinced that the passage in question is 
no prophecy of the person called Jesus Christ. I pass on to the 
second passage quoted from the old testament by the new as a 
prophecy of Jesus Christ, 



It? AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

Matthew chap. 2. v. 1st. < Now when Jesus was born in Be- 
" thleham of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there 
" came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he 
*' that is born king of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the 
East and are come to worship him When Herod the king heard 
ft these things he was troubled, and all Jerusalemn with him, 
" and when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the 
" people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be 
" born and they said unto him in Bethlehem in the land of Judea ; 
f< for thus it is written by the prophet and thou Bethlehem* in the 
" land of Judea art not the least among the princes ofJudah, for out 
f ' ofthee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people /ra#."-w 
This passage is in Micah chap. 5, v. 2. 

I pass over the absurdity of seeing and following a star in the 
day time as a man would a will with the tvhisp, or a candle and 
lanthron at night ; and also that of seeing it in the east when them 
selves came from the east; for could such a thing be seen at all to 
$erve them for a guide, it must be in the west to them. I confine 
myself solely to the passage called a prophecy of Jesus Christ. 

The book of Micah, in the passage above quoted, chap 5. ver f 
2. is speaking of some person, without mentioning his name, 
from whom some great atchievements were expected ; but the 
description he gives of this person at the 5th v. proves evidently 
that it is not Jesus Christ, for he says at the 5th verse, " AndMz* 
*' man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our 
*' land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise 
up against him (that is, against the Assyrian) seven shepherds 
" and eight principal men. v. 6. And they shall waste the 
" land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod 
" on the entrance thereof j thus shall He (the person spoken of 
at the head of the second verse) deliver us from the Assyrian 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. J& 

* when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within^ 
49 our borders." 

This is so evidently descriptive of a military chief, that it cai^ 
not be applied to Christ without outraging the character they pre 
tend to give us of him. Besides which, the circumstances of the 
times here spoken of, and those of the times in which Christ is 
said to have lived, are in contradiction to each other. It was the 
Komans, and not the Assyrians, that had conquered and were in 
the land of Judea, and trodin their palaces when Christ was born, 
and when he died, and so far from his driving them out, it was 
they who signed the warrant for his execution and he suffered 
under it. 

Having thus shewn that this is no prophecy of Jesus Christ, I 
pass on to the third passage quoted from the Old Testament by 
the New as a prophecy of him. 

This, like the first I have spoken of is introduced by a dream. 
Joseph dreameth another dream, and dreameth that he seeth 
another Angel. The acconnt begins at the 1 3th v. of 2d chap, 
of Matthew. 

" The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream,, 
tf saying, Arise and take the young child and his mother and 
" flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word : 
" For Herod will seek the life of the young child to destroy him. 
* f When he arose he took the young child and his mother by 
" night and departed into Egypt and was there until the death 
" of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the 
" Lord by the prophet saying, Out of Egypt have 1 called my 
" son." 

This passage is in'the book of Hosea, chap. xi. ver. 1. The 
words are, " When Israel was a child then I loved him and called 
5! wy son out of Egypt As they called them so they went from 



14? AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

n them, they sacrificed unto Baalim and burnt incense to grav- 
*' en images." 

This passage, falsely called a prophecy of Christ, refers to the 
children of Israel coming out of Egypt in the time of Pharaoh, 
and to the idolatry they committed afterwards. To make it ap 
ply to Jesus Christ he then must be the person who sacrificed un 
to Baalim and burnt incence to graven images ; for the persons call 
ed out of Egypt by the collective name, Israel, and the persons 
committing this idolatry are the same persons, or the descendants 
of them. This then can be no prophecy of Jesus Christ unless 
they are willing to make an idolater of him. I pass on to the 
fourth passage called a prophecy by the writer of the took of 
Matthew. 

This is introduced by a story told by nobody, but himself, and 
scarcely believed by any body, of the slaughter of all the chil 
dren under two years old, by the command of Herod. A thing 
which it is not probable could be done by Herod as he only held 
an office under the Roman government, to which appeals could 
always be had, as we see in the case of Paul. 

Matthew, however, having made or told this story, says, chap, 
ii. ver. 17. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jere- 
* my the prophet, saying, In Ramah was there a voice heard la- 
f * mentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for 
" her children and would not be comforted because they were not" 

This passage isin Jeremiah, chap xxxi. yer. 15. and this verse, 
when separated from ihe verses before it and after it, and which 
explains its application, might with equal propriety be applied to 
every case of wars, sieges, and other violences, such as the 
Christians themselves have often done to the Jews, where mo 
thers have lamented the loss of their children. There is nothing 
in the verse laken singly that designates, or points out, any parti- 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. U 

cular application of it, otherwise than that it points to some cir 
cumstance which, at the time of writing it, had already hap 
pened, and not to a thing yet to happen, for the verse is in the 
preter or past tense I go to explain the case and shew the appli 
cation of the verse. 

Jeremiah lived in the time that Nebuchadnezar besieged, took, 
plundered, and destroyed Jerusalem and led the Jews captive to 
Babylon. Hecarried his violence against the Jews to every ex 
treme. He slew the sons of king Zedekiah before his face, he 
then put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and kept him in prison till the 
Iay of his death. 

It is of this time of sorrow and suffering to the Jews that Jere 
miah is speaking. Their Temple was destroyed, their land deso 
lated, their nation and govern men t entirely broken up, and them 
selves, men, women, and children,, carried into captivity. They 
had too many sorrows of their own, immediately before their eyes, 
to permit them, or any of their chiefs, to be employing them^. 
selves on things that might, or might not, happen in the World 
several hundred years afterwards. 

It is, as already observed, of this time of sorrow and suffering 
to the Jews that Jeremiah is speaking in the verse in question. In 
the two next verses the 16 and 17, he endeavours to console the 
sufferers by giving them hopes, and, according to the fashion of 
speaking in those days, assurances from the Lord, that their suf 
ferings should have an end, and that their children should return 
again to their own land. But I leave the verses to speak for 
themselves, and the Old-testament to testify against the New. 

Jeremiah chap. xxxi. ver. 15. " Thus saith the Lord a voice 
" was heard in Ramah (it is in the preter tense) lamentation and 
" bitter weeping: Rachel weeping for her children, refused te 
** be comforted for her children because they were not. 



16 AN EXAMINATION OP THE PASSAGES 

Verse 16. " Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from 
" weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall bere- 
' v warded, saith the Lord, and THEY shall come again from the 
" land of the enemy. 

Verse 17. " And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, 
*^ that thy children shall come again to their own border." 

By what strange ignorance or imposition is it, that the chil 
dren of which Jeremiah speaks (meaning the people of the Jew 
ish nation, scripturally called children of Israel, and not mere 
infants under two years old) and who were to return again from 
the land of the enemy, and come again into their own borders, 
can mean the children that Matthew makes Herod to slaughter. 
Could those return again from the land of the enemy, or how 
can the land of the enemy be applied to them ? Could they come 
again to their own Borders ? Good heavens ! How has the world 
been imposed upon by testament-makers, priest-craft, and pre 
tended prophecies. I pass on to the fifth passage called a pro* 
phecy of Jesus Christ. 

This, like two of the former, is introduced by a dream. Jo 
seph dreameth another dream, and dreameth of another Angel-, 
and Matthew is again the historian of the dream and the dreamer. 
If it were asked how Matthew couMknow what Joseph dreamed, 
neither the Bishop nor all the Church could answer the question. 
Perhaps it was Matthew that dreamed and not Joseph ; that is, 
Joseph dreamed by proxy in Matthew's brain, as they tell us Da 
niel dreamed for Nebuchadnezor. But be this as it may I go on 
with my subject. 

The account of this dream is in Matthew, chap. ii. ver. 19, 
' But when Herod was dead, behold an Angel of the Lord ap- 
" peared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt Saving, Arise, and 
f( take the young child and his mother and go into the land of 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT* If 

** Israel, for they are dead which sought the young child's life 
*' and he arose and took the young child and his mother and came 
et . into the land of IsraelBut when he heard that Archelaus did 
" reign in Juuea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraidt 
" to go thither. Notwithstanding being warned of God in a 
" dream (here is another dream) he turned aside into the parts of 
" Galilee and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth that it 
<f might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets He shall be 
' called a Nazarine. 

Here is good, circumstantial evidence, that Matthew dreamed, 
for there is no such passage in all the Old Testament : and I in 
vite the bishop and all tfce priests of Christendom, including those 
of America, to produce it. I pass on to the sixth passage called 
a prophecy of Jesus Christ. 

This, as Swift says on another occasion, is lugged in head an 
shoulders. It needs only to be seen in order to be hooted as a 
forced and far-fetched piece of imposition. 

Matthew, chap. 4. v. 12. " Now when Jesus heard that John 
*' was cast into prison he departed into Galilee and leaving Na~ 
** zareth he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea- 
** coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Nephthalim That it might 
" be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, 
" saying, The land oj Zebulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the 
" way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Gulilee of the Getilcsihe peo- 
" pie which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in 
" the region and shadow of death, light is springing upon them/' 

I wonder Matthew has not made the cris-cross-row, or the 
ehrist-cross-now, (I know not how the priests spell it) into a pro 
phecy. He might as well have done this, as cut out these uncon 
nected and undescriptive sentences from the place they stand in 
and dubbed them with that title. 



18 AN EXAMINATION OP THE PASSAGES 

The words, however, are in Isaiah, chap. 9, v. 1,2. as fol 
lows : 

" Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vex- 
" ation when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulon, and 
" the land of Napthali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict 
" her hy the way of the sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations."' 

All this relate to two circumstances that had already happened 
at the time these words in Isaiah were written. The one where 
the land of Zebulon and of Napthali had been lightly afflicted, and 
afterwards more grievously by the way of the sea. 

But observe reader, how Matthew has falsified the text. He 
begins his quotation at a part of the verse where there is not so 
much as a comma, and thereby cuts off every thing that relates 
to the first affliction. He then leaves out all that relate to the se 
cond affliction, and by this means leaves out every thing that makes 
the verse intelligible, and reduces it to a senseless skeleton of names 
of towns. 

To bring this imposition of Matthew clearly and immediately 
before the eye of the reader, I will repeat the verse, and put be 
tween crotchets [] the words he has left out, and put in Italics 
those he has preserved. 

[Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexa 
tion when at the first he lightly afflicted] the land of 'Zebulon and 
the land of Napthali, [and did afterwards more grievously afflict her] 
by the ivay of the sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations. 

What gross imposition is it to gut, as the phrase is, a verse in 
this manner, render it perfectly senseless, and then puff it off on a 
credulous world as a prophecy. I proceed to the next verse. 

v. 2. ." The people that walked in darkness have seen 
"a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of 
" death upon them hath the light shined." All this is historical 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, 19. 

tmd not in the least prophetical. The whole is in the preter tense. 
It speaks of things that had been accomplished at the time the words 
weie written, and not of things to be accomplished afterwards. 

