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Nunquam autem invenietur (quod quæritur) si contenti fuerimus inventis. Præ.
JOHN MARDON, FARRINGDON STREET;
CHARLES FOX, 67, PATERNOSTER ROW.
UNITARIANS OF LIVERPOOL.
MY RESPECTED FRIENDS,
IF, when the work to which I now have the honour of prefixing your name, first appeared, I had possessed my present full knowledge of you, I should not have to regret, that the token of respect and esteem I now offer you, has not the attraction of novelty to recommend it. Yet I can enjoy the satisfaction, that since a second edition of this work has long been called for, I am not attaching your name to an ephemeral pamphlet. I do not feel, however, the slightest touch of vanity in alluding to the favour hitherto shewn to this small treatise, for being perfectly aware of the cause of my success, I cannot be proud of it.
I know that the only advantage I possess in treating the subject of Heresy and Orthodoxy, is my own long and painful experience in religious matters; an experience which has been obtained on the indispensable condition of all progress-the commission of mistakes, and the painful operation of retrieving them.
Another excuse for the liberty I take in this dedication is, that but for you, my Unitarian Friends of Liverpool, this second edition would have been delayed for an indefinite period. It was my
desire that the re-appearance of this work should not take place till after my death—an event which, as it must be known to most, if not all of you, has been more or less immediately expected during a distressing illness, which will soon be of two years' continuance. In the expectation of my final deliverance from suffering, I finished, on the 27th of October, 1837, the revisal of a copy which I committed to the hands of a dear friend, one of your Gospel Ministers. In those faithful hands it would have remained, together with my Autobiography—a work which must be posthumous - had it not been for the strange attack, which certain clergymen of this town, urged by the bitter zeal inseparable from the notion of Orthodoxy, thought it, no doubt, their duty to make upon all Unitarians. A challenge appeared in the journals of Liverpool, in which it was declared that we are out of the pale of Christianity; that our theological opinions must be the result of gross ignorance or dishonesty-perhaps of both; with many other insults, couched in the language of professional sanctity. Thus Unitarians were devoted, to the utmost extent of the accusers' influence and weight, to the mixed execration and contempt of the public.
The nature and practical consequences of an enthusiastic sense of personal infallibility are too familiar to me, that I should feel more than a transient pang whenever a fresh instance of this kind of persecution presents itself. I confess that the proclamation of the Liverpool crusade had no other effect, when it reached my secluded sick-chamber : my first wish was, that the spiritual champions should have the field to themselves ; that they might enjoy their imaginary triumph among a crowd of predetermined admirers, an audience ready to subscribe to whatever their preachers might be willing to assert. I was sure that, in similar cases, the whole travail of the mountain will end in a declamatory repetition of arguments, which have been thousands of times proposed, and as many times answered. I felt confident that none of the Unitarians, who have taken pains to examine their own religious principles, could be taken by surprise; that the clear and rational doctrines to which they have been long accustomed, would not be shaken by the dizzy mysticisms, or the hollow metaphysics of our adversaries.
Our religious Ministers, however, judging more deliberately and maturely than my circumstances demanded of me, resolved to accept the challenge,