From “A Friend to the Christian Religion” (“Goodwill”)
Philadelphia, April 28, 1811.
Being now indulged with leisure to investigate any subject, a privilege which you did not once enjoy, permit a friend, who sincerely wishes your present peace & eternal happiness, to ask you to reexamine1 the evidences in favor of the christian religion. If, Sir, you will have the goodness to peruse with candor Bishop Porteus’ evidences in favor of the Christan religion, Leslies short method with the deist; Butlers Analogy & Dr. Paley’s Natural Theology. If, sir, you will peruse these books with candor I am certain you will find your reward,
A friend to the Cn. Religion
RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Hon. T. Jefferson Esq.”; endorsed by TJ as an anonymous “religious” letter received 5 May 1811 and so recorded in SJL.
For other letters from this unidentified author, see “Goodwill” to TJ, 20 June 1809, and Anonymous to TJ, 13 Apr., 1 June, 24 Aug. 1812. He urged TJ to peruse Beilby Porteus, A Summary of the Principal Evidences for the Truth and Divine Origin of the Christian Revelation (London, 1800); Charles Leslie, A Short and Easie Method with Deists, wherein the certainty of the Christian Religion is demonstrated by infallible proof from Four Rules, in a letter to a friend (London, 1698; for an American ed. see Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 1684); Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature (London, 1736); and William Paley, Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature (London, 1802).
1. Manuscript: “rexamine.”
- anonymous correspondence; letters from search
- A Short and Easie Method with Deists (Leslie) search
- A Summary of the Principal Evidences for the Truth and Divine Origin of the Christian Revelation (Porteus) search
- Butler, Joseph; The Analogy of Religion search
- Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; anonymous letters to search
- Leslie, Charles; A Short and Easie Method with Deists search
- Natural Theology (Paley) search
- Paley, William; Natural Theology search
- Porteus, Beilby; A Summary of the Principal Evidences for the Truth and Divine Origin of the Christian Revelation search
- religion; works on search
- The Analogy of Religion (Butler) search
- “Goodwill” (“A Friend to the Christian Religion”); letters from search