As then the passage is in no possible sense prophetical, nor in 
tended to be so, and that to attempt to make it so is not only to fal 
sify the original, but to commit a criminal imposition, it is matter of 
no concern to us, otherwise than as curiosity, to know who the 
people were of which the passage speaks that sat in darkness, and 
what the light was that had shined in upon them. 

If we look into the preceding chapter, the 8th, of which the 9th 
is only a continuation, we shall find the writer speaking at the 19th 
verse of " witches and wizards who peep about and mutter" and of 
people who made application to them ; and he preaches and ex 
horts them against this darksome practice. It is of this people, 
and of this darksome practice, or zvalking in darkness that he is 
speaking at the 2d verse of the 9th chapter ; and with respect to 
the light that had shined in upon them it refers entirely to his own mi 
nistry, and to the boldness of it, which opposed itself to that of 
the witches and wizards who peeped about and muttered* 

Isaiah is upon the whole, a wild disorderly writer, preserving, in 
general, no clear chain of perception in the arrangement of his 
ideas, and consequently producing no defined conclusions from 
them. It is the wildness of his stile, the confusion of his ideas, and 
the ranting metaphors he employs, that have afforded so many op 
portunities to priest- craft in some cases, and to superstition in 
others, to impose those defects upon the world as prophecies o 
Jesus Christ. Finding no direct meaning in them, and not know 
ing what to make of them, and supposing, at the same time, they 
were intended to have a meaning they supplied the defect by inr 
venting a meaning of their own, and called ft his. I have, how 
ever, in this place, done Isaiah the justice to rescue him from the 
laws of Matthew, who has torn him unmercifully to pieces, and 



26 AN EXAMINATION OF *HE PASSAGE* 

from the imposition or ignorance of priests and commentators, by 
letting Isaiah speak for himself. 

If the words walking in darkness, and light brewing in, could, in 
any case, be applied prophetically, which they cannot be, they 
would better apply to the times we now live in, than to any other* 
The world has " walked in darkness" for eighteen hundred years* 
both as to religion and government, and it is only since the Ame 
rican revolution began that light has broken in. The belief of out 
God, whose attributes are revealed to us in the book or scripture of 
the creation which no human hand can counterfeit or falsify, and 
not in a written or printed book, which, as Matthew has shewn, 
can be altered or falsified by ignorance or design, is now making 
its way among us ; and as to government, the light is already gone 
forth, and whilst men ought to be careful not to be blinded by the 
excess of it, as at a certain time in France, when every thing was 
Robespierean violence, they ought to reverence, and even toadoro 
it, with all the firmness and perseverance that true wisdom can 
inspire. 

I pass on to the seventh passage, called a prophecy of Jesus 

Christ. 

Matthew, chap. 8, v. 16. " When the evening was come, 
lf they brought unto him, (Jesu*>) many that were possessed with 
" devils, and he cast out the spirit with his word, and healed all 
' that were sick That it might be fulfilled, which was spoken 
<e by Esaias, (Isaiah) the prophet saying, himself took our inftr- 
fe mities, and bear our sicknesses." 

This affair of people being possessed by devils, and of casting 
them out, was the fable of the day, when the books of the New? 
Testament were written. It had not existanceat any other time. 
The books of the Old Testament mention no such thing ; the peo 
ple of the present day know of no such thing ; nor does the hisU* 



I'V.THg NEW TESTAMBWTY 2l 

ty of any people or country speak of such a thing. It starts upon 
us all at once in the book of Matthew; and is altogether an inven 
tion of the New-Testament-makers and the Christian church. 
The book of Matthew, is the first book where the word Devil is 
mentioned, as a being in the singular number.* We read in some of 
the books of the Old Testament, of things called familiar spirits, the 
supposed companions of people called witches and wizards. It 
was no other than the trick of pretended conjurors to obtain money 
from credulous and ignorant people ; or the fabricated charge of 
superstitious malignancy against unfortunate and decripid old age. 

But the idea of a familiar spirit, if we can affix any idea to th 
term, is exceedingly different to that of being possessed by a devil. 
In the one case the supposed familiar spirit is a dextrious agent, 
that comes and goes and does as he is bidden : in the other, he is a 
turbulant roaring monster, that tears and tortures the body into 
convulsions. Reader, whoever thou art, put thy trust in thy ere* 
ator, make use of the reason he endowed thee with, and cast from 
thee all such fables. 

The passage alluded to by Matthew, for as a quotation it is false, 
is in Isaiah, chap. 53, v. 4. which is as follows; 

" Surely he (the person of whom Isaiah is speaking,) hath borne 
" our griefs and carried our sorrows." It is in the preter tense. 

Here is nothing about casting out devils, nor curing of sickness 
es. The passage, therefore, so far from being a prophecy of Christ, 
is not even applicable as a circumstance. 

Isaiah, or at least the writer of the book that bears his name* 
employs the whole of this chap, the 53, in lamenting the suffer 
ings of some deceased person of whom he speaks very pathetically. 
It is a monody on the death of a friend ; but he mentions not the 
name of the person, nor gives any circumstance of him by which 

* The word devil is a personification of the word w it, 



22 AN EXAMINATION OF THE ? ASSA6E9 

he can be personally known 5 and it is this silence, wliich is evt- 
dence of nothing, that Matthew has laid hold of, to put the name 
of Christ to it; as if the chiefs of the Jews, whose sorrows were 
then great, and the times they lived in big with danger, were never 
thinking about their own affairs, nor the fate of their own friends., 
"but were continually running a Wild-rGoose chase into futurity. 

To make a monody into a prophecy is an absurdity. The char 
acters and circumstances of men, even in different ages of the 
world, are so much alike, that what is said of one, may with pro* 
priety be said of many ; but this fitness does not make the passage 
into a prophecy ; and none but an impostor, or a bigot, would call 
it so. 

Isaiah, in deploring the hard fate and loss of his friend, mentions 
nothing of him but what the human lot of man is subject 10. AH 
the cases he states of him, his persecutions, his imprisonment, his 
patience in suffering, and his perseverance in principle, are all 
within the line of nature; they belong exclusively to none, and 
may with justness be said of many. But if Jesus Christ was the 
person the church represents him to be, that which would exclu 
sively apply to him, must be something that could not apply to any 
other person ; something beyond the line of nature ; something be 
yond the lot of mortal man ; and there are no such expressions in 
this chapter, nor any other chapter in the Old Testament. 

It is no exclusive discription to say of a person, as is said of the 
person, Isaiah is lamenting in this chapter. " He zvas oppressed, 
*' and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth) he is brought as a 
" Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his sheerers t is dumb. 
" so he opened not his mouth." This may be said of thousands of 
persons, who "have suffered oppression and unjust death with pa 
tience, silence and perfect resignation. 

Grotius, whom the bishop esteems a most learned man, and 



Iff < IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. ^ 23 

who certainly was so, supposes that the person of whom Isaiah 
is speaking, is Jeremiah. Grotius is led into this opinion, from, 
the agreement there is between the discription given by Isaiah, 
and the case of Jeremiah, as stated in the book that bears his name. 
If Jeremiah was an innocent man, and not a traitor in the interest 
of" Nebuchadnezer, when Jerusalem was besieged, his case was 
hard ; He was accused by his countrymen, was persecuted, op 
pressed, and imprisoned, and he says of himseU, (see Jeremiah 
chap. 1 1, v. 19.) " Bat as for me, I was like a lamb or an Ox 
(t that is brought to the slaughter." 

1 should be inclined to the same opinion with Grotius, had Isai- 
" ah lived at the time when Jeremiah underwent the cruelties of 
which he speaks; but Isaiah died about 50 years before; and it 
is of a person of his own time, whose case Isaiah is lamenting in 
the chapter in question, and which imposition and bigotry, more 
than seven hundred years afterwards, perverted into a prophecy 
fa person they call Jesus Christ. 

I pass on to the eighth passage called a prophecy of Jesus 
Christ. 

Matthew, chap. 1 2, v. 1 4. " Then the Pharisees went out and 
*' held a council against him, how they might destroy him But 
*' when Jesus knew it he withdrew himself; and great numbers 
" followed him and he healed them all and he charged them they 
" should not make him known : That it might be fulfilled which 
" was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, 

" Behold my servant whom I have chosen ; my beloved in whom 
" my soul is well pleased, I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall 
"shewjudgment to the gentiles he shall not strive nor cry, neither 
"shall any man hear his voice in the streets a bruised reed shall 
fi he not break, and srnoaking flax shall he not quench till he sends 
** forth judgment unto victory and in his name shall the Gentiles 
* trust/* 



4 AN EXAMINATION F THE PA*SAGE* 

In the first place, this passage hath not the least relation to the 
purpose for which it is quoted. 

Matthew says, that the Pharisees held a council against Jesus 
io destroy him that Jesus withdrew himself that great numbers 
followed him -that he healed themand that he charged them 
they should not make him known. 

But the passage Matthew, has quoted as being fulfilled by these 
?rcu instances, dos not so much as apply to any one of them. It 
has nothing to do with the Pharisees, holding a council to distroy 
Jesus with his withdrawing himself with great numbers follow. 
J ng him with his healing them nor with his charging them not 
to make him known. 

The purpose for which the passage is quoted, and the passage 
itself, are as remote from each other, as nothing from something. 
But the case is, that people have been so long in the habit of read 
ing the books called the Bible and Testament with their eyes shut, 
and their senses locked up, that the most stupid inconsistencies 
have passed on them for truth, and imposition for prophecy. The 
all wise creator hath been dishonoured by being made the author 
of Fable, and the human mind degraded by believing it. 

In this passage, as in that last mentioned, the name of the person 
of whom the passage speaks, is not given, and we are left in the 
dark respecting him. It is this defect in the history, that bigotry 
and imposition have laid hold of, to call it prophecy. 

Had Isaiah lived in the time of Cvrus, the passage would dis- 
criptively apply to him. As king of Persia, his authority was great 
among the Gentiles, and it is of such a character the passage 
speaks, and his friendship to the Jews whom he liberated from 
captivity, and who might !hen bs compared to a bruised reed, was 
extensive. But this discription does no* apply to Je^us Christ, 
who had no authority among the Gentiles ; and as to his own coun- 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT;, $.& 

trymen, figuratively described by the bruised reed, it was they who 
crusified him. Neither can it be said of him that he did not cry, 
and that his voice was not heard in the street. As a preacher it 
was his business to be heard, and we are told that he travelled 
about the country for that purpose. Matthew has given a long 
sermon, which (if his authority is good, but which is much to be 
doubted since he imposes so much,) Jesus preached to a multitude 
upon a mountain, and it would be a quibble to say that a mountain, 
is not a street, since it is a place equally as public. 

