Following is a summary of today’s program.
Thomas Paine was born into a poor Quaker family in England 1737. He attended school until the age of 13 when he was “forced” to leave and become an apprentice. For the next 24 years of his life, Paine held various jobs.
Paine spent his spare time and money on books, lectures, scientific apparatus, and things of that nature. He read widely but worked hard at mathematics and “experimented with mechanical contrivances.”
Throughout his life, Thomas Paine encouraged free-thinking and standing up for one’s beliefs. He believed that all people have the right to be free.
In October of 1774, his destiny began to come into focus. While in London, Paine met Benjamin Franklin who encouraged him to move to America.
Paine did so and in 1776, he wrote Common Sense: A 79-page pamphlet in which he offered “nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense” on the idea of American independence from England.
Paine also served with Washington’s army and contributed money to the war effort. Paine once said that he had “a passion of patriotism”
The Crisis papers
The American Crisis is a collection of articles written by Thomas Paine during the War for American Independence. Through the many severe crises of the war, the “Crisis” essays chronicle Paine’s ongoing support for the American cause.
General Washington found the first essay so inspiring that he ordered it be read to the troops while at Valley Forge.
The first lines of “The Crisis Papers”
The first lines of the first paragraph are particularly striking. However, the entire first paragraph is especially noteworthy.
THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.Thomas Paine
Though Paine was not a pacifist, as his Quaker beginnings would dictate, His Biblical basis shines through his writings loud and clear.
Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force
A similar concept to what Paine wrote is also expressed in Matthew 11:12:
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Commentator John Gill explains “Take it by force” this way:
and the violent take it by force; meaning either publicans, and harlots, and Gentile sinners; who might be thought to be a sort of intruders: or rather the same persons, as being powerfully wrought upon under the ministry of the Gospel; who were under violent apprehensions of wrath and vengeance, of their lost and undone state and condition by nature; were violently in love with Christ, and eagerly desirous of salvation by him, and communion with him; and had their affections set upon the things of another world: these having the Gospel preached to them, which is a declaration of God’s love to sinners, a proclamation of peace and pardon, and a publication of righteousness and life by Christ, they greedily catched at it, and embraced it.
I think he does a great job expressing the exuberant nature of what is trying to be communicated in the phrase of that verse.
During the program, I also examine the Greek language which supports the precepts put forth by Gill.
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