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Excerpt from "The Old Manse"

Excerpt from "The Old Manse"

In this passage Hawthorne makes it clear that formalized books of religion have so little bearing on the attainment of grace as to be actually impertinent. This skepticism about the value of formalized theology may account in part for Hawthorne's unwillingness to subscribe to any one religious doctrine.

Books of religion, however, cannot be considered a fair test of the enduring and vivacious properties of human thought; because such books so seldom really touch upon their ostensible subject, and have therefore so little business to be written at all. So long as an unlettered soul can attain to saving grace, there would seem to be no deadly error in holding theological libraries to be accumulations of, for the most part, stupendous impertinence.



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