The last verse in the passage (the 4th,) as it stands in Isaiah, 
and which Matthew has not quoted, says, " He shall not fail nor 
" be discouraged till he have set judgment in the Earth and the 
" Isles shall wait for his law." This also applies to Cyrus. He 
was not discouraged, he did not fail, he conquered all Babylon, li 
berated the Jews, and established laws. But this cannot be said 
of Jesus Christ, who, in the passage before us, according to Mat 
thew, withdrew himself for fear of the Pharisees, and charged 
the people that followed him not to make it known where he was ; 
and who, according to other parts oi the Testament, was continu 
ally moving from place to place to avoid being apprehended.* 



* In the second part of the Age of Reason, I have shewn that 
the book ascribed to Isaiah is not only miscellaneous as to matter, 
but as to authorship; that there are parts in it which could not be 
written by Isaiah, because they speak of things one hundred and 
fifty years after he was dend. The instance I have given of this, 
in that work, corresponds with the subject I am upon, at least a 
little better than Matlluw's introduction and his quotatum. 

Isaiah lived, the latter part of his life, in the time of Hezekiah, 
and it was about one hundred and fifty years from the death ot 
Hezekiah to the first year of the reign of Cyrus when Cyrus 
published a proclamation, which is given in the first chapter of the 
book of Ezra, for the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. It cannot 
be doubted, at least it ought not to be doubted, that the Jews would 
ieel an affectionate gratitude for this act of benevolent justice, and 
it is natural they w >u!d express that gratitude in the customary 
stile,, bombastical and hyperbolical as it was, which they used on 

F, 



2# AN EXAMINATION OP THE PASSAGES 

Buf it is immaterial to us, at this distance of time, to know 
who the person was: It is sufficient to the purpose I am upon, 
that of detecting fraud and falsehood, to know who it was not, 
and to shew it was not the person called Jesus Christ. 

I pass on to the ninth passage called a prophecy of Jesus 
Christ. 

Matthew, chap. 21, v. 1. " And when they drew nigh unto 
*' Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of 
" Olives, then Jesus sent two of his disciples saying, urUo them, 
''go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall 
" find an Ass tied, and a colt with her, loose them and bring them 



extraordinary occasions, and which was, and still is, in practice 
with all the eastern nations. 

The instance to which I refer, and which is given in the second 
part of the Age of Reason, is the last verse of the 44th chapter and 
the beginning of the 45th in these words ; " That saith of Cyrus 
*' he is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasure : even saying 
" to Jerusalem t/iou shall he built, and to the Temnle, thy foundation 
" shall be laid'. Thus saith the Lord to his anoi f ed, to Cyrus, whose 
" rivfit hand f hare holden to subdue nations before him ; and, 1 will 
" loose the loins of kings, to onen before him the two leaved gates and 
" the gates shall nnt be sftiit" 

This complimentary address is in the present' tense, which shews 
that the things of which it speaks were in existunce at the time of 
writing it; and consequently,, that the author must have been at 
least one hundred and fifty years later than Isaiah, and that the 
book which bears his name is a compilation. The proverbs called 
Solomon's and the Psalms called Dnvid's, are of the same kind. 
The two last verses of the second book of Chronicles, and the three 
first verses of the first chapter of Ezra, are word for word the 
same ; which shew that the compilers of the Bible mixe I the wri 
tings of different authors together, and put them under some com 
mon head. 

As we have here an instance in the 44 and 45 chapters of the 
introduction of the name of Cyrus into a book to which it cannot 
belong, it affords good ground to conclude, that the passage in the 
42d. chapter, in which the character of Cyrus is given with 
out his name, has been introduced in like manner, and that the per 
son there spoken of is Cyrus. 



Itf THE NEW TESTAMENT. 27 

** unto me, and if any man say ought to you, ye shall say, the 
*' Lord hath need of them, and straightway he will send 
" them. 

" AH this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken 
M by the prophets, saying. Tdlyc the daughter ofZion, behold thy 
" king corneth unto thee nieek, and setting on an Ass, and a colt the 
"foal of an Ass." 

Poor Ass! let it be some consolation amidst all thy sufferings, 
that if the heathen world erected a Bear into a ^constellation, th 
Christian world has elevated thee into a prophecy. 

This passage is in Zechariah, chap. 9. v. 9. and is one of th 
whi ens of friend Zechariah to congratulate his countrymen who 
were then returned from captivity in Babylon and himself with 
them, to Jerusalem. It has no concern with any other subject. 
It is strange that apostles, priests, and comentators, never permit, 
or never suppose, the Jews to be speaking of their own affairs. 
Every thing in the Jewish books is perverted and distorted into 
meanings never intended by the writers. Even the poor ass must 
not be a jew-ass but a cliristian-ass. I wonder they did not make 
an apostle of him, or a bishop, or at least make him speak and 
prophesy, He could have lifted up his voice as loud as any of 
them. 

Zechariah, in the first chapter of his book, indulges himself in 
several whims on the joy of getting back to Jerusalem. He says 
at the 8th verse, ' I saw by'night (Zechariah was a sharp sighted 
(( seer) and behold a man setting on a red horse (yes reader, a red 
" horse} and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the 
" bottom, and behind him were red horses, speckled and white." 
He says nothing about green horses, nor blue horses, perhaps be* 
cause it is difficult to distinguisli green from blue by night, but a 
Christian can have no doubt they were there, because "faith i& 
*' the evidence of things not seen" 



28 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

Zechariah then introduces an angel among his horses, but he 
does not tell us what colour the angel was of, whether black or 
white, nor whether he came to buy horses, or only to look at 
them as curiosities, for certainly they were of that kind. Be this 
however as it may, he enters into conversation with this angel on 
the joy ful affair of getting back to Jerusalem, and he saith at the 
*6th verse " Therefore, thus saith the Lord, 1 AM RETURNED 
' to Jerusalem with mercies-, my house shall be built in it saith the 
" Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem." 
An expression signifying the rebuilding the city. 

All this, whimsical and imaginary as it is, sufficiently proves that 
it was the entry of the Jews into Jerusalem from captivity, and 
not the entry of Jesus Christ seven hundred years afterwards, that 
is the subject upon which Zechariah is always speaking. 

As to the expression ofriding upon an ass, which commentators 
represent as a sign of humility in Jesus Christ, the case is, he ne 
ver was so well mounted before. The asses of those countries are 
large and well proportioned, and were anciently the chief of riding; 
animals. Their beasts of burden, and which served also for the 
conveyance of the poor, were camels and dromedaries. We read 
in Judges chap. 10. v. 4. that " Jair, (one of the judges of Israel) 
" had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass-colts, and they had 
?' thirty cities." But commentators destort every thing. 

There is besides very reasonable ground to conclude that this 
story of Jesus riding publicly into Jerusalem, accompanied, as it is 
said at the 8th and 9th verses, by a great multitude, shouting and 
rejoicing and spreading their garments by the way, is altogether 
9 story destitute of truth. 

In the last passage called a prophesy that I examined, Jesus is 
represented as withdrawing, that is, running away, and concealing 
himself for fear of being apprehended, and charging the people 
that were with him not to make him known, No new circum* 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 2p 

stance had arisen in the interim to change his condition for the bet 
ter; yet here he is represented as making his public entry into the 
same city, from which he had fled for safety. The two cases con 
tradict each other so much, that if both are not false, one of them 
at least can scarcely be true. For my own part, I do not believe 
there is one word of historical truth in the -whole book. I look up 
on it at best to be a romance ; the principal personage of which is 
an imaginary or allegorical character founded upon some tale, and 
in which the moral is in many parts good, and the narrative part 
yery badly and blunderingly written, 

I pass on to the 10th passage called a prophesy of Jesus Christ, 

Matthew, chap. 26. v. 5 1 . " And behold one of them which 
** was with Jesus (meaning Peter) stretched out his hand, and drew 
** his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off 
<* his ear. Then said Jesus unto him. Put up again thy sword 
*' into its place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with 
" the sword Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my father 
* and he shall presently give me more than twelveJegions of angels, 
" But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be, 
#' In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes are ye come 
" out as against a thief with swords and with staves for to take 
" me ? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid 
'* no hold on me. But all this was done that the scriptures of the 
" prophets might be fulfilled." 

This loose and general manner of speaking admits neither of de 
tection nor of jaroof. Here is no quotation given, nor the name 
of any bible author mentioned, to which reference can be had. 

There are, however, some high improbabilities against the 
truth of the account. 

First It is not probable that the Jews who were then a con 
quered people and under subjection to the Romans should be per 
mitted to wear swords, 



SO AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSACfES 

2dly If Peter had attacked the servant of the high priest am! 
cut off his ear, he would have been immediately taken up by the 
guard that took up his master and sent to prison with him. 

3dly What sort of disciples and preaching apostles must those 
of Christ have been that wore swords? 

4tlily -This scene is represented to have taken place the same 
"tsfemng of what is called the Lord's supper, which makes, accord 
ing to the ceremony of it, the inconsistency of wearing swords the 
greater. 

I pass on to the eleventh passage called a prophecy of Jesu 
Christ. 

Matthew, chap. 27 . v. 3. " Then Judas which had betrayed 
" him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, 
*' and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests 
*' and elders saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the 
^' innocent blood. And they said what is that to us, see thou to 
*' to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver and departed and 
" went and hanged himself And the chief priests took the silver 
** pieces and said, it is not lawful to put them in -the treasury be- 
' cause it is the price of blood And they took counsel and bought 
"with tli em the potters field to bury strangers in Wherefore 
f that field iscalled the field of blood unto this day. Then wasful- 
" filled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 
" And they took the thirty pie"ces of silver, the price of him that 
" was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value, and 
" gave them for the potters field as the Lord appointed me." 

This is a most bare-faced- piece of imposition. The pas 
sage in Jeremian which speaks of the purchase of a field, has no 
more to do with the case to which Matthew applies it, than it has 
to do with the purchase of lands in America. I will recite tfete 
whole passage. 



iy THE NEW TESTAMENT. 31 

Jeremiah, chap. 32. v. 6. " And Jeremiah said, the word of 

* the Lord came unto me, saying Behold Hanameil the son of 
" Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, buy thee my 
'" field that is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is thine to 
" buy it So Hanameil mine uncle's son came to me in the court 
4 * of the prison, according to the word of the Lord, and said un- 
" to me, buy my field I pray thee that is in Anathoth, which is in 
t the the country of Benjamin, for the right of inheritance is thine, 
" and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew 
*' this was the word of the Lord And I bought the field of Ha- 
" nameil mine uncle's son that was in Anathoth, and weighed him 
vi the money even seventeen shekels of silver and I subscribed 
" the evidence and sealed it ; and took witnesses and weighed 
" him the money in balances. So I took the evidence of the pur- 
< chase, both that which was sealed according to the law and 
" custom, and that which was open and 1 gave the evidence of 
" the purchase unto Baruck, the son of Neriah, the son of Maasei- 
**' ath in the sight of Hanameil mine uncle's son, and in the pre- 
' sence of the witnesses that subscribed, before all the Jews that 
" sat in the court of the prison and I charged Barack before them, 

* saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel : Take 
*' these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is 
*' sealed, and this evidence which is open, and put them in an 
- ' earthen vessel that they may continue many days for thus saitfi 
6i the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,, houses and fields, and vine- 
~ yards, shall be possessed again in tHft land." 

