LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Chapter III

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
‣ Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
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I have endeavoured in the last Chapter, (with as little commentary as possible) to give a short sketch of the most important subjects that occupied my father’s thoughts, and employed his pen, during twenty-eight years of his life, in the Edinburgh Review.

But to perform my task properly, I ought perhaps to add some account of the subject-matter of his lectures and sermons. The former of these, if done at all, must be done by an abler pen than mine; I shall therefore content myself with only two extracts. The first has often been quoted, not only for its beauty, but as affording a specimen of the high moral tone which pervades these lectures; the second was extracted by one of his earliest college associates (and, I believe, now oldest friend alive), Mr. Duncan, and sent to my mother, as giving what he thought the best description of my father that has ever been written. The first is from the Lecture “On the Con-
duct of the Understanding;” the second is from that on “
Wit and Humour.”

“Therefore, when I say, in conducting the understanding, love knowledge with a great love, with a vehement love, with a love coeval with life, what do I say but love innocence, love virtue, love purity of conduct, love that which, if you are rich and powerful, will sanctify the blind fortune which has made you so, and make men call it justice? Love that which, if you are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and make the proudest feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your fortunes. Love that which will comfort and adorn you, and never quit you, which will open to you the kingdom of thought, and all the boundless regions of conception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice, and the pain that may be your lot in this outward world; that which will make your motives habitually great and honourable, and light up in an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and of fraud.

“Therefore, if any young man has embarked his life in the pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event; let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitation in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journey in her train. But let him ever follow her as an angel that guards him, and as
the genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of day, and exhibit him to the world, comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows in all the relations and in all the offices of life.”

“The meaning of an extraordinary man is, that he is eight men, not one man; that he has as much wit as if he had no sense, and as much sense as if he had no wit; that his conduct is as judicious as if he were the dullest of human beings, and his imagination as brilliant as if he were irretrievably ruined. But when wit is combined with sense and information; when it is softened by benevolence and restrained by principle; when it is in the hands of a man who can use it and despise it; who can be witty and something more than witty; who loves honour, justice, decency, good-nature, morality, and religion ten thousand times better than wit, wit is then a beautiful and delightful part of our nature.

“Genuine and innocent wit like this is surely the flavour of the mind. Man could direct his ways by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food; but God has given us wit, and flavour, and brightness, and laughter, and perfumes, to enliven the days of men’s pilgrimage, and to charm his pained steps over the burning marle.”

The character and design of his Sermons will per-
haps be best explained by a short preface he published as early as the year 1801, but never reprinted, explaining his reasons for the course he has taken; then showing what that course has been, and giving a few extracts from his

“He who publishes sermons should explain whether he publishes speeches, or essays, or what it is he does publish; for metaphysical dissertations, theological polemics, Scripture criticism, historical disquisition, and moral and religious doctrine, and exhortation, are all included under the appellation of sermons. Now every work should be tried by the intentions with which it was written. A moral sermon, delivered before a mixed audience of both sexes, would be very bad, if it contained a profound analysis of human motives and actions; and such an analysis should never be attempted before a mixed audience, because a continued attention to a difficult subject is a very rare quality, which the habits of the mass of mankind can never lead them to acquire. Before such an audience all these sermons were delivered, and whoever does me the honour of judging of them at all, will, I hope, do me the justice of judging them with a relation to this circumstance.

“The clergy have at all times complained of the decay of piety, in language similar to that which they now hold from the pulpit. The best way of bringing this declamation to proof is to look into the inside of our churches, and to remark how they are attended.
In London, I daresay, there are full seven-tenths of the whole population who hardly ever enter a place of worship from one end of the year to the other. At the fashionable end of the town the congregations are almost wholly made up of ladies, and there is an appearance of listlessness, indifference, and impatience, very little congenial to our theoretical ideas of a place of worship. In the country villages half of the parishioners do not go to church at all, and almost all, with the exception of the sick and old, are in a state of wretched ignorance and indifference with regard to all religious opinions whatever.

“The clergy of a district in the diocese of Lincoln associated lately for the purpose of forming an estimate of the state of religion within their own limits. The amount of the population, where the inquiry was set on foot, was 15,042. It was found that the average number of the ordinary congregations was 4933, and of communicants at each sacrament 1808; so that not one in three attended divine service, nor one in six of the adults (who amounted to 11,282) partook of the Sacrament.

