[PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION - 1874]
THE present work is the result of many years of earnest and serious investigation, undertaken in the first instance for the regulation of personal belief, and now published as a contribution towards the establishment of Truth in the minds of others who are seeking for it. The author's main object has been to conscientiously and fully state the facts of the case, to make no assertions the grounds for which are not clearly given, and as far as possible to place before the reader the materials from which a judgment may be intelligently formed regarding the important subject discussed.
The great Teacher is reported to have said: "Be ye
approved money-changers," wisely discerning the gold of Truth, and
no man need hesitate honestly to test its reality, and
unflinchingly to reject base counterfeits. It is obvious that the
most indispensable requisite in regard to Religion is that it
should be true. No specious hopes or flattering promises can have
the slightest value unless they be genuine and based on substantial
realities. Fear of the results of investigation should deter no
man, for the issue in any case is gain: emancipation from delusion
or increase of assurance. It is poor honour to sequester a creed
from healthy handling, or to shrink from the serious examination of
its doctrines. That which is true in Religion cannot be shaken;
that which is false no one can desire to preserve.