I forbear making any remark on thi? abominable imposition of 
Matthew. The thing glaringly speaks for itself. It is priests and. 
commentators that I rather ought to censure for having preached 
falshood so long, and kept people in darkness with respect to those 
impositions. I am not contending with these men upon points of 
doctrine, for I know that sophistry has always a city of refuge. I 
am speaking of facis ; for wherever the thing called a fact is a falser 



32 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

hood, the faith founded upon it is delusion, and the doctrine fahed 
upon it, not true. Ah, reader, put thy trust in thy creator and 
thou wilt be safe ; but if thou trustest to the books called the scrip 
tures thou trustest to the rotten staff of fable and falsehood. But I 
return to my subject. 

There is among the whims and reveries of Zechariah, mention 
made of thirty pieces of silver given to a Potter. They can hard 
ly have been soStupid as to mistake a potter for a field ; and if they 
had, the passage in Zechariah has no more to do with Jesus, Ju 
das, and the field to bury strangers in, .than that already quoted. 
I will recite the passage. 

Zechariah, chap. 1 1 . v. 7. " And I will feed the flock of slaugh- 
" ter, even you, O poor of the flock, and I took unto me two 
" staves ; the one I called Beauty and the other I called Bunds, and 
tf I fed the flock. Three shepherds also I cut ofF in one month ; 
" and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 
''Then said I, I will not feed you; that which dieth, let it die; 
" and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off, and let the rest 
" eat every one the flesh of another. And I took my staff, even 
" Scanty t and cut it asunder that I might break my covenant which 
" 1 had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day; 
" and so the poor of the flock who waited upon me knew that it 
" was the word of the Lord. 

" And I said unto them, if ye think good give me my price, and 
"if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of 
"silver. And the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the/Krffef; a 
" goodly price that I was prised at of them ; and I took the thirty 
" pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the 
" Lord. 



IN THE NKW TESTAMENT;. $$ 

49 When I cut asunder mine other staff even Bands that I might 
" break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel."* 

There is no making either head or tail of this incoherent gib 
berish. His two staves, one called Beauty, and the other Bands, 
is so much like a fairy tale that I doubt if it had any higher origin. 
There is, however, no part that has the least relation to the case 



* Whiston, in his Essay on the Old Testament says, that the pas 
sage of Zachariah, of which I have spoken was in thecopies of the 
Bible of ihe first century, in the book of Jeremiah, from whence, 
says he, it was taken and inserted without coherence, in that of 
Zachariah well, let it be so, it does not make the case a whit the 
better tor the New-Testament ; but it makes the case a great deal 
the worse for the old. Because it shews, as I have mentioned 
respecting some passages in the book ascribed to Isaiah, that the 
works of different authors have been so mixed and confounded 
together they cannot now be discriminated, except where they 
are historical, chronological, or biographical as is the enterpolation 
in Isaiah. It is the name of Cyrus inserted where it could not be 
inserted, as the man. was not in existance till one hundred and fif 
ty years after the time of Isaiah, that detects the interpolation and 
the blunder with it. 

Whiston was a man of great literary learning, and what is of 
much higher degree, of deep scientific learning. He was one of 
the best and most celebrated mathematicians of his time, for which, 
lie was made professor of mathematics of the university of Cam 
bridge. He wrote so much in defence of the Old Testament, 
and of what he calk prophesies of Jesus Christ, that at last he be 
gan to suspect the truth of the scriptures and wrote against them : 
for it is only those who examine them that see into the imposi 
tion. Those who believe them most are those who know least 
about them. 

Whiston after writing so much in defence of the scriptures was 
at last prosecuted for writing against them. It Was this that gave 
occasion to Swift, in his ludicrous Epigram on Ditton and Whis- 
ton, each of which set up to find out the longitude, to call the one 
good master Ditton, and the other Wicked Will Whiston. But as 
Swift was a great associate with the Free-thinkers of those days, 
such as Bohngbroke, Pope, and others, who did not believe the 
books called tne scriptures, there is no certainty whether he witti 
ly called him wicked for defending the scriptures, or for writing 
against them. The known character of 8wif f ^eeidss for tbs 
former. 



$4< AN EXAMINATION Ot THE PASSAGES 

stated in Matthew ; on the contrary, it is the reverse of it. Here 
the thirty pieces of silver, whatever it -was for, is called -A goodly 
price, it was as much as the thing was worth, and according to the 
language of the day, was approved of by the Lord, and the money 
given to the potter in the house of the Lord. I n the case of Jesus 
and Judas, as stated in Matthew, the thirty pieces of silver were 
the price of blood ; the transaction was condemned by the Lord, 
and the money when refunded was refused admitance into the 
treasury. Every thing in the two cases is the reverse of each 
other.. 

Besides this, a very different and direct contrary account to 
that of Matthew is given ofjthe affair of Ju/'as, in the book called 
the Acts of the Apostles, according to that book the case is, that so 
far from Judas repenting, and returning the money, and the high 
priests buying a field with it to bury strangers in, Judas kept the 
money and bought afield with it for himself; and instead of hang 
ing himself as Matthew says, that he fell headlong and burst asun- 
.der some commentators endeavour to get over one part of the 
contradiction by rediculously supposing that Judas hanged himself 
first and the rope broke. 

Acts chap. I, v. 16. " Men and brethren, this scripture must 
'* needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of 
" David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them 
" that took Jesus. (David says not a word about Judas) v. 17, 
" for he (Judas) was numbered among us and obtained part of our 
" ministry. 

<f y . F 8 . Now this man purchased afield with the reward of iniquity, 
" and falling headlong he burst as sunder in the midst , and his bowels 
ft gushed out." Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New- 
Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions 
and absurdities ? 



IN TE NEW TESTAMENT. $& 

I pass on to the 12th passage called a prophesy of Jesus Christ, 

Matthew chap. 27, v. 35. " And they crucified him and part- 
*' ed his garments casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was 
" spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them and 
" upon my vesture did they cast lots." This expression is in the 22d 
Psalm v. 1 8. The writer of that Psalm, (whoever he was, for the 
Psalms are a collection and not the work of one man,) is spealqng 
of himself and of his own case and not of that of another. He be 
gins this Psalm with the words which the New-Testament writers 
ascribe to Jesus Christ. "My God, my God, why hast thoufwsa- 
" ken we" words which might be uttered by a complaining man 
without an) great impropriety, but very improperly from the mouth 
of a reputed God, 

The picture which the writer draws of his own situation in this 
Psalm, is gloomy enough. He is not prophesying, but complaining- 
of his own hard case. He represents himself as surrounded by , 
enemies and beset by persecutions of every kind ; and by way of 
shewing the inveteracy ot his persecutors, he sajs at the 18 verse, 
Tliey part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture. 
The expression is in the present tense ; and is the same as to say, 
they pursue me even to the clothes upon my back, and dispute how 
they shall divide them ; besides, the word vesture does not always 
mean clothing of any kind, \w\. property, or rather the admitting a 
man to, or investing him with property ; and as it is used in tin's 
Psalm distinct from the word garment, it appears to be used m this 
sense. But Jesus had no property; for they make him to say of 
himself) "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, 
" but the son of man hath not where to luy his head." 

But be this as it may, if we permit ourselves to suppose the Al 
mighty would condescend to tell, by what is called the spirit of 
prophesy, what would come to pass in some future age of the 



Sfr AN EXAMINATION F THE PASSAGE* 

worlclit is an injury to our own faculties, and to our ideas oi"his 
greatness, to imagine it would be about an old coat, or an old pair 
of breeches, or about any thing which the common accidents of 
life, or the quarrels that attend it, exhibit every day. 

That which is within the power of man to do, or in his will not 
to do, is not a subject for prophesy, even if there were such a thing j 
because it cannot carry with it any evidence of divine power, or 
dhv ne interposition. The ways of God are not the ways of men. 
That which an almighty power performs, or wills, is not withm 
the circle of human power to do, or to controul. But any execu 
tioner and his assistants might quarrel about dividing the garments 
of a sufferer, or divide them without quarreling, and by that 
means fulfil the thing called a prophesy, or set it aside. 

In the passages before examined, I have exposed the falshood of 
them. In this I exhibit its degrading meanness, as an insult to the 
creator and an injury to human reason. 

lere end the passages called prophesies by Matthew. 

Matthew concludes his book by saying, that when Christ ex- 
pired on the cross, the rocks rent, the graves opened, and the bo 
dies of many of the saints arose; and Mark says there was dark* 
uess over the land from the fixth hour until the ninth. They pro 
duce no prophesy for this. But had these things been facts, they 
would have been a proper subject for prophesy, because none but 
an almighty power could have inspired a fore knowledge of them, 
and afterwards fulfilled them. Since, then, there is no such pro 
phesy, but a pretended prophesy of an old coat, the proper deduc 
tion is, there were no such things, and that the book of Matthew 
is fable and falsehood. 

I pass on to the Book, called (he Gospel according to St, Mark, 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 3 K ? 

The Book of Mark. 

THERE are but few passages in Mark called prophesies, and 
but few in Luke and John. Such as there are I shall examine, 
and also such other passages as interfere with those cited by Mat 
thew. 

Mark begins his book by a passage which he puts in the shape 
of a prophesy. Mark, chap. I. v. I. " The beginning of the 
** Gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God. As it is written in the 
" prophets, Behold 1 send my messenger before thy face, which shall 
u prepare the Kay before thee." Malachi, chap. 3. v. 1 . The pas 
sage in the original is in the first person. Mark makes this 
passage to be a prophesy of John the Baptist, said, by the 
Church, to be the fore-runner of Jesus Christ. But if we at 
tend to the verses that follow this expression, as it stands in Ma 
lachi, and to the first and fifth verses of the next chapter, we shall 
see that this application of it is erroneous and false. 

Malachi having said at the first verse " Behold I will send my 
" messenger and he shall prepare the way before me," says at the 
second verse, " But who may abide the day of fits coming ? and who 
" shall stand when he appeareih ? for he is like a refiner's fire, and 
*' like fuller's s<?ap. v 

This description can have no reference to the birth of Jesus 
Christ, and consequently none to John the Baptist. It is a scene 
of fear and terror that is here described, and the birth of Christ is 
always spoken of as a time of joy and glad tidings. 

Malachi, continuing to speak on the same subject ; explains in 
the next chapter what the scene is of which he speaks in the 
verses above quoted, and who the person is whom he calls the 
messenger. 

Behold, says he, chap. 4-. v. 1. "The day cometh that shall 
91 burn like an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wick- 



33 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

** edly shall be stubble; and the day cometh that shall burn them 
ft up saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root 
u nor branch." 

Verse 5. " Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before 
" the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." 

By what right, or by what imposition or ignorance, Mark has 
made Elijah into John the baptist, and Malachi's description of the 
day of judgement into the birth day of Christ, 1 leave to the bishop 
to settle. 

