Imatges de pÓgina


the translation to heaven of the living Enoch, and from the frequent expressions of the Patriarchs, that they were pilgrims and strangers upon earth; these and many other arguments convincing to the calm observer of the whole dispensation would be lost upon him; nothing but a positive text will satisfy his doubts. He shall have one. It was quoted once before in answer to this very objection, and we are told that it had then the effect of putting the objectors to silence. It is written in Exodus a "book of Moses," c. iii. v. 6.

"I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' These persons were dead, yet God declares that at that very moment he was still their God; and the comment upon the above-mentioned occasion was, 'God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.'

Lord B. may deny the force of this passage: so he may deny any thing or every thing, that black is black, or white -white, yet they are not the less so on that account. But not content with making this hazardous assertion, he goes on to say, nor indeed in the Old Testament." Indeed!

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Job, in a book perhaps as ancient as, or more so than, the Pentateuch, c. xix. v.28., says-" I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God," and the speaker wishes these words 66 were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" We wish so too.

We omit the numberless direct texts in the Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah, and will only add for its grandeur, beauty, and clearness, the great prophecy of Daniel, c. xii. v. 1, 2, 3.

"At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of the people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."

Are these texts" allusions to a future state," or not?
Are they clear declarations or not?

Is Lord Byron's head or his heart to be called in question ? But it has been argued that Lord B. has done no more than Milton did before him with universal applause; and

upon one occasion *, a challenge was thrown out that every passage in "Cain" could be paralleled, line by line, from the "Paradise Lost." Now, excepting the Bible, we know no book for which we feel so profound a veneration as we do for this latter poem, and to be told all at once that nothing in this outlawed pamphlet of blasphemy is worse than many things that are to be found in what we are accustomed to call a Divine work, is somewhat startling. That any one should dare to make this assertion, and that any one should believe it is another proof of the lamentable neglect into which Milton's writings have generally fallen, and shows that this mighty Poet, like Lord Bacon †, though much talked of, is now little more than the shadow of a name.

We can hardly think that those who have read Milton will need the assistance of our remarks, but it is well known that there are multitudes of well meaning but ill informed persons who have been silenced in conversation and perplexed in their minds upon this very ground of the unanswerable authority of Paradise Lost. This is a serious consideration, and it certainly is incumbent upon every parent and guardian of youth to come to a right understanding upon it. The book which is to be found in every library, which not seldom occupies the devout attention of our wives and sisters alternately even with the word of God itself, is declared to be the prototype and the justifying authority for a work, the atrocious blasphemies of which must fill the most unthinking bosom with horror and dismay. The question, however, though very important, is a short one, and we believe a very few

* Nothing is meant here disrespectful to Mr. Shadwell, for whom we entertain a high esteem; upon the occasion alluded to he acted but the part of an ingenious advocate.

+ We will give a remarkable instance of a writer's presuming upon the general ignorance of Lord Bacon's works. Mr. Shelley in the Notes to "Queen Mab," at the end of a prolix declamation against the Christian Religion, prints a passage from Bacon's Essays descriptive of the evils of Superstition, in which that author says, that in comparison of the gross state of degradation caused by Superstition he should prefer even Atheism itself. This is so artfully dovetailed with what goes before, that we venture to say that no person, who was unacquainted with Lord Bacon's character and writings, could doubt that he was a professed apologist to Atheism. And yet Lord B. begins the Essay immediately preceding, and to which his comparison directly refers, with these words

"I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a mind. And therefore God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. It is true that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no farther; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity."

sentences will be enough to show both that Milton's Satan is not blasphemous, and what Lord Byron may think of more consequence, that he has himself been guilty of a gross dramatic impropriety in making Lucifer so.

"If Cain be blasphemous, then Paradise Lost is blasphemous," such is the argument, and it is artfully put by the adversary; for he imagines that in whichever way we take it, he must gain something; if we admit the hypothesis, he has the satisfaction (somewhat a kin to that which Satan felt in Paradise) of reducing a godlike work to his own level; if to avoid that we deny the conclusion, then we relieve his own work from the imputation which checks its sale, and prevents the diffusion of his opinions. The fallacy however is in assuming the connection between the hypothesis and the conclusion. Let us bring it to the intelligible test of rigid examination; let the characters, the actions, and the sayings of Satan and Lucifer be scrutinized. Does Satan in any instance openly or covertly accuse the Scriptural narrative of falsehood or duplicity? Does he hesitate to appear or act as the tempter of the woman? does he pretend to himself to have a good motive for so doing? does he in a single passage deny or doubt the goodness, the justice, the greatness, the infinite happiness, the essential unity of God? does he ever (and this is the main difference) impute the evil of this world to God, and by implication ascribe to himself the wish of dif fusing good and happiness to mankind? It is almost wasting time to quote a few of the thousand passages which show that the direct contrary of all these is the truth.

