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[385] awakening that followed; through the years when she could say to Philosophy,--

The world its plenitude
May keep, so I may share thy beggary.

These various phases were like divers-colored shades covering a lamp: through them all the white flame of religion burned clear and steady, fostered by a natural piety which was as much a part of her as the breath she drew.

In the year 1865 came the call to preach. She was asked to speak before the Parker Fraternity in Boston. She chose for her discourse a paper on “Ideal Causation,” which she had thought “the crown of her endeavor hitherto.”

To my sorrow, I found that it did not greatly interest my hearers, and that one who was reported to have wondered “what Mrs. Howe was driving at” had spoken the mind of many of those present.

I laid this lesson much to heart, and, becoming convinced that metaphysics did not supply the universal solvent for human evils, I determined to find a ποῦ στῶ nearer to the sympathies of the average community, from which I might speak for their good and my own.

From my childhood the Bible had been dear and familiar to me, and I now began to consider texts and sermons, in place of the transcendental webs I had grown so fond of spinning. The passages of Scripture which now occurred to me filled me with a desire to emphasize their wisdom by a really spiritual interpretation. From this time on, I became more and more interested in the religious ministration of women .. .

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Julia Ward Howe (1)
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