“Though other grave and important causes have unquestionably contributed very largely to produce this indifference, which is by no means necessarily connected with infidelity, still, I am afraid, it must in some little degree be attributed to our form of worship, and to the clergy themselves.

“That the attention of the greater part of an audience can be kept up, through many repetitions, in a
service that lasts an hour and a half, or an hour and three-quarters, is as much to be wished as it is to be little expected. Piety, stretched beyond a certain point, is the parent of impiety. By attempting to keep up the fervour of devotion for so long a time, we have thinned our churches, and driven away those fluctuating, lukewarm Christians who will always outnumber the zealous and devout, and whom it should be our first object to animate, allure, and fix.

“The English clergy, though upon the whole a very learned, pious, moral, and decent body of men, are not very remarkable for professional activity; and when they have discharged the formal and exacted duties of religion, are not very forward, by gratuitous inspection and remonstrance, to keep alive and diffuse a due sense of religion in their parishioners.

“To these causes may be added the low state of pulpit eloquence.

“Preaching has become a bye-word for long and dull conversation of any kind; and whoever wishes to imply, in any piece of writing, the absence of everything agreeable and inviting, calls it a sermon.

“One reason for this is the bad choice of subjects for the pulpit. The clergy are allowed about twenty-six hours every year for the instruction of their fellow-creatures; and I cannot help thinking this short time had better be employed on practical subjects, in explaining and enforcing that conduct which the spirit of Christianity requires, and which mere worldly happiness commonly coincides to recommend. These are
the topics nearest the heart, which make us more fit for this and a better world, and do all the good that sermons ever will do. Critical explanations of difficult passages of Scripture, dissertations on the doctrinal and mysterious points of religion, learned investigations of the meaning and accomplishment of prophecies, do well for publication, but are ungenial to the habits and taste of a general audience. Of the highest importance they are to those who can defend the faith and study it profoundly; but, God forbid it should be necessary to be a scholar, or a critic, in order to be a Christian. To the multitude, whether elegant or vulgar, the result only of erudition, employed for the defence of Christianity, can be of any consequence: with the erudition itself they cannot meddle, and must be fatigued if they are doomed to hear it. In every congregation there are a certain number whom principle, old-age, or sickness, has rendered truly devout; but in preaching, as in everything else, the greater number of instances constitute the rule, and the lesser the exception.

“A distinction is set up, with the usual inattention to the meaning of words, between moral and religious subjects of discourse; as if every moral subject must not necessarily be a Christian subject. If Christianity concern itself with our present, as well as our future happiness, how can any virtue, or the doctrine which inculcates it, be considered as foreign to our sacred religion? Has our Saviour forbidden justice,—proscribed mercy, benevolence, and good faith? or, when
we state the more sublime motives for their cultivation, which we derive from revelation, why are we not to display the temporal motives also, and to give solidity to elevation by fixing piety upon interest?

“There is a bad taste in the language of sermons evinced by a constant repetition of the same scriptural phrases, which perhaps were used with great judgment two hundred years ago, but are now become so trite that they may, without any great detriment, be exchanged for others. ‘Putting off the old man—and putting on the new man,’ ‘The one thing needful,’ ‘The Lord hath set up his candlestick,’ ‘The armour of righteousness,’ etc. etc. etc. etc. The sacred Scriptures are surely abundant enough to afford us the same idea with some novelty of language: we can never be driven, from the penury of these writings, to wear and fritter their holy language into a perfect cant, which passes through the ear without leaving any impression.

