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«« This may be true; but the question is, what are your motives and object for painting nothing but scenes of vice and folly ?”. " To remove the cloke, which the manners and maxims of society," said his lordship, “throw over their secret sins, and shew them to the world as they really
You have not,” added he," been so much in high and noble life as I have been; but if you had fully entered into it, and seen what was going on, you would have felt convinced that it was time to unmask the specious hypocrisy, and show it in its native colours."
€“ My situation," I replied, “ did not naturally lead me into society, yet, I believed, before the publication of your book, that the world, especially the lower and middling classes of society, never entertained the opinion, that the highest classes exhibited models of piety and virtue ; nay, from circumstances, we are naturally disposed to believe them worse than they really are.
C“ It is impossible you can believe the higher classes of society worse than they are in England, France, and Italy, for no language can sufficiently paint them." “ But still, my lord, granting this, how is your book calculated to improve them, and by what right, and under what title, do you come forward in this undertaking ?” * By the right," he replied,
which every one has who abhors vice united with hypocrisy.'”.
pp. 163, 4.
66 What are
His Lordship concluded the conversation with promising a moral winding up to the whole !!-a promise which, if it had been fulfilled, in the spirit of his defence, would have compensated but very scantily for a tithe of the mischief with which that poem is fraught. Recurring again to the subject of religion, we think that Doctor Kennedy pressed his noble pupil very forcibly, with respect to the difficulties which he alleged to be in the way of his conversion. The advice given to his lordship on this occasion is sound, and may be read even by the best of Christians with advantage. Upon being asked why he did not at once apply to the Great Mediator, he observed,
«« This is going too fast. There are many points and difficulties to clear up; when that is done, I will consider what you say." your difficulties ?” I asked.
" If the subject is of importance, why not have them cleared and removed ? You do not want time; you can reason and reflect. Th means of clearing up these difficulties are at hand. If it were a question of poetry, or of poetic literature, you would search and examine, and soon" form your own judgment: on a point of far greater consequence, why do you linger and delay ?”
"“ This is true," he said ; but here I am, the slave of circumstances, surrounded by things, and people which distract my attention, with nothing to lead me to the consideration of such subjects.” judgment, and the consciousness of your own happiness, and that you are not fulfilling the ends of your creation, should lead you to the examination of the subject ; and besides, there are no circumstances which bind you with such irresistible power, that you cannot easily surmount and conquer them. Religion must be sought after; your habits and studies must be subdued and laid aside in part, till you have obtained this, and then we may expect to see fruits worthy the high talents which God, whose revela
6. Your own
tion you neglect, has given you. I wish more earnestly than before, that your lordship would study the subject night and day, till you ascertain its truth, and your difficulties vanish. Every one would help you in your research : small as my abilities and experience are,--they are at your service. And I give you my testimony in the most solemn manner, that if you allow any worldly circumstance to interfere with you, till you have succeeded in the search to which I encourage you, you will have deeply to repent of your neglect."
Well, what would you have me to do? How shall I set about it?" “ Begin,” I said, “this very night to pray that God would pardon your sins, and grant you understanding to find out the truth, and continue praying on the one hand, and reading your bible on the other, and do it with an earnest desire and an unbiassed mind, and the result will be what we so earnestly wish. I do not mean that you are to take the subject on trust; examine it with the strictest scrutiny; weigh every objection, and hear every answer, and give on each side the fairest play: if you do this with justice and candour, you must believe.” '~pp. 173–175.
Nothing could be more wholesome than this counsel. On this and indeed upon all other occasions, Doctor Kennedy spoke out with frankness and simplicity, and perfect coolness. The "difficulties" of Lord Byron were such as every man feels who has not the resolution to conquer
them. To begin the contest in a proper manner, is to put an end to them. They fly with inconceivable rapidity before the mind which once firmly and sincerely determines to seek and adopt the truth.
