A Genuine Faith

This line in Jane’s prayer is passionate and sobering. It’s a warning against spiritual drowsiness and a reminder to be alert and awake in our faith. Jane “implores” God to “quicken” her sense of the “Value of that Holy Religion in which” she was brought up, that she would not neglect her faith or be a Christian “only in name.”

A prime example of false Christianity in Jane’s novels is Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park. Though she is a clergyman’s wife, she exhibits character traits that are far from the heart of Christ. She claims she’s “always ready enough to do for the good” of those she loves, but she only loves money and those who have it. She says, “I should hate myself if I were capable of neglecting [Fanny],” even though she mistreats and belittles Fanny continually. She also declares she “would rather deny [herself] the necessaries of life, than do an ungenerous thing,” when in reality she is selfish and cares only for her own comfort.

Jane prayed

Above all other blessings Oh! God, for ourselves, & our fellow-creatures, we implore Thee to quicken our sense of thy Mercy in the redemption of the World, of the Value of that Holy Religion in which we have been brought up, that we may not, by our own Neglect, throw away the Salvation Thou hast given us, nor be Christians only in name.

Do you want to live a life of genuine faith?


Dodge, Rachel. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Baker Publishing Group.

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Rachel Dodge

Rachel Dodge is a Jane Austen scholar and the author of Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. She teaches college writing and literature classes and gives talks at local book clubs, libraries, and literary groups. Rachel is a regular contributor to Jane Austen’s World blog, Write That Book, Regency World Magazine, and the award-winning Inspire Writers blog. She was the keynote speaker at the Sacramento Public Library’s “How Austentatious!” series, Notable Books series, and 2014 Jane Austen Birthday Tea. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Southern California (B.A. in English and public relations) and California State University, Sacramento (M.A. in English literature). She wrote her Master’s Thesis on etiquette in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and won the 2005 Dominic J. Bazzanella Literary Award in non-fiction for “Pictures of (Im)perfection: Jane Austen’s ‘Delightful’ Elizabeth Bennet.” She is an active member of Inspire Writers, JASNA, JASNA Greater Sacramento, the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Write that Book, Literary Life, and several Downton Abbey and Jane Austen fan clubs.