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but we must pass over resolutely their pleasant evening's reading of choice books,
• Thonison, or Burns, or melancholy Gray,'— or the best of books, and give the following beautiful lines on evening prayer.
• It is the holy hour of evening prayer-
thee to behold his heart;
We have been seduced, by the beauty of the poetry, to quote thus largely from the opening of the work—all these extracts being taken from the first book only—the poem consisting of twelve. We are conscious that we have not selected what would give the most complete idea of the power and skill of the writer, that can only be felt in pursuing the course of the story; and
were we to transcribe half of what we would wish to lay before the reader, our notice would extend to a very great length. We must therefore leave our readers to the pleasure of exploring the contents of the volume themselves, sure, as we are, that they will rise from it with increased admiration of the fair author's talents, and esteem for her sound and independent mind. The development of the incidents, and portraiture of the characters of the story, are equally admirable. The death of the farmer's wifehis grief-the growth and several characters of his childrentheir country pleasures and pursuits-the aunt who comes to supply the place of the lost mother-her notions of genteel lifethe pulling down of the old house, and building of the large new one—the visit of the landlord and his
party, and all the very natural incidents of that visit—the farmer's reverses of fortune – the melancholy wet season -- the worldly young clergyman—the deceiving young aristocrat—the invitation of the tenantry to the hall only to lay on fresh rent-the distresses which follow, flowing down from one class to another-the various attachments of the daughters, and their unhappiness, except that of the humblest of them, who marries an humble but thriving trades.. man, and the final emigration of the family ;-all these things are so full of actual human life, that they cannot be read without the deepest interest.
If ever country was an image of gold and silver, iron and clay, it is England at the present moment; and in this able narrative poem, we have many of the causes of our social distress clearly laid bare, and some moral and political truths of the most solemn moment impressed on our minds, while we are drawn on by the charms of the verse, and the interest of the relation. The farmer, and his son and daughters, whose hearts cleave to their native soil, and who, under a better social system, might have been happy, and happiness-diffusing members of a community with which they had so many sweet and natural ties, are now embarked for a foreign shore; and the last view we have of them is full of deep feeling, and a regret the more melancholy because it has been experienced by so many thousands of our departing countrymen.
Many and various were the minds that met
When gleamed that light beneath the orchard tree,
Oh, dream of bliss ! what dreary gulf has come
Teach me—oh, teach me to redeem the past.
Art. VI. 1. Council of Trent. Religious Tract Society. 1839. 2. Tracts of the Catholic Institute of Great Britain, passim. 1839. 3. Speech of R. H. Anderson at a Meeting of the York Catholic Sa
THE most subtle, intricate, and dangerous development of the
Popish system, is to be found in the practice of AURICULAR CONFESSION. Of the true nature of this practice, the results consequent upon it, and the principle which it involves, the British public are, generally speaking, in the profoundest ignorance
. Auricular Confession, more than any other Romish principle, requires, in order to obtain a just conception of its nature
, experience of its operations-acquaintance with its convolutions scrutiny into the inmost recesses of a duplicity, that 'prunes its
face for all occasions,' and masks its principles when it is imprudent to exhibit them. Moreover, there is no subject which it is more difficult to handle: for on one side, delicacy and common decency recoil from an exhibition of the grossness and shocking depravity contained therein; and on the other, there is danger that truth will be suppressed, and that the world shall not see the practice in its true colors. To these considerations must be added the fact that in Britain people only know Popery by hearsay and history;* and the perpetual din of 'prejudice, calum
ny,'exaggeration,' and the like, kept up by Romish writers
and speech-makers, shake in the minds of many their authority and justice.
But we are now fairly challenged to combat.* The monster is unkenneled; and like the fabled dragon + that summoned the chief of England's chivalry to the rescue of innocence and loveliness, with sulphurous breath, it howls out and affrights the island. Popery ought not to have forgotten the moral of the tale: while the beast lay low it escaped, and blunted the point of George's spear: when it attempted to raise its wings and fly, it exposed its vulnerable parts, and was stabbed in the vitals.
