William Paley (1743-1805)
William Paley was born in 1743 at Peterborough,
In 1763 he graduated as Senior Wrangler from Christ’s College, Cambridge.
From 1766 to 1776 he was lecturing at Christ’s College on metaphysics, ethics,
and the Greek Testament. He would spend the remainder of his life as a
clergyman, father, and author of textbooks, earning the position of Archdeacon
of Carlisle and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Cambridge.
He died in 1805. His major works were widely read in
They would remain part of the curriculum at Cambridge
well into the 19th century. 
In order to place the quotation in its original context, both historical and philosophical, it will be helpful to give a brief overview of some relevant points in Paley’s three major works which make up his system of philosophy.
The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785)
Paley defined virtue as “the doing good to mankind, in obedience to the will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness.”  These were not Paley’s own words. Though he did not give their source in Moral Philosophy, he borrowed them verbatim from Edmund Law, Bishop of Carlisle. 
By “everlasting” Paley was referring to “everlasting life” – the Christian reward following death. Paley believed that this expectation of a “future state of reward and punishment”  had to be the motive for moral conduct. 
With man’s “everlasting happiness” as the ultimate goal of moral conduct, Paley had set up a basic utilitarian ethic. He is credited with paving the way for secular utilitarianism, namely Jeremy Bentham. Leslie Stephen barbed, “Bentham is Paley minus a belief in hellfire.” 
Natural Theology, or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature (1802)
The full title of this book gives a good basic definition of natural theology. The basic argument can be found in early Greek writings and was later absorbed by Christianity. It is the “argument from design” which holds that things in nature are designed to fulfill a specific purpose, and therefore must have a Designer. A famous example is the eye. It is designed for seeing. Its design implies a designer. And that designer must be a benevolent Creator. 
Paley may be most famous today for his “watchmaker argument” which opens Natural Theology. He uses the analogy of finding a watch in nature:
“…when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive…that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose…that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are...a different size…placed after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it.” 
Likewise, so should we interpret natural phenomenon. As the watch must have a watchmaker with intent, so does nature have a Creator, and we can learn some specific things about the Creator by studying nature. Paley argued that the specifics of the matter represented the Christian god.
Like other Enlightenment theologians Paley, believed that his religion could withstand scientific scrutiny, in fact that his religion was proved by science.
A View of the Evidences of Christianity (1794)
But natural theology was not a justification for faith, especially for a passionate believer like Paley. Revelation was the real stuff of faith. 
In Evidences of Christianity, Paley argued that the miracles reported in the New Testament are historically accurate and that they establish the truth of the Christian revelation. I will follow Paley’s general argument through Evidences up to his use of the “contempt prior to examination” quotation.
In Part I: On the Direct Historical Evidence of Christianity he builds a case for two major propositions, in his own words:
I. That there is satisfactory evidence that many, professing to be original witnesses of the Christian Miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief of those accounts; and that they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct.
II. That there is not satisfactory evidence, that persons professing to be original witnesses of other miracles, in their nature as certain as these are, have ever acted in the same manner, in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and properly in consequence of their belief of those accounts. 
In Part II he gives various Auxiliary Evidences of Christianity.
Finally, the “contempt prior to examination” quotation appears in the context of Part III: A Brief Consideration of Some Popular Objections. One of the objections to Christianity he challenges is the “Rejection of Christianity” which he describes:
“We acknowledge that the Christian religion, although it converted great numbers, did not produce a universal, or even a general conviction in the minds of men, of the age and countries in which it appeared. And this want of a more complete and extensive success, is called the rejection of
the Christian history and miracles; and has been thought by some to form a strong objection to the reality of the facts which the history contains.” 
Paley proceeds to argue that Christianity was rejected by these ancient peoples due to certain prejudices of their own, rather than due to any shortcoming of the early Christians or Christianity per se.
He divides his argument into two parts, first as concerns the rejection of Christianity by the Jews, and second as concerns the rejection of Christianity by “Heathen nations.” I am including the entire chapter on Rejection of Christianity as Appendix A of this paper for those who wish to read Paley’s entire argument.
As for the Jews he tells us that even though many of them were there to witness the miracles, they could not perceive that the miracles proved that Jesus was the messiah because “their understandings [were] governed by strong prejudices.” 
