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TASK OF TO-DAY.
BY EVANS BELL.
“ Let each considerate person have his way, and see what it will lead to. For not this man, but all men make up mankind, and their united tasks the task of mankind.”--SARTOR RESARTUS.
AS A PLEDGE OF FRIENDSHIP AND RESPECT,
GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE
I DEDICATE THIS BOOK,
A FEEBLE ATTEMPT TO FOLLOW IN THAT PATH
WHICH HIS COURAGE AND ENDURANCE
HAVE SO GREATLY CONTRIBUTED TO CLEAR,
AND HIS WRITINGS AND ELOQUENCE
TO DIGNIFY AND ILLUMINATE.
THERE are many people calling themselves Protestants, and boasting of their right of private judgment, who look upon open and searching inquiry into the truth of religion as wicked presumption. I could have no hope of convincing these persons of my modesty and good intentions by any apologetic or deferential professions. And, indeed, no apology for writing this book could fall from my lips or my pen with any degree of sincerity. I owe no apology to any one for making my matured convictions public, when they have assumed an articulate form. Worthless as they may be, they are no longer my own property; and as the alternative of not publishing or avowing my opinions, I should be compelled at the least to give a hypocritically silent assent to a system which in my heart and mind I deny and deprecate. My opinion of the error and danger of such desertion of an obvious duty I have expressed in the concluding chapter, but I have laid little stress on the venomous and withering effect which such concealment produces upon the individual character. A penalty must and will be exacted in loss of self-respect, of temper, and of a purpose in life. And this for my part I do not choose to endure any longer. He who shirks the first