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My LORDS, I dedicate most cheerfully to you did following authentic and authenticated report of my latest and last Public Controversial Discussion. Whatever it contains serviceable to religion, calculated to purge from the leprosy of sin, and lead to the salutary fountain of truth, is sure of receiving the warmest approbation of your Lordships. Whatever it contains painful to the feelings, or offensive even to the religious prejudices of our dissenting fellow Christians, your Lordships will peruse with regret. and I would cancel with pleasure, if the sacred cause of truth could suffer me to make the sacrifice. Ever prepared to defend the “ blessed dogmas” of the “one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”the church instituted by Christ-established by his Apostles-approved by the Scriptures-watered by the tears, and cemented by the blood of innumerable martyrs-canonized by venerable antiquityconsecrated by unbroken tradition-and rendered every where visible by her symbolised ubiquity. Ever, I repeat, ready to defend her, I have never willingly and obtrusively made war on the churches or conventicles of others. In all my polemical disputations, public and private, I have never in any instance, volunteered the controversy. I was too conscious of security in the soundness and divinity of my own religion, to envy others the freest enjoyment of theirs.
If, in my portion of the Discussion, any proposition should be unfortunately found injurious to the rights of the Apostolic See, or in its remotest consequences non-conformable to the immutable princi ples of Catholic unity, that proposition I am ready to retract; if necessary, to anathematize. *
On this, as on all other occasions, I am fully prepared humbly and implicitly to submit myself, for conscience sake, to the constituted authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ. Without this test of truth-without this “shield of faith”—without this ready and "reasonable obedience,” unity, as a divine mark of the Catholic Church, would be an insult to the human understanding. I owe it however to the great cause, of which, rather by accident than design, I became the humble advocate, to declare that, at present, I know not of any such proposition. That as far as my shallow judgment can penetrate, I have nothing connected with doctrine io soften, nothing to qualify, nothing to extenuate. I owe it also to the same glorious cause, to the centre of unity, to the Bishops and Clergy of Ireland, 10 Protestant and Catholic, to “Trojan and Tyrian," jo enter this my most solemn and public protest against the speeches ascribed to me by Mr. Gregg and his Reporters
, in the five last numbers of his schismatical edition of the Discussion ; speeches in which, like Leslie's Catholic Lord, I am not only made to speak occasional nonsense, but to broach some damnable heresies.
The only report then, my Lords, of the Discussion, for the contents of which I hold myself respon. ible, is that published by Mr. Corne, of Capel-street; whose attention and talents as a man of business, whose untiring zeal as an unflinching Catholic,whose public and private services to the propagation of religion, and whose fidelity and disinterestedness as a friend, I can never sufficiently commend.
I bave the honour to be, my Lords,
Your most obedient and faithful humble servant,
Ballinamore, January 12, 1839.
TO THE HEARERS OF THE REV. FATHER MAGUIRE IN ESPECIAL,
AND TO THE PUBLIC GENERALLY.
'Is there not a cause ?'-1 Sam. xvii. 29,
MEN AND BRETHREN-It came to pass that I this evening met the multitudes who were returning from the sermon which had just been concluded by the Rev. Father Maguire, in Adam and Eve chapel. Feeling a deep interest in the spiritual welfare of those whom I met, I regarded with attention the expression of sentiment which manifested itself amongst them.
A sense of exultation and triumph was evidently experienced by the majority. It broke forth into words in some cases. I deplored the wretchedness of my countrymen-I lamented the existence of that perverse ingenuity which could make darkness appear light, and light darkness. I was musing upon the varied evils which sprung from the system in question, when a dialogue, main. tained in the loudest voice by a party of the passers on, attracted' me-Did you mind (said one) how he cried out again and again, I defy any reverend clergyman out of Trinity- defy them all lo overthrow my arguments. • You see (said the speaker, manifestly glorying in the declaration) what he says this very night, and none dares to meet him.'
Now every one of intelligence will plainly perceive the sophism which renders this argument null and void, post hoc ergo propter hoc, after this, therefore, because of this, they do not answer, because they cannot.' I say every one of intelligence will perceive the nullity of the conclusion, and yet I have daily opportunities of knowing that this wretched sophism has the weight of an oracle with our simple countrymen--that the taunting defiance and repeated challenges of the reverend gentleman are held to be unquestionable evidence of the force of his arguments, and that the disregard, neglect, or contempt with which they are treated by the church, is esteemed as a proof of weakness and want of truth on our side.