Paley tells us that two things informed their prejudice. One was their “expectation of a Messiah of a kind totally contrary to what the appearance of Jesus bespoke him to be.” The other was that they believed that the so-called miracles were actually “supernatural effects” produced by demons. 
As for the rejection of Christianity by the Gentiles, the Greeks and Romans, he opens with the quotation:
“The infidelity of the Gentile world, and that more especially of men of rank and learning in it, is resolved into a principle which, in my judgment, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz. contempt prior to examination. The state of religion amongst the Greeks and Romans, had a natural tendency to induce this disposition. Dionysius Halicarnassensis remarks, that there were six hundred different kinds of religions or sacred rites exercised at Rome. The superior classes of the community treated them all as fables. Can we wonder then, that Christianity was included in the number, without inquiry into its separate merits, or the particular grounds of its pretensions?” 
He goes on to say that Christianity “had nothing in its character which immediately engaged their notice” as they were inclined to take an interest in philosophical argument and discussion. “It mixed with no politics. It produced no fine writers. It contained no curious speculations.” It was a system that was foreign and unrelated to anything they were usually preoccupied with. Christianity also had the disadvantage of being connected to Judaism against which they had a strong bias. 
He gives several other minor reasons why the Gentiles rejected Christianity, including a prejudice “against any thing that originates with the vulgar and illiterate.” 
He ends his argument with an assertion that this same “antecedent contempt” which accounts for their rejection of Christianity “accounts also for their silence concerning it. If they had rejected it upon examination, they would have written about it; they would have given their reasons.”  Certain ancient Romans had the opportunity to say more about Christianity, but didn’t. Among these was Tacitus, who dismissed Christianity as a “pernicious superstition.” Tacitus’s failure to say more is “strong proof how little he knew, or concerned himself to know about the matter.” 
In his summary observations of Tacitus’s dismissal of Christianity, he concludes:
“That this contempt prior to examination, is an intellectual vice, from which the greatest faculties of mind are not free. I know not, indeed, whether men of the greatest faculties of mind, are not the most subject to it. Such men feel themselves seated upon an eminence. Looking down from their height upon the follies of mankind, they behold contending tenets wasting their idle strength upon one another, with the common disdain of the absurdity of them all. This habit of thought, however comfortable to the mind which entertains it, or however natural to great parts, is extremely dangerous; and more apt, than almost any other disposition, to produce hasty and contemptuous, and, by consequence, erroneous judgments, both of persons and opinions.” 
He does not say anything about ignorance in connection with the principle, and no where in any of his writings anything about “everlasting ignorance.”
Paley closes by saying he “think[s] it by no means unreasonable to suppose, that the Heathen public, especially that part which is made up of men of rank and education, were divided into two classes; those who despised Christianity beforehand, and those who received it.”  He adds that the “Heathen adversaries of Christianity” also dismissed the miracles in the same way the Jews did, that they were produced by demons. 
In 1794 William Paley was defending an orthodoxy that was gradually coming
under increasing attack by skeptical philosophers like David Hume. In
particular it was Hume’s essay against miracles in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) and his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) in which he identified numerous fallacies in the arguments of natural
theologians. Evidences of Christianity was in large part a response to Hume.  Paley’s criticism of the Gentiles is a historical criticism
of an orthodoxy that would not receive the “alternative knowledge” of Christianity,
but it is also a general commentary on contemporary “men of the greatest
faculties of mind.” This may have been a shot at what he perceived as Hume’s personal
In all of the sources reviewed in this paper, the authors who use the misquotation of Paley are generally asserting alternative knowledge. The assertions take the forms of challenging orthodoxy as well as presenting ideas that are outside the mainstream.
So how did this, written in 1794…
“The infidelity of the Gentile world, and that more especially of men of rank and learning in it, is resolved into a principle which, in my judgment, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz. contempt prior to examination.”
…become this by the year 1879…
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is contempt prior to examination.”
One possibility is that Paley paraphrased himself on some other occasion. I have surveyed his complete works, and did not find any variation of the quotation or any other use of the phrase “contempt prior to examination” outside of the chapter on The Rejection of Christianity in Evidences.
Part of my survey was done electronically. Moral Philosophy and Natural Theology are searchable online.  Paley was not a prolific author, and so the remainder of the task was easily accomplished. The Works of William Paley is compressed into a single 604-page volume.  I compared the contents of this volume with the contents of other editions of his complete works and with holdings at the British Library and Library of Congress. I didn’t find any stray works of Paley.
