24.95 In Stock
presenting this volume to the public, it may be proper to state the cause to which it mainly owes an existence. For half a dozen, or more, of the earlier years of my life, I happened to live in a community that was almost exclusively non-Catholic. And as religion seemed to be a favorite topic for discussion, at all times, I had two ways open before me. One, to remain silent, whenever a question of the kind was introduced; the other, to defend, to the best of my ability, that system of belief with which I felt myself identified. I usually chose the latter; for it seemed to me the better course. But, while searching for suitable arms, with which to fight those intellectual, and indeed, almost invariably, friendly battles, I experienced some difficulty. I read works explanatory of the faith, and some that were controversial. Yet I was not entirely satisfied with either, for the authors seemed to have addressed themselves to theologians, rather than to such as myself. The consequence was that, after having pickeu and shoveled my way through not a few of such books, I felt weary of the subject; I was like DAVID in SAUL'S armor, incapable of quick action, and, indeed, scarcely able to move under such a weight of erudition. It then occured to me that, if I could secure some lighter and sharper weapons, it would be well I wished for a book that would interest, to such a degree that it could be read without a strain on the mind; one whose narrative and arguments would be strong, but not stilted; trenchant, but not murderous; witty, but not uncharitable. With this object in view, I began, in the year 1873, to publish, through the columns of the Catholic Advocate, the series of essays included in this volume. But as I advanced, I found my task not so easy as I had imagined. What to select, and what to leave behind, in moth-eaten tomes, was not always clear to my mind. The style of writing was also a sonree of anxiety. It occurred to me that some might find fault with the attempt .to clothe gray subjects in a light and airy dress. And, indeed, to do so, Hnd say nothing offensive to pious ears, was one of the main barrier: I had to surmount. But, with all this, through the encouragement of some friends, on whose judgment and literary taste I placed a high estimate, I persevered. And now, in January, 1883, ten years after the first was written, these essays are given into the hands of the publishers, to be put into book form, and sont forth into an areTla, where only what is fit can hayo the least hope to survive.