As far as we can judge, Doctor Kennedy's notions upon the mystery of the Trinity, and upon the subject of Predestination, are equally just and intelligible. We have already said that he belonged to no church. Yet is he as exclusive in his doctrine of salvation, as if he were the founder of an unerring system of his own. We can hardly understand the tendency of his ideas for uniting together in one bond Christians of every denomination, and yet leaving them all perfect liberty of conscience, while he condemns altogether the Catholics, the Arians, the Socinians, and others. His language upon this subject, and that from a non-churchman too, would lead us to the supposition that the good Doctor looked upon himself as the only infallible interpreter of the Scriptures that has yet appeared. He says :
* From such an union, however, I would exclude Arians, Socinians, Swedenborgians, and fanatics of all descriptions ; leaving to them, not only toleration, but perfect liberty of conscience. These people have no right to the name of Christians. The Arians deny that the Son is equal to the Father; although he himself expressly declares that he is. The Socinians say, he is not a divine character; yet these sects call themselves Christians, while they reject the testimony of Christ. The other fanatics are too absurd in their fancies and imaginations to be reasoned with.
"" You seem to hate the Socinians,” said Lord Byron, “ Not the individuals," I replied, “ but their principles. I believe their system a terrible delusion, and that there is more hope of a deist, than of a Socinian, becoming a real Christian.'
6* But is this charitable ?” he asked ; why would you exclude a sincere Socinian from the hope of salvation ?"
6" I do not exclude him, and certainly I am no judge; nor ought we to judge of the ultimate state of any one ; but comparing the Socinian doctrines with those in the Bible, the one or other must be wrong."
6" But they draw their doctrine from the Bible,” said Lord B. so do all the fools, enthusiasts, and fanatics; so the Church of Rome founds a system of idolatry, as absurd as ancient or modern paganism, on the Bible. The Socinians reject such parts of the Scripture, as interpolations, or corruptions, which do not suit their scheme; they turn literal things into metaphorical, and metaphorical into literal, until they succeed in representing original sin, the depravity of our nature, the necessity of atonement, and consequently the whole necessity of a revelation, as perfectly useless. Setting aside the evidence on which these doctrines stand, it is obvious, according to their scheme, that there was very little need of a Saviour. The truth is, the Socinians are all unregenerated men ; their hearts require to be renewed and their heads enlightened; and their danger is, that they have formed a false system of religion, and cling to it in the hope of safety. If any of them are sincerely seeking the truth, God will in due time teach them, and bring them out of their Socinian delusion ; but those who die believing it, die, as far as I can judge, unregenerated, and consequently, according to the Scriptures, die in a most dangerous state.”
"" Their religion,” said his lordship, seems to be spreading very much. Lady B. is a great one among them, and much looked up to. She and I used to have a great many discussions on religion, and some of our differences arose from this point; but on comparing all the points together, I found that her religion was very similar to mine."
* I said I was exceedingly sorry to hear that her ladyship was among such a set, and I hoped that ere long she would see her error and danger. “ But," I added, were thousands more of the great, and the noble, and the learned among them, Christianity will stand and raise its head with ultimate success from amidst the ruins of superstition, ignorance, idolatry, and damnable heresies.
-pp. 195—197. Here is an expounder of the Scriptures for you! Here is an amiable example of the invaluable advantage which we all possess in this happy country, of making a religion for ourselves out of the Scriptures, and of sending to the regions below every man, woman, and child, who will not subscribe to the creed which we may have thought fit to manufacture!
During these conversations, Lord Byron appears to have been usually highly animated, indeed so much so, that it was difficult to keep him long together fixed upon any one point. He seemed to his instructor generally to express his real sentiments, though there never was any great degree of seriousness mixed with them. Nor did he ever allow any opportunity of uttering a pun, or saying a smart thing, to escape him.' The Doctor could not have been much surprised to hear from one of Lord Byron's intimate associates, that his lectures had hitherto produced no great effect. “I do not think," said he, “that you have made much impression on
him; he is just the same fellow as before. He says he does not know what religion you are of, for you neither adhered to creeds nor councils—that you were very frank and liberal, and confined yourself to the Scriptures alone, without caring any thing about the speculations of Divines.” But the unkindest act of all came from the wits of the garrison, who circulated a report, whether true or false the deponent saith not, that Lord Byron's real object in listening to the Doctor was, to obtain an accurate idea of the opinions and manners of the Methodists, in order that he might make Don Juan become one for a time!!' This story did not prevent the
а. Doctor from renewing his laudable exertions, although he ended just as he had begun, wasting his sweetness on the desert air." The noble adventurer left Cephalonia for Greece, as little imbued as ever with the spirit of Christianity. The sequel of his career need not be told.
Some remarks casually made by Lord Byron concerning his daughter, and his separation from his lady, shall conclude our extracts from this volume.
