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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about Lady Mary Wortley Montague.
a quicker progress, have a better plea for the visible protection of Heaven.  If the fopperies of their religion were only fopperies, they ought to be complied with, wherever it is established, like any ridiculous dress in fashion; but I think them impieties:  their devotions are scandal to humanity from their nonsense; the mercenary deceits and barbarous tyranny of their ecclesiastics, inconsistent with moral honesty.  If they object the diversity of our sects as a mark of reprobation, I desire them to consider, that objection has equal force against Christianity in general.  When they thunder with the names of fathers and councils, they are surprised to find me as well (often better) acquainted with them than themselves.  I show them the variety of their doctrines, their virulent contests and various factions, instead of that union they boast of.  I have never been attacked a second time in any of the towns where I have resided, and perhaps shall never be so again after my last battle, which was with an old priest, a learned man, particularly esteemed as a mathematician, and who has a head and heart as warm as poor Whiston’s.  When I first came hither, he visited me every day, and talked of me everywhere with such violent praise, that, had we been young people, God knows what would have been said.  I have always the advantage of being quite calm on a subject which they cannot talk of without heat.  He desired I would put on paper what I had said.  I immediately wrote one side of a sheet, leaving the other for his answer.  He carried it with him, promising to bring it the next day, since which time I have never seen it, though I have often demanded it, being of my defective Italian.  I fancy he sent it to his friend the Archbishop of Milan.  I have given over asking for it, as a desperate debt.  He still visits me, but seldom, and in a cold sort of a way.  When I have found disputants I less respected, I have sometimes taken pleasure in raising their hopes by my concessions:  they are charmed when I agree with them in the number of the sacraments; but are horridly disappointed when I explain myself by saying the word sacrament is not to be found either in Old or New Testament; and one must be very ignorant not to know it is taken from the listing oath of the Roman soldiers, and means nothing more than a solemn, irrevocable engagement.  Parents vow, in infant baptism, to educate their children in the Christian religion, which they take upon themselves by confirmation; the Lord’s Supper is frequently renewing the same oath.  Ordination and matrimony are solemn vows of a different kind:  confession includes a vow of revealing all we know, and reforming what is amiss:  extreme unction, the last vow, that we have lived in the faith we were baptised:  in this sense they are all sacraments.  As to the mysteries preached since, they were all invented long after, and some of them repugnant to the primitive institution.”

CHAPTER XVI

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