A treatise by E. Burke, published anonymously 1756, his first substantial work. It is an ironical answer to Bolingbroke's indictment of revealed religion, in imitation of his style and in the form of a reductio ad absurdum; it was so successful a parody that even Warburton was deceived by it, and in 1765 Burke published another edition with a preface explaining his ironical stance. Bolingbroke had exalted the claims of natural religion by pointing to the unfortunate results of religious creeds; Burke points to the evil results of artificial society and the artificial division of rich and poor, but expects his exposition to reinforce ‘the necessity of political institutions, weak and wicked as they are’.
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Edmund Burke (1729—1797) politician and author