“To this cause of the unpopularity of sermons may be added the extremely ungraceful manner in which they are delivered. The English, generally remarkable for doing very good things in a very bad manner, seem to have reserved the maturity and plenitude of their awkwardness for the pulpit. A clergyman clings to his velvet cushion with either hand, keeps his eye riveted upon his book, speaks of the ecstasies of joy and fear with a voice and a face which indicate neither, and pinions his body and soul into the same attitude of limb and thought, for fear of being called
theatrical and affected. The most intrepid veteran of us all dares no more than wipe his face with his cambric sudarium; if, by mischance, his hand slip from its orthodox gripe of the velvet, he draws it back as from liquid brimstone, or the caustic iron of the law, and atones for this indecorum by fresh inflexibility and more rigorous sameness. Is it wonder, then, that every semi-delirious sectary who pours forth his animated nonsense with the genuine look and voice of passion should gesticulate away the congregation of the most profound and learned divine of the Established Church, and in two Sundays preach him bare to the very sexton? Why are we natural everywhere but in the pulpit? No man expresses warm and animated feelings anywhere else, with his mouth alone, but with his whole body; he articulates with every limb, and talks from head to foot with a thousand voices. Why this holoplexia on sacred occasions alone? Why call in the aid of paralysis to piety? Is it a rule of oratory to balance the style against the subject, and to handle the most sublime truths in the dullest language and the driest manner? Is sin to be taken from men, as Eve was from Adam, by casting them into a deep slumber? Or from what possible perversion of common sense are we all to look like field-preachers in Zembla, holy lumps of ice, numbed into quiescence, and stagnation, and mumbling?

“It is theatrical to use action, and it is Methodistical to use action.

“But we have cherished contempt for sectaries, and
persevered in dignified tameness so long, that while we are freezing common sense for large salaries in stately churches, amidst whole acres and furlongs of empty pews, the crowd are feasting on ungrammatical fervour and illiterate animation in the crumbling hovels of Methodists. If influence over the imagination can produce these powerful effects; if this be the chain by which the people are dragged captive at the wheel of enthusiasm, why are we, who are rocked in the cradle of ancient genius, who hold in one hand the book of the wisdom of God, and in the other grasp that eloquence which ruled the Pagan world, why are we never to rouse, to appeal, to inflame, to break through every barrier, up to the very haunts and chambers of the soul? If the vilest interest upon earth can daily call forth all the powers of the mind, are we to harangue on public order, and public happiness, to picture a re-uniting world, a resurrection of souls, a rekindling of ancient affections, the dying day of heaven and of earth, and to unveil the throne of God, with a wretched apathy which we neither feel nor show in the most trifling concerns of life? This surely can be neither decency nor piety, but ignorant shame, boyish bashfulness, luxurious indolence, or anything but propriety and sense. There is, I grant, something discouraging at present to a man of sense in the sarcastical phrase of popular preacher; but I am not entirely without hope that the time may come when energy in the pulpit will be no longer considered as a mark of superficial understanding; when anima-
tion and affectation will be separated; when churches will cease (as Swift says) to be public dormitories; and sleep be no longer looked upon as the most convenient vehicle of good sense.

“I know well that out of ten thousand orators by far the greater number must be bad, or none could be good; but by becoming sensible of the mischief we have done, and are doing, we may all advance a proportional step; the worst may become what the best are, and the best better.

“There is always a want of grandeur in attributing great events to little causes; but this is in some small degree compensated for by truth. I am convinced we should do no great injury to the cause of religion if we remembered the old combination of aræ et foci, and kept our churches a little warmer. An experienced clergyman can pretty well estimate the number of his audience by the indications of a sensible thermometer. The same blighting wind chills piety which is fatal to vegetable life; yet our power of encountering weather varies with the object of our hardihood; we are very Scythians when pleasure is concerned, and Sybarites when the bell summons us to church.

“No reflecting man can ever wish to adulterate manly piety (the parent of all that is good in the world) with mummery and parade. But we are strange, very strange creatures, and it is better perhaps not to place too much confidence in our reason alone. If anything, there is, perhaps, too little pomp and ceremony in our worship, instead of too much.
We quarrelled with the Roman Catholic church, in a great hurry and a great passion, and furious with spleen; clothed ourselves with sackcloth, because she was habited in brocade; rushing, like children, from one extreme to another, and blind to all medium between complication and barrenness, formality and neglect. I am very glad to find we are calling in more and more the aid of music to our service. In London, where it can be commanded, good music has a prodigious effect in filling a church; organs have been put up in various churches in the country, and, as I have been informed, with the best possible effect. Of what value, it may be asked, are auditors who come there from such motives? But our first business seems to be, to bring them there from any motive which is not undignified and ridiculous, and then to keep them there from a good one: those who come for pleasure may remain for prayer.