Mark, in the second and third verses of his first chapter, con 
founds two passages together taken from different booksx>f the Old 
Testament. The second verse, " Btl<old I send my messenger 
'* before thy face, 'which shall prepare the way before thee," is taken, 
as I have before said, from Malachi. The third verse which says 
" The voice of one crying in tht wilderness prepare ye the way of the 
"Lord, make his paths straight," is not in Malachi, but in Isaiah, 
chap. 40, v. 3. Whiston says, that both these verses were origin 
ally in Isaiah. If so, it is another instance of the disordered state 
of the Bible, and corroborates what I have said with respect to the 
name and description of Cyrus being in the book of Isaiah, to 
which it jcannot chronologically belong. 

The words in Isaiah, chap. 40. v. 3. " The voice of him that 
< l cryeth in the wilderness, prepare ye the ivay of the Lord, make his 
*' path straight," are in the present tense, and, consequently, not 
predictive. It is one of those rhetorical figures which the Old Tes 
tament authors frequently used. That it is merely rhetorical and 
metaphorical may be seen at the 6th verse. " And the voice said 
"cry, and he said what shall I cry ? All flesh is grass." This is 
ericlently nothing but a figure ; for flesh is not grass otherwise 
than as a figure or metaphor, where one thing is put for another. 
Besides which, the whole passage is too general and declamatory 
to be applied, exclusively, to any particular person or purpose. 

J pass on to the eleventh chapter. 



Ttf THE NEW TESTAMENT. 9$ 

In this chapter Mark speaks of Christ riding into Jerusalem 
upon a colt, but he does not make it the accomplishment of a pro 
phesy as Matthew has done, for he says nothing about a prophesy. 
Instead of which he goes on the other tack, and in order to add 
new honours to the ass, he makes it to be a miracle; for he says, 
v. 2. it was " a colt whereon never man sat" signifying thereby, 
that as the ass had not been broken, he consequently was inspired 
into good manners, for we do not hear that he kicked Jesus Christ 
ff. There is not a word about his kicking in all the four Evangelists. 

I pass on from these feats of horsemanship, performed upon a 
jack-ass, to the 15th chapter. 

At the 2 Uh v. of this chapter, Mark speaks of parting Christ's 
garments and casting lots upon them, but he applies no prophesy to 
it, as Matthew does. He rather speaks of it as a thing then in 
practice with executioners as it is at this day. 

At the 28th Terse of the same chapter, Mark speaks of Christ 
being crucified between two thieves, that, says he, " the scriptures 
** might be fulfilled which saith, and he was numbered with the trans- 
" gressors" The same thing might be said of the thieves. 

Thisexpiession is in Isaiah, chap. 53, v. 12 Grotius applies 
it to Jeremiah. But the case has happened so often in the world 
where innocent men have been numbered with transgressors, and 
is still continually happening, that it is absurdity to call it a pro 
phesy of any particular person. All those whom the church calls 
martyrs were numbered with transgressors. All the honest pa 
triots who fell upon the scaffold in France, in the time of Robes 
pierre, were numbered with transgressors; and if himself had not 
fallen, the same case, according to a note in his own hand writing, 
had befallen me, yet I suppose the bishop will not allow that 
Isaiah was prophesying of Thomas Paine. 

These are all the passages in mark which have any reference I* 
prophesies. 



4$ AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

Mark concludes his book by making Jesus to say to his disciple's 
chap. 16, v. 15. " Go ye into all the World and preach the Gos- 
41 pel to every creature he that bclieveth and is Baptised shall be 
" saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned, (fine popish 
" stuff this) and these signs shall follow them that believe ; in my 
"name they shall cast out devils ; they shall speak with new 
"tongues they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any 
deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the 
" sick and they shall recover.'* 

Now, the bishop, in order to know if he has all this saving and 
wonder-working faith, should try those things upon himself. He 
should take a good dose of arsenick, and, if he please, I will send 
him a rattle-snake from America ; as for myself, as I believe in God 
and not at all in Jesus Christ, nor in the books called the scrip- 
fures, the experiment does not concern me. 

I pass on to the book of Luke. 

There are no passages in Luke called prophesies excepting those 
which relate to the passages I have already examined. 

Luke speaks of Mary being espoused to Joseph, but he makes 
no references to the passage in Isaiah, as Matthew does. He 
speaks also of Jesus riding into Jerusalem upon a colt, but he says 
nothing about a prophecy. He speak"* of John the baptist, and 
refers to the passage in Isaiah ot which I have already spoken. 

At the 13 chap. v. 31, he says, " The same day there came cer- 
**' tain cfthe Pharisees, saying unto him (Jesus) get thee out and depart 
41 hence t f or Herod zvill kill thce and he said unto them, go ye, and 
" tell that Fox, behold I cast out devil* and I do cures to-day andto- 
*' morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." 

Matthew makes Herod to die whilst Christ was a child in 
Egypt, and makes Joseph to return with the child on the news of 
Herod's death who had sought to kill him; Luke makes Herod to 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 41 

be living and to seek the life of Jesas after Jesus was thirty years 
of age ; for he says, chap. 3, v. 23, " And Je<us began to be a- 
'* bout thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Jo- 
" seph." 

The obscurity in which the historical part of the New-Testa 
ment is involved with respect to Herod, may afford to priests and 
commentators a plea, which to some may appear plausible, but to 
none satisfactory, that the Herod of which Matthew speaks, and 
the Herod of which Luke speaks, were different persons. Mat 
thew calls Herod a king ; and Luke, chap. 3, v. 1, calls Herod 
Tetrach, (that is, Governor) of Galilee. But there could be no 
such person as a king Herod, because the Jews and their country 
were then under the dominion of the Roman Emperors who go 
verned then by Tetrachs, or Governors. 

Luke, chap. 2, makes Jesus to be born when Cyreneuswas go 
vernor of Syria, to which government Judea was annexed ; and ac 
cording to this, Jesus was not born in the time of Herod. Luke 
says nothing about Herod seeking the life of Jesus when he was 
born ; nor of his destroying the children under two years old ; nor 
of Joseph fleeing with Jesus into Egypt ; nor of his returning from 
thence. On the contrary the book of Luke speaks as if the person 
it calls Christ had never been out of Judea, and that Herod sought 
his life after he commenced preaching as is before stated. I have 
already shewn thntLuke,in the book called the Acts of theApostles, 
(which commentators ascribe to Luke) contradicts the account in 
Matthew, with respect to Judas and the thirty pieces of silver. 
Matthew says that Judas returned the money, and that the high 
priests bought with it afield to bury strangers in ; Luke says, that 
Judas kept the money and bought a field with it for himself. 

As it is impossible the wisdom of God should err, so it is impos- 
sibje those books could have been written by divine, inspiration . 



42 AN EXA.MINAON OF THE PASSAGES 

Our belief in God and his unerring wisdom forbids us (o believe it* 
AS for myself, I feel religiously happy in the total disbelief of it. 

There are no other passages called prophecies in Luke than 
those I have spoken of. I pass on to the book of John. 



The Book of John. 

JOHN, like Mark and Luke, is not much of a prophecy- 
monger. He speaks of the ass, and the casting lots for Jesus's 
clothes, and some other trifles, of which I have already spoken. 

John makes Jesus to say, chap. 5, v. 46, t For had ye believed 
" Moses ye would hate believed me, for he wrote of me." The book 
of the Acts, in speaking of Jesus, says, chap. 3, v. 22, " For Mo- 
" ses truly said ] unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God 
" raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me, him shall ye 
<r hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." 

This passage is in Deuteronomy, chap. 1 8, v. 15. They apply 
it as a prophecy of Jesus. What imposition ! The person spoken 
of in Deuteronomy, and also in numbers where the same person 
is also spoken of, h Joshua, the minister of Moses, and his imme 
diate successor, and just such an other Robespierrean character as 
Moses is represented to have been. The case, as related in those 
books, is as follows: 

Moses was grown old and near to his end, and in order to pre 
vent confusion after his death, for the Israeliteshad no settled sys 
tem of government ; it was thought best to nominate a successor 
to Moses wliiht he was yet living. This was done, as we are told, 
in the following manner : 

Numbers, chap. 27, v. 12. " And the Lord said unto Moses^ 
'' get thee up into this mount Abanm, and s^e the land which I 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 4 

': have given unto the children of Israel and when thou hast seen 
94 it, thou also shall be gathered unto thy people as Aaron thy bro- 
" ther is gathered, v. 15, And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying 
Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man 
" over the congregation. Which may go outjbefore them, and 
" which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, 
" and which may bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord 
" be not as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said unto 
" Moses, take thee Joshua, the son of Nun, a man in whom is the 
** spirit, and lay thine hand upon him and sethinv before Eleazer 
" the priest, and before all the congregation, End give him a charge 
*' in their sight and thou shall put some of thine honor upon him, 
" that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedi- 
" ent. v. 22, and Moses did as the Lord commanded, and he 
" took Joshua, and set him before Eleazer the priest, and before 
'' all the congregation ; and he laid hands upon him, and gave him 
" charge as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses." 

I have nothing to do, in this place, with the truth, or the con 
juration, here practised, of raising up a successor to Moses like 
unto himself. The passage sufficiently proves it is Joshua, and 
that it is an imposition in John, to make the case into a prophesy 
of Jesus. But the prophesy-mongers were so inspired with false 
hood that they never speak truth.* 

* Newton, Bishop of Bristol in England, published a work in 
three volumes entitled *' Dissertations- on t/te Prophesies.*' The 
work is tediously written and tiresome to read. He strains hard 
to make every passage into a prophesy that suits his purpose.- 
Among others, he makes this expression of Moses, " the Lord 
shall raise thee up a prophet like unto me," into a prophesy of 
Christ, who was not born, according to the bible chronologies till 
fifteen hundred and fifty- two years after the time of Moses, whereas 
it was an immediate successor to Moses who was then near his 
end, that is spoken of in *he passage above quoted. 

This bishop, the better to impose this passage on the world as a 
prophesy of Christ, has entirely omitted the account in the book 
of Numbers which I have given at length word for word, and 



44 AN EXAMINATION OF THt 

I pass on to the last passage in these fables of the Evangelists, 
called a prophesy of Jesus Christ. 

John having spoken of Jesus expiring on the cross between two 
thieves, says, chap. 19, v. 32. et Then came the soldiers and brake 
" the legs of the first (meaning one of the thieves) and of the other 
' which was crucified with him. But when they came lo Jesus 
* ( and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs v, 
" 36, for these things were done that the scripture should be ful- 
" filled. A bone of him shall not be broken." 



which shews beyond the possibility of a doubt that the person 
spoken of by Moses is Joshua and no other person. 

Newton is but a superficial writer. He takes up things upon 
hear-say and inserts them without either examination or reflection, 
and the more extraordinary and incredible they are, the better he 
likes them. 

In speaking of the walls of Babylon, (volume the first, page 
263) he makes a quotation from a traveller of the name of Taver- 
nur, whom he calls (by way of giving credit to what he says) a 
celebrated traveller, that those walls were made of bornt brick, ten 
feet square and three feet thick, If Newton had only thought of 
calculating the weight of such a brick, he would have seen the 
impossibility of their being used or even made. A brick (en feet 
square and three feet thick contains 300 cubic feet, and allowing a 
cubic foot ofbirck to be only one hundred pounds, each of the 
bishop's bricks would weigh 30,000 pounds ; and it would take 
about thirty cart loads of clay (one horse carts) to make one 
bnck. 

