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them, since they afford thee an Opportunity of the like Diversion, if thou wilt
make use of thy own Thoughts in reading. ’Tis to them, if thy are they own,
that I referr my self: But if they are taken upon Trust from others, ’tis no
great Matter what they are, they not following Truth, but some meaner
Consideration: and’tis not worth while to be concerned, what he says or
thinks, who says or thinks only as he is directed by another. If thou judgest for
thy self, I know thou wilt judge candidly; and then I shall not be harmed or
offended, whatever be thy Censure. For though it be certain, that there is
nothing in this Treatise of the Truth whereof I am not fully persuaded; yet
I consider my self as liable to Mistakes, as I can think thee; and know, that
this Book must stand or fall with thee, not by any Opinion I have of it, but
thy own. If thou findest little in it new or instructive to thee, thou art not to
blame me for it. It was not meant for those, that had already mastered this
Subject, and made a through Acquaintance with their own Understandings;
but for my own Information, and the Satisfaction of a few Friends, who ac-
knowledged themselves not to have sufficiently considered it. Were it fit to
trouble thee with the History of this Essay, I should tell thee that five or six
Friends meeting at my Chamber, and discoursing on a Subject very remote
from this, found themselves quickly at a stand, by the Difficulties that rose on
every side. After we had a while puzzled our selves, without coming any
nearer a Resolution of those Doubts which perplexed us, it came into my
Thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and that, before we set our selves
upon Enquiries of that Nature, it was necessary to examine our own
Abilities, and see, what Objects our Understandings were, or were not fitted
to deal with. This I proposed to the Company, who all readily assented; and
thereupon it was agreed, that this should be our first Enquiry. Some hasty and
undigested Thoughts, on a Subject I had never before considered, which I set
down against our next Meeting, gave the first entrance into this Discourse,
which having been thus begun by Chance, was continued by Intreaty;
written by incoherent parcels; and, after long intervals of neglect, resum’d
again, as my Humour or Occasions permitted; and at last, in a retirement,
where an Attendance on my Health gave me leisure, it was brought into that
order, thou now seest it.
      This discontinued way of writing my have occasioned, beside others, two
contrary Faults,
viz. that too little, and too much may be said in it. If thou
findest any thing wanting, I shall be glad, that what I have writ, gives thee
any Desire, that I should have gone farther: If it seems too much to thee, thou
must blame the Subject; for when I first put Pen to Paper, I thought all I
should have to say on this Matter, would have been contained in one sheet of

Locke Hum EpR, p. 7