6" I have had letters from England," said Lord B., " which mention that Ada has been unwell,—she is now better. Her complaint was a determination of blood to the head: what is the cause of it at her age?" “ This depends on various causes, and I could not pretend to judge what the cause is in her case, unless I saw her.” “Do you,” asked he, “ think that such a complaint is habitual ?" No, it is not necessarily so," I replied. “It is curious,” he answered, “ that it is a complaint to which
” I myself am subject.”
** I could easily suppose so," I said, “ from your mode of life, and habits of study,----irregular, but intense; and I think I could have inferred so from the state of your eyes. Your right eye appears inflamed.”
6. That is from having read a good deal of late; but it will easily be removed, when I remove the cause. Ada,” he continued, “ is, I understand, very fond of reading. She lies on the sofa great part of the day reading, and displays, perhaps, a premature strength of mind, and quickness of understanding." “ I hope," I rejoined, “ that her inclination for acquiring knowledge will not be pushed too far, to the injury of her health, or even to the exhaustion of her intellectual powers, as is too often done by foolish and fond parents."
• " I hope not,” said Lord B.; " and I am sure that I can rely on Lady B.'s judgment and discretion."
"" Do you know, my Lord,” I said, " that I hope ere long to see the day when your lordship will again be united to Lady B., and enjoy all the happiness of domestic life, instead of following your present wandering and unsettled state, so unsuitable to one of your rank and station.”
What makes you think so? Have you had any private information ?” asked Lord B. “ No," I replied; " I judge from circumstances, which I will mention, if they are not likely to offend your lordship.”
6" By all means, tell me what they are. " I judge from the style in which you spoke of Lady B.,--when we were talking of whom we would save, at a former conversation, that your affection for her is not extinguished by absence, nor by all that has happened ; that, in fact, she is not indifferent to you.”
(“If I said any thing disrespectful of Lady B., I am very much to blame. Lady B. deserves every respect from me, and certainly nothing could give me greater pleasure than a reconciliation."
• With such sentiments, how is it possible that a separation has taken place, or how is it that a reunion cannot be effected? Under such circumstances, neither you nor she can be happy; and the cause must be singular, which two persons of such rank and understanding cannot find out and remove."
"“I do not, indeed, know the cause of separation," said Lord B. “I know that many falsehoods have been spread abroad, such as my bringing actresses to my house, but they were all false. Lady B. left me without explaining the cause. I sent Hobhouse to her, who almost went on his knees,—but in vain : and at length I wished to institute an action against her, that it might be seen what were her motives."
Perhaps," I said, “ Lady B. is to be commended. No wife, from motives of delicacy, would like the public to be acquainted with the causes of her sorrow and grief, in circumstances where her husband was concerned ; and if she acted under misapprehension, or bad influence, it was your lordship’s duty to have acted in such a way as in time to remove this."
“What could I have done? I did everything at the time that could be done, and I am, and have always been, ready for a reconciliation.” “I think your lordship could have done many things, and some of them better than
did. In the first place, it was wrong to give such publicity to a domestic misunderstanding, by poems, however beautiful and pathetic; but before I tell you what you might have done, let me ask you what would you not have done, when you were paying your addresses to Lady B.? Would any task have appeared too severe for you? Would you not have compassed sea and land, and gone to the uttermost parts of the earth, in order to obtain her hand ?” I would,” said his lordship.
Well, and how is it that you cannot do the same to regain the suspended affections of one who is dearer, as she is nearer, than she ever was when you were her lover,—of your wife, and the mother of your child ? Instead of leaving your country in a pet, and living retiredly in a country so grossly immoral as Italy, and thus affording just grounds to Lady B. and others, for suspecting the purity of your manners, and at least furnishing strong grounds for the tales (calumnies they may be) which were spread against you,--could you not have remained in England, where your conduct would have been open to her inspection ? Could you not have taken up your abode near her, in whatever place she moved to, and so lived as to satisfy her in time, and compel her to acknowledge that she had wronged you, and that she had acted from misapprehension ?" His lordship smiled, and said, “ All this is very fine,-but it would have had no effect. Everything was done that could be reasonably done, and it was unsuccessful; and I have remained, and I shall always remain, ready for a reconciliation with Lady B., whenever circumstances open and point out the way
to it.” '-pp. 263–267. From all that we have heard and read upon the subject of Lord Byron's separation from his wife, we have no doubt that this conversation has been very accurately reported. We confess that we have not been at all satisfied with the vindications which have been