But his account of the stones used in the building of Solomon's 
temple (volume 2d. page 211) far exceeds his bricks of ten foot 
square in the walls of Babylon ; these are but brick-bats com 
pared to them. 

The stones (says he) employed in the foundation, were in magni 
tude forty cubits, that is, above sixty feet, a cubit, says he, being 
somewhat more than one foot and a half, (a cubit is one foot nine 
inches) and the superstructure (says this bishop) was worthy of 
such foundations. There were some stones, says he, of the wjiitest 
marble forty-live cubits long, five cubits high, and six cubits broad. 
These are the dimensions this bishop has given, which in measure 
of twelve inches toafoot, is 78 feeo9 inches long, ten feet 6 inches 
broad and eight feet three inches thick, and contains 7,234 cubic 
feet. I now go to demonstrate the imposition of this bishop. 



IN THE KEW TESTAMENT. 45 

The passage here referred to is in Exodus, and lias no more to 
do with Jesus than with the ass he rode upon to Jerusalem ; nor 
yet so much, if a roasted jack-ass, like a roasted he-goat might be 
eaten at a Jewish passover. It might be some consolation to an 
ass to know, that though his bones might be picked, they would 
not be broken, I go to state the case. 

The book of Exodus in instituting the Jewish passover, rn 
which they were to eat an he-lamb, or a he-goat, says chap. 12, v. 
5. "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year ; 
" ye shall take it from the sheep or from the goats " 

The book, after stating some ceremonies to be used in killing 
and dressing it (for it was to be roasted, not boiled) says, v. 43. 

A cubic foot of water weighs sixty-two pounds and an half. 
The specific gravity of marble to water is as 2 1-2 is to one. The 
weight therefore of a cubit toot of marble is 1.56 pounds, which., 
multiplied by 7,234-, the number of cubic feet in one of those 
stones makes the weight of it to be 1,128,504- pounds, which is 5O.> 
tons' Allowing then a horse to draw about half a ton, it will 
require a thousand horses to draw one such stone on the ground, 
how then were they to be lifted into a building by human hiincU* 
The bishop may talk of taith removing mountains, but all the 
faith of all the bishops that ever lived could not remove one of 
those stones and their bodily strength given in. 

This bishop also tells of great guns used by the Turks af ine 
taking of Constantinople, one of which, he says, was .drawn by- 
seventy yoke of oxen and by two thousand men. Volumes, page 
117. 

The weight of a cannon that carries a ball of 48 pounds, which 
is the largest cannon that are cast, weighs 8,000 pounds, about 
three tons and a half, and may be drawn by three yoke ot oxer*. 
Any body may now calculate what the weight of the bishop'-* 
great gnu must be that required seventy yoke of oxen to draw it. 
This bishop beats Gulliver. 

When men give ip the use of the divine gift of reason in wrif- 
ing on any subject, be it religion or any thing else ; there are no 
bounds to their extrav' u ganc*kno limit to their absurdities. 

The three volumes which ihis bishop has written on what he 
calls the prophesies contain above onethousand two hundred pages, 
and he says in volume 3, page 117, " I hare studied brevity.'* 
This is as marvellous as the bishop's great gun. 



46 AN EXAMINATION OF THE FASSSAGE 

'"' And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordt- 

* nance of the passover. There shall no stranger eat thereof. 
**But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou 
"hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. A foreigner 
" shall not eat thereof. In one house shall it be eaten ; thou shalt 
" not carry forth ought of the flesh thereof abroad out of the 
house ; Neither shall thou break a bone thereof." 

We here see that the case as it stands in Exodus, is a ceremony 
and not a prophesy ; and totally unconnected with Jesus's bones 
or any part of him. 

John having thus filled up the measure of apostolic fable, con 
cludes his book^with something that beats all fable ; for he says at 
the last verse, "and there are also many other things which Jesus 
** did, the which if they should be written every one, / suppose 

* * that even the world itself could not contain the books that should 
be written I" 

This is what in vulgar life is called a Thumper , that is, not only 
lie, but a lie beyond the line of possibility ; besides which, it 
is an absurdity, for if they should be written in the world, the 
trorld could contain them. Here ends the examination of the 
passages called prophesies. 

I have now, reader, gone through, and examined, all the pas 
sages which the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John 
Cfaote from the Old Testament, and call them prophecies of Jesus 
Christ. When I first set down to this examination, I expected to 
find cause for some censure, but little did I expect to find them so 
utterly destitute or" trulh, and of all pretensions to it, as I have. 
shewn them to be. 



The practice which the vvrite&$f those books employ is not 
moie false than it is absurd. They state some trifling case of the 
person they call Jesus Christ, and then cut oui a sentence from 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 47 

.<6me passage of the Old Testament and call it a prophecy of that 
case. But when the words thus cut out are restored to the place 
they are taken from, and read with the words before and after them, 
they give the lie to the New Testament. A short instance or 
two of this will suffice for the whole. 

They make Joseph to dream of an angel who informs him that 
Herod is dead, and tells him to come with the child out of Egypt 
They then cut out a sentence from the book of Hosea, Out of 
Egypt have I called my Son, and apply it as a prophesy in (hat 
case. 

The word?, " And called my Son out of Egypt," are in the bible. 
But what of that ? They are oniy part of a passage and not a 
whole passage, and stand immediately connected with other words 
which shew they refer to the children of Israel coming out of 
Egypt iivthe time of Fharoah, and to the idolatry they committed 
alter wards. 

Again, they tell us that when the soldiers came to break the legs 
f the crucified persons, they found Jesus was already dead, and 
therefore did not break his. They then, with some alteration ol 
the original, cut out a sentence from Exodus, a bone of him, sha& 
not be broken, and apply it as a prophesy of that case. 

The words, " Neither shall ye break a bone thereof" (for they 
have altered the text) are in the bible. But what of that ? They 
are, as in the former case, only part of a passage, and not a whole 
passage, and when read with the words they are immediately 
joined to, shew it is the bones of a he-lamb, or a. he-goat of which 
the passage speaks. 

These repeated forgeries and falsifications create a well-founded 
suspicion, that all the cases spoken of concerning the person 
called Jesus Christ are made cases, on purpose to lug in, and that 
very clumsily, some broken sentences from the old testament, and 



4S AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

apply them as prophesies of those cases ; and that so far from his 
being the Son of God, he did not exist even as a man that he is 
merely an imaginary or allegorical character, as Apollo, Hercules, 
fupiter, and all the Deities of Antiquity were. There is no his- 
story written at the time Jesus Christ is said to have lived, that 
speaks of the existence of such a person even as a man. 

Did we find in any other book, pretending to give a system of 
religion, the falshoods, falsifications, contradictions and absurdi 
ties, which are to be met with in almost every page of the Old and 
New Testament, all the priests of the present day, who supposed 
themselves capable, would triumphantly shew their skill in criti 
cism, and cry it down as a most glaring imposition. But since the 
books in question belong to their own trade and profession, they, 
or at least many of them, seek to stifle every enquiry into them, 
and abuse those who have the honesty and the courage to do it. 

When a book, as is the case with the Old and New Testament, 
is ushered into the world under the title of being the WORD OF 
Go D, it ought to be examined with the utmost strictness, in order 
to know if it has a well founded claim to that title, or not, and 
whether we are, or are not, imposed upon ; for as no poison is se 
dangerous as that which poisons the physic, so no falsnood is s& 
fatal as that which is made an article of faith. 

Tin's examination becomes the more necessary, because when 
the New Testament was written, I might say invented, the art 
of printing was not known, and there were no other copies of 
the Old Testament than written copies. A written copy of that 
book would cost about as much as six hundred common printed 
bibles now cost. Consequently the book was in the hands but of 
very few parsons, and these chiefly of the church. This gave an 
opportunity to the writers of the New Testament to make quota^ 
(ions from the Old Testament as they pleased, and call them pro 
phesies with very little danger of being detected. Besides which, 
<he terrors and inquisitorial fury of the church, like what they tell 



IN THE NKW TESTAMENT. 49 

w of the flaming sword that turned everyway, stood century over 
the New-Testament ; and time, which brings every thing else to 
light, has served to thicken the darkness that guards it from detec 
tion. 

Were the New-Testament now to appear for the first time, 
every priest of the present day, would examine it line by line, and 
compare the detached sentences it calls prophecies, with the 
whole passages in the Old Testament, from whence they are ta- 
taken. Why then do they not make the same examination, at 
this time as they would make, had the New-Testament never ap 
peared before ? If it be proper and right to make it in one case, it 
is equally proper and right to do it in the other case. Length of 
time can make no difference in the right to do it at any time. But 
instead of doing this, they go on as their predecessors went on be* 
fore them, to tell the people there are prophecies of Jesus Christ, 
when the truth is, there are none. 

They tell us that Jesus rose from the dead, and ascended into, 
heaven. It is very easy to say so, a great lie is as easily told as a 
little one. But if he had done so, those would have been the only 
circumstances respecting him, that would have differed from the 
ommon lot of man : and consequently, the only case that would 
apply exclusively to him, as prophecy, would be some passage irj, 
the Old-Testament that foretold such things of him. But there is 
ot a passage in the Old-Testament that speaks of a person who 
after being Crucified, dead, and buried, should rise from the dead 
and ascend into heaven. Our prophecy-mongers supply the si 
lence, the Old-Testament guards upon such things, by telling us o 
passages they call prophecies, and that falsely so, about Joseph's 
dreams, old cloaths, broken bones, and suchlike trifling stuff. 

In writing upon this, as upon every other subject, I speak a lan 
guage full and intelligible. I deal not in hints and intimations. 
I have several reasons for this : First, tha; I may be cloarly 



^0 AN EXAMINAON Ot THE 

stood. Secondly, that it may be seen I am in earnet, and thirdly^ 
because it is an affront to truth to treat falsehood with complai 
sance. ^~^ 

I will close this treatise with a subject I have already touched 
upon, in the first part of the Age of Reason. 

The world has been amused with the term, revealed religion, 
and the generality of priests apply this term to the books called 
the Old and New Testament. The Mahometans apply the same 
term to the Koran. There is no man that believes in revealed 
religion stronger than I do ; but it is not the reveries of the Old 
and New Testament, nor of the Koran, that I dignify with that 
sacred title. That which is revelation to me exists in something 
which no human mind can invent ; no human hand can counter 
feit or alter. 
g 

The word of God is the Creation we behold ; and this word of 

God revealeth to man all that is necessary for man to know of his 
tfeator. 

Do we want to con template his power? we see it in the im 
mensity of his creation. 

Do we want to contemplate his wisdom ? we see it in the 
unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible whole is 4 
governed. 

Do we want to contemplate his munificence ? We see it in the 
abundance with which he fills the earth. 

