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EDMUND BURKE, Efq;
HEN I firft committed the volume, with which I now prefent you, to the public, I was actuated purely by a defire to stop the progrefs of errour, which I feared, from the facrifice that had been made to her, would be mistaken for truth; and as fuch embraced by many unsuspecting, and many indolent perfons. A train of thinking, upon one. fide of the question, had been prescribed to them, and the conclufions, fet up for their affent, abetted by proofs of fincerity, which I apprehended fuch men would confider as the criterion of truth. For their benefit I ventured to interpofe, and, to the best of my power, have pointed out the only premises from which any conclufions in religious enquiry can refult; and from which they may proceed
to draw their own inferences, without being dif tracted by the intervention of fuch as are altogether foreign to the fubject. I have gone yet farther, and, reafoning on the principles I had fet down, have fupplied them with fuch arguments as were amply fufficient to my own conviction; and which, had I not believed them to be fufficient to theirs, I never fhould have given to the world..
But, as I was new, both to that world, and myself as an author, it was natural in me to wish to obtain its fentiments as fpeedily as poffible. To this purpose (which was all that an anonymous writer could do) I directed my printer to prefent copies of my book to a felect number of perfons, who might reasonably be fupposed to lead the fentiments of the public: Perfons on whom, either an exalted ftation, or fomething better than an exalted station, had conferred confequence. I flattered myself that I fhould 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 perfonally addreffed to myfelf, from thofe 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 thefe, Sir, I was favour
ed with your fentiments, delivered to me thro' the medium of my bookfeller's conveyance in the speediest and most polite manner. Let then a Layman, writing on a molt important religious fubject, 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 inveftigating Chriftian, had already fo ably, fo eloquently, fo zealously combated in her caufe, muft, in any fituation, have been a pleasing circumftance. In mine it was much more; for when I perceived myself abetted by your favourable judgment, it gave me the fulleft reafon to hope, that my well-meant endeavours, to fatisfy the fcruples of men, who object upon one particular ground, would be attended with fuccefs; efpecially as I might now take the liberty of infcribing that work to you, from whofe 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 teftimony, I may add, that I republish with a certainty of being useful. I may indeed confider myself as having anfwered Mr. Lindfey's book in a manner originally foreign from my intention,