“Pious and worthy clergymen are ever apt to imagine that mankind are what they ought to be; to mistake the duty for the fact; to suppose that religion can never weary its votaries; that the same novelty and ornament which are necessary to enforce every temporal doctrine are wholly superfluous in religious admonition; and that the world at large consider religion as the most important of all concerns, merely because it is so: whereas, if we refer to facts, the very reverse appears to be the case. Every consideration influences the mind in a compound ratio of the importance of the effects which it involves and
their proximity. A man who was sure to die a death of tenure in ten rears would think more of the most trifling gratification or calamity of the day than of his torn flesh and twisted nerves years hence. If we were to read the gazette of a naval victory from the pulpit, we should be dazzled with the eager eyes of our audience; they would sit through an earthquake to hear us. The cry of a child, the fall of a book, the most trifling occurrence, is sufficient to dissipate religious thought, and to introduce a more willing train of ideas: a sparrow fluttering about the church is an antagonist which the most profound theologian in Europe is wholly unable to overcome. A clergyman has so little previous disposition to attention in his favour, that, without the utmost efforts, he can neither excite it or preserve it when excited. It is his business to awaken mankind by every means in his power, and to show them their true interest. If he despise energy of manner and labour of composition, from a conviction that his audience are willing, and that his subject alone will support him, he will only add lethargy to languor, and confirm the drowsiness of his hearers by becoming a great example of sleep himself.

“That many greater causes are at work to undermine religion I seriously believe; but I shall probably be laughed at when I say that warm churches, solemn music, animated preaching upon practical subjects, and a service some little abridged, would be no contemptible seconds to the just, necessary, and innumerable
invectives which have been levelled against
Rousseau, Voltaire, D’Alembert, and the whole pandemonium of those martyrs to atheism who toiled with such laborious malice, and suffered odium with such inflexible profligacy, for the wretchedness and despair of their fellow-creatures.

“I have merely expressed what appears to me to be the truth in these remarks. I hope I shall not give offence; I am sure I do not mean to do it. Some allowance should be made for the severity of censure when the provident satirist furnishes the raw material for his own art, and commits every fault which he blames.”

Entering on his ministry, then, with these views, we shall, I think, find that my father’s religion is tinctured in great measure by his character—it has nothing intolerant, repulsive, or morose in his hands. He first seeks to inspire the love of God, by painting the world overflowing with beauties of form, colour, sight, taste, smell, feeling; the mind of man filled with genius, fancy, wit, imagination, eloquence,—properties and feelings totally unnecessary to the mere bare cold existence that might have been the lot of man, but bestowed upon him in such variety and profusion as almost baffles the comprehension, and shows the boundless love of the Creator in placing such happiness within the reach of his creatures.

This feeling is evinced in the following passage, taken from a sermon on ‘The Immortality of the Soul;’ and
will be seen to pervade not only his sermons, but his lectures, and even his reviews, wherever the subject admits of any allusion to religion.

He says, speaking of the faculties of animals: “If man, like these, had only talents to gather his support, and defeat the hostile animals which surround him, no hope of immortality could be gathered from a condition like this; man would be of the earth, earthy; destined to live in the world with qualities fitted for this world, and to all appearance limited to it. But in speaking of the mind of man, we forget and we pass over all those faculties which are sufficient for the preservation of life. We do not wonder at man because he is cunning in procuring food, but we are amazed with the variety, the superfluity, the immensity of human talents. We are astonished that he should have found his way over the seas, and numbered the stars, and called by its name every earth, and stone, and plant, and creeping reptile that the Almighty has made. We see him gathered together in great cities, guided by laws, disciplined by instruction, softened by fine arts, and sanctified by solemn worship. We count over the pious spirits of the world, the beautiful writers, the great statesmen, all who have invented subtlely, who have thought deeply, who have executed wisely:—all these are proofs that we are destined for a second life; and it is not possible to believe that this redundant vigour, this lavish and excessive power, was given for the mere gathering of meat and drink. If the only object is present existence,
such faculties are cruel, are misplaced, are useless. They all show us that there is something great awaiting us,—that the soul is now young and infantine, springing up into a more perfect life when the body falls into dust.”