Do we want to contemplate his mercy ? we see it in his not 
withholding that abundance, even from the unthankful. 

Do we want to contemplate his will so far as it respects man ? 
The goodness he shews to all, is a lesson for our conduct to each 
other. 



IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 5U 

fci fine, do we want to .know what God is ? Search, not the 
Ibook called the scripture, which any human hand might make, or 
any impostor invent ; but the SCRIPTURE CALLED the CR.E- 
ATION. 

When, in the first part of the Age of Reason, I called the cre 
ation the true revelation of God to man, I did not know that any 
other person had expressed the same idea. But I lately met with 
the writings of Doctor Conyers Middleton, published the begin 
ning of last century, in which he expresses himself in the same 
manner, with respect to the creation, as I have done in the Age 
,f Reason. , 

He was principal librarian of the university of Cambridge, in 
England, which furnished him with extensive opportunities of 
reading, and necessarily required he should be well acquainted 
with the dead as wtll as the living languages. He was a man of 
a strong original mind ; had the courage to think for himself, and 
the honesty to speak his thoughts, 

He made a journey to Rome, from whence he wrote letters 1o 
shew that the forms and ceremonies of the Romish Christian 
-Church, were taken from the degenerate state of the heathen 
mythology, as it stood in the latter times of the Greeks and Ro 
mans. He attacked, without ceremony, the miracles which the 
church prentended to perform ; and in one of his treatises he calls 
the creation a revelation. The priests of England, of that day, 
in order to defend their citadel, by first defending its outworks, 
attacked him for attacking the Romish ceremonies ; and one of 

them censures him for calling the creation a revelation. He thus 
replies to him : 

" One of them, says he, appears to be scandalized by the title 
" of revelation, which I have given to that discovery which God 
<* made of himself, in the visible works of his creation. Yet it w 
'? no other than what the wise, in all ages, have given to it; who 



52 AT9 EXAMINATION OF THE PASSSAGfe x 

" consider it as the most authentic and indisputable revelation 
mt which God has ever given of himself, from the beginning of the 
" world to this day. It was this by which the first notice of him 
** was revealed to the inhabitants of the earth, and by which alone 
" it has been kept up ever since, among the several nations of it. 
" From this the reason of man was enabled to trace out his nature 
" and attributes, and by a gradual deduction of consequences, to 
fi learn his own nature also, with all the duties belonging to it, 
" which relate either to God, or to his fellow creatures. This 
"constitution of things was ordained by God, as an universal 
" law or rule of conduct to man ; the source of all his knowledge ; 
" the test of all truth, by which all subsequent revelations, which 
" are supposed to have been given by God in any other manner, 
" must be tried and cannot be received as divine, any further than 
'' as they are found to tally and coincide with this original standard. 

" It was this divine law, which I referred to in the passage 
" abotfe recited, (meaning the passage on which they had attacked 
" him) being desirous to excite the readers attention to it, as it 
" would enable him to judge more freely of the argument I was 
" handling. For by contemplating this law, he would discover 
" the genuine way, which God himself has marked out to us, for 
" the acquisition of true knowledge ; not from the authority or 
" reports of our fellow creatures, but from the information of the 
" facts, and material objects, which in his providential distribu- 
' tion of worldly things, he hath presented to the perpetual ob- 
*' servation of our senses. Fdr as it was from these that his exist- 
f< ance and nature, the most important articles of all knowledge, 
" were first discovered to man, so that grand discovery furnished 
" new light towards tracing out the rest, and made all the infer 
< f rior subjects of human knowledge, more easily discoverable t 
f us by the same method. 

" I had another view likewise in the same passages, and appli* 
* cable to the same end, of giving the reader a more enlarged 



KJ THE NEW TKSTAMEN^. -^ 

*' notion of the question in dispute, who, by turning his thoughts 
'"'to reflect on the works of the Creator, as they are manifested 
"to us in this fabric of the world, could not fail to observe, that 
** they are all of them great, noble, and suitable to the majesty of 
" his nature ; carrying with them the proofs of their origin, and 
" shewing themselves to be the productions of an all-wise and 
" allmighty Being : and by accustoming his mind to these sublime 
*' reflections, he will be prepared to determine whether those 
" miraculous interpositions 50 confidently affirmed to us by the 
" primitive fathers, can reasonably be thought to make a part in 
'* the grand scheme of the Divine administration, or whether it 
" be agreeable, that God, who created all things by his will, 
" and can give what turn to them he pleases by the same will, 
*' should, for the particular purposes of his government and the 
' services of the church, descend to the low expedient of visions 
" and revelations, granted sometimes to boys for the instruction of 
'* the elders, and sometimes to women to settle the fashion and 
" length of their veils, and sometimes to Pastors of the Church, 
" to enjoin them to ordain one man a lecturer, another a priest ; 
" or that he should scatter a profusion of miracles around the 
" stake of a martyr, yet all of them vain and insignificant, and 
"without any sensible effect either of preserving the life, or 
*' easing the sufferings of the saint, or even of mortifying his 
*' persecutors, who were always left to enjoy the full triumph 
* of their cruelty, and the poor martyr to expire in a 

* miserable death. When these things, I say, are brought to 
tf the original test, and compared with the genuine and indisput 
able works of the Creator; how minute, hovv trifling, how 

* contemptible must they be ? And how incredible must it be 

* thought, that, for the instruction of his Church, God should 
"employ ministers so precarious, unsatisfactory and inade- 
*' quate, as the extacies of women and boys, and the visions of 
" interested priests ; which were derided at the very time by 
ff men of sense, to whom they were proposed. 



54 AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGE'S 

" That this universal law, (continues Middleton. meaning, 
** the Jaw revealed in the works of the creation) was actually 
" revealed to the heathen world, long before the gospel was 
*' known, we learn from all the principle sages of antiquity who 
"made it the capital subject of their studies and writings. 

" Cicero, (says Middleton) has given us a short abstract of it, 
"in a fragment still remaining, from one of his books on govern- 
"ment, which, (says Middleton) I shall here transcribe in his 
" own words, as they will illustrate my sense also, in the passage? 
" that appear so dark and dangerous .to my antagonists. 

"The true law (it is -Cicero who speaks) is right reason, con 
formable to the nature of things, constant, eternal, diffused 
through all, which calls us to duty by commanding; deters as 
from sip by forbid ing; which never loses its influence with the 
good ; nor ever preserves it with the wicked. This law cannot 
be over-ruled bv any other, nor abrogated in whole, or in part : 
nor can we be absolved from it, either by the senate or by the 
people; nor are we to seek any other comment, or interpreter of 
it hut itself: nor can there be one law at Rome, and another at 
Athens; one now and another hereafter; but the same eternal 
immutable law comprehends all nations,, at all times, under oae 
common master and governor of all' GOD. He is the ijiventoj, 
propounder, enactor of this law ; and whoever will not obey it, 
must first renounce himself, and throw off the nature of man ; fay 
doing which, he will suffer the greatest punishments though he 
should escape all the other torments which are commonly believed 
.to be prepared for the wicked." Here ends the quotation from 
Cicero. 

"Our Doctors, (continues Middleton) perhaps will look on all 
* this as RANK DEISM ; but let them call it what they will, I 
* shall ever avow and defend it as the fundamental, essential, 
**' and vital part of all true religion/* Here ends the quotation 
from Middle torn 






T THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



I have here given the reader two sublime extracts from men 
toho lived in ages of time, far remote from each other, but wher 
thought alike. Cicero lived before the time in which they tell us 
Christ was born. Middleton may be called a man of our own time 
as he lived within the same century with ourselves. 

In Cicero we see that vast superiority, of mind, that sublimity of 
right reasoning, and justness of ideas, which man acquires, not by 
studying bibles and testaments, and the theology of schools built 
thereon,but by studying the creator in the immensity and unchange 
able order of his creation, and the immutability of his law* 
" There cannot" says Cicero " be one law now, and another here- 
<( after ; but the same eternal immutable law comprehends all nations* 
" at all times, under one common master and governor of all, GOD." 
But according to the doctrine of schools which priests have set up^ 
we see one law called the Old Testament, given in one age of the 
world, and another law called the New Testament, given in ano 
ther age of the world. As all this is contradictory to the eternal 
immutable nature, and the unerring and unchangeable wisdom of 
God, we must be compelled to hold this doctrine to be false,, 
and the old and the new law, called the Old and the New Testa 
ment, to be impositions, fables, and forgeries,. 

In Middleton, we see the manly eloquence of an enlarged mind? 
.and the genuine sentiments of a true believer in his Creator. In 
stead of reposing his faith on books, by whatever name they may 
be called, whether Old Testaments or New, he fixes the creation 
as the great original standard by which every other thing called 
the word, or work of God, is to be tried. In this we have an in 
disputable scale whereby to measure every word or work imputed 
to him. If the thing so imputed carries not in itself the evidence 
of the same Almightiness of power, of the same unerring truth and 
wisdom, and the same unchangeable order in all its parts, as are 
visibly demonstrated to our senses, and comprehensible by our rea- 
sfcn, in the magnificent fabric of&e universe, fliat word or 



3& AN EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

work is not of God. Let then the two books called the old and 
new Testament be tried by this rule, and the result will be, that 
the authors of them, whoever they were, Will be convicted of for 
gery. 

The invariable principles, and unchangeable order, which re 
gulate the movements of all the parts that compose the universe, 
demonstrate both to our senses and our reason that its creator is a 
God of unerring truth. But the Old Testament, beside the num. 
berless absurd and bagatelle stories it tells of God, represents him 
as a God of deceit, a God not to be confided in. Ezekiel makes 
God to say, chap. 1 4-, v. 9, " and if the prophet be deceived when 
" he hath spoken a thing, /, the Lord have deceived that prophet." 
And at the 20th chap. v. 25, he makes God, in speaking of the 
Children of Israel to say, " Wherefore I gave them statutes that 
" were not good, and judgements by which they could not live" 
This, so far from being the word of God, is horrid blasphemy a- 
gainsthim. Reader, put thy confidence in thy God, and put no 
trust in the bible. 

The same old Testament after telling us that God created the 
heavens and the earth in six days, makes the same almighty pow 
er and eternal wisdom employ itself in giving directions how a 
priest's garments should be cut, and what sort of stuff they should 
be made ofj and what their offerings should be, Gold and Silver 
and Brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linnen, and 
goats hair and rams skins died red, and badger skins, Sec. &c. 
chap. 25, v. 3. and in one of the pretended prophecies I have 
just examined God is made to give directions how they should kill, 
cook, and eat a he-lamb or a he-goat. And Ezekiel, Chap. 4, t* 
#11 up the measure of abominable absurdity, makes God to order 
him to take " wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiks, and millet, 
" and Jltches and make a loaj or a cake thereof, and bake it with hit- 
"man dung and eat it j" but as E^kiel complained that this mess 



.IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. 7 

was too strong for his stomach, the matter was compromised frorri 
man's dung to cow-dung, Ezekiel, chap. 4. Compare all this 
ribaldry, blasphemously called the word of God, with the Almigh 
ty power that created the universe, and whose eternal wisdom 
directs and governs all its mighty movements, and we shall be atjj 
Joss to find a name sufficiently contemptible for it. 

