It is curious to observe coincidence in principle between the ‘Review and Essay’ school and some of those most opposed to them, but who unconsciously favour them. They both represent what has always been called evidence—all appeal to the reason as furnishing marks to distinguish Jesus from many impostors that have existed, and the Gospel from fanatical dreams—as quite useless; because, forsooth, a mere address to the understanding is not sufficient (and no one ever said it is) to make anyone a good Christian, any more than a correct chart would bring a ship into port without wind or steam. And they allow of no ground of right conviction except on feeling a certain doctrine to be suitable to our wants and wishes and conjectures. And the perception of this they regard as a special revelation from Heaven. Now all this being admitted, a suspicion will arise that all that evidence which is, it seems, useless, has no real existence, and that all the miraculous narratives of Scripture may be explained as parables, myths, exaggerations, mistakes, or pious frauds.
And when each person brings his own candle to the sundial, to throw the shadow which ever way he will, there will be endless differences as to the conclusions embraced and rejected, precisely because the principle is the same, of each following his own fancy and taste.
Richard Whately, Commonplace Book, new edition (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, 1865), pp. 281-82.