Samuel Drew on Pride and Salvation
Remarks on "The Age of Reason" (S. King: 1831), pp. 56-7.
You [Thomas Paine] inform us, with much aflected liberality, that "credulity is not a crime." Now, admitting your observation to be founded on fact, you cannot but allow, even on your own principles, that there is nothing criminal in believing the Bible to be the word of God; and it also follows, from your own concessions, that our adoption of the principles of infidelity is not essential to our future happiness. I am far, however, from granting, that it is a matter of indifference, whether we believe truth or error; for, if faith in a Saviour be necessary to salvation, then those who reject it must have embraced a theory, which will be attended with the most awful consequences. That this is your situation, and that you view the sacrifice of Christ with abhorrence and contempt, we cannot but perceive, from the following passage: "Can our gross feelings be excited by no other subject, than tragedy or suicide? or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable that nothing can flatter it, but the sacrifice of the "Creator?" You must be sensible, that this passage contains no argument; and, therefore, it may be repelled in a strain similar to that in which it is delivered. Is, then, I would ask, the arrogance and presumption of man become so intolerable, that even the conduct of Omnipotence shall be arraigned for every action, that will not furnish him with all the evidence that pride requires? Shall man despise overtures of mercy, even while conscious of his guilt, because he happens to dislike the principles upon which they are presented to him, and the medium through which they are communicated? Or, finally shall, the benevolence of God be defeated of its purposes because man is too ungrateful to acknowledge his obligations, and too blind to perceive the benefits, which heaven, out of compassion, confers? The dictates of conscience wilt give to these questions an unsophisticated answer.