It is proposed to draw attention at present to some of the principal features of Auricular Confession; and to examine the arguments by which it is defended.
Our forefathers, who lived under its operation, had no great affection for this department of Popery. They found that it was calculated to destroy their freedom; that it debased and enslaved every region in which it was harboured-prostrating national energies-crushing the minds of those that owned its powerdefiling the loveliness of gospel truth-spreading moral corruption through the land ! The yoke into which we are invited to thrust our necks, they found too grievous to be borne: and we are now called upon to re-examine the reasons why they refused to wear it.
Before we proceed to trace the evils of auricular confession, hold it up to reprobation, or notice the clumsy sophisms by which the institution is propped up, to avoid all misapprehensions and silence all cavils, we shall offer a brief definition of the terms employed, with a description of the practice indicated by them. By auricular confession we mean a practice which requires that every member of the church of Rome (say from seven years of age and upwards) on pain of eternal damnation, shall make confession to a priest in secret, or the car, of all their sins of thought, word, or deed, at least once a year. We have not marked the papistical distinction between mortal and venial sins; nor perhaps is it necessary that we should draw such a distinction ; because the priest is the judge whether a sin be mortal or not; and this fact involves, of course, the confession of all sins. It shall not be our
In some provincial towns in England Romanists have lately adopted the practice of sending a man round from house to house, who knocks at every door and hands in a tract of the Catholic Institute. If the master of the house refuses it, the curiosity of the females of his household is excited ; especially as they are told that the mass is a kind of Italian concert: and if the master does not see it, very likely it finds its way into the kitchen, where the distributors hope some good may at least be done. Dealers in bravado when there is a safe opportunity like to imitate the boldness of truth.
+ See Seven Champions of Christendom.
fault if any charge of misrepresentation' be raised hereafter in this matter. To the practice we describe there is no exception allowed. The priest must know all. Every thought, every suggestion; every feeling, passion, and imagination must be disclosed on bended knee to the ear of the priest, in secret. We do not wonder at the incredulity with which Protestants receive such statements; the fact is calculated to shock every virtuous and sensitive mind: but it is true ; and more than this is true. The Council of Florence (A.D. 1439) declared auricular confession to be a sacrament, constituted substantially as we have described it. The Council of Trent in like manner declared . That a full con‘fession of sins was instituted by the Lord as a part of the sacra
ment of penance, and that it is necessary, by divine appointment, for all who sin after baptism: because our Lord Jesus Christ, when
he was about to ascend from earth to heaven, left his priests in his place, as presidents and judges, to whom all mortal offences into which the faithful might fall, should be submitted, that they "might pronounce sentence, or remission, or retention of sins, by
the power of the keys. For it is plain that the priests cannot sustain the office of judge if the cause be unknown to them, nor inflict equitable punishments, if sins are only confessed in “general, and not minutely and individually described. For this
reason it follows, that penitents are bound to rehearse in con*fession, all mortal sins, of which after diligent examination of
themselves, they are conscious, even though they be of the most 6 secret kind, and only committed against the two last precepts of
the decalogue, which sometimes do more grievously wound souls, • and are more perilous than those which are open and manifest.
Moreover it follows that even those circumstances “which alter the species of sin, are to be explained in confession, • since otherwise the penitents cannot fully confess their sins nor * the judges know them; and it becomes impossible to form a right
estimate of the heinousness of the offence, or inflict a suitable punishment.' This authoritative statement puts an end to all quibbling: and fully justifies the statement that Rome claims for the confessor, as the recipient of confessions is falsely called, the offices of judge, physician, father, counsellor, and teacher. * We have here a fair and correct statement of the practice: it remains for us to see the results thereof, to examine the objections against it, and the arguments employed in its defence.
The subject presents itself in three aspects : moral, political, and religious. The Popish advocates (who are always desirous of preventing their opponents from going into the case thoroughly)
Officia confessarii sunt agere et implere partes et obligationes judicis medici, patris, consularii et doctoris. De dotibus Confessarii.