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I will for the present admit the point of view which

first supposes ends in Nature, and then objects that

they are failures. And I think that this objection is

not hard to dispose of. The ends which fail, we may

reply, are ends selected by ourselves and selected more

or less erroneously. They are too partial, as we have

taken them, and, if included in a larger end to which

they are relative, they cease to be failures. They, in

short, subserve a wider scheme, and in that they are

realized. It is here with evil as it was before with

error. That was lost in higher truth to which

it was subordinate, and in which, as such, it vanished.

And with partial ends, in Nature or in human lives, the

same principle will hold. Idea and existence we find not

to agree, and this discord we call evil. But, when these

two sides are enlarged and each taken more widely, both

may well come together. I do not mean, of course, that

every finite end, as such, is realized. I mean that it

is lost, and becomes an element, in a wider idea which

is one with existence. And, as with error, even our

onesidedness, our insistence and our disappointment, may

somehow all subserve a harmony and go to perfect it. The

aspects of idea and of existence may be united in one

great whole, in which evil, and even ends, as such,

disappear. To verify this consummation, or even to see

how in detail it can be, are both impossible. But, for

all that, such perfection in its general idea is

intelligible and possible. And, because the Absolute is

perfect, this harmony must also exist. For that which is

both possible and necessary we are bound to think real.

III. Moral evil presents us with further

difficulties. Here it is not a question simply of

defect, and of the failure in outward existence of that

inner idea which we take as the end. We are concerned

further with a positive strife and opposition. We have

an idea in a subject, an end which strives to gain

reality; and on the other side, we have the existence of

the same subject. This existence not merely fails to

correspond, but struggles adversely, and the collision

is felt as such. In our moral experience we find this

whole fact given beyond question. We suffer within

ourselves a contest of the good and bad wills and a

certainty of evil. Nay, if we please, we may add that

this discord is necessary, since without it morality

must wholly perish.

And this necessity of discord shows the road into the

centre of our problem. Moral evil exists only

in moral experience, and that experience in its essence

is full of inconsistency. For morality desires

unconsciously, with the suppression of evil, to become

wholly non-moral. It certainly would shrink from this

end, but it thus unknowingly desires the existence and

perpetuity of evil. shall have to return later to this

subject (Chapter xxv.), and for the present we need keep

hold merely of this one point. Morality itself, which

makes evil, desires in evil to remove a condition of its

own being. It labours essentially to pass into a super-

moral and therefore a non-moral sphere.

But, if we will follow it and will frankly adopt this

tendency, we may dispose of our difficulty. For the

content, willed as evil and in opposition to the good,

can enter as an element into a wider arrangement. Evil,

as we say (usually without meaning it), is overruled and

subserves. It is enlisted and it plays a part in a

higher good end, and in this sense, unknowingly is good.

Whether and how far it is as good as the will which is

moral, is a question later to be discussed. All that we

need understand here is that "Heaven's design," if we

may speak so, can realize itself as effectively in

"Catiline or Borgia" as in the scrupulous or innocent.

For the higher end is super-moral, and our moral end

here has been confined, and is therefore incomplete. As

before with physical evil, the discord as such

disappears, if the harmony is made wide enough.

But it will be said truly that in moral evil we have

something additional. We have not the mere fact of

incomplete ends and their isolation, but we have in

addition a positive felt collision in the self. And this

cannot be explained away, for it has to fall within the

Absolute, and it makes there a discord which remains

unresolved. But our old principle may still serve to

remove this objection. The collision and the strife may

be an element in some fuller realization. Just as in a

machine the resistance and pressure of the

parts subserve an end beyond any of them, if regarded by

itself--so at a much higher level it may be with the

Absolute. Not only the collision but that specific

feeling, by which it is accompanied and aggravated, can

be taken up into an all-inclusive perfection. We do not

know how this is done, and ingenious metaphors (if we

could find them) would not serve to explain it. For the

explanation would tend to wear the form of qualities in

relation, a form necessarily (as we have seen)

transcended in the Absolute. Such a perfect way of

existence would, however, reconcile our jarring

discords; and I do not see how we can deny that such a

harmony is possible. But, if possible, then, as before,

it is indubitably real. For, on the one side, we have an

overpowering reason for maintaining it; while upon the

other side, so far as I can see, we have nothing.

I will mention in passing another point, the unique

sense of personality which is felt strongly in evil. But

I must defer its consideration until we attack the

problem of the "mine" and the "this" (Chapter xix.). And

I will end here with some words on another source of

danger. There is a warning which I may be allowed to

impress on the reader. We have used several times

already with diverse subject-matters the same form of

argument. All differences, we have urged repeatedly,

come together in the Absolute. In this, how we do not

know, all distinctions are fused, and all relations

disappear. And there is an objection which may probably

at some point have seemed plausible. "Yes," I may be

told, "it is too true that all difference is gone. First

with one real existence, and then afterwards with

another, the old argument is brought out and the old

formula applied. There is no variety in the solution,

and hence in each case the variety is lost to the

Absolute. Along with these distinctions all

character has wholly disappeared, and the Absolute

stands outside, an empty residue and bare Thing-in-