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To aid the great cause of Truth in its struggles through the age, so far as an infant may aid an angel, is the purpose of this volume.
The power which any book, the worthiest book-any man, the worthiest mansess, now-a-days, is very small. With men who think at all, individualism is a stern creed. Books like this, then, which you hold in your hand, possess a very inconsiderable share of power indeed. But there is a strange pleasure in communicating their thinkings and readings to their immediate fellow-thinkers and readers, and to this pleasure I plead guilty.. I have jotted down the things in this book, not with the idea that any words of mine can be weighty enough to give a faith or a form to the intellect or the affections, but with the idea that they may, perhaps, awaken some minds to inquiry into the various matters of human and social interest, and, perhaps, tend to confirm in some the belief in a Providence watching over the Age, and all Ages; and the belief further, in the high privilege conferred upon man to be a “ fellow-worker” with that Providence for the weal of the globe.
I have used the pronoun in a very arbitrary manner; I am aware of it. The critics won't trouble their pates about me or my book. Probability is that it will be read by scarce any one out of my own circle of friends, and I am sure of pardon there.
Finally when I had proceeded in the printing of the volume some hundred and fifty pages, I found that I had heaped together so much matter beyond the possible space of publication, that I was obliged to condense ; hence the brevity of the latter chapters as compared with the first.
E. P. H.
Fulford, near York,
March 7th, 1850.