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Twelve months ago, the thought of preparing for publication the matter of this book had not entered my mind. Then the labor was not to my taste, nor is it now. The business of cxposing to public view the crimes, or the errors, even, of a fellow-being is more than distasteful to me—it is abhorrent to my whole moral nature-unless, the labor is imperatively demanded by the moral exigencies of the case. This book is more the result of a necessity laid upon me than the work of my choice-fidelity to my convictions of truth and duty has caused me to render voluntary obedience in giving form to this work. Something more than a year ago, I commenced to prepare for publication & work expressing my views of Nature, of Religion, of Man, of Man's social and political relations, and his rights and obligations as a member of a civil community_his relations to civil government, the obligations which exist between the individual and government, and the government and the individual.
I had prepared the First Part of that work and progressed toward the completion of the Second Part, before I became fully convinced of the utter impossibility of presenting, effectively, for good, my views of religion, and more especially of the Christian religion, so long as the Mosaic record was believed to be a truthful record, and that the teachings of Moses were dictated by the spirit of God, our heavenly Father. In any position that I took, on the Christian religion, and in every attempt to elucidate my views of it, I found Moses hedged up my way to the minds of the religious world in Christendom, so called, and in Jewry.
So, in fact, the principles which Jesus of Nazareth taught were of no effect, because of the Mosaic standard erected by the popular religionists of the day—the religion of the Father inculcated by Jesus had been supplanted by the materialistic religion of Moses; and the ethics which Jesus taught, and were the essence of his religion, were thrust aside by the popular religious teachers of the day, and the antagonistic moral code of Moses enthroned in the minds and affections of professed Christians in their stead. Consequently, the only alternative left me was to abandon the work I had commenced, or to remove Moses and his teachings out of the way, by showing the immoral tendency of his example, the untruthful character of his teaching, and the unreliability of the statements of what is said to have been his record. With this alternative before me I, at once, decided upon removing this obstruction out of the way, and engaged in executing my newly-formed purpose, and the following pages form the sequence of that decision.
With the foregoing prefatory remarks, this work is now submitted to the candid consideration of the reading public.
MERRITT MUNSON. GENESEO, ILL., November, 1865.