In the first place (we speak it with due respect for the sex), she is guilty of a fault which is somewhat too common among them; and having very little, except prejudice, on which to found an opinion, she makes up for want of argument by a wonderful fluency of abuse. A woman’s religion is chiefly that of the heart, and not of the head. She goes through, for the most part, no tedious process of reasoning, no dreadful stages of doubt, no changes of faith: she loves God as she loves her husband—by a kind of instinctive devotion. Faith is a passion with her, not a calculation; so that, in the faculty of believing, though they far exceed the other sex, in the power of convincing they fall far short of them.
Oh! we repeat once more, that ladies would make puddings and mend stockings! that they would not meddle with religion (what is styled religion, we mean), except to pray to God, to live quietly among their families, and move lovingly among their neighbours! Mrs. Trollope, for instance, who sees so keenly the follies of the other party—how much vanity there is in Bible Meetings—how much sin even at Missionary Societies—how much cant and hypocrisy there is among those who desecrate the awful name of God, by mixing it with their mean interests and petty projects—Mrs. Trollope cannot see that there is any hypocrisy or bigotry on her part. She, who designates the rival party as false, and wicked, and vain—tracing all their actions to the basest motives, declaring their worship of God to be only one general hypocrisy, their conduct at home one fearful scene of crime, is blind to the faults on her own side. Always bitter against the Pharisees, she does as the Pharisees do. It is vanity, very likely, which leads these people to use God’s name so often, and to devote all to perdition who do not coincide in their peculiar notions. Is Mrs. Trollope less vain than they when she declares, and merely declares, her own to be the real creed, and stigmatises its rival so fiercely? Is Mrs. Trollope serving God, in making abusive licencious pictures of those who serve Him in a different way? Once, as Mrs. Trollope has read—it was a long time ago!—there was a woman taken in sin; the people brought her before a great Teacher of Truth, who lived in those days. Shall we not kill her? said they; the laws command that all adulteresses be killed. We can fancy a Mrs. Trollope in the crowd, shouting, “oh, the wretch! oh, the abominable harlot! kill her, by all means—stoning is really too good for her!” But what did the Divine Teacher say? He was quite as anxious to prevent the crime as any Mrs. Trollope of them all; but he did not even make an allusion to it—he did not describe the manner in which the poor creature was caught—He made no speech to detail the indecencies which she committed, or to raise the fury of the mob against her—He said “let the man who is without sin himself throw the first stone!” Whereupon the Pharisees and Mrs. Trollope slunk away, for they knew they were no better than she. There was as great a sin in His eyes as that of the poor erring woman—it was the sin of pride.