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DE DI CAT I O N.
EDMUND BURKE, Esq;
HEN I first committed the volume,
with which I now present you, to the public, I was actuated purely by a desire to stop the progress of errour, which I feared, from the sacrifice that had been made to her, would be mistaken for truth; and as such embraced by many unsuspecting, and many indolent persons. A train of thinking, upon one side of the question, had been prescribed to them, and the conclusions, set up for their affent, abetted by proofs of sincerity, which I apprehended such men would consider as the criterion of truth. For their benefit I ventured to interpose, and, to the best of my power, have pointed out the only premises from which any conclusions in religious enquiry can result; and from which they may proceed
to draw their own inferences, without being dirtracted by the intervention of such as are altogether foreign to the subject. I have gone yet farther, and, reasoning on the principles I had fet down, have fupplied them with such arguments as were amply fufficient to my own conviction; and which, had I not believed them to be suficient to theirs, I never should have given to the world.
But, as I was new, both to that world, and myself as an author, it was natural in one to with to obtain its sentiments as fpeedily as poffible. To this purpose (which was all that an anonymous writer could do) I directed my printer to present copies of my book to a select number of persons, who might reasonably be fupposed to lead the sentiments of the public: Persons on whom, .either an exalted station, or something better than an exalted stacion, had conferred consequence. ! Battered myself that I should the more readily learn their opinion of my work, (if a favourable one) by taking this method of foliciting their, perufal of it. I was not disappointed'; for though I have not much to boast of any approbation personally addressed to myfelf, from those who have drawn their honours from the royal fountain, yet I was not unnoticed by others, who derive theirs from the clear and unpolluted fpring of merit. Amongst the first of these, Sir, I was favoured with your sentiments, delivered to me thro' the medium of my bookseller's conveyance in the speedieft and most polise manner. Let then a Layman, writing on a moit important religious subject, make his boast, that he can, at least, produce credentials in his favour from a layman, and that layman Mr. Edmund Burke.
To have found an ally in a person who had himself maintained the establishment of the church; who, as a friend to truth, and as an investigating Christian, had already so ably, fo eloquently, so zealously combated in her cause, muft, in any situation, have been a pleasing circumstance. In mine it was much more; for when I perceived nyself abetted by your favourable judgment, it gave me the fullest reason to hope, that my well-meant endeavours, to satisfy the scruples of men, who object upon one particular ground, would be attended with success; especially as I might now take the liberty of inscribing that work to you, from whose approbation alone it could derive the confidence to claim your patronage.
When I have thus made it known to the world that you have borne me a favourable testimony, I may add, that I republish with a certainty of being useful. I may indeed confider myself as having answered Mr. Lindsey's book in a manner originally foreign from my