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To Miss Lucy Osgood.

Wayland, 1859.
Your package arrived on Saturday evening, but Theodore Parker had the start of you. He had sent me the sermon the Thursday before, accompanied by a brief little farewell note in pencil, which I shall treasure among my “sacred relics;” for my heart misgives me that I shall never look upon that Socratic head again. I read the sermon, forthwith, to Mr. Child, and a jewel of a sermon we both thought it. Though not a farewell discourse, it seems to have a farewell sadness about it. ... Newman's book on The Soul seemed to me a very admirable work. The Phases of Faith pleased me by the honesty of its confessions, and I read it with all the eagerness we all so naturally feel to arrive at the inmost spiritual secrets of another soul; but the conclusion left me very uncomfortable. It seemed, as the collegian said in his theme, “to land me in the great ocean of eternity.” I had travelled so far, and so confidently, with him, to arrive-nowhere! I cannot say, as Lessing did, that if God offered him the truth with one hand, and the investigation with the other, he would choose the latter. I want to believe. Above all things, I want to believe. If I can only be sure that I do not accept delusion for truth. Different qualities of my mind so nearly balance each other that they cause me severe conflicts. No mortal will ever know through what long deserts I have passed; how bitter have proved the waters wherewith I have tried to slake my mighty thirst; and what hordes of Philistines have come out to do battle. Whether I shall ever get a sight of Canaan before I die, I know not.

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