One likely place that Paley may have paraphrased himself would be in his many sermons. These sermons are included in the compressed Works of William Paley. I compared these collected sermons with other editions of his complete works by other authors. There were no differences. The same sermons have been republished again and again. 
Paley’s son Edmund authored a biography of his father, An Account of the Life and Writings of William Paley. The biography stands as the first volume of Edmund Paley’s edition of his father’s complete works. It contains many excerpts from William Paley’s lecture notes, sermons, and personal letters. There is no mention of the quotation anywhere in his son’s book. 
William Paley wrote this quotation in one place. The modified form came from the pen of a Paley admirer. I believe the alteration was deliberate and carefully thought out. It was not the result of a poorly memorized quotation and faulty reproduction, as so many misquotations are.
It may be helpful to speculate some of the thinking that may have been behind the transformation. I don’t regard this exercise as necessary to my thesis that Paley is the originator of this quotation, but regard it as illustrative of the quotation’s development into a form that would survive in secondary sources to modern times.
To begin, we are probably talking about a religious writer who would have taken a special interest in Paley’s works. The author liked the point Paley was making in Evidences, and wanted to use it in the context of his own work. But in order to generalize Paley’s point the writer had to eliminate the specific topic to which Paley was speaking. Thus, the writer was left with the following fragment:
“…a principle which, in my judgment, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz. contempt prior to examination.”
This fragment needed to be strengthened. It would need to become a complete sentence, and any stylistic awkwardness and erudition would need to go. Thus, the phrase “in my judgment” was omitted, and the Latin abbreviation “viz.” was translated to “that is” or “that principle is”:
“There is a principle which will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever – that principle is contempt prior to examination.”
For the sake of clarity, and sharp delivery, the phrase “which will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever” was made less abstract, and a positive rhythm started to take shape.
When a judge “bars evidence,” it is rendered inefficacious. An argument requires proofs, and is rendered inefficacious by sufficient “proofs against.” Thus:
“There is a principle which is a bar against any evidence, and which is proof against any argument – that principle is contempt prior to examination.”
But for this extraction to take on the tone of a moral injunction or proverbial admonition, it needed a little punch. Everlasting life is built into the system of rewards and punishments of the Christian faith. “Everlasting happiness” in a life hereafter was the motive for moral conduct in Paley’s Moral Philosophy. The phrase “which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance” was added to Paley’s words to warn against everlasting ignorance of something specific, probably something to do with God.
The phrase added cadence, and insured that the quotation would not be misinterpreted as meaning that “contempt prior to examination” is a virtuous way to overcome any argument or any evidence.
“There is a principle which is a bar against any evidence, which is proof against any argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to examination.”
This process may have passed through the hands of several authors before it was complete, but something like it happened.
Attributions to Paley
The following several authors have all used variations of the quotation and attributed it to Paley. I will take them chronologically and give descriptions of their general arguments or the movements they represent. My purpose is to draw out some of the themes and similarities that suggest that these authors may have been quoting from a common original source or from each other. This will sketch a very rough lineage for the quotation as attributed to William Paley.
by Rev. William H. Poole
On the title page of this book, Rev. Poole juxtaposes two quotations which impart a very similar admonition:
“’There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.’ –Dr. Paley
A greater than Paley has said: - ‘He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly, and a shame unto him.” --Proverbs xviii. 13.’” 
The proverb is easily verified and possibly informed the rewording of Paley’s original. Whereas Paley’s original did not warn against “everlasting ignorance” or any other consequence for “contempt prior to examination,” the proverb does warn against folly and shame. This may have suggested something about how Paley’s words could be restructured to give a more proverbial sounding quotation. Thus, Rev. Poole could be the author of this famous variation of the quotation, but it’s impossible to draw a firm conclusion about this.
Rev. Poole gives no source for the Paley quotation, and does not discuss Paley anywhere in this book. The book is a lecture on the subject of Anglo-Israelism. Ten years later, in 1889, he used the two quotations again on the title page of a revised and much enlarged edition of this book, Anglo-Israel or The Saxon Race Proved to Be the Lost Tribes of Israel, in Nine Lectures. 
