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THERE was a time when a story such as I have tried to write would have helped me-would have saved me some anxious thought and not a little blind groping for a path out of the maze of error and uncertainty in which early teaching left me.

It is for such as may still be thus groping, driven to think, powerless to decide, fearful, it may be, of their own thoughts - it is for such chiefly that these pages are written.

And they are written with a due sense of the obligation to be truthful and just which rests upon him who takes for his theme deep-rooted, lifelong beliefs and motives and feelings of a vast number of his fellow-men-an obligation no less binding when the inquiry is clothed with flesh and quickened to life in a story than when it takes the form of purely historic narrative and argument.

And finally, they are written in the firm conviction that it is the honest course, the proper, safe, patriotic, humane course, from the standpoint of the broadest and highest public good, for men who have become convinced of the untruth and evil effects of any religious or political or social tenet, to come out and say what they think; to the end that all mankind may the sooner reach that truth which leads men by sound doctrines to the noblest life.”

ERNEST E. RUSSELL.

10-3-34 m

NEW YORK CITY,

June, 1896.

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