Beulah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 629 pages of information about Beulah.

She had long before rejected a “revealed code” as unnecessary; the next step was to decipher nature’s symbols, and thus grasp God’s hidden laws; but here the old trouble arose.  How far was “individualism” allowable and safe?  To reconcile the theories of rationalism, she felt, was indeed a herculean task, and she groped on into deeper night.  Now and then her horizon was bestarred, and, in her delight, she shouted, “Eureka!” But when the telescope of her infallible reason was brought to bear upon the coldly glittering points, they flickered and went out.  More than once a flaming comet, of German manufacture, trailed in glory athwart her dazzled vision; but close observation resolved the gilded nebula, and the nucleus mocked her.  Doubt engendered doubt; the death of one difficulty was the instant birth of another.  Wave after wave of skepticism surged over her soul, until the image of a great personal God was swept from its altar.  But atheism never yet usurped the sovereignty of the human mind; in all ages, moldering vestiges of protean deism confront the giant specter, and every nation under heaven has reared its fane to the “unknown God.”  Beulah had striven to enthrone in her desecrated soul the huge, dim, shapeless phantom of pantheism, and had turned eagerly to the system of Spinoza.  The heroic grandeur of the man’s life and character had strangely fascinated her; but now, that idol of a “substance, whose two infinite attributes were extension and thought,” mocked her; and she hurled it from its pedestal, and looked back wistfully to the pure faith of her childhood.  A Godless world; a Godless woman.  She took up the lamp and retired to her own room.  On all sides books greeted her; here was the varied lore of dead centuries; here she had held communion with the great souls entombed in these dusty pages.  Here, wrestling alone with those grim puzzles, she had read out the vexed and vexing questions, in this debating club of the moldering dead, and endeavored to make them solve them.  These well-worn volumes, with close “marginalias,” echoed her inquiries, but answered them not to her satisfaction.  Was her life to be thus passed in feverish toil and ended as by a leap out into a black, shoreless abyss?  Like a spent child she threw her arms on the mantelpiece and wept uncontrollably, murmuring: 

“Oh, better die now than live as I have lived, in perpetual stragglings!  What is life worth without peace of mind, without hope; and what hope have I?  Diamonded webs of sophistry can no longer entangle; like Noah’s dove, my soul has fluttered among them, striving in vain for a sure hold to perch upon; but, unlike it, I have no ark to flee to.  Weary and almost hopeless, I would fain believe that this world is indeed as a deluge, and in it there is no ark of refuge but the Bible.  It is true, I did not see this souls’ ark constructed; I know nothing of the machinery employed; and no more than Noah’s dove can I explore and fully understand

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Beulah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.