Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2010
To his Mother.
My dear Mother,—I have read your letter carefully; and the papers, and as much of the book as was necessary to show that it contained no argument, and was in fact addressed to those who already believe all it contains. If I can make you see clearly that our modes of arriving at what we believe to be true are so totally different that an attempt to discuss the subject together would be an impossibility, it is all I expect. If your knowledge of the New Testament had been of your own getting, unwarped by the devices of a Church of which it has always been the avowed doctrine to use every means which the age will allow to force men to agree to its own interpretations, I could go much farther, and could show you that taking every book of the New Testament to be an authority to that extent only in which it was recognised as an authority in the first three centuries, and taking the words in their most probable meaning, there is no ground of fear for any honest man who uses the best means in his power to come at truth.