The Age of Revelation, Or, The Age of Reason Shewn to be an Age of Infidelity. by Elias Boudinot. Publication date Topics divine, author. The Age of Revelation has 8 ratings and 1 review. Samuel said: Boudinot wrote this response to Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason disappointed Elias Boudinot. A PEOPLE WHO MEAN TO BE THEIR OWN GOVERNORS MUST. ARM THEMSELVES WITH THE POWER WHICH KNOWLEDGE GIVES. THE AGE OF.
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Elias Boudinot The Age of Revelation W HEN the warm and sincere affection, of a fond and anxious parent, is strongly manifested, by the interest he takes in the improvement and welfare of a beloved child; when it appears that, to promote her best interests, neither cares nor labour, even in an advanced and infirm age, will be spared; it may be hoped, that a corresponding temper of mind, may lead her to see the truth in a more clear and convincing light, especially when urged and incalcated by exertions of so tender a nature.
But, knowing the importance of your being able to give a ready answer for the hope that is in you, and seeing the melancholy prevlaence of a spirit of infidelity, founded on a “pretended philosophy, and a vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” I thought myself, with regard to you, in the situation of the apostle Jude, with regard to the church of his day, that “I should give all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, and exhort you, that you should earnestly contend for the faith whih was once delivered to the saints; for there are certain men, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ: No man believes, that credit is given to the veracity of another who reports a fact, by firmly believing it, on perfect demonstration, or of the fullest evidence.
If a person of the most infamous character for falsehood and deceit, should assert, that the three sides of an equilateral triangle, were equal to each other, every man who heard and understood him, would immediately give the most hearty assent to the truth of it, without putting the least confidence in the character or veracity of the assertor. If one should inform you, that the sun was shining, and at the same time should point to the meridian sun, appearing in his full splendour within your view, you could not but believe the fact, the truth would force your assent; though without putting the least confidence in the informer.
So it is with revealed religion, God, in his infinite wisdom, has given us sufficient evidence, that the revelation of the gospel is from him. This is the subject of rational inquiry, and of conviction, from the conclusive nature of the evidence: In this, his design, amongst others, may be, that thereby the pride of the human heart might be subdued; the human will brought to submit to the will of God; the character of Jehovah magnified and honoured; and his unstained veracity perfectly confided in, and trusted to, while at the same time, the amiable humility of the Christian character, is promoted in the firm believer of his word.
These objectors find it difficult to submit to the faith of the gospel, because many things are above their reason; while they continually exercise the same principle in temporal things, which are subject, in one respect or another, to the like predication, in almost every action of their lives. In travelling, by sea and land — in eating and drinking — in ploughing and sowing; do they all, with one accord, exercise this virtue in its full extent: They exercise, without hesitation, an un-feigned faith in the general character of the one; and trust wholly to the owner and master, for the abilities of the others.
If they travel by land, they will mount the horse, recommended by its owner; or enter a public carriage provided for passengers, without doubting of their safety in the one case, or examining the Workmanship and construction of either carriage or harness, in the other.
They trust to the care of the master and driver, and implicitly commit themselves to their knowledge and good conduct. Does any person refuse to swallow his victuals, before he fully understands the method of digestion, or the manner in which the food will turn to his nourishment? Will any man refuse to listen to the voice of his friend, because, with the utmost stretch of all his powers, he cannot comprehend how the motion of the air, can convey different articulate sounds to his ears; or how any sounds, however formed, can produce ideas in his soul, corresponding to the will of the mover.
In short, innumerable important facts, the causes of which, with their modes of operation, we cannot comprehend, being perfectly mysterious and unaccountable, are yet firmly believed; and, in the course of life, acted upon by us. We hear the blowing of the wind, and feel its power; but we know not what produces it — why it is now mild and refreshing, and now violent and destructive — ” We know not whence it comes, or whither it goeth” — we daily see and put the utmost confidence in the good effects of the loadstone, both as it regards our persons and property, by sea and land; and yet no one will pretend to understand, whence this peculiar virtue is derived, by which these effects are produced: All then that revealed religion asks of men, is, that they would act in like manner, with regard to her requisitions — instead of rejecting all belief, till they fully understand every mystery of revealed religion, and which is as applicable to natural religion let their first inquiry be, is this the word of God, or not?
