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IN ANSWER TO HIS PAMPHLET
THE AGE OF REASON:
SOME CLEAR AND SATISFYING EVIDENCES OF THE TRUTH OF DIVINE REVELATION; AND ESPECIALLY OF THE RESURRECTION
AND ASCENSION OF JESUS.
BY ELHANAN WINCHESTER.
“Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”—David.
GIHON, FAIRCHILD & Co.
LETTER TO THE PUBLISHERS.
Messrs. Gruon, Fairchild & Co., I send plain good sense, most happily adapted to you Mr. Winchester's Ten Letters, addressed supply the wants of the great mass of a readto Thomas Paine, in answer to his Pamphlet, ing community. entitled, The Age of Reason. This little book What seems to enrich every portion of this is a very rare one,-by far too much so, for little book, in which our author was called to one of its intrinsic worth. In all my travels, contend with the continued revilings of a scofI have no recollection, that I have ever seen fer, is the clear tokens of a most kind and another copy of the same work. Mr. Win- conciliatory spirit, that pervades the whole chester's Dialogues have been often publish- from beginning to end. True, we find occaed, while these letters, though a smaller work, sionally a turn of pleasantry and rebuke that have been long overlooked. Undoubtedly must appear in the light of no small expense the principal reason of this, which has existe to the author of the Age of reason, in the ed since the multiplication of books in our estimation of an enlightened public. Yet, in order, is the very fact, that they have not been no instance, do we perceive an uncalled for known. Formerly, Universalists rarely pub- and cruel reflection, or a mere biting sarcasm. lished any book, except it embraced the then This little book has long been a resident in new and interesting topic of vindicating the the family of my library. I now part with it final salvation of all men. These letters are for a similar motive that the house of Bethuel not of this peculiar character. They go to parted with their sister, Rebekah. Although vindicate Christianity as resting upon the I do not claim authority to pronounce upbasis of the sacred pages, without calling any on it an equal prophetic blessing, my best aid from sectarian views. The Bible is made wishes for its prosperity strongly mingle in by them to speak its own language, and thus that oriental hyperbole; “ Be thou the mother to become its own vindicator. While they of thousands of millions, and let thy seed embrace less philological criticism than Bish- possess the gate of those which hate them.” op Watson's Apology, addressed to the same
SAMUEL C. LOVELAND. Thomas Paine, they abound in a rich fund of Weston, Vt., Aug. 8, 1843.
ANSWER TO THE AGE OF REASON.
far inferior to the allusions in Job, and in the
19th Psalm; but it is familiar in idea, and SIR-I am very sorry that I have any oc- the modesty of the imagery is correspondent casion to take up the pen against such an to the modesty of the man. able writer as you are ; but having devoted How could you have forgotten that most the principal part of my life to the study, beautiful and sublime passage in Acts xvii. practice, and propagation of that religion, 24–29, delivered by St. Paul to the Athenians: which you are pleased to style “fabulous "God that made the world and all things theology," you must not be surprised at my therein, seeing he is Lord of heaven and attempting to vindicate it with the zeal and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with affection of a lover, who has found more real hands: neither is worshipped with men's pleasure therein than in all other things. hands, as though he needeth any thing, seeing
If in this great, and to me infinitely impor- he giveth to all life and breath and all things: tant and interesting debate, I should gain any and hath made of one blood all nations of advantage over you, who are so far my supe- men, to dwell on all the face of the earth, and rior in writing, it will evidently appear to be hath determined the times before appointed and owing to the goodness of my cause, and the the bounds of their habitation; that they should more extensive knowledge of the Bible that I seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after have attained beyond what you possess. If him, and find him, though he be not far from you had known the Scriptures better, I am every one of us : for in Him we live, and persuaded that you would never have attempt. move, and have our being; as certain of your ed to represent them in the ridiculous light own poets have said, for we are also his offthat you have done.
spring. Forasmuch then as we are the offAs your book, called “The Age of Reason,” spring of God, we ought not to think that the &c. is wrote in a miscellaneous manner, I Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, have chosen the form of letters to communi- graven by art or man's device.”. And in the cate my thoughts to you and the public upon beginning of his epistle to the Romans, he mena the several subjects therein treated of. tions the works of creation, and observes
In this first letter I shall endeavour to show, that God may be known thereby, as follows: that the ideas of the infinite wisdom, power,
« For the wrath of God is revealed from heagoodness and mercy of God, which you pro- ven against all ungodliness and unrighteousfess to learn from the great book of the crea-ness of men, who hold the truth in unrighttion, I am able to learn, even from the New eousness. Because that which may be known Testament which you treat with so much of God is manifest in them, for God hath showcontempt. And I shall also, in some of these ed it unto them. For the invisible things of letters, prove (I hope to your satisfaction) Him from the creation of the world are clearthat there is abundance more said in the Bible ly seen, being understood by the things respecting the Deity and his works, than you that are made, even His eternal power and are willing to allow: for in order to render Godhead: so that they are without excuse. that book of very little importance, you affect Because that when they knew God, they gloto represent that there is little or nothing in rified Him noi as God, but became vain in it respecting those subjects, except in the 19th their imaginations, and their foolish heart Psalm and some chapters of the book of Job. was darkened. Professing themselves to be But I am apt to think, that you would never wise, they became fools; and changed the have had the tenth part of the knowledge of glory of the uncorruptible God into an image the Divine perfections that you have, if you made like to corruptible man, and to birds, had never read the Bible; for those who are and four-footed beasts, and creeping things," without the knowledge of that despised book &c. Rom. i. 18–23. It is a well known and appear, as far as we can learn, to be almost melancholy fact, that all the nations, who totally ignorant of the true God, his glori- have had only the book of creation to read, ous character, and his amiable perfections. have been gross idolators, or stupid Atheists;
I shall begin with your very extraordinary and generally extremely vicious in their morassertion, given out in these words: “ I recol- als: their horrid crimes are mentioned by St. lect not a single passage ascribed to the men Paul in the subsequent part of this chapter, called Apostles, that conveys any idea of what and he shows that God justly "gave them up God is. The only passage that occurs to me, to uncleanness, because they changed the that has any reference to the works of God, truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and by which only his wisdom and power can be served the creature more than the Creator, known, is related to have been spoken by who is blessed forever. Amen." Ver. 24, 25. Jesus Christ, as a remedy against distrustful In the book of the Revelations which you care: 'Behold the lilies of the field, they toil call a book of riddles, there may be found sev. not, neither do they spin.' This however is eral beautiful expressions relating to God and