Historical Reprints Philosophical Legacy to the Friends of Free Discussion (price saver edition)

Legacy to the Friends of Free Discussion (price saver edition)

Legacy to the Friends of Free Discussion (price saver edition)
Catalog # SKU3813
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Benjamin Offen
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


A Legacy
to the
Friends of Free Discussion

Principal Historical Facts &
Personages of the Books
Known as the Old & New Testament;
With Remarks on the Morality of Nature

Benjamin Offen

IN the following pages the author has freely discussed the claims of the books called the Old and New Testaments, to be considered Divine revelations. He had a right so to do; and in presenting the work to the public he gives the result of his exercise of such right.



The right of free discussion has been questioned. It would be well for humanity if this were all; but unhappily, the pages of history are replete with deeds of persecution and cruelty, committed by men, in the possession of power, on their less fortunate fellow-men, who have presumed to exercise the right of free investigation. Cupidity has drawn a line of demarcation; it has established boundaries for thought; and miserable has been the fate of the unhappy wretch who, rejoicing in the dignity of his nature, and anxious to discover the abode of Truth, has dared to pass the Rubicon.

What is Free Discussion? We answer, it is the exercise of the reasoning faculties. Without Free Discussion man cannot exist. His physical existence might indeed remain; but he could no longer be deemed a man; and would have to take a lower rank in the scale of creation.

Without investigation it is impossible to arrive at Truth; hence the utility of Free Discussion. This is never denied when science is the subject; and we have yet to learn why it should be restrained in any case; and also how and when any set of men became possessed of the right to restrain the exercise of the reasoning faculties of their fellow-men.

When men have not been impelled by cupidity to shackle the minds of their fellow beings, a spirit of uncharitableness has induced them to pursue the same line of conduct. Whoever has maintained an opinion contrary to theirs, has been considered as being actuated, not by mistaken, but, by dishonest motives; and has therefore been deemed a fit subject for punishment. As this work will probably be read by many professing Christians we will here give an extract from Dr. Blair's sermon on Candor, which will, probably, make a greater impression than any thing we could offer on that subject. "It is one of the misfortunes of our present situation, that some of the good dispositions of human nature are apt to betray us into frailties and vices. Thus it often happens, that the laudable attachment which we contract to the country, or the church, to which we belong, or to some political denomination under which we class ourselves, both confines our affections within too narrow a sphere, and gives rise to violent prejudices against such as come under an opposite description. Not contented with being in the right ourselves, we must find all others in the wrong. We claim an exclusive possession of goodness and wisdom: and from approving warmly of those who join us, we proceed to condemn, with much acrimony, not only the principles, but the characters, of those from whom we differ.

Hence, persons of well disposed minds are too often, through the strength of partial good affection, involved in the crime of uncharitable judgment They rashly extend to every individual the severe opinion which they have unwarrantably conceived of a whole body. This man is of a party whose principles we reckon slavish; and therefore his whole sentiments are corrupted. That man belongs to a religious sect which we are accustomed to deem bigoted; and therefore he is incapable of any generous or liberal thought Another is connected with a sect which we have been taught to account relaxed; and therefore he can have no sanctity.-Are these the judgments of candor and charity? Is true piety or virtue so very limited in its nature, as to be confined to such alone as see every thing with our eyes, and follow exactly the train of our ideas?"

The author disclaims any intention of wounding the feelings of those who hold opinions different to his own. For the religions hypocrite he has no bowels of compassion; but the sincere believer in Divine revelation, whose conduct is regulated by the universally acknowledged roles of morality, is to him an object of sincere respect and esteem.

Many things connected with what is called Divine revelation, have been very freely commented on by the author; and sometimes in a style which the Christian world will probably be disposed to condemn; but it should be remembered that what appears sacred to one, excites the ridicule of others. The Pagan venerates his manufactured god; the Christian views it with contempt and indignation. The object of the author has been the promotion of Truth and Benevolence.

Should he fail to produce the effects he has contemplated, he will yet be able to console himself with the reflection, that he has been actuated by good intentions. The time has been when the assertion was frequently made that "hell was paved with good intentions" had the work appeared at that time, the author would, doubtless, have been destined, so far as human agency could effect it, to become one of the paving stones of that remarkable edifice: but a brighter day has dawned upon the world; Reason is asserting her right to empire; and the cheering spirit of benevolence is animating the nations of the earth.

The shades of life's evening admonish the author that his sojourn in the world will very shortly be brought to a close. He is anxious, therefore, before his departure, to cast in his mite for the eradication of human suffering, and the promotion of human felicity; and then, in wrapping himself in the mantle of universal benevolence, to retire from the transitory scene, in charity with all men.

280 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover - Print size, 13 point font

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