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The Lectures here presented to the public, are simply what the title-page describes them, a portion of the theological course several times delivered in the English College at Rome. When the Author came over to this country, he had not the remotest idea that he should feel called upon to publish them; and he brought the manuscript with him, solely for the purpose of submitting it to the judgment of a few friends, better versed, perhaps, than he could be, in the controversial literature of this country, so to satisfy himself of the propriety of publishing it at some distant period. But when he found it necessary to give a more popular and compendious exposition of the Catholic arguments for the Real Presence, in his “ Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Practices of the Catholic Church,” he felt that ample justice could not be done
to the line of argument which he had pursued, without the publication of these Lectures, in which it is more fully developed, and justified by proofs. Under this impression, he has not hesitated to send his manuscript to press.
The method pursued in these Lectures, and the principles on which they are conducted, are so amply detailed in the introductory Lecture, that any remarks upon them in this Preface would be superfluous. Many will, perhaps, be startled at the sight of a duodecimo devoted to the Scriptural Proofs of our doctrine, which, in general, occupy but a few pages of our controversial works; and a prejudice will be naturally excited, that the theme has been swelled to so unusual a bulk by digressive disquisition, or by matter of very secondary importance. If such an impression be produced, the writer has no resource, but to throw himself on the justice and candour of his readers, and entreat them to peruse, before they thus condemn. He flatters himself, that he will not be found, on perusal, to have gone out of the question, or overloaded it with extraneous matter. His studies have, perhaps, led him into a different view of the arguments from what is popularly taken, and he may be found to have sought illustrations from sources not commonly consulted; but he will leave it to his reader to determine, whether he has thereby weakened the cause which he has undertaken.
To him this judgment cannot be a matter of indifference. He has, within a few months, been unexpectedly led to submit to the public eye, two of the courses of Lectures prepared and delivered by him, for the improvement of those whose theological education has been confided to his care; and he feels that he has thus, however unintentionally, appealed to the public, whether he have discharged his duty in their regard. The “ Lectures on the connexion between Science and Revealed Religion,” will explain the views which he has endeavoured to inculcate, on the proper extent of ecclesiastical education; the