The author begins: “THE following pages were not written with a view to publication, but rather for the convenience of privately distributing a few copies amongst those friends whom I hope to convince that I have taken some pains to form my opinions; and for the purpose of showing that I have not acted on them hastily, nor until I had exhausted every means in my power to satisfy myself that the Church of England as by law established is the 'one Catholic and Apostolic Church;' I cannot but hope, that if on the perusal of this short account it shall appear that I have given as much time and careful attention to the consideration of religious doctrine, both Protestant and Catholic, as they have to that, which they profess, they will be the less inclined to blame a step which separates me in religious faith from all those I hold most dear, and that they will find some excuse for its long delay, consequent on endeavours to remain in the Church to which they belong. Everyone educated as a Protestant ought to feel that it is his first duty, after he comes to years of discretion, to satisfy himself which is the true Church;' and no one can deny that, when once convinced he has found it, he is bound to, receive faithfully and obediently what it delivers:' if that duty be neglected upon what ground can he hope to find comfort in the hour of need in a Church which, in that case at least, he owns only because he was born in it? That duty, no doubt, involves much distress and difficulty; but having discharged it to the best of my ability, I must say, that (if I except the pain which I naturally must suffer on account of the separation in religious faith from my wife and my only remaining child), the step which that duty obliged me to take has given me such peace and rest, I never before at any period of my life thought it was possible to find.” He then makes the following challenge: “LET no Protestant who may read these pages denounce the inference to which they will lead, unless he caD say, in all sincerity and truth, that he has, in a generous spirit, fully, fairly, and repeatedly studied the principles, doctrines, and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church, and, also, those of the Church of England and Ireland as by Law established; nor unless he can, ex animo, declare that he has made such an examination WITHOUT A FOREGONE CONCLUSION In his mind, calculated to bias his judgment.” He then makes the following important statement: “On the Catholic the same condition cannot properly be imposed; for a Catholic, studying any controversial matter, must, from the very nature of his case, do so with the invincible conviction in his mind, that his Church, and his alone, is the only true one, and, therefore, the only one which in essentials cannot err. Indeed, to ask the Catholic to inquire into and to judge between the Established Church and his own, without the full conviction in his mind that his own is the only true Church, is an insult to him, which he might justly resent. For to suppose a Catholic capable of surrendering such a previous conclusion, is to assume that he must be dishonest in his profession, if not of the whole, at least some part of his creed and worship; inasmuch as it is self-evident that on such a subject a reasonable being, honestly believing that which is in its nature incomprehensible, although he may be brought to believe more, can never of the same thing believe less: in other words, the man who believes that which is contained in either of the three Creeds, which is in its nature incomprehensible, except by faith, can never afterwards justify his disbelief of a portion thereof, on the ground that his reason cannot comprehend it.” He then details his long resistance to becoming a Catholic and his conversion.
A Seeker of Wisdom, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1484826507, ISBN 13: 9781484826508