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the very cardinal doctrines of our faith, but she has also retained much that is Catholic. Were it not so, that mighty Hierarchy could not have subsisted for so many centuries, through every change and convulsionwinning to its spiritual sway, the crowds of northern barbarians which swept over the city—and even at the present day, drawing to itself proselytes in lands, where intellectual and spiritual freedom give every opportunity for the thorough discussion of this subject. These are the very things which render the system so dangerous, enabling it to charm the imagination and retain its hold upon the human mind, while its influence is withering to the best interests of our race. The writer has therefore endeavored to look at the Church of Rome without prejudice, and while his investigation strengthened the unfavorable view he before had of the practical working of that system, he still has not withheld his tribute of praise from any thing he saw which was truly Catholic.
He has been obliged to write this volume entirely during the last three months, amidst those engrossing cares of Parish duty which necessarily gathered around him after the absence of nearly a year from his field of labor. He mentions this, not to deprecate criticism, but to account for mistakes which may exist. To him, however, the labor has been a pleasant one, reviving associations which he would always wish to cherish. Beautiful Italy! thy old traditions lingering around each crumbling fane, and consecrating each fountain and grove, are inspiration to the mind! thy very language is melody to the ear! Thy bright and sunny clime-thy land so richly dowered with loveliness-thy antique and solemn ruins-how will the recollections they furnish mingle with the stern realities of coming days, and soften the carking cares of this working world! They will return to us like the glorious visions which ever after floated before the eyes of the Arabian shepherd, when— as Eastern fable tells us-while wandering in the wilderness, he had caught a single glimpse of the gardens of Irim, and then lost them again forever.
Albany, Christmas, 1845.