’Nothing is plainer than that it would be wrong to give up any mind to eternal sin till every possible thing had been done for its recovery; and that is so clearly not the case here, that I can see that, with thoughtful minds, this belief would cut the very roots of religious faith in God: for there is a difference between facts that we do not understand, and facts which we do understand, and perceive to be wholly irreconcilable with a certain character professed by God.
’If God says He is love, and certain ways of explaining Scripture make Him less loving and patient than man, then we make Scripture contradict itself. Now, as no passage of Scripture limits probation to this life, and as one passage in Peter certainly unequivocally asserts that Christ preached to the spirits in prison while His body lay in the grave, I am clear upon this point.
’But it is also clear, that
if there be those who persist in refusing
God’s love, who choose to dash themselves for ever against the
inflexible laws of the universe, such souls must for ever suffer.
’There may be souls who hate purity because it reveals their vileness; who refuse God’s love, and prefer eternal conflict with it. For such there can be no peace. Even in this life, we see those whom the purest self-devoting love only inflames to madness; and we have only to suppose an eternal persistence in this to suppose eternal misery.
’But on this subject we can
only leave all reverently in the hands of
that Being whose almighty power is “declared chiefly in showing
In leaving this subject, I have an appeal to make to the men, and more especially to the women, who have been my readers.
In justice to Lady Byron, it must be remembered that this publication of her story is not her act, but mine. I trust you have already conceded, that, in so severe and peculiar a trial, she had a right to be understood fully by her immediate circle of friends, and to seek of them counsel in view of the moral questions to which such very exceptional circumstances must have given rise. Her communication to me was not an address to the public: it was a statement of the case for advice. True, by leaving the whole, unguarded by pledge or promise, it left discretionary power with me to use it if needful.
You, my sisters, are to judge whether the accusation laid against Lady Byron by the ‘Blackwood,’ in 1869, was not of so barbarous a nature as to justify my producing the truth I held in my hands in reply.