On various occasions he dwells on the evidences of the authenticity of the Christian religion. He says: “I have selected this train of reasoning with some care from the best writers in defence of Christianity, because it is always right that a man should be able to render a reason for the faith that is within him.”

In discoursing on these evidences, he enforces them with all the powers with which he was endowed. Having shown the authenticity of the religion he teaches, he proceeds to inculcate in a variety of forms the most important duties that religion enjoined: amongst these he has dwelt on none more frequently than “the purity and government of the heart,” which, he says, “is God’s, and to God it will return;” “it is the ark of God.” “Is the passport to heaven written anywhere else than in a pure heart?” He shows how in this respect the Christian differs from all spurious religions, not contenting itself with ceremonies and outward forms, but requiring thought, word, and deed.

“The beauty of the Christian religion is, that it carries the order and discipline of heaven into our very fancies and conceptions, and, by hallowing the first shadowy notions of our minds from which actions spring, makes our actions themselves good and holy.”

Toleration, long-suffering, and charity, he gathers
from every page of the Gospel. “The Church,” he says, “must be distinguished from religion itself; we might be Christians without any Established Church at all, as some countries of the world are at this day. A church establishment is only an instrument for teaching religion, but an instrument of admirable contrivance and of vast utility. The Church of England is the wisest and most enlightened sect of Christians; I think so, or I would not belong to it another hour. But is it possible for me to believe that every Christian out of the pale of that Church will be consigned after this life to the never-ending wrath of God? If I were to preach such doctrines, who would hear me? Can I paint God as the protector of one Christian creed, dead to all prayers, blind to all woes but ours?—God, whom the Indian Christian, whom the Armenian Christian, whom the Greek Christian, whom the Catholic, whom the Protestant, adore in a varied manner, in another climate, with a fresh priest and a changed creed. Are you and I to live again, and are these Christians as well as us not to live again? Foolish, arrogant man has said this, but God has never said this. He calls for the just in Christ. He tells us that through that name He will reward every good man, and accept every just action; that if you take up the cross of Christ he will reward you for every kind deed, repay you sevenfold for every example of charity, carefully note and everlastingly recompense the justice, the honour, the integrity, the benevolence of your present life. And yet, though God is the God
of all Christians, each says to the other, He is not your God, but my God; not the God of the just in Christ, but the God of
Calvin, the God of Luther, or the God of the Papal Crown.”

“The true Christian, amid all the diversities of opinion, searches for the holy in desire, for the good in council, for the just in works; and he loves the good, under whatever temple, at whatever altar he may find them.”

“If I have read well my Gospel, it is in such wise we should imitate the patient forbearance of our common Father, who pities the frailties we do not pity, who forgives the error we do not forgive, who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”

He insists strongly on the vital importance of the religious education of youth:—“When you see a child brought up in the way he should go, you see a good of which you cannot measure the quantity, nor perceive the end; it may be communicated to the children’s children of that child. It may last for centuries; it may be communicated to innumerable individuals. It may be planting a plant, and sowing a seed, which may fill the land with the glorious increase of righteousness, and bring upon us the blessings of the Almighty.”

He then points out the true pleasures, the use and the abuse, of youth; the preparations for age; the warnings sent by a merciful God; the utility of meditation on death; the worthlessness of this world but
as a stepping-stone to a better. And thus, whilst raising the mind from earth to heaven, and urging, as he says, “nothing foolish, nothing romantic, nothing bordering on ridicule or enthusiasm,” he inculcates a recollection that there are really and truly things above this world, and coming after this world, and better than this world. He exhorts us to live as others live, and do as others do, but at the same time to live to higher purposes than others live, and do greater and better actions than others do. He then enters into the detail of those virtues, and the attack of those vices, which the wisdom of God has either commanded or forbidden for the happiness of man.

This, I believe, will be found to be an accurate analysis of the use he made of his ministry. Few extracts have been made, from the difficulty of selection; but I may venture to say that those who will seek, and select for themselves, will not be unrewarded.

As however my opinion can hardly be considered an impartial one, I may be allowed to quote two or three extracts from publications, after his death, in confirmation of it. “In a literary point of view,” says one writer, “these sermons stand alone among modern pulpit discourses; they have not the theological learning which distinguishes some, or the mystical eloquence that gives character to the outpourings of the present Bishop of Oxford; but how full of freshness and life they are! There is nothing of compilation or imitation in them; the writer has
not consulted other divines for topics and ideas, but, selecting his text, he has treated it from the stores of his own mind, exhibiting his own view on questions of doctrine, and illustrating matters of practice from his own observation and experience of mankind, and it bears the strong impress which vigorous life always imparts.”

