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regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them . As to Jesus of Nazareth , my opinion of whom you particularly desire , I think the system of morals and his religion as be left them to us , the best the world ever saw or is like to see ; but I
apprehend it has received various corrupting changes , and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England , some doubts as to his dU . P \ 1 T 1 vimty 5 though it is a question I do not dogmatise upon , having never studied it , and think it needless to
busy myself with it now , when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble . I see no harm however in its being believed , if that belief has the good consequence , as probably it has , of making his doctrines more respected
and more observed , especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss , by distinguishing the believers , in his government of the world , with any peculiar marks of his displeasure . I shall only add
respecting myself , that having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life , I have no doubt of its continuance in the next , though without the smallest conceit of meriting such
goodness . My sentiments on this head you will see in the copy of an old letter inclosed , * which 1 \ yrote in answer to one from an old religionist whom I had relieved in a paralitic case by electricity , and who being afraid 1 should grow proud upon it , sent me his serious , though rather impertinent caution . T send vou also the copy of another letter , - ^ which will shew something "of my disposition relating to religion . With great and sincere esteem and affection , I arn &c . P . S . Had not your College some present of books from the King of France . Please to let me know if you had an expectation given you of
more , and the nature of that expectation ? I have a reason for the inquiry . 1 connde that you will not expose one to criticisras ancj censures b y publishing any part of this
communii ? Supposed to be the Letter to George White field , dated June 6 , 1753 . -f- Uncertain : perhaps the following one .
cation to you . I have ' ever let otbrre enjoy their religious sentiments without reflecting on them for those that appeared to me unsupportable oc even absurd . All sects here , and we have
a great variety , have experienced my good will in assisting them with subscriptions for the building their new places of worship ; and as I have never opposed any of their doctrines , I hope to go out of the world in peace with them all .
To * * * . Dear Sir , (" Withoutdate ) ~ I HAVE read your manuscript with some attention . By the argument it contains against a particular Providence , though you allow a general Providence , you strike at t « e foundations of aft religion . For
without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of guards and guides , and may favour particular persons , there is no motive to worship a Deily , to fear its displeasure , or to pray for its protection . I will not enter into any discussion of your
principles , though you seem to desire it . At present L shall only , give you my opinion , that though your reasonings are subtle , * and may prevail with some readers , you will not succeed so as to change the general sentiments of mankind on that
subject , and the consequence « f printing this piece will be , a great deal of odium drawn upon yourself , mischief to you , and no benefit to others . He that spits against the wind , spits in his own face . But were you to
succeed , do you imagine any good would be done by it ? You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous life without the assistance afforded by religion , ' you having a clear percept tion of the advantages of virtue , and the disadvantages of vice , and pos *
sessing a strength of resolution sum * cient to enable you to resist common temptations . liut think how great * portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women , anil of inexperienced inconsiderate youtji of both sexes , who have need of the
motives of religion to re&ttain them from vice , to support their virtue , and retain them ii * the practice of H til ) it becomes habitual * whieh is the great point for its security . And perhaps you are iftdebfcexl to , the * onginully , that is to youc ii&igiotji *
16 Exirad $ J ¥ om N ^ w PidUatiiom . ^ k ^ K ^ k ^ ^ K * A ^^ V IB ^ M ^^
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1817, page 16, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2460/page/16/