The only difference in Poole’s variation of the quotation in 1889 was the omission of a comma. “This principle is, contempt prior to examination,” became: “This principle is contempt prior to examination.”
Rev. Poole was a Canadian who was a very active proponent of the Anglo-Israel movement. Anglo-Israelism, also called British-Israelism was a religious movement that began in 19th century England. Its basic belief is a revision of history. In 722 B.C.E. the Assyrians invaded the kingdom of Israel. The ten tribes who ruled the northern kingdom were dispersed, and for the most part lost to the historical record. According to Anglo-Israel, the ten lost tribes migrated to the European continent. The tribe of Ephraim settled in the British Isles. 
The corollary of this descent is that people of British descent, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, are the authentic heirs of all of God’s promises to the Jews as revealed by the Old Testament prophets.
British-Israelites took a special interest in another movement of the 19th century called pyramidology. This interest in pyramids is a thematic current which runs through some of the sources that follow. Pyramidology, also known as pyramidism, argued that the Great Pyramid of Giza was a key to biblical prophecy. By measuring the pyramid and studying its geometry, they could decipher the true date of the return of Christ, the return of the Jewish nation to Israel, and other important events in biblical prophecy especially concerning the End Times. The Great Pyramid held all these secrets, and more. Pyramidologists noted that the “pyramid inch” deviated from the British inch by a mere one-thousandth of a British inch. The pyramid inch was derived by dividing the length of one side of the base of the pyramid by British inches. The remainder was then divided into one-thousandths of inches. To them this was evidence that whoever built the pyramid, possibly Noah, later migrated to Englandand brought this ancient unit of measurement with him. 
Rev. Poole acknowledges many well known proponents of both pyramidism and Anglo-Israelism in the opening of his 1879 Anglo-Israel. His lectures in the 1889 edition include a chapter which discusses the symbols used in the Great Seal of the United States. The title of the chapter is The American Ensign and Official Seal, or, The Eagle, The Stars, and the Pyramid, One of the Ancient Banners of Lost Israel Now Found in the Possession of the United States.
by William Lincoln Garver
As an epigraph to the opening of this novel, Garver uses two quotations:
"’There is a principle, proof against all argument, a bar against all progress, and which if persisted in cannot but keep the mind in everlasting ignorance-and that is, contempt prior to examination.’ – Paley.
‘Accept nothing that is unreasonable; discard nothing as unreasonable without proper examination.’ – Buddha.” 
Garver has obviously modified both of these quotations. The quotation attributed to the Buddha was modified with the phrase “without proper examination” to match the one attributed to Paley. A Google search reveals that Garver may be the only source for that wording of anything the Buddha may have said. Though the Buddha did say things about being reasonable, I was unable to find this exact quotation.
Garver’s book was published in Chicago in 1894, just five years after Rev. Poole’s book was published in Detroit. It is nonetheless possible that Garver was quoting from another source that used yet another variation of the quotation.
Brother of the Third Degree is a novel which tells the story of a man who is initiated into a secret occult order. It is the story of his progress up the several degrees of the order. It is the story of the development of the human mind beyond the confines of the body through occult disciplines. It was in this milieu of thought that Garver chose to create his own variation of the quotation.
There are some characters and legends that come up in Brother of the Third Degree that also occur in Masonic and occult literature. An important Masonic symbol appears on the cover of the book. It is the symbol of the crossed compass and square.
There seem to be two basic versions of the history of Freemasonry. One attempts to trace an authentic history which remains incomplete. The other picks up with a blend of legends where the first leaves off. It is this legendary occult version of Masonic origins which ties in with the developing themes in the quotation’s lineage.
It’s nearly impossible to put together a coherent account of Masonic legend because the stories vary from author to author, and there is much disagreement. George Steinmetz is the author of Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning. He uses a variation of the quotation and
attributes it to Herbert Spencer. We will visit Steinmetz’s use of the quotation in a later section of this paper, but for now, Steinmetz provides a clear version of Masonic legend which ties in nicely with the development of the themes we are investigating:
“We are told that Masonry was originated by King Solomon at the building of his Temple. However, it is a well established fact that Masonry is an ancient esoteric philosophy of life, ancient even in King Solomon’s day.
