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W. B. 0. Peabody, D. D.
RELIGIOUS MISCELL ANY.
ART. I. — PROTESTANTISM.*
The anti-Romanist organizations and movements of the day are making larger contributions to our vernacular literature, than we have room to chronicle. Of the list of books given below, the first four are strictly works of con
* 1. A Synopsis of Popery, as it was and as it is. By William HoGAN, Esq., formerly Roman Catholic Priest. Boston: Redding & Co. 1845. 16mo. pp. 219.
2. Auricular Confession and Popish Nunneries. By William Hogan, formerly Roman Catholic Priest, etc. Boston : Saxton & Kelt; B. Perkins & Co. 1845. 16mo. pp. 215.
3. Spiritual Direction, and Auricular Confession; their History, Theoty and Consequences. Being a Translation of “ Du Pretre, de la Femme, de la Famille." By M. MICHELET, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Letters ; Professor in the Normal School; Chief of the Historical Section of Archives of France, etc. Philadelphia : James M. Campbell. 1845. 12mo. pp. 224.
4. The Roman Church and Modern Society. Translated from the French of Prof. E. Quinet, of the College of France. By C. EDWARDS LESTER. New York: Gates & Stedman. 1845. 12mo. pp. viii. 198.
5. History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Ger many, Switzerland, etc. By J. H. MERLE D'AUBIGNE, President of the Theological School of Geneva, etc. Assisted in the preparation of the English Original by H. WHITE, B. A., etc. Vol. IVth: New York : Robert Carter. 1846. 12mo. pp. 480. TOL. XLI. - 4TH. S. VOL. VI. NO I.
troversy, while the fifth owes the cheap form and the vast circulation of its successive volumes to zealous polemic agencies.
Hogan's “Popery as it was and is” is a strange medley of extracts from the Decrees of the Council of Trent, familiar historical facts, and bursts of angry, empty declamation. It contains no connected statement or logical reasoning ; but is an exaggerated specimen of the argumentum ad invidiam, adapted to the receptivity of church and convent burners, or of those members of the Protestant League, whose discretion bears an infinitesimal proportion to their zeal. The “ Auricular Confession and Popish Nunneries,” by the same author, has for its foreground certain disgusting details of debauchery and dissoluteness on the part of Romish priests, under cover of the confessional or the cloister. We are told that the author is an honest man ; and he professes to speak from as intimate personal knowledge as an innocent party can gain of such hidden iniquity. We cannot therefore doubt the appalling and heart-sickening facts which he narrates, but they are too few to authorize the sweeping inductions founded on them. He has however shown, if possible, with new clearness and impressiveness, the danger to chastity and purity, growing out of the established ritual of confession alike in church and convent. It opens such temptations, and affords such facilities for vice, as undoubtedly to corrupt and deprave multitudes of priests, who enter upon their official duties with no evil purpose, and to demand, in the confessor who shall not abuse his office, adamantine principles of virtue and a high standard of religious self-consecration.
Michelet's work was designed to illustrate the baneful influence of the established system of confession and spiritual direction, as regards the intimacy, purity and happiness of the domestic union. It has its direct application only to the idiosyncrasies of French society, and its reasoning is vitiated by an utterly incorrect appreciation of the tone and spirit of Quietism, nay, by gross misrepresentations of Fenelon's religious correspondence, than which the entire range of Christian literature comprises no more truly apostolic writings. This work is fitted for the popular market by a title ad captandum, and a highly inflammatory and rather vulgar “ Translator's Preface.”