If they find rational evidence, to prove that it is so, which will most certainly be the case with every ingenuous mind let them treat her great principles and doctrines, as they do the revelation of God in the natural world, and they will assuredly find additional and conclusive evidence arising from experience, and their faith will soon become to them the substance of the things hoped for, from the promises of the Gospel, and the evidence of the things there revealed as unseen.
In submitting to the great mysteries of the Gospel, we believe, because God has said it — here then we rely on the divine veracity alone, and show our confidence in, and pay due honour to, his character and aye which is the life and soul of a true faith. But how does the unbeliever better himself, by the denial of revelation, and flying to his religion of nature? Is there not as strong faith required here, as in revealed religion? How does he know, that there is a God, who regards the affairs of men, or concerns himself with their well being?
But why does he believe it?
The Age of Revelation: The Age of Reason Shewen to Be an Age of Infidelity by Elias Boudinot
Certainly, by a strong faith in the declarations and assertions of those on whose sleeve he pins his faith, and on arguments drawn principally from that revelation he affects to despise. To judge aright in this matter, let us inquire into the opinions and belief of the wise and the learned, previous to the coming of Christ, and who had no aid from the knowledge communicated by the Saviour, to a guilty world; though drawing much assistance, unknowingly from tradition, founded on revelation, to Adam, Enoch, Boidinot, and Noah.
Hearken then to the language of Cicero, that oracle of antiquity, whose religious knowledge was superior to any of his cotemporaries, in his treatise, agw expressly on the nature of the Gods; “As many things in philosophy are not sufficiently clear, so the question concerning the nature of the Gods, which is in itself rdvelation most interesting and necessary for the regulation of religion, is attended with peculiar difficulty.
Among those who supposed that there are Gods, their opinions are so various, that it is difficult to enumerate them. Much has been advanced concerning the form of the Gods; the place of their habitation, and their employment; and on these subjects there has been much disputation among the philosophers. But the principal difference among them, and a subject on which every thing depends, is, whether the Gods undertake to do nothing in the government of the world; or whether every thing were originally constituted, and is still directed by them, and will be so forever.
Till this be decided, men must be in much error about things of the greatest importance. This will be due to them, if we be noticed by them, and if in return they render any services to men; but if the Gods neither can, nor will do any thing for us, and give no attention to our conduct, why should we render them any kind of worship, or pray to them?
Then will piety be mere hypocrisy, and all religion be at an end; and this will be attended with the greatest confusion in the business of life. Nay, I do not know, but that with the loss of religion, the foundation of all confidence of bouinot in society, and even of justice, the most important of the virtues, would be taken away.
But there are other philosophers, and those of the first distinction, who think that the world is governed by the mind and will obudinot the Gods; that by them every thing in the course of nature is provided for the use of man; and they express themselves in such a manner, as if they thought the Gods themselves were made for the use of man.
Against these, Carneades has advanced so much, as to excite persons of any curiosity, to investigate the truth. For there is no subject, about which not only the unlearned, but even the learned, differ so much; and their opinions are revekation various and discordant, that only one of them can be true, though all may be erroneous. Let reason and conscience judge. They were forewarned near two thousand years ago, of these things, by their great Lord and Master; “that when the time should come, they might remember, that he had told them of them.
I therefore determined, as God should give me health and leisure, were it only by improving a few moments at a time, to put my thoughts on the subject of this pamphlet, on paper, for your edification and information, when I shall be no more. I chose to confine myself to the leading and essential facts of the Gospel, which are contradicted, or attempted to be turned into ridicule, by this writer.
Do you adopt the same object? Cleave unto it; keep it continually in view; all things else are or and worthless; for they are passing quickly away. Our interest in, and hold of the world, is diminishing every hour.
The Age of Revelation: The Age of Reason Shewen to Be an Age of Infidelity
Our consequence, as candidates for immortal bliss, as heirs of glory, is rising in proportion. When we cease from importance as the citizens of this world, our real importance begins to be felt and understood. I recommend no sullen distance from your fellow-creatures, nor peevish discontent. Live in the world. Enjoy the portion which God allotteth to you. But use the world, so as not to abuse it. While you are cumbered about many things, never forget, that one thing is needful, and choose that good part, which shall not be taken from you.
