The mystery of pain: a book for the sorrowful (1872) by James Hinton Self-Help PDF book

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The mystery of pain

This book is addressed to the sorrowful. It may be there are some in whose lives pleasure so far overbalances pain, that the presence of the latter has never been felt by them as a mystery. It is probable that there are more who, through native strength of mind, or felicity of circumstance, are able to meet the questions that arise out of it with unoppressed hearts, and who have so strong a faith in the good that they can, without difficulty, resolve all forms of evil into it. To these I do not address myself; but there is another, and, I think, a more numerous class, to whom their own or others' pain is a daily burden, upon whose hearts it weighs with intolerable anguish. 


I seek to speak to these; not as a teacher, but as a fellow. Sharing their feeling, and knowing well how vain is the attempt to throw off misery, or to persuade ourselves that life is better than it is, I would fain share with them also some thoughts that have seemed to be capable of casting a bright gleam of light athwart the darkness, and, if they are true, of bringing an immense, an incredible joy out of the very bosom of distress. It seems to me, indeed, that nothing less than this will suffice; that pain must furnish its own consolation if it is to be consoled at all; or rather that it must give more than consolation — that it must give joy. If it can be made fruitful thus if rejoicing can be seen to be rooted in sorrow, not sometimes only, but absolutely, then at least one part of the mystery, and perhaps the hardest and the darkest part, would be gone. And this it is that I think I have seen and that I wish if I can be so happy, to show to those who need it more than myself, and who better than myself may profit by it.



Let me beg the patience of one class of sufferers, and their forbearance even, with some of the thoughts which are herein addressed to another. No one, I think, can have had much intercourse with those who have been called upon to suffer, without feeling that there are two different ways in which their pains most heavily assault them.


There are some in whom the fact that they and others are called on for endurance — even the endurance of unutterable pains — rouses no angry questionings, and excites no doubts. Their hearts may be bowed down to the earth, but they do not murmur; they think it natural that the ways of God should be beyond mortal fathoming, and that what would seem best to our narrow vision could not be truly good; in their deepest agony, they do not question righteousness. But there are others — I think they are the more — the chief poignancy of whose sufferings comes from an irrepressible doubt cf right, a burning