“This philosophy has been traced back to the ‘Lost Continent of Atlantis.’ The Great Masters, the “Noahs,” of the time, warned of the impending doom of the continent, assembled the ‘worthy and well qualified’ of their followers and migrated to Africa. They took with them the truths of that philosophy and re-established it in their new dwelling place.”
“Regardless of the origin of the modern lodge, or of the name “Freemason,” we can, after freeing the symbolism of modern adaptations, discern in Freemasonry the outline of the teachings of the ancient mysteries of Egypt. ONE SUPREME BEING—IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL—THE THREE FOLD COMPOSITION OF MAN…” 
Steinmetz devotes a large portion of his book to explaining the meaning of occult symbols used in Freemasonry and their mystical significance.
Variations of the story say that the Freemasons eventually found their way to Scotlandhundreds of years ago where the first Masonic lodge is thought to exist. Some say that the Holy Grail is hidden there.
Comte de Saint Germain is a legendary figure of 18th century France who is said to have had a profound influence on Freemasonry, even founding some of its rites and orders. By one account he actually founded Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism (also called Egyptian Freemasonry) in Englandwhile assuming the identity of Francis Bacon. His origins were unknown, and he vanished from history in the late 18th century. He was said to have been ageless, and some people believe that he is still living. He figures into versions of Masonic legend, and he appears in Brother of the Third Degree as a high initiate of the secret order in which the main character is progressing. 
At one stage of his progress, one of the high adepts, speaking of the origins of the order, explains that they “left the lost Atlantis for a new home in the land of the Pyramids.” 
During the 19th century there was a large occult movement across Europe as well as in the United States. Madame Blavatsky founded her Theosophical Society which studied all manner of occult and Oriental mysticism. Blavatsky herself claimed to be a reincarnated citizen of Atlantis, and she wrote about the Atlantean origins of ancient Egyptand the mystical powers of the pyramids. Blavatsky’s writings were required reading for the main character in Brother of the Third Degree.
There’s little doubt that there was some cross-reading of material from all sorts of fringe religious movements by people who were interested in the occult. Anglo-Israel pyramidology material may have been included in this literary milieu.
1912: Zion’s Watchtower
a periodical publication of Jehovah’s Witnesses
This small pamphlet does not attribute the quotation to Paley. I am including it in this section rather than in the section on Herbert Spencer because it fits nicely into the religious context of the sources that attribute the quotation to Paley.
The variation is a wild rewording and appears in the context of a mail order advertisement for Pastor Russell’s Scripture Studies in six volumes:
“ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST OBSERVERS AND CRITICS ONCE SAID:
There is one thing which constitutes an effectual barrier against all progress; which holds out a restraining hand against the onward march of all attainment; which damps the glow of study and research; which blocks the channel to an endless succession of happinesses; and that thing is--
‘CONDEMNATION WITHOUT INVESTIGATION’” 
This is a good example of how misquotations can be taken a leap farther away from the original. It puts the leap from Paley’s original to Rev. Poole’s variation into some perspective. Here the word “progress” is used to replace the word “information.” This could be coincidental, or it may point to a common source.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by a man named Charles T. Russell (1852-1916) who got his religious beginnings as a member of the Second Adventists. Soon he had his own group of followers. He disagreed with some of the Adventist ideas and decided to form his own movement, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which later adopted the name, Jehovah’s Witnesses. 
Adventists and Watchtower Society members shared a strong belief in their ability to predict the return of Christ. This was an event which they expect to happen in their own lifetimes. Scripture was their oracle rather than the Great Pyramid as in the case of the pyrimidologists and British-Israelites.
Though I found no direct links between British-Israelism and Adventism or the Watchtower Society, the similar interests of these movements could have put their members in touch with some of the same religious reading.
by Ralph F. Becker
There are no occult themes in this short pamphlet, but Becker may have found the Paley quotation in Rev. Poole’s book or in a book that was quoting Rev. Poole. Becker is taking an extreme Protestant sectarian view of the religious holidays of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. He argues that these holidays should not be celebrated by Christians because of their Pagan origins. This is in step with the official position of Jehovah’ Witnesses on these holidays.
Though he may have not accepted Christian Identity himself, Becker’s extreme Protestant leanings in general could have given him some exposure to British-Israel, Christian Identity, Adventist, or Watchtower literature. Here is the quotation in the context of Becker’s argument:
“One of the greatest of all abominations to God is false worship. Romanism is the extreme ultra-development of Satanic subtlety in worship. For she [Roman Catholicism] is very Babylon in idolatry under the disguise and name of Christ!
