Answers to Objections to the Christian Religion; Remarks on his answer to the Letters which Dr. Priestly addressed to the Jews (Newbury, June 11, 1787)
Extract: Your sufferings from the Christians, you say, is one great argument with you against Christianity’s being the peaceable kingdom of the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets; but you confess that the doctrines of Christianity do not teach, or authorize, to shed the blood of Jews (and you might have added of any people) and that you carefully distinguish between the doctrine and its professors. Is the doctrine of Jesus Christ in itself peaceful, so that if all men were to live under its influence, would the prophecies in this particular meet with accomplishment? And who can say, in that case, they would not? Here then is a strong presumptive evidence in its favor. Have the prophets anywhere said that the doctrine of the Messiah’s kingdom would instantaneously produce its great effects, in enlightening the gentiles, in taming the ferocity, and subduing the wickedness of men, so that they should no longer hurt nor destroy? No,. The stone which was cut off the mountain without hands, and which smote the image (Daniel chapter 2) that figured the monarchies of the earth, and broke it in pieces, and afterwards became a great mountain, so that it filled the earth, at first was small; time brought it to perfection. . . It is no argument against Christianity, because all the good foretold by the prophets is not at once produced, if in its own nature it be calculated to produce it; and especially if the same authority which demands our cordial reception of it informs us, that this kingdom of God is as a grain of mustard seed, and that before the glorious days of righteousness and peace it promises, iniquity shall prevail, and the man of sin deceive the nations.
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