Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary - Containing Remarks upon his Review of the Grounds of - Christianity Examined by Comparing the New Testament to - the Old
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Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary - Containing Remarks upon his Review of the Grounds of - Christianity Examined by Comparing the New Testament to - the Old


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Project Gutenberg's Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary, by George EnglishThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary Containing Remarks upon his Review of the Grounds of Christianity Examined byComparing the New Testament to the OldAuthor: George EnglishRelease Date: February 13, 2008 [EBook #24594]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LETTER TO THE REVEREND MR. CARY ***Produced by Charles Klingman A Letter To the Reverend Mr. Channing Relative to His Two Sermons On Infidelity By George Bethune English, A.M. Boston Printed for the Author 1813LETTER, &c.Rev. Sir,Your eloquent and interesting Sermons on Infidelity, I have read with the interest arising from the nature of the subject youhave discussed, and the impressive manner in which you have treated it.As it is understood that the appearance of those Sermons was owing to a Book lately published by me, I request yourpardon for a liberty I am about to take, which in any other circumstances I should blush to presume upon-it is sir, withdeference, and great respect, to express my sentiments with regard to some of the arguments contained in them, wherethe reasoning does not appear to me so unexceptionable as the language in which ...



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Published 08 December 2010
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Produced by Charles Klingman
Title: Letter to the Reverend Mr. Cary Containing Remarks upon his Review of the Grounds of Christianity Examined by Comparing the New Testament to the Old Author: George English Release Date: February 13, 2008 [EBook #24594] Language: English
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The man who attacks any system of Religion merely with wit, and ridicule, can never, I conceive, be a very formidable antagonist. The mental imbecility of the man who could touch such a subject as religion in any shape with no other arms, would render him a harmless adversary, and the intrinsic weakness of such shining but slender weapons, when encountered with something more solid, would eventually render him a contemptible one, I therefore cannot help doubting, that wit and ridicule alone, and unsupported by reasoning, and good reasoning too, could ever have been very successfully wielded against such a thing as the Christian Religion, by its opposers. No man it appears to me of common understanding will ever resign his religion on account of a few jokes, and bon mots. The adherence of such men as are weak enough to be subverted by such trifles can do as little honor to Christianity, as their abandoning it for such reasons, can affect it with disgrace. The belief of such men could never have been more than habit, and their Infidelity nothing else than a freak of folly, which is reproachful only to themselves. But after all, this vehement objection to wit and ridicule, appears to me a little imprudent; for a sarcastic opponent might reply, that sceptics, have been not unfrequently attacked with irony most severe, and sometimes sorely wounded by vollies of wit shot from the pulpit, a place too where it can be done without fear of reprisals. You know sir, that the famous Warburton, for instance, used to amuse himself with not only cutting down every unlucky sceptic that came in his way, but he absolutely cut them to pieces with the edge of ridicule, most bitterly envenomed too with something else. It seems therefore a little unreasonable, that what is fair for one party, should not be so for the other too. Besides, the advocates of a cause, which is said not only not to fear examination, but to challenge it, should not, it appears to me, when taken at their words shrink, and draw back, on account of such trifles as wit, and ridicule; because the style of an investigation cannot certainly conceal the immutable distinction between a good argument and a bad one, from such learned and penetrating adversaries as the Clergy; and moreover does it appear clear that an advocate after asserting a proposition, and defying refutation, has any right to insist, that his opponent should put his arguments in just such a form as would be most convenient to him? What would a penetrating Lawyer think of the cause of his opponent, on finding him to insist upon his arranging his objections, and expressing his arguments just so that it might be most easy to him to reply to them? For my own part, I have no claims to wit, and if I have been sometimes sarcastic it was more than I meant to be, it was the premeditated consequence of bitter feelings arising from considering myself as having been betrayed by my credulity into taking a situation in society, which I had discovered I must quit at no less a hazard than that the destruction of all my plans and prospects for life. At any rate I am satisfied, that no ridicule of mine has been intentionally adduced by me in order to corroborate a false position, or a weak argument; I believe that it seldom appears except in the rear of something more respectable and efficient. You observe, that Christianity "deserves at least respectful, and serious attention, must be evident to every man who has honesty of mind." Nothing can be more true than this, it is a subject which does deserve a respectful, and serious attention: because every thing claiming to be from God ought to be carefully, coolly, and respectfully examined on these accounts. 1. If it be from God it is of the highest importance to the welfare of mankind that its truth should be investigated thoroughly, and settled firmly. 2. Because if it is not from God it must be the fruit of either of error or fraud, if of the first it ought to be rejected as a delusion; if of the second it ought to be cast off as a deception practiced in the name of the God of truth, and therefore disrespectful to him. It also merits, you most truly say, a respectful examination on account of the character of its founder, for the character of Jesus you justly consider as too excellent and unexceptionable to be reproached. Whatever may be said concerning the moral excellence of that person's character I will cheerfully assent to, and I could not listen without disgust to language impeaching his moral purity. This I can do without ceasing to suppose him an enthusiast; for there appears to me to be too many marks of it in the New Testament for the idea to be set aside by a few eloquent exclamations, and notes of admiration; if I am wrong in this idea or in others, I will not prove indocile to arguments that shall sufficiently show the contrary. You observe, p. 16. "another consideration which entitles Christianity to respectful attention is this. That Jesus Christ appeared at a time when there prevailed in the east a universal expectation of a distinguished personage who was to produce a great and happy change in the world. This expectation was built on writings which claimed to be prophetic, which existed long before Jesus was born." I cannot help thinking the very great stress which has been laid upon this "rumour spread all over the east" a little unreasonable. For 1. A rumour" is not as I apprehend an adequate foundation on which to build such a thing as the Christian religion, " which claims to be derived from heaven. 2. Those who have brought forward with so much earnestness this popular rumour, have not, I conceive, paid due attention to the causes that might naturally have produced it, which were possibly these. There is in the Jewish prophets frequent mention of a great deliverer, and it is represented that he should appear in the time when the Jewish nation should be suffering under most grievous afflictions, and who should deliver them therefrom, Now was it not perfectly natural for the Jews, dispersed over Asia, to expect, and to circulate the notion of this deliverer when their own sufferings,
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