"-pride and worse ambition threw me down, Warring in heaven against heaven's matchless King. IV. -all his good proved ill in me,

And wrought but malice. iv.

-as God in heaven

Is center, yet extends to all. ix.

-all good to me becomes

Bane. IX.

For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts. ix.

Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what sweet
Compulsion thus transported, to forget

What hither brought us; hate, not love; nor hope
Of Paradise for hell, hope here to taste
Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy
To me is lost. IX.


So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Farewell remorse: all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good. IV.

To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight. Iv."

But Lucifer does all this, and more than this; he is transformed into the semblance of an Angel of Light, and the Almighty Jehovah is made to be what Christians and Jews make Lucifer to be-a torturer because tortured, a creator of misery, because infinitely miserable himself. He says, that he

"-dares look the omnipotent tyrant in

His everlasting face, and tell him that
His evil is not good."

It is impossible to quote every speech of Satan to show that he never transgresses these prescribed bounds; we can only just say, what every one knows, that three parts of Paradise Lost are taken up with rapturous praises of the Deity in every shape of hymn, meditation, prayer, and narration; and we may hint, even to Lord B. the folly of supposing, that Milton should write a book, which, according to him, militates most directly against the very design and fondest wish of Milton's own heart. We have it on record in his own words, that his chief motive for undertaking that immortal poem, was to do something for the glory of God; or, as he sings, in the first page

-to assert Eternal Providence,

And justify the ways of God to men."

We challenge, in return, the production of a single passage, from the first line to the last of Paradise Lost, which will excite in the mind of any reasonable creature the most transient feeling of profaneness.

But independently of the criterion of Milton's example, it is quite manifest, that no dramatic conception can be more totally false and imperfect than this is of Satan's imaginable thoughts and words.

"-if he has made

As he saith-which I know not, nor believe”

How is this doubt, uncertainty, or disbelief, consistent with that double portion of angelic knowledge which we conceive

this spirit to have possessed upon a subject on which the mortal before him could have returned him a decisive answer? For Cain, fresh from the hand of his Creator, and living in the more immediate neighbourhood of heaven, must surely have known a truth which even heathens, in after ages, held and propagated, that God made heaven and earth and all things that were therein. Milton, with admirable judgment, introduces Satan, in his address to the Sun, as master of this knowledge, and makes it the very spring of all the terrible passions which he blends together in that astonishing passage, which is the extremest verge of the audacity of the rebel's discourse.

"Ah, wherefore; he deserv'd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was

In that bright eminence," &c.

Again, Lord B. will not deny, that in the New Testament at least Satan is declared to have been the tempter of our first parents to their fatal transgression; and yet he makes this Being of all infinite knowledge deny this fact, because he, Lord B. does not so interpret a chapter in the Book of Genesis.

Is the result then parallel or contrast? Is it Milton and Byron, or Milton versus Byron? Is the passage from which we quoted a few awfully blasphemous words in Cain, (which yet is by no means the most flagrant in the piece), that fair dramatic representation allowable in a free and Christian country, or is it an unprecedented effort of perverted and perverting profaneness? Did it become the judges of a nation, where Christianity is part of the common law of the land, to protect this work or not? Would it be tyranny or inquisitorial persecution to prosecute the author and publisher of this work, and to, amerce them heavily?

But we shall be told that all this is prejudice; that although we might differ in our opinions materially upon the metaphysical portion of the work,' yet, if we were not blinded by baseness and bigotry,' we should highly admire the poetry of the publication. Blinded by baseness and bigotry! This is very well indeed; and from whom does this imputation proceed? From the pure and the liberal? Is it no bigotry to maintain theory against fact? Is it no bigotry to turn the back upon earnest inquiry, and to open the ears to sneering and sarcasm alone? Is it no bigotry to set up the restless and disturbed imaginations of man before the undoubted testimony of God Almighty? Is it no baseness to see the mighty

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