In this essay, Bernard Cracroft discusses toleration and religious doubt,
praising the latter as “the primary dissolvent of error, the
harbinger of approaching truth” (611). Though Cracroft takes his subject seriously,
his prose here is wittier than most of the articles in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. As Fulford does in his
essay on women’s
education, Cracroft responds to specific works,
including Conybeare’s Perversion, or the Causes of Infidelity. Conybeare is the target of much
of the criticism in this essay.
The second part of the essay, which was left out of the December table of contents, begins
with the argument that “no worship, and no ethical doctrine, ever can be fixed, so long as
humanity is not fixed, but progressive” (646), and continues the
discussion of the relationship between science and religion that was touched
upon in the first part.
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
, 1856, in two parts: the first part in October and the
second part in November.