“Christian! How then can you take part in her sins? How can you keep the feasts of paganism and join its unholy corruption to the Wonderful Name of Christ?
“Now, there may be some who read this who will be disposed to utterly condemn what is written in this tract. Let them consider here the words of the great Dr. Paley: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information; which is proof against all argument, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is ‘CONTEMPT prior to EXAMINATION’.”
“However I am sure that every honest soul will be inclined to search himself and try his ways as he reads on, and if he is guilty of observing paganism will become sorrowful and say to Christ in tears ‘Is it I?’ (Mark 14:19). Only the unsound and unreal resent searching.” 
There are several grammatical differences from Rev. Poole’s variation, but Becker even attributes the quotation to a Dr. Paley, as does Rev. Poole. Furthermore Becker refers to Paley as “the great Dr. Paley.” On Rev. Poole’s title page Paley’s comparative “greatness” is implied by Poole’s use of the phrase “A greater than Paley has said:” to introduce the proverb.
It seems unlikely that a mid-20th-century American would know who this Dr. Paley was. The title of “doctor” was used in deference to William Paley’s Doctorate of Divinity by some 19th century author, perhaps Rev. Poole who may have even had Paley as required
reading as part of his own
education. Paley’s textbooks fell out of use later in
the 19th century. Becker was merely following suit. He used the same
attribution as his source, but probably had no idea who Dr. Paley was. If Rev. Poole was not his source, Becker probably inherited the quotation
from a lineage that can be traced to Poole.
1991: The Highgate Vampire
by Sean Manchester
Bishop Sean Manchester is a vampirologist and exorcist. In this second edition of his book, he gives his firsthand account of how he exorcized a contagion of vampirism from London’s Highgate Cemetery. His introduction opens with the following epigraph:
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is contempt prior to examination.” – William Paley 
Herbert Spencer is buried at Highgate Cemetery, not far from the grave of his dear friend, Mary Evans (George Eliot). Visiting the graves of these 19th century luminaries may have become overshadowed by the tourist interest in Manchester’s vampire story.
Sean Manchester is a bishop of the Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail which was founded at Glastonbury by Joseph of Arimathea, a New Testament character who was a wealthy disciple of Christ. Joseph took Christ’s body following the crucifixion and placed him in a tomb. Nothing more is said of Joseph’s life after Christ’s interment. But legend picks up where the biblical narrative leaves off. Joseph is said to have landed at Glastonbury along with other early Christians. He brought the Holy Grail with him, and his landing marked the arrival of Christianity in Britainas well as the foundation of Bishop Manchester’s church.  This story plays into Arthurian legend and the quest for the Holy Grail by the Nights of the Round Table.
I tried to contact Sean Manchester to learn of his source for the quotation. I was only able to communicate with a liaison who told me that the Bishop was too busy to reply personally, but that the Bishop wished to relay that the quotation may have come from Paley’s Moral Philosophy. I wrote back explaining that I had already determined that it wasn’t in Moral Philosophy or any of Paley’s other works, and asked if the Bishop could perhaps recall a secondary source in which he may have found the quotation. I did not receive a second reply.
Sean Manchester’s variation and the variation that Rev. Poole used in Anglo-Israel (1889) are identical. Combining this legend of the origins of Christianity in the land of the Anglo-Saxons with the legend of Anglo-Israel we might have a fascinating tale of how the ten lost tribes of Israellearned of the Christian revelation. Considering the themes involved and the verbatim quotation, it’s reasonable to conclude that if Bishop Manchester did not get the quotation directly from Rev. Poole’s book, he received it from the same lineage of secondary sources. Manchester does not attribute the quotation to Dr. Paley as do Poole and Becker, but deducing that Dr. Paley is William Paley, D.D. requires no more than some basic Internet research skills.
This concludes my review of authors who attribute the quotation to William Paley. Freemasonry, Anglo-Israelism, Pryamidism, fringe religion, and the occult in general share some overlapping interests. Though we can’t be absolutely sure that one author had another as his source, the thematic relationships between these authors’ works suggest that this quotation has survived the past two centuries in literature from movements which present alternative knowledge, and that these authors may from time to time been working from common sources.
Endnotes for page 2; section on William Paley