The worst state, short of vice, in which a mind can be, is one of unconcern respecting questions of the highest possible import;—questions which relate to God, duty, and eternity. These questions may have their foundation in error; but this no one can know for himself, who has refused to enquire: they may also rest on the most satisfactory basis, and lead on to the most salutary results; but whether they involve good or ill, the man must be wrong in regard to them, who either receive[s] them without evidence, or rejects them without due examination. Mental honesty is the great quality which all who have the light of reason should, before all things, labor to preserve; and, for myself, I see no essential difference between the hypocrite who, to serve a purpose, affects to believe that of which he is not convinced, and the sceptic who, under the impulse of his prejudices, refuses to enquire, or enquires only so far as he may find agreeable. Both are false; the one to his light, the other to his opportunities. The one professes what he does not believe, the other believes what he does not know;—I say what he does not know, for whoever declares that religion is false without due and faithful enquiry, makes a positive assertion while he seems only to deny, and entertains a conviction for which he has no sufficient warrant.
John Relly Beard, The Religion of Jesus Christ Defended from the Assaults of Owenism (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1839), p. 26.