Some of them he has endeavoured to clothe with new language, and put into a more ridiculous form; but many of them he has collected almost word for word, from the writings of the deists of the last and present century. May that God, who delighteth in the meek and humble temper, which trembleth at his word, lead you to the cross of Christ; and there, by his holy spirit, direct you into all truth. May he instruct you in his holy word, which is able to make you wise unto salvation.
Let that word abide in you richly — become your daily companion, under every circumstance of life; “the man of your council, a lamp to your paths, and a light to your feet. In short, were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix on the Bible as the most instructive, both to the wise and ignorant. Were you to ask me for one, affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the inquiring mind, I should repeat, it is the Bible: The time, however, is not far off, when they will command a very different reception, among the sons of men.
One thing I beg you would attend to, as a guard against the designs of infidels, to wit, that the Gospel revelation is a complete system of salvation, suited to our fallen nature, and should be taken altogether. It is not unusual to hear the punishment of sin, stated as incompatible with the perfections and attributes of Almighty God: That the breach of them, necessarily induces a separation from him, who is the fountain and source of all happiness and enjoyment; and, of course, necessarily induces misery in the extreme.
For you I have written.
To you I commit this labour of my old age, hoping that, as it is designed for your own private instruction, you will receive it, as in the fear of the Lord, without a criticizing eye, or opposing heart; and that you will be persuaded by it, to search the Scriptures, “knowing that they contain the words of eternal life,” thereby you will gratify the most fervent desire of An Affectionate Parent. T HE ushering into the world, an investigation of the nature of the following answer to the A GE OF R EASON, at this late period, after so many conclusive answers have been given to it, and particularly that of the learned, pious, and excellent bishop of Landaff, certainly requires some apology.
The original design was merely to guard a beloved child and intimate friend, against any sceptical doubts that might have been produced, by the many consequences that daily took place, when that aweful book was first handed about in this city. It was, at first, designed to be confined within the limits of a few sheets.
But after, having occasion to review the subject, it opened itself in such a manner, that before I was aware of it, the bulk increased to a manuscript of a considerable size. I was soon convinced, that a principle of the illuminati in Europe, had been adopted by some unknown persons in this country, viz. This became the subject of much conversation among men of sober principles, with whom I was intimate; during which, two or three learned friends became acquainted with my attempt to answer that dangerous pamphlet.
It must be acknowledged, that however pleased I have been with Bishop Watson’s very learned, able, and judicious “Apology for the Bible,” I do not think it altogether calculated for young people, and the lower ranks of the community; and it is really to be wished, that the title had been better adapted to the work. Several other valuable answers have appeared, each containing many important arguments on the subject; and as many of them as have come to my hands, have been perused, and though much pleased and edified with most of them, I have not been entirely satisfied with them, as applicable to the youth of our country, and those whose opportunities have not been so advantageous, as to guard them against the sophistry of art, cunning, and an inbred hatred of every thing sacred and holy.
The boldness of impiety is often mistaken for knowledge, founded on an independent spirit, and thereby saps the necessary defence of simple innocence and unsuspecting modesty. For a considerable time past, I have ardently wished to see some more able hand, meet Mr.
Few know to what lengths, conscious ignorance of a subject that every man ought to know, will lead a person to go, in order to cover the knowledge of it from the world. Most willingly do I commit them, to the overruling direction of Sovereign Wisdom, who has heretofore made use of clay and spittle, to open the eyes of the blind; and do most devoutly pray, that in his own way, and by his own means, and in his own time, he will accomplish the promised kingdom of his beloved son.
I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me,” was the pathetic and affecting language of the elegant and truly evangelical prophet. Isaiah, when addressing an highly favoured, though obstinate and sinful nation — “a people loaded with iniquity — a seed of evil doers — children who were corrupted.
