Month: September 2010

Thomas Baldwin Thayer: If this was false, how quickly it could have been proved so

Here we are told that the deputy or governor, Sergius, embraced the faith, and became a Christian. If this was false, how quickly it could have been proved so. Sergius was a man of note, a Roman Governor, and of necessity generally known. If he had not become a Christian the statement of the historian would immediately have been exposed as a deliberate untruth, and the character of the governor cleared of the charge: for be it remembered, it was a crime then to become a Christian.

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God’s Lecturer

Thomas Cooper (1805-92) was not a man to do things by halves. His unflagging energy and enormous appetite for knowledge matched his relentless determination to do what he felt was right, whatever it might cost. That energy and that determination propelled him into the pulpit, into a Stafford jail, into the freethinking movement, and ultimately into a most improbable career that kept him constantly busy for the last thirty years of his life.

Cooper’s father died when he was young, and like many poor boys he was apprenticed to a tradesman—in his case, to a cobbler. There cannot often have been a greater mismatch between abilities and opportunities. Cooper’s intellectual gifts drove him to read voraciously, and before long he obtained a position as a lay preacher among the Wesleyans. His unusual gift for public speaking made him immediately popular. It also attracted the unfavorable attention of a less gifted superintendent who, by Cooper’s account, did what he could to thwart the younger man’s career in the church. Some unpleasant ecclesiastical wrangling ensued that left Cooper without a pulpit.

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John England: The rejection of evidence must be irreligious

When … sufficient testimony has been adduced, to withhold belief would be unreasonable—unreasonable rejection of evidence, where there is no question as to the revelation of God, cannot be innocent. The refusal to examine is plainly against the first principle of religion; contrary to the plainest maxims of reason. A mistake honestly made is pardonable, but the rejection of evidence must be irreligious.

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