Another says:—“Christianity was not a dogma with Sydney Smith, it was a practical and most beneficent creed; it was the rule of action to his life. The volume contains not a thought or opinion at war with Christian charity.”

And again, one says:—“But how beautiful were the serious moods of Sydney Smith! What a fine fulness and solidity they had; drawn from the strength and justice which we believe to have been the ruling sense of his mind, and tempered with the warmth of character, of which no man had a larger share. What a picture is that in one of his sermons where he describes the village school, and the tattered scholars, and the aged, poverty-stricken master, teaching the mechanical art of reading or writing, and thinking he was teaching that alone, while in truth he was protecting life, insuring property, fencing the altar, guarding the throne, giving space and liberty to all the fine powers of man, and lifting him up to his own place in the order of creation!”

I shall content myself with but one more extract, from his Charity Sermon in behalf of the Blind, as it was the one which elicited the splendid eulogium from
Mr. Dugald Stewart, to which I have alluded elsewhere.

“The author of the book of Ecclesiastes has told us ‘that the light is sweet, that it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun.’ The sense of sight is indeed the highest bodily privilege, the purest physical pleasure, which man has derived from his Creator. To see that wandering fire, after he has finished his journey through the nations, coming back to his eastern heavens, the mountains painted with light, the floating splendour of the sea, the earth waking from deep slumber, the day flowing down the sides of the hills till it reaches the secret valleys, the little insect recalled to life, the bird trying her wings, man going forth to his labour,—each created being moving, thinking, acting, contriving, according to the scheme and compass of its nature, by force, by cunning, by reason, by necessity. Is it possible to joy in this animated scene, and feel no pity for the sons of darkness? for the eyes that will never see light? for the poor clouded in everlasting gloom? If you ask me why they are miserable and dejected, I turn you to the plentiful valleys; to the fields now bringing forth their increase; to the freshness and the flowers of the earth; to the endless variety of its colours; to the grace, the symmetry, the shape of all it cherishes and all it bears; these you have forgotten, because you have always enjoyed them; but these are the means by which God Almighty makes man what he is—cheerful, lively, erect, full of enterprise, mutable, glancing from heaven
to earth, prone to labour and to act. Why was not the earth left without form and void? Why was not darkness suffered to remain on the face of the deep? Why did God place lights in the firmament, for days, for seasons, for signs, and for years? That He might make man the happiest of created beings; that He might give to this his favourite creation a wider scope, a more permanent duration, a richer diversity of joy. This is the reason why the blind are miserable and dejected—because their soul is mutilated, and dismembered of its best sense,—because they are a laughter and a ruin, and the boys of the streets mock at their stumbling feet.

“Therefore I implore you, by the Son of David, have mercy on the blind. If there is not pity for all sorrows, turn the full and perfect man to meet the inclemency of fate; let not those who have never tasted the pleasures of existence be assailed by any of its sorrows; the eyes which are never gladdened by light should never stream with tears.

“How merciful our blessed Saviour was wont to show himself to their afflictions! Blind Bartinieus sat by the wayside begging; and as the crowd passed by, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me!’ Jesus stopped the multitude, and before them all restored to him his sight. The first thing that he saw, who never saw before, was the Son of his God! These blind people, like Bartimeus, will never see, till they behold their Redeemer on the last day: not as He then was, in his earthly shape, but
girded by all the host of heaven,—the Judge of nations, the everlasting Counsellor, the Prince of peace. At that hour this heaven and earth will pass away, and all things melt with fervent heat: but in the wreck of worlds no tittle of mercy shall perish, and the deeds of the just shall be recorded in the mind of God.”

In giving this little sketch of his writings, I have somewhat anticipated in my narrative, and must return to my father’s residence in Edinburgh. Mr. Beach had requested him to receive his second son under his charge, and at the same time Mr. Gordon, of Ellon Castle, was entrusted to his care by his guardians.