From the reputation the author had gamed, by his former political writings, in this country; writings, which, from local circumstances, and the state of men’s minds at the moment of an important revolution, gave celebrity to their author, the production before us has met with a more general approbation, than could otherwise have been expected.
The great effect which this pamphlet had on the revolution, and a was certainly great arose from its being written at the moment when the public mind was in a great alarm, and totally at a loss how to determine. As to the serious and devout Christian, who has the transforming power of the religion of Jesus Christ, and has experienced the internal and convincing evidence of the truth of the Divine Scriptures, the treatise referred to, will rather have a tendency to increase his faith, and inflame his fervent zeal in his master’s cause, while he beholds this vain attempt, to ridicule and set at nought, the great objects of his hope and joy, by one who plainly discovers a total ignorance of every principle of true Christianity, as revealed in the Scriptures.
The vanity and confidence often produced by an appearance of superior knowledge and laborious investigation, will sometimes lead even wise men, undesignedly, into a supercilious and dogmatical mode of argumentation, on subjects, which they persuade themselves they fully comprehend: But, as to the performance before us, the author has proved himself to be totally ignorant of the subject he has undertaken to elucidate, not only as to the intrinsic merit of the question, but also the ideas and terms, which its advocates have been known always to hold up and use, as expressive of their sense and meaning of it.
This shews not only a wicked and perverse temper of mind, but a degree of forward and indecorous pertinacity, that ought not to be countenanced by any lover of mankind.
Argumentative investigation is one thing; but ignorant declamation and ridicule is another. The express declarations of Omniscience, as contended by the friends of prophecy, are fast fulfilling. In the mean time, as has been observed by an able writer, “let critics and learned men of all kinds, have full liberty to examine the sacred books, and let us be sparing in our censures of each other — let us judge nothing rashly before the time, until the Lord come, and then shall every man have praise of God.
Sobriety of mind, humility and piety, are requisite in the pursuit of knowledge of every kind, and much more in that which is sacred. However, it may justify critical examination and free inquiry, it cannot support the vicious mind in reviling serious things, ridiculing as visionary, facts and principles established by the experience of ages, or palming on us dogmatical assertions for serious truths.
To enter into a minute and candid disquisition of any and every subject, which interests the welfare of our fellow men, as rational and accountable creatures, and that with boldness and decency, is the part of a noble mind; but to treat those things as jests and fables of children, which, in the contemplation of his opponents, are considered as involving infinite and eternal consequences, is inexcusable, and will admit of no palliation.
If the most important communication should be made to an unlettered Englishman, in the Greek language, it would not be thought harsh to say, that he did not understand it, though he had been in the habit: How comes it to pass, that in every other science, except that of religion, it is necessary to become a learner, before it is expected to be understood.
At the same time, these pretenders to knowledge, have never given themselves the trouble of inquiring into the A. C of religion, the alphabet of the Divine Scriptures. What is there in the nature of revealed religion, when compared with other sciences, and the present degraded state of human nature, that a man should comprehend all its great and important truths, without labour and investigation, whilst most subjects, even of human knowledge, are not to be obtained but by industrious application, with all the aids of learning and experiment?
The object being to convey rational and honest information, on a subject all-important to the everlasting interests of my fellow-men, and not personal fame or reputation — to guard the young and uninformed from the dangerous vortex of infidelity, I shall feel myself at perfect liberty, in the prosecution of this design, to draw knowledge from every source — to borrow from any treasury, that I shall consider more productive than my own; and where I find superior abilities and greater extent of information than I can pretend to, I shall not only use the ideas of such authors, but their language, if thereby the great end of my undertaking may be promoted; I mean a conviction of the truth, in the minds of those, into whose hands it may fell.
THE author of the Age of Reason, in all the pride and obstinacy of infidelity, introduces his objections to the Christian system, by an exhibition of his own creed, both affirmatively and negatively, as if his established character for sobriety, integrity, and exemplary moral conduct, entitled him to the respect and veneration of his fellow-citizens, and the world at large.
In an authoritative manner, he declares, that he does not believe in the creed of the Jewish church, the Roman church, the Greek church, nor of any church he knows of.
But the concluding part of this his extraordinary creed, is as, if not more extraordinary; “that his own mind is his own church.