I admit the powers of Father Maguire-that he is an able, ingenious, and suitable champion of his church. Verily he is a Goliath-his language is precisely equivalent to that of the ancient champion with whom I compare him; it is, in effect, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together,' Now I, with every likelihood of being .cursed by the gods of this Goliathwith every probability of being despised, villified, and set at nought I whose strength is as weakness-who am less than the least of all the people of the Lord, would, in the strength of the Lord, meet our Goliath, if he indeed have challenged us.
Convinced of the omnipotence of truth-that truth is on our side--convinced, further of the essential falsehood of the pretensions of Popery—that it is a system damnable in its nature, and destrucLive in its temporal effects, I would meetthe reverend gentleman, and discuss with him in any way he caooses, either in writing, viva voce, the points at issue between us, and let the God who answers by fire, through the outpourings of His Spirit, decide betwixt us. The points which I will maintain are simple and intelligible.
let. I assert that the united Church of England and Ireland is the true Church of Christ, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic, in these kingdoms-that it knows the true road to heaven, points it out to its followers, and that its blessed fruits are the holiness and happiness of those with whom it prevails.
2ndly.--I assert that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church of Antichrist, unholy and apostate that it does not know, and does not teach, the way to heaven—that it conducts its followers in the broad road which leadeth to destruction that it bringr down the curse of God upon every country where it prevails—that it is the mother of aboninations—the plagne and the pest of the human race - that it will be destroyed by the signal vengcance of the Most High, and that the very first duty of every member of it, is instantly to come out of it, that lie be not a partaker at once of its sins and of its plagues.
To maintain these important truths, mien and brethren, I accept the challenge of the Rev. Father
T. D. GREGG, A. M.
30th of March, 1838.
On Tuesday, the 2nd of April, Rev. T Maguire and Mr. R. Coyne waited on the Rev. Mr. Gregg, in order to ascertain if the above challenge was genuine, and, not finding him at home, left a card.
Mr Gregg called at 4, Capel-street, at one o'clock, on the 3d, accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Scott, avowed the challenge, which Rev. T Maguire accepted. j
Mr Gregg begged for time to consult his friends previous to entering into preliminary arrangement. The republication of Mr Gregg's challenge in the Packet, of the 5th, caused Mr. Maguire to address the following note to Mr. Gregg :-
Friday, April 6, 1838. Rev. Sır–The republication of your challenge to me in the Packet of last night, imperiously demands that the object of our late interview at Mr. Coyne's be realised as speedily as possible. I know that when I accepted your challenge on your own terms, I promised you a reasonable time to consult your friends; but feeling I was negotiating for a public discussion with a gentleman of candour and delicacy, I expected that, pending your final answer, the challenge would not be publicly paraded. I trust, therefore, to your own sense of my situation, to relieve me from all perplexity by an immediate and decisive answer.
I am, reverend sir, your obedient humble servant,
T. MAGUIRE, 4, Capel-street.
Friday, 6th April, 1838. Rev. SJR,—I am placed in a difficulty by your letter. You talk of my challenge. The plainest consideration of my letter, especially when taken in connection with our interveiw yesterday, would lead you, as I think, to see that that letter was the acceptance of a challenge which I supposed you had given, and not a challenge on my part.
Coinmon report says you challenged us all. You tell me, and I can believe you, that you did not-at least not literally. You challenged us in the spirit, though not in the letter. ' I can easily understand the mistake of the public.
You will forgive me when I say that I consider your letter now lying before me as a challenge. Its menacing tone has at least the same effect on me that would arise from an absolute challenge. Taken together with the following considerations, it at once removes my difficulty:
The grand question is this—which does the Church of Rome or the Church of England lead the people to hell? One or the other must-if you be going to heaven, I must be going to hell. There 18 essential variance betwixt us.
Now a discussion will afford to our population a noble opportunity of attaining to truth on this point. The result of it will, perhaps-may God in his mercy grant that it may-decide this important question in the right way in Ireland, and terminate in the overthrow of error within our borders.
In this blessed result, the world will forget the circumstances which brought us together.
You will have it that I challenged you; let my printed letter decide. However, it does not make a straw difference one way or the other. You will meet me, and I, God willing, will meet you, and may the Lord defend the right!
I trust that this answer is sufficiently decisive “to relieve you from your perplexity.'
In conclusion, I beg to say that when I received yours of this day, I was in the act of preparing a letter for the paper, stating the issue of our conversation yesterday, which would have placed our relative position exactly before the public. This, however, will not now be necessary.
I took no steps whatever in reference to the republication of my letter, on which you animadvert, since I saw you.
I shall let you hear from me at the earliest moment possible, and remain, Rcv. Sir, your faithful servant,
T. D. GREGO. Rev. T. Maguire.