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FLOWERS OF THE FOREST.
I shall commence my narrative by stating that I am a native of France, and a very old man. More than forty years since I was a Curé, or, as such a one would be called in England, a minister, of a small parish situated in the beautiful province of Normandy, in France; that province which gave her conquerors and her princes for many generations to the country in which I have now taken up my abode.
· Whilst residing in Normandy I was a Papist, though now, through the influence of a clearer light shining upon my soul, I am a Protestant; and I humbly pray that my mind may never again be brought under the dark delusions in which it was involved in my younger days,
It is possible that my youthful reader may not precisely understand the points on which the Protestant and the Papist are at variance. These particulars are numerous, and many of them are not easily ascertained, because the Papists do not present the doctrines of their church in a simple or well defined form. When a Protestant refers to the works which are held in authority among them, and points out the errors contained therein, they shift their ground, and in all possible ways evade a straightforward line of argument. Their mnost authenticated modern formularies are deduced from the decrees of the Council of Trent, which commenced its sittings in 1545, and continued, though a long interval intervened, until 1563. That council was held by the command of the pope at Trent, a city in the north of Italy, and many authoritative decrees were issued by it, both as to matters of faith and ceremonies. These were sanctioned by the highest authority of the church of Rome, and never have been in any way repealed or modified; they may therefore be referred to as the authorized statement of popish doctrines, and Protestants may reason respecting them as the rule of faith of the Romish church. It is true that they were not received with the same degree of implicit submission, by all the countries which continued to profess themselves followers of the church of Rome; and in Protestant countries at the present day, the Papists are unwilling to admit fully, that they, as such, are bound by the decrees of the council of Trent; their policy appears to consist in continually shifting their position, and presenting new forms of defence, which being of a shadowy, mysterious and irresponsible nature, are incapable of being overturned by the artillery of reason, or other means which might be used against their errors if advanced in a more substantial form. The Protestant, on the other hand, uses no subterfuge whereby he may confound his enemies, and escape the consequences to which the principles he recognises must lead, but simply maintains his belief in Scripture, and asserts that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of
faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
But I forget that I am writing for such as cannot be supposed to enter fully into discussions of this nature. I shall therefore avoid going more deeply into them, simply requesting my youthful reader to bear these things in mind, namely, that of the two principal orders of persons calling themselves Christians, the first, namely, the Protestants, profess to take the Bible as their rule of life and of belief; the second, the Papists, bind themselves to obey the commandments of their church, of which the pope is, as they pretend, the father, the spiritual head, the absolute and infallible ruler; and the priests of that church assume to themselves a power and authority far beyond that of any mortal being, in all matters connected with religion.
But to proceed with my narrative: as I before said, I was born in France, and educated for the pastoral office; the parish which was appointed me lies upon the Seine; it extends along the left bank of that beautiful river, which, as is well known, rises near Saint Seine