Lady Mary Wortley Montague eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

“I always, if possible, avoid controversial disputes:  whenever I cannot do it, they are very short” (she wrote to her daughter in October, 1755).  “I ask my adversary if he believes in the Scripture?  When that is answered affirmatively their church may be proved, by a child of ten years old, contradictory to it, in their most important points.  My second question is, if they think St. Peter and St. Paul knew the true Christian religion?  The constant reply is, O yes.  Then say I, purgatory, transubstantiation, invocation of saints, adoration of the Virgin, relics (of which they might have had a cartload), the observation of Lent, is no part of it, since they neither taught nor practised any of these things.  Vows of celibacy are not more contrary to nature, than to the positive precept of St. Paul.  He mentions a very common case, in which people are obliged, by conscience, to marry.  No mortal can promise that case shall never be theirs, which depends on the disposition of the body as much as a fever; and ’tis as reasonable to engage never to feel the one as the other.  He tells us, the marks of the Holy Spirit are charity, humility, truth, and long suffering.  Can anything be more uncharitable than damning eternally so many millions for not believing what they never heard? or prouder than calling their head a Vice-god?  Pious frauds are avowedly permitted, and persecution applauded:  these maxims cannot be dictated by the spirit of peace, which is so warmly preached in the Gospel.  The creeds of the apostles, and council of Nice, do not speak of the mass, or real presence, as articles of belief; and Athanasius asserts, whosoever believes according to them shall be saved.  Jesus Christ, in answer to the lawyer, bids him love God above all things, and his neighbour as himself, as all that is necessary to salvation.  When he describes the last judgment, he does not examine what sect, or what church, men were of, but how far they had been beneficent to mankind.  Faith cannot determine reward or punishment, being involuntary, and only the consequence of conviction:  we do not believe what we please, but what appears to us with the face of truth.  As I do not mistake exclamation, invective, or ridicule for argument, I never recriminate on the lives of their popes and cardinals, when they urge the character of Henry the Eighth; I only answer, good actions are often done by all men through interested motives, and ’tis the common method of Providence to bring good out of evil:  history, both sacred and profane, furnishes many examples of it.  When they tell me I have forsook the worship of my ancestors, I say I have had more ancestors heathen than Christian, and my faith is certainly ancienter than theirs, since I have added nothing to the practice of the primitive professors of Christianity.  As to the prosperity or extent of the dominion of their church, which Cardinal Bellarmin counts among the proofs of its orthodoxy, the Mahometans, who have larger empires, and have made

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Lady Mary Wortley Montague from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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