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THE aged, feeling premonitions of decline, are apt to look back and survey the past. If they become aware that, whatever the cause, they suffer in public opinion, they naturally take up the pen and write their own biography. Such is my condition. Through you, my gentle Theophilus, whom I have trained in letters from your childhood, and who still act as my amanuensis, I shall hand the following narrative to the public. To you I am known nearly as well as to myself, for your love of reality is intense, and the simplicity of your character guarantees the truth of what you directly or indirectly declare. A pure channel, such as you present, is what I desire. What else could answer my purpose when I am about to supersede a huge and terrific falsity by a certain and most beneficial truth? The falsity is, that I am a personal concentration of transcendental vice, wickedness and woe. The truth which I wish to substitute is, that I am a personification of the dark side of humanity and the universe. Being, as such, an impalpable presence, I exist in every land and occupy a corner in every human heart. A reflection of the




outer world of matter and the inner world of mind, I am not all dark, nor could I ever have been painted black had not theological speculation first thrown its own murky clouds over the heart of man and over the creation of God. The human soul in ruins and the world under its Maker's curse inevitably perpetuated that incarnation of Evil which theologians call the Devil or Satan. The terrific figment came the more readily into vigour, because, while a shadow from man's own baseness, it served as a substitute for his relief and a palliation of his guilt.

Bad as he is, the Devil may be abused,

Be falsely charged and causelessly accused,
When men, unwilling to be blamed alone,
Shift off on him the crimes that are their own.

The clerical description of me makes me out to be an impersonation of absolute malignity. The existence of such a frightful monstrosity I confidently deny. Absolute evil can have no existence in a universe made and sustained by the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Absolute evil and absolute good exclude each other. If God is, I am not; if I am, God is not. Two absolutes are impossibilities. Make your choice between me and your Creator. You cannot logically own both.

Yet I am a power. I am a power under God, and as such I perform a task which, however unlovely and however painful, is destined to put forward God's wise and benignant purposes for the good of man. What I am in full, the following pages will report. Enough to add in these introductory remarks, that I am an image of the evil that is in man arising from his divinely-given liberty of moral choice. That evil I discipline and correct as well as represent, and so I am also a divine schoolmaster to bring the world to God. My origin is human, my sphere of action earthly, my final end dissolution. Evil must cease when good is universal. While, then, I cannot boast of a heavenly birth, I disown


fiendish dispositions. Worse than the worst man I cannot be. I am indeed a sort of mongrel, born, bred, reared and nurtured of human fancy, folly and fraud. As such, I possess a quasi omnipresence and a quasi omniscience; for I exist wherever man exists, and, dwelling in human hearts, know all that men think, feel and do. Hence I have power to tempt and mislead, and that power, when I am in my worst moods, I am pleased to exercise. Yet in even these my lowest qualities I could find my equals in courts and camps, not to say in Jesuitical colleges and monkish cells. I have no wish to set myself off by disparaging others, but hardly will even my defamers ascribe to me such qualities as hypocrisy, meanness, shabbiness, and a number of other low and sordid features which hold prominence in characters that stand well in the eyes of the world and are not without influence in the church.





GREAT and eager has been the dispute as to my origin. Some say that I co-existed from the first with the Creator of the universe. Some say that I am one of his own creatures. This presents the metaphysical view of my origin. The historical view makes me to have been in the beginning one of the heavenly host who lost their celestial position by losing their moral purity. Another historical version connects me with the daughters of men, by union with whom I parted with my angelical nature and became Satanical.

In truth, I am the child of human speculation. And this


speculation, surviving still, though in a sickly form, goes back to the earliest dawn of man's logical faculty. I came into existence on the first day that man asked himself, “Whence this world in which I live and of which I am a part ?”

Untold ages had passed before the sons of man grew to be capable of conceiving that question. Not knowing good from evil, they had no curiosity about either. In their earliest condition, they were confounded with the universe of which they were an almost totally unconscious part. Not until the long and varied discipline of what is called evil, as well as good, had developed their higher nature, did they become conscious of themselves, as a distinct and separate part of the universe. Lying on the bosom of the great mother, they drank in life unconsciously from her nutritious bosom; and only when weaned by her provident hand and whipped by her corrective rod, did they begin to feel that she was not they, and that they were not she.

And yet the separation was but partial. So linked together were mother and child, that, though the umbilical cord was snapt, the connection was rather altered than broken. Living on in nature, men felt and owned the intimacy of their kinship. After all, she was their mother and their nurse. After all, they were her children and dependents.

And so it has come about that some philosophers have asserted that the sense of dependence is the source of religion in man. Doubtless it is a source of religion in man, but not so much in its own form as in a deeper one, out of which the sense of dependence springs. The sense of dependence is rather an inference than a primary sentiment. It is an act of logic, and not of moral intuition. You must descend into man's instinctive nature, where rise all the springs of his higher life, if you would get to the source of his religious sentiments and apprehensions. In presence of the universe, man's first conscious feeling was a sense of inferiority. This arose in him spontaneously, as he lay there for the first time at the great maternal breast. The moment his eye opened on

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