Caution to the Reader.
Saint Martin

Reader, if you resolve courageously to draw from the well of this author's works, judged by the learned in the human order as those of a madman, you will assuredly not need mine. But if, though you may not penetrate all the depths which he will present to your mind, you are not firmly established on at least the main points which I have just passed in review before your eyes; if you still doubt the sublime nature of your being, notwithstanding the decisive proofs you might, on the slightest examination, find in yourself; if you are not equally convinced of your degradation, written in letters of iron in the disquietudes of your heart or in the dark delirium of your thoughts; if you do not feel that your absolutely exclusive work is to concentrate all your tame to the reestablishment of your being in the active enjoyment of those ancient domains of Truth which ought to be `yours by right of inheritance; go no farther. The object of my writing is not to establish these foundations over again; they have been solidly laid already.

I have the right here to suppose all these grounds admitted, and we are not now called upon to prove them. In a word, this is not an elementary book: I have done my duty in that respect. This work presupposes all the notions I have just laid down, and will suit only such as hold them, or, at least, such as have not absolutely declared against them. I shall apply myself chiefly to the contemplation of the sublime rights originally granted to us by the Most High, and to deploring, with my fellow-creatures, the lamentable condition in which they now languish, compared with that for which they were destined by their nature. I shall, at the same time, show the consolations which are still in their reach, and, above all, the hope they may yet entertain of again becoming the Lord's
workmen, as originally intended; and this part of my work will not be that which is least attractive to me, so great is my desire that, amidst the evils which are eating them up, instead of losing courage and giving themselves to despair, they should begin by seeking strength, not only to bear but to conquer them, and to come so close to Life, that Death shall be ashamed of having thought of making them his prey; so much do I wish, I say, that they should fulfill in spirit and in truth the object for which they received their being.