In the promises which the Old Testament pretends that God 
made to his people, the same derogatory ideas of him prevail. It 
makes God to promise to Abraham, that his seed should be like the 
stars in heaven, and the sand on the sea shore, for multitude, and 
that he would give them the land of Canaan as their inheritance 
forever. But observe, reader, how the performance of this pro 
mise was to begin, and then ask thine own reason, if the wisdom of 
God, whose power is equal to his will, could, consistently with 
that power and that wisdom, make such a premise. 

The performance of the promise was to begin, according to that 
book, by four hundred years of bondage and affliction. Genesis, 
cap. 15 v. 13, " And God said unto Abraham, know of a surety 
" that thy seed sluill be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall 
* l serre them and they shall afflict themfour hundred years " This pro 
mise then to Abraham, and his seed forever, to inherit the land of 
Canaan,had it been a fact instead of a fable, was to operate, in the 
commencement of it, as a curse upon all the people and their chil 
dren, and their children's childeren for four hundred years. 

But the case is, the book of Genesis was written after the 
bondage in Eg)pt had taken place ; and in order to get rid of 
the disgrace of the Lord's chosen people, as they called themselves, 
being in bondage to the Gentiles, they make God to be the author 
of it, and annex it as a condition to a pretended promise; as it 
God, in making that promise, had exceeded his power in per 
forming it, and consequently his wisdom in making it. and wds 



58 AN EXAMINAON OF THE PASSAGES 

obliged to compromise with them for one half, and with the Egypi 
tians, to whom they were to be in bondage, for the other half. 

Without degrading my cwn reason by bringing those wretched 
and contemptible tales into a comparative view, with the Al 
mighty power and eternal wisdom, which the Creator hath de 
monstrated to our senses in the x creation of the universe, I will 
confine myself to say, that if we ccnpare them with the divine 
and forcible sentiments of dcero, the result will be, that the hu 
man mind has degenerated by believing them. Man, in a state 
of groveling superstition, from which he has not courage to rise, 
loses the energy of his mental powers. 

I will not tire the reader with more observations on the Old 
Testament. 

As to the New Testament, if it be brought and tried by that 
standard which, as Middleton wisely says, God has revealed to 
our senses,of his Almighty power and wisdom, in the creation and 
government of the visible universe, it will be found equally as 
false, paltry, and absurd, as the Old. 

Without entering, in this place, into any other argument, that 
the story of Christ is of human invention and not of divine origin, 
I will confine myself to shew that it is derogatory to God, by the 
contrivance of it ; because the means it supposes God to use, are 
not adequate to the end to be obtained j and. therefore, are dero 
gatory to the Almightiness of his power, and the eternity of his 
wisdom. 

The New Testament supposes that God sent his son upon 
earth to make anew covenant with man, which the Church calls 
the covenant of grace, and to instruct mankind in a new doctrine, 
which it calls Faith, meaning there by, not faith in God, for Cicero 
and all true Deists, always ha'', and always will have, this; but 
faith in the nerson called f^sus Christ, and that wbr* 



IN THE NEW ic,.A.-.*a^- 

this faith should, to use the words of the New Testament, be 
DAMNED. 

Now if this were a fact, it is consistent with that attribute of 
God, called his goodness, that no time should be lost in letting 
oor unfortunate man know it ; and as that goodness was united 
to Almighty power, and that power to Almighty wisdom, all the 
means existed in the hand of the Creator, to make it known im 
mediately over the whole earth, in a manner suitable to the Alrnigh- 
tinessof his divine nature, and with evidence that would not 
leave man in doubt; for it is always incumbent upon us, in all 
cases, to believe that the Almighty always acts, not by imperfect 
means as imperfect man acts, but consistently with his Almighty- 
ness. It is this only that can become the infallible criterion by 
which we can possibly distinguish the works of God from the 
works of man. 

Observe now Reader, how the comparison between this sup 
posed mission of Christ, on the belief, or disbelief, of which they 
say, man was to be saved or Damned observe, I say, how thecomj 
parison between this and the Almighty power and wisdom of God 
. demonstrated to our senses in the visible creation, goes on. 

The Old Testament tells us that God created the heavens and 
the earth, and every thing therein, in six days. The term six days, 
is ridiculous enough when applied to God; but leaving out that 
absurdity, it contains the idea of Almighty power, acting unitedly 
with Almighty wisdom, to produce an immense work, that f the 
creation of the universe, and every thing therein, in a short 
time. 

Now as the eternal salvation of man, is of much greater impor 
tance than his creation, and as that salvation depends, as the New- 
Testament tells us, on man's knowledge of, and belief in the person 
called Jesus Christ, it necessarily follows from our belief in the 
goodness and justice of God, and our knowledge of his Almighty 



6$ AK EXAMINATION OF THE PASSAGES 

power and wisdom, as demonstrated in thecreation, that ALL i HIS 
if true, would be made known (o all parts of the world, in as little 
time, at least, as was employed in making the World. To sup 
pose the Almighty, would pay greater regard and attention to the 
creation and organization of inanimate matter, than he would to 
the salvation of innumerable millions of souls, which himself had 
created, " as the image ofhimslj" is to offer an insult to his goodness 

and his justice. 

\ 

Now observe Reader, how the promulgation, of this pretended 
Salvation by a knowledge of, and a belief in Jesus Christ went op 
compared with the work of creation. 

In the first place, it took longer time to make the child 
than to make the world, for nine months were passed a- 
way and totally lost, in a state of pregnancy ; which is more 
than forty times longer time, than God employed in making the 
world, according to the bible account. Secondly ; several years 
of Christ's life were lost in a state of human infancy. But the 
universe was in maturity the moment it existed. Thirdly ; Christ, 
as Luke asserts, was thirty years old before he began to preach 
what they call his mission. Millions of souls died in the mean 
time without knowing it. Fourthly ; it was above three hundred 
years from that time before the book called the New Testament 
was compiled into a written copy, before which time there were 
no such book. Fifthly ; it was above a thousand years after that, 
Before it could be circulated ; because neither Jesus nor his apostles 
had knowledge of, or were inspired with, the art of printing : 
and consequently, as the means for making it universally known 
did not exist, the means W3re not equal to the end, and therefore 
it is not the work of God. 

I will here subjoin the nineteenth Psalm, which is truly deistical, 
to shew how universally and instantaneously the works of God 
make themselves known, compared with this pretended salvation 
by Jesus Christ. 



1 THE NEW TESTAMENT. 6^ 

Psalm 19th. The heavens declare the glory of God, and 
" the firmament sheweth his handy-work Day unto day uttereth 
" speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge- There is 
" no speech nor language where their voice is not heard Their 
" line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the 
"end of the world. In them hath he set a chamber for the Sun. 
" Which is as a bride-groom coming out of his chamber, and 
" rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race his going forth is 
" from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, 
" and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 

Now had the news of salvation by Jesus Cnrist been inscribed 
on the face of the Sun and the Moon, in characters that all nations 
would have understood, the whole earth had known it in twenty- 
four hours, and all nations would have believed it ; whereas, 
though it is now almost two thousand years since, as they tell 
us, Christ came upon earth, not a twentieth part of the people 
of the earth know any thing of it, and among those who do, the 
wiser part do' not believe it. 

I have now reader, gone through all the passages called 
prophecies of Jesus Christ, and shewn there is no such thing. 

I have examined the story told of Jesus Christ, and compared 
the several circumstances of it with that revelation, which, as 
Middleton wisely says, God has made to us of his Power and 
Wisdom in the structure of the universe, and by which every 
thing ascribed to him is to be tried. The result is, that the story 
of Christ has not one trait, either in its character, or in the means 
employed, that bears the least resemblance to the power and 
wisdom of God, as demonstrated in the creation of the universe. 
All the means are human means, slow, uncertain and inadequate 
to the accomplishment of the end proposed, and therefore the 
whole is a fabulous invention, and undeserving of credit. 



62 AN EXAMINATION OF THt r*a.Ao~ v*.^. 

The priests of the present day profess to believe it. They 
gain their living by it, and they exclaim against something they 
call infidelity. I will define what it is. HE THAT BELIEVES 

N THE STORY OF CHRIST IS AN INFIDEL TO GoD. 

THOMAS PAINE. 




My Private Thoughts of a Future 
State. 

I HAVE said in the first part of the Age of Reason, that <f I 
hope for happiness after this life." This hope is comfortable to me, 
and I presume not to go beyond the comfortable idea of hope., 
with respect to a future state. 

I consider myself in the hands of my creator, and that he will 
dispose of me after this life, consistently with his justice and good 
ness. I leave all these matters to him as my creator and friend, 
and I hold it to be presumption in man to make an article of faith 
as to what the creator will do with us hereafter. 

I do not believe because a man and a woman make a child, 
that it imposes on the creator, the unavoidable obligation of keep- 
ing the being so made in eternal existance hereafter. It is in his 
power to do so, or not to do so, and it is not in our power to de 
cide which he will do. 

The book called the New Testament, which I hold to be fa 
bulous, and have shewn to be false, gives an account in the 25th 
chapter of Matthew, of what is there called the last day, or the day 
of judgment. The whole world according to that account is dL 
vided into two parts, the righteous and the unrighteous, figurative 
ly called the sheep and the goats. They are then to receive their 
sentence. To the one, figuratively called the sheep, it says, "come 
ve blessed of my father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 



APPENDIX. 

the foundation of the world." To the other figuratively called the 
Goats, it says, " Depart from me yet cursed into ever lusting fire 
prepared for the devil and his angels." 

Now the case is, the world cannot be thus divided the moral 
world, like the physical world, is composed of numerous degrees 
f character, running imperceptibly one into the other, in such a 
manner that no fixed point of division can be found in either. That 
point is no where, or is every where. The whole world might 
be divided into two parts numerically, but not as to moral charac 
ter; and therefore the metaphor of dividing them, as sheep and 
goats can be divided, whose difference is marked by their external 
figure, is absurd. All sheep are still sheep ; all goats are still goats ; 
it is their physical nature to be so. But one part of the world are? 
not all good alike, nor the other part all wicked alike. There are 
some exceedingly good; others exceedingly wicked. There is 
another description of men who cannot be ranked with either the 
one or the other they belong neither to the sheep nor the goats; 
and theie is still another description of them, who are so very in 
significant both in character and conduct as not to be worth the 
trouble of damning or saving, or of raising from the dead. 

My own opinion is, that those whose lives have been spent in 
doing good, and endeavouring to make thtir fellow mortals happy, 
for this is the only way in which we can serve God, wilt be happy 
hereafter ; and that the very Wicked will meet with some punish, 
ment. But those who are neither good nor bad, or are too insig 
nificant for notice, will be dropt entirely. This is my opinion. It 
is consistent with my idea of God's justice, and with the reason 
that God has given me, and I gratefully know he has given me a 

large share of that divine gift. 

THOMAS PAINE 




Colophon

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