For the care of each of these young men, he received £400, the highest sum which had been then given to any one but Mr. Dugald Stewart. He fully justified the trust reposed in him; he lived with them as a father and a friend: they are both still alive, and both, I believe, retain warm feelings of love and respect for the memory of their former Mentor; indeed, one of them always evinced a truly filial affection towards him.

On one occasion he was much amused by the complaints made by his young friends of the difficulty of finding conversation for their partners in the two balls a week which he allowed them during the season. “Oh,” said he, “I’ll fit you up in five minutes: I’ll write you some conversations, and you will be considered the two most agreeable young men in Edinburgh.” Pen and ink were brought, the conversa-
tions—numbers one, two, and three—written down amidst fits of laughter; each youth chose his conversation; and it would be difficult to say who was the most amused, the writer, the speaker, or the hearer, by this novel expedient.

During his residence in Edinburgh, though without any clerical duties of his own, my father not unfrequently preached in the Episcopal church, then served by Bishop Sandford; and I believe the earliest of the charity sermons he has preached (of which there are several very touching ones amongst those which have been published) was for the Lying-in Hospital. The singular custom which was then always observed, of delivering these sermons at night, seems to have given occasion to a striking passage in it.

A few months after the birth of his daughter, he went in the summer for a short time to Burnt Island, a small sea-bathing place at no great distance from Edinburgh, for the recovery of my mother’s health; and here, but for his courage and firmness, he would have lost his long-wished-for daughter, in a way he had not at all anticipated. When only six months old she fell ill of the croup, with such fearful violence, that it defied all the remedies employed by the best medical man there. The danger increased with every hour. Dr. Hamilton, then one of the most eminent medical men in Edinburgh, was sent for, could not come, but said, “Persevere in giving two grains of calomel every hour; I never knew it fail.” It was given for eleven hours; the child grew worse and worse; the
medical man in attendance then said, “I dare give no more; I can do no more, the child must die, but at this age I would not venture to give more to my own child.” “You,” said my father, “can do no more; Hamilton says, Persevere; I will take the responsibility, I will give it to her myself.” He gave it, and the child was saved.

Another instance of his moral courage and presence of mind occurred in after-life, when, accidentally in the house of a near relation soon after her confinement, who was suddenly seized by a most alarming attack, her husband from home, a very eminent medical man who attended her absent; all the others sent to in this moment of distress, out also. At last, a young medical man was brought, who declared the danger to be imminent; that if the patient were a pauper, he would bleed her instantly, and probably save her life: he feared, however, to interfere in a case attended by so eminent a man, as, if he failed, he should be ruined. My father’s medical knowledge confirming this opinion, he determined to take the whole responsibility on himself, and insisted upon its being done before he left the house. Relief was immediate, and, by the time the husband returned, the patient was safe.

At the end of the autumn he returned again to Edinburgh for the winter, and his time there was divided between his pupils, the Edinburgh Review (to which he was at that period not only contributor, but editor), the enjoyment of the choicest society that was to be found anywhere out of London, and the study
of medicine, anatomy, and moral philosophy. He was a constant attendant on the beautiful lectures of
Mr. Dugald Stewart, in the University of Edinburgh, with whom he lived in habits of almost daily communication; as also with that remarkable man, Dr. Thomas Brown, who succeeded Mr. Stewart in the Professor’s chair of Moral Philosophy, from whom he imbibed a keen love of the subjects connected with that science. Medicine and anatomy had always been favourite pursuits of my father’s even when at Oxford, where he bestowed so much attention on the study of the former under Sir Christopher Pegge, that the Professor much wished him to become a physician. Feeling now that such knowledge might be of the greatest use in his future destination, the Church, he pursued it with the more ardour, and attended the Clinical Lectures in the hospitals in Edinburgh, given by Dr. Gregory.

He thus obtained a degree of knowledge that enabled him afterwards to be of the greatest service to the poor of his parish, who entirely depended on him for assistance, and to become the favourite doctor of his own family, who rarely summoned any other medical man to their aid: and I have the authority of my husband, Sir Henry Holland (who had frequent opportunities of observing his practice, and ascertaining his knowledge of medicine), for saying, that both his judgment and knowledge were very remarkable, and used with the same prudence and good sense which he exercised on all other subjects.