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Saturday, 29 April 2017

The vantage-ground of hell

Could you but view matters from the vantage-ground of hell, you who lessen life by discontent, you would gain that much of wisdom, that our days on earth, whatever of trouble, of care and vexation, be bound up with them, are yet capable of yielding very real happiness. So much depends on how we take things. If, instead of fixing upon trouble as something foreign to yourselves or hostile to your being, looking upon yourselves as miserable in consequence, you could but open your soul to that trouble and, rising from inertness, accept it as a very part of your existence, how different things would appear! Many a trouble, moreover, is but imaginary, and if dealt with sensibly would dwindle away; while many a real trouble, on the other hand, by your striving to take it aright, might become an impulse of new endeavour, changing the very face of your life and leading you to a better happiness than before you aimed at. Ah, indeed, if you could but view matters from hell you would come to see that man is able to bear a load of trouble, and that, confronting want and misery, he may yet attain a state of happiness worth the having! You would find that every day of that life which now you make a burden to yourselves and to others is precious beyond words, a gracious gift of God for which you cannot be grateful enough. You would understand that I, hungering and longing, would wish to be in your place—ay, and count myself blessed to bear the burden which you consider so grievous.

Letters from Hell, L. W. J. S., Richard Bentley & Son, London, 1889