The object of this little volume is to present in a plain and practical form an exposition and vindication of the principal tenets of the Catholic Church. It was thought sufficient to devote but a brief space to such Catholic doctrines and practices as are happily admitted by Protestants, while those that are controverted by them are more elaborately elucidated.
The work was compiled by the author during the uncertain hours which he could spare from the more active duties of the ministry. It substantially embodies the instructions and discourses delivered by him before mixed congregations in Virginia and North Carolina.
He has often felt that the salutary influence of such instructions, especially on the occasion of a mission in the rural districts, would be much augmented if they were supplemented by books or tracts circulated among the people, and which could be read and pondered at leisure.
As his chief aim has been to bring home the truths of the Catholic faith to our separated brethren, who generally accept the Scripture as the only source of authority in religious matters, he has endeavored to fortify his statements by abundant reference to the sacred text. He has thought proper, however, to add frequent quotations from the early Fathers, whose testimony, at least as witnesses of the faith of their times, must be accepted even by those who call in question their personal authority.
Though the writer has sought to be exact in all his assertions, an occasional inaccuracy may have inadvertently crept in. Any emendations which the venerated Prelates or Clergy may deign to propose will be gratefully attended to in a subsequent edition.
Richmond, November 21st, 1876