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tem he has opposed, from genuine and authentic sources of information from the writings of some of its ablest advocates, the language of their authorised confessions, and the decrees and canons of their councils. It will afford the Writer of this Volume, no ordinary satisfaction, if any of the Papal communion, are led to examine its arguments without prejudice and prepossession; but whatever may be the impression produced on such readers, he hopes that by the blessing of God, it will be conducive to the instruction of the inquiring, the confirmation of the wavering, and the stability of the faithful,
Blackburn, Dec. 12, 1816.
To the Second Edition.
The author cannot suffer this edition to appear before the public, without gratefully acknowledging the rapid and extensive sale of the first edition ; and adverting to the notice which the Lectures have met with, from the enemies as well as the friends of those great principles, which he has endeavoured to vindicate and explain. Soon after the work appeared, a pamphlet was published by a Mr. Joseph Fairclough, on the “ Rule of Faith,” which in the course of a few months was followed by another, “On the Church.” It was announced by their author, that all the topics of the controversy were to be successively discussed in a series of pamphlets ; but at the end of the second number, this intention was formally renounced, and the writer satisfied himself by referring his readers to the recent productions of the Rev. John Lingard, as a sufficient refutation of all that the Lecturer had advanced, or might hereafter choose to advance on the subject! It did not probably occur to Mr. Fairclough, that by this convenient reference he might have saved himself altogether the trouble of writing ; and by a public
advertisement of the works of Mr. Lingard, announced a convincing answer to all Protestant objectors-past, present, and to come!
If the author of the Lectures had thought these pamphlets of Mr. Fairclough, on any ground whatever, entitled to notice, he would long ago have replied to them ; for in the whole course of his reading on this controversy, he never met with any defence of the Church of Rome that was more feebly constructed in its reasonings, or more vulnerable in its positions. He feels no hesitation in asserting that the main arguments advanced in the Lectures, are altogether unnoticed. As to the large proportion of extraneous matter, in the shape of illiberal remark, and abusive declamation, he deems it utterly unworthy of reply. He believes, that among those who have read the pamphlets, and who have been uubiassed by sectarian prejudices, there is but one opinion concerning their character: and it was under this conviction, that he formed the determination to treat them with silence. Should the reader wish to be entertained with some specimens of their reasoning and style, he may find ample satisfaction in an article on Mr. Fairclough, in the Eclectic Review for July 1817, immediately following one on the Lectures. The author gratefully acknowledges his obligations to the unknown writer; and refers to the latter article, as a sufficient exposure of illogical absurdities and gross misrepresen
tation. On the general subject of these pamphlets, he begs leave to add the following remarks, in addition to what he has advanced in the first and second Lectures.
This part of the controversy between Protestants and Roman Catholics may be reduced within a narrow range by a single question, involving an appeal to the ultimate principle of religious belief. Both parties for instance, admit certain doctrines generally termed orthodox. Why does a Roman Catholic believe them? He answers--because the Church in all ages has believed them. According to bis principles, this is the ground of his belief. It is sufficient in his view of the matter, for all the purposes of rational credence, if he can adduce the fact, that the doctrines in question have been uniformly, and perpetually, and successively believed by the Church. If Scripture be cited as asserting them, he does not believe them merely on that account, but because the Church has authorised such an interpretation of Scripture as warrants the belief of these doctrines. So reasons Father Buffier in the appendix to his philosophical inquiry into the origin of opinions, entitled, “ First Truths.” “The Christian religion,” says the learned Jesuit, “is no other but the body “ of the faithful, or church of Christ, which tes* tifies what God has said and commanded; so " that true theology solely consists in proving,
first, that the testimony of the Christian church