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By way of Question and Answer. COMPOSED IN 1619, BY H. T., OF THE ENGLISH COLLEGE




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To our Well-Beloved in Christ, The Members of the

Society of the Christian Doctrine, in the United • Dioceses of KILDARE and LEIGHLIN.

“ The Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine" which we present to you, Dearly Beloved, was first composed by the Rev. Henry Turberville, D.D. of the English College of Douay, in the year 1645, a man greatly celebrated for the piety of his life, as well as for the extent and variety of his sacred learning: since that time “ the Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine” has passed through several editions ; and been used extensively, both in England and Ireland. It was written by the pious and learned author, with a view of supplying to the young Catholics of his native country, then suffering the most violent persecution on account of the Faith, a clear and brief, yet comprehensive, exposition of the Christian religion, but especially of those tenets of it which at that period were most bitterly assailed. Nearly two centuries have elapsed since " the Abridgment" was first published, but the doctrines contained in it have not waxed old. They continue the same, like Christ who revealed them, and who was yesterday, to-day, and the same for ever. Heb. xiii. 8. The language, however, of “ the Abridgment" experienced, as every living language does, the effects of time : some expressions found in it, though conformable to the manners and notions which prevailed in the beginning of the 17th century, are not suited to the improved temper and feelings of the present time. Many words, and even arguments, which, when employed by the learned Author, were well adapted to the then prevailing taste and usage, have become less intelligible and less acceptable than they originally were. Considering then the intrinsic merits of this little work, as well as the facility with which it might be suited to the times and circumstances in which we live ; finding also that you, Dearly Beloved, had introduced it generally into the schools of catechetical instruction, and in many instances at our own express desire, we thought it worthy of our own Pastoral solicitude, and a becoming acknowledgment of your zeal and piety, as well as a useful contribution to the spiritual advantage of our Dearest Children in Christ-those little ones over whom you watch for us and with us--10 revise and to correct, and

occasionally to alter or enlarge " the Abridgment.” We have thus endeavoured to render it more easy and simple, more plain and perspicuous, as well as less harsh in its language, and thereby more extensively useful.

We have executed our design, at least in part, and now offer to you, our Well-beloved in Christ, not the fruits of our own study or labour, but those of the study and labour of a venerable Priest, improved, as we bope, by our care and attention, and sanctioned by that sacred authority with which we are vested from above. We offer to you " the Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine" at a time when heresy continues to make manifest its own reproved vietims, when these lovers of themselves will not endure sound doctrine, hut, according to their own desires, heap np to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and, turning away their hearing from the truth, are turned to fables. At a time when we ourselves are com. manded to be vigilant; to labour in all things; to do the work of an Evangelist; to fulfil our ministry, 2 Tim. iv, 3, 4, 5. V., and when you, our Well-beloved friends and helpers in the Lord, are invited, by the grace which is given to you, as well as by the necessities of your younger brethren in Christ, to increase in zeal, and in every good work, but especially in that of instructing others unto justice, whereby you will deserve an unfading crown of glory from the hand of God.

Perinit us, Beloved Brethren, whilst we present to you the Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine" as a token and a pledge of our affectionate esteem for yourselves, and of our peculiar interest for and protection of your Society, to direct your attention to the habits and morals of the children to whose religions improvement you devote so much time and labour. Charge yourselves, we beseech you, with a care of them, even when they are removed from your immediate superintendence; teach them, by your own example, the duties of obedience, of prayer, of modesty, of watchfulness, and of diligence in all their employments. If you happen to discover them in the commission of any fault, correct them, but in a spirit of lenity, lest you also might be tempted ; avail yourselves of every occasion which miay present itself, to infuse into them a love of virtue and a hatred of vice : be indulgent to the timid, affable with the cheerful, be patient and humble to the froward, overlook the almost faultless levities of chil. dren, and restrain them, more by shame or favours than by fear Impress upon their hearts a love of Christ and of his holy spouse the Church ; let them know and fear ile malice

and danger of those heresies which have rebelled against both, that they may avoid all communication with them. Let the arrangement of the children in classes, according to their proficiency in knowledge, and the regularity of their attendance, be always an object of your care ; and whilst you propose the several questions in a clear and distinct tone of voice, do not fail, and even by repeating them if necessary, to require that the answers, when returned, be equally slow, and distinct, and clear. The Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine," when thus taught by you, and learned by your more youthful brethren, will grow up like the mustard seed watered by the dew of heaven; it will be amongst the instruments whereby the knowledge and practice of our divine religion will be planted and watered in those our ancient and venerable churches, whilst 'God, from whom every good gift descends, will uot fail to give the increase.

And now may “ The Lord of peace give you everlasting peace in every place. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thess.. Hi 16. v.

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