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On the Work intitled “ ROMAN-CATHOLIC PRINCI
PLES in reference to God and the King;": first published in 1680 :-to which a correct edition of the Principles is added.
AFTER the greater part of the “Confessions of Faith” had been printed, it occurred to the writer of them that the short document of roman-catholic faith, which is the subject of the present articles, might, without impropriety, be allowed a place in this compilation. It has no pretensions to the rank of a symbolic book; but it is a clear and accurate exposition of the Roman-catholic creed, on some of its most important articles, and has all the authority, that such a document can receive from time and universal assent.
The work was first printed in 1680.
Six editions of it were printed before 1684. Lord Stafford referred to it, on his memorable trial in 1680. In the following year appeared “ Stafford's Memoirs, or a brief and impartial Account of the trial, principles, and final end of William late Lord Viscount Stafford.” In a folio edition of
this work, which the present writer has seen, they are found in the 47th page.
Six editions of them were published by Mr. Gother in 1684 and 1686. Mr. Gother was the most eminent of the roman-catholic controversial advocates and spiritual writers of his time. Mr. Dodd, in the third volume of his Ecclesiastical History, p. 482, mentions seventeen controversial, and twelve spiritual works of his composition. “ The style of them,” he says, “is natural and “ unaffected ; and, in the opinion of Mr. Dryden, “ the poet laureat, a master-piece of the English
language.” His most popular controversial work is “ A Papist misrepresented and represented, or a two-fold character of Popery.” A reply to it was published with the title, “ The Doctrines and Practices of the Church of Rome truly represented.” To this Mr. Gother replied, by “ Reflections upon the answer to the Papist misrepresented.” A reply to it was published with the title, “ A Papist not misrepresented by Protestants.” Mr. Gother opposed to it, Papists protesting against Protestant Popery." This was met by “ An Answer to a discourse intitled, Papists, protesting against Protestant Popery." There were other answers and replies ; those, which have been mentioned were the most celebrated in their time, and are often met with, bound together : he, who possesses them has a complete attack and defence of the roman-catholic religion. An abridgment of the papist misrepresented, was printed by the late Dr. Challoner; the seventeenth edition of it has been seen by the present writer. The most eminent of Mr. Gother's spiritual works, is his Instructions on the Epistles and Gospels of the whole year, in three volumes, 8vo. The reader of them will certainly agree with Mr. Dryden in his opinion of the great beauty of the style, and perhaps think with the present writer, that no composition in the English language approaches nearer to the severe and nervous simplicity of the best writings of the Dean of St. Patrick's. It is no small commendation of The Principles, that they were adopted by such a writer.
Not fewer than twenty-four other editions of The Principles have been discovered. A partial edition of them was published in 1749, in his Catechism for the adult, by the Rev. John Hornyold, a distinguished member of the singularly loved and revered roman-catholic family of that name, at Blackmore Park, in Worcestershire. That gentleman was afterwards ordained bishop, and was vicar-apostolic of the Midland district of English roman-catholics. The Principles were published at Dublin, by Mr. O'Connor of Belanagare. On perusing this edition of them, Dr. Leland, the historian, is said to have declared, that, if such' were the principles of catholics, no government had any right to quarrel with them. Dr. Coppinger, the roman-catholic bishop in Cloyne, published them in his Prayer Book intitled, True piety, or the day well spent, now, at least, in its ninth edition. In 1785, the Rev. Mr. Joseph Berrington, to whom the public is indebted for many elegant and interesting works, brought them into general notice, by inserting them at the end of his Reflections addressed to the Rev. John Hawkins.
It has been confidently asserted, that the committee of the English roman-catholics published an edition of The Principles. This is a mistake; but, in 1788, the committee sent to Mr. Pitt, with whom they were then in intercourse on the subject of the bill, which afterwards passed for the relief of the English roman-catholics, a copy of The Principles. They accompanied it with a letter, dated the gth day of May, 1788, in which they mentioned to Mr. Pitt, that,
they took the liberty to enclose a printed summary of their tenets, which they were persuaded every catholic would readily sign.” The letter was subscribed by Lord Stourton, Lord Petre, Sir Henry Charles Englefield, Sir William Jerningham, Sir John Throckmorton, Mr. William Fermor, Mr. John Towneley, and Mr. Thomas Hornyold.
To give this copy of The Principles greater authenticity, the honourable James Talbot, then vicar-apostolic of the London district of the English roman-catholics, signed the first page of it with
The late Dr. Walmesley, the vicar-apostolic of the Western district of the English roman-catholics, is known to have mentioned in a letter to one of his friends, that “ The exposition of the “ catholic doctrine, published in Mr. Berrington's book, appeared to him to be composed with
great judgment and precision.”
Of Mr. Walmesley, thus presented to the writer's mind, (to copy a phrase of Dr. Johnson in his life of Smith, the poet), let the writer be permitted to say, that it is a just cause of reproach to the English province of the religious order to which he belonged,-(he was a Benedictine monk), that they have not favoured the public with an account of that gentleman's profound mathematical researches. He first became known, as a mathematician, by a defence of Sir Isaac Newton's doctrine of Fluxions, in one of the foreign journals. It was received with universal applause; and the academy of Berlin chose him a member of their institute ; but he modestly declined the offer. In 1747, he entered into the discussions, to which the celebrated problem of the Three Bodies then
gave rise ; and his investigations of it, though scarcely known in his native country, were thought, on the continent, to be on a level with those of Clairaut, d'Alembert, and Euler. While he was thus advancing to the height of mathematical fame, he was appointed vicar-apostolic for the western district of English roman-catholics, and upon, or, at least