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THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN.
THOUGH entirely unknown to you by name
or fame, I am bold to dedicate this work to you:
Because, if I am in error, I believe you to have the wit to detect and the skill to refute it:
Because, if I am in the right, I believe you to have sagacity to perceive and candour to admit it, and honesty and courage to avow your convictions: And,
Because I am not aware that the following pages contain any thing incompatible with the doctrines of that Church of which your Lordship is so firm a pillar, and so fair an
I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship's obliged servant,
In the following work the reader will probably remark some things on which the Author wishes to say a few words.
In the first place, he will perhaps object to the frequency and length of the quotations from Scripture, instead of the passages being referred to.
To this the reply is: That the main object of the work being to shew the Scripture doctrine of Man's nature, it was impossible to attain that object without adducing numerous passages from the Sacred writings in proof of the soundness of the views taken. Many texts also had to be cited and explained, which, had they been overlooked or omitted, might have been afterwards appealed to as contradictory to the hypothesis set up. The passages themselves, therefore, have been made an integral portion of the work, instead of being merely referred to, not only because they are necessary links in the chain of argument, but because their language is more
forcible and irrefragable than any other that could be devised.
In the next place, it may be thought that the argument is too redundant, and is too frequently re-stated. But it was my wish to carry, if possible, the same full and irresistible conviction to the minds of others, which I feel myself; and to leave no very material portion of a subject of such vital importance untouched, though at the risk of being deemed prolix. Truth is the thing I have in view, and if the belief in it be established, either by an acknowledgment of the soundness of my argument, or an irresistible refutation of it, my object will have been equally obtained.
I have only to add, that as, during the progress of this work, I have carefully abstained from every, even the smallest, iota of conversational discussion on its subject matter; so, after its publication, I hope nothing shall tempt me into a vivá voce debate concerning its merits or demerits; since the cause which it advocates can, in such case, scarcely fail to suffer from the unavoidable insufficiency of the support so received. My opinions are recorded by the press: those who dissent from may refute them, if they can, through the same medium.