THUS much I thought it proper to premise, not to serve as an apology for the design of this tract, (the design surely needs no apology, whatever the world may judge of the execution) but to expose the shallowness of that pretext, under which the advocates for infidelity in this age commonly take shelter. Whilst therefore we enforce an argument, which, in support of our religion, was so frequently insisted on by its divine founder, we will not dread the reproachful titles of dangerous friends, or disguised enemies of revelation. Such are the titles, which the writer, whose sentiments we propose in these papers to canvass, hath bestow’d on his antagonists; not, I believe, through malice against them, but as a sort of excuse for himself, or at least a handle for introducing a very strange and unmeaning compliment to the religion of his country, after a very bold attempt to undermine it. We will however do him the justice to own, that he hath put it out of our power to retort the charge. No intelligent person, who hath carefully perused the Essay on Miracles, will impute to the author either of those ignominious characters.
My primary intention in undertaking an answer to the aforesaid essay, hath invariably been, to contribute all in my power, to the defense of a religion, which I esteem the greatest blessing conferred by Heaven on the sons of men. It is at the same time a secondary motive of considerable weight, to vindicate philosophy, at least that most important branch of it which ascertains the rules of reasoning, from those absurd consequences, as I imagine, which this author’s theory naturally leads us to. The theme is arduous. The adversary is both subtle and powerful. With such an adversary, I should on very unequal terms enter the lists, had I not the advantage of being on the side of truth. And an eminent advantage this doubtless is. It requires but moderate abilities to speak in defence of a good cause. A good cause demands but a distinct exposition and a fair hearing; and we may say with great propriety, it will speak for itself. But to adorn error with the semblance of truth, and make the worse appear the better reason, requires all the arts of ingenuity and invention; arts in which few or none have been more expert than Mr Hume. It is much to be regretted, that on some occasions he hath so ill applied them.
George Campbell, A Dissertation on Miracles (Edinburgh: A. Kincaid & J. Bell, 1762), pp. 4-6.