Jean Meslier on the New Testament

Friends, I know you have read the many quotes from the Testament by J. Meslier that I have posted in the past. Here is another one on the NT prophecies.

Let us examine the pretended prophecies which are contained in the Gospels.

Firstly. An angel having appeared in a dream to a man named Joseph, father, or at least so reputed, of Jesus, son of Mary, said unto him:

“Joseph, thou son of David fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS; for He shall save His people from their sins.” This angel said also to Mary:

“Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end!” Jesus began to preach and to say:

“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment, for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Now, let every man who has not lost common sense, examine if this Jesus ever was a king, or if His disciples had abundance of all things. This Jesus promised to deliver the world from sin. Is there any prophecy which is more false? Is not our age a striking proof of it? It is said that Jesus came to save His people. In what way did He save it? It is the greatest number which rules any party. For example, one dozen or two of Spaniards or Frenchmen do not constitute the French or Spanish people; and if an army of a hundred and twenty thousand men were taken prisoners of war by an army of enemies which was stronger, and if the chief of this army should redeem only a few men, as ten or twelve soldiers or officers, by paying their ransom, it could not be claimed that he had delivered or redeemed his army. Then, who is this God who has been sacrificed, who died to save the world, and leaves so many nations damned? What a pity! and what horror!

Jesus Christ says that we have but to ask and we shall receive, and to seek and we shall find. He assures us that all we ask of God in His name shall be granted, and that if we have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, we could by one word remove mountains. If this promise is true, nothing appears impossible to our Christ-worshipers who have faith in Jesus. However, the contrary happens. If Mohammed had made the promises to his votaries that Christ made to His, without success, what would not be said about it. They would cry out, “Ah, the cheat! ah, the impostor!” These Christ-worshipers are in the same condition: they have been blind, and have not even yet recovered from their blindness; on the contrary, they are so ingenious in deceiving themselves, that they pretend that these promises have been fulfilled from the beginning of Christianity; that at that time it was necessary to have miracles, in order to convince the incredulous of the truth of religion; but that this religion being sufficiently established, the miracles were no longer necessary. Where, then, is their proof of all this?

Besides, He who made these promises did not limit them to a certain time, or to certain places, or to certain persons; but He made them generally to everybody. The faith of those who believe, says He, shall be followed by these miracles; “They shall cast out devils in My name, they shall speak in divers tongues, they shall handle serpents,” etc.

In regard to the removal of mountains, He positively says that “whoever shall say to a mountain: ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;’ it shall be done;” provided that he does not doubt in his heart, but believes all he commands will be done. Are not all these promises given in a general way, without restriction as to time, place, or persons?

It is said that all the sects which are founded in errors and imposture will come to a shameful end. But if Jesus Christ intends to say that He has established a society of followers who will not fall either into vice or error, these words are absolutely false, as there is in Christendom no sect, no society, and no church which is not full of errors and vices, especially the Roman Church, although it claims to be the purest and the holiest of all. It was born into error, or rather it was conceived and formed in error; and even now it is full of delusions which are contrary to the intentions, the sentiments, or the doctrine of its Founder, because it has, contrary to His intention, abolished the laws of the Jews, which He approved, and which He came Himself, as He said, to fulfill and not to destroy. It has fallen into the errors and idolatry of Paganism, as is seen by the idolatrous worship which is offered to its God of dough, to its saints, to their images, and to their relics.

I know well that our Christ-worshipers consider it a lack of intelligence to accept literally the promises and prophecies as they are expressed; they reject the literal and natural sense of the words, to give them a mystical and spiritual sense which they call allegorical and figurative; claiming, for example, that the people of Israel and Judea, to whom these promises were made, were not understood as the Israelites after the body, but the Israelites in spirit: that is to say, the Christians which are the Israel of God, the true chosen people that by the promise made to this enslaved people, to deliver it from captivity, it is understood to be not the corporal deliverance of a single captive people, but the spiritual deliverance of all men from the servitude of the Devil, which was to be accomplished by their Divine Saviour; that by the abundance of riches, and all the temporal blessings promised to this people, is meant the abundance of spiritual graces; and finally, that by the city of Jerusalem, is meant not the terrestrial Jerusalem, but the spiritual Jerusalem, which is the Christian Church.

But it is easy to see that these spiritual and allegorical meanings having only a strange, imaginary sense, being a subterfuge of the interpreters, can not serve to show the truth or the falsehood of a proposition, or of any promises whatever. It is ridiculous to forge such allegorical meanings, since it is only by the relations of the natural and true sense that we can judge of their truth or falsehood. A proposition, a promise, for example, which is considered true in the proper and natural sense of the terms in which it is expressed, will not become false in itself under cover of a strange sense, one which does not belong to it. By the same reasoning, that which is manifestly false in its proper and natural sense, will not become true in itself, although we give it a strange sense, one foreign to the true.

We can say that the prophecies of the Old Testament adjusted to the New, would be very absurd and puerile things. For example, Abraham had two wives, of which the one, who was but a servant, represented the synagogue, and the other one, his lawful wife, represented the Christian Church; and that this Abraham had two sons, of which the one born of Hagar, the servant, represented the Old Testament; and the other, born of Sarah, the wife, represented the New Testament. Who would not laugh at such a ridiculous doctrine?

Is it not amusing that a piece of red cloth, exhibited by a prostitute as a signal to spies, in the Old Testament is made to represent the blood of Jesus Christ shed in the New? If—according to this manner of interpreting allegorically all that is said, done, and practiced in the ancient law of the Jews—we should interpret in the same allegorical way all the discourses, the actions, and the adventures of the famous Don Quixote de la Mancha, we would find the same sort of mysteries and ridiculous figures.

It is nevertheless upon this absurd foundation that the whole Christian religion rests. Thus it is that there is scarcely anything in this ancient law that the Christ-worshiping doctors do not try to explain in a mystical way to build up their system. The most false and the most ridiculous prophecy ever made is that of Jesus, in Luke, where it is pretended that there will be signs in the sun and in the moon, and that the Son of Man will appear in a cloud to judge men; and this is predicted for the generation living at that time. Has it come to pass? Did the Son of Man appear in a cloud?