Regina Maria Roche. London Tales; Or, Reflective Portraits. 2 vols. London: John Booth, 1814. 1: 55-58.
HOLD YOUR RELIGION SACRED.
So, you say Theodore is willing to become a Protestant to marry you, Fanny; but have you, my dear, considered of it well? I have indeed, mother, answered Fanny. And will you consent to marry a man that will change his religion for a mistress? If he does change, think how little devotion he can have at bottom; and where there is no religion, there is seldom virtue, and consequently no happiness. Do not wish it, Fanny; it is entailing misery on you, to marry a man of a different religion with yourself: you will be condemned to hear him, perhaps, talk lightly of the ministers of your church, to rail against your worship, and, what is worse than all, to try and persuade you out of it altogether. If you have children, there will be a quarrel about their baptism; when they grow up, they see papa this, and mama that; the effect of that is, they become no religion at all: you never can assemble your family and join in prayers together, thanking the Great Giver of all good for his many blessings; in fact, you can never be happy. But he will be a Protestant, said Fanny. Do not believe it, (said her mother) do not think, my dear, that a man of thirty will change his religion; at that age you cannot alter their ways of thinking; their minds, and ideas, are so formed then, that even their pride helps to keep them steady. Theodore dissembles, if he says he will become a Protestant; a Catholic (I mean a good one, and hope he is such,) is so wound up with his religion, that you never can root it out from the bottom of their heart; and what would you compare a half Protestant to? Oh, my love, it is in being wholly something, and adhering strictly to the duties of that something, that constitutes a good man. Get a Catholic to leave off fasting and confessing; convince him that he may do so with impunity, and you will see how soon he will fall, by little and little; anddo not be surprized, if in the end, he asks you, if there is a God. Tis the same with a Protestant--with every one: I would rather have my child superstitious, than what the world calls a Free-thinker, or, to cloak the business, a person of liberal mind. Liberality in religion I do not like; one should not inquire into it much, but believe every thing the Church points out to us: it must know better than we do; if not, we but do our best, when we follow its rules. In our worshipping the Almighty, we should be, so timid--so devout--so trembling at his power, that we should not dare change an item in his laws, or in those of his servants, who are appointed under him to execute them. No, no, Fanny, Theodore you may forget; but never forsake your God, or hold in the least disrespect any of his commandments or observances: but always, above every thing, hold your Religion sacred.