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[249]

The inner life.

The agency of evil.

From the Supernaturalism of New England, in the Democratic Review for 1843.

in this life of ours, so full of mystery, so hung about with wonders, so written over with dark riddles, where even the lights held by prophets and inspired ones only serve to disclose the solemn portals of a future state of being, leaving all beyond in shadow, perhaps the darkest and most difficult problem which presents itself is that of the origin of evil,—the source whence flow the black and bitter waters of sin and suffering and discord,— the wrong which all men see in others and feel in themselves,—the unmistakable facts of human depravity and misery. A superficial philosophy may attempt to refer all these dark phenomena of man's existence to his own passions, circumstances, and will; but the thoughtful observer cannot rest satisfied with secondary causes. The grossest materialism, at times, reveals something of that latent dread of an invisible and spiritual influence which is inseparable from our nature. Like Eliphaz the Temanite, it is conscious of a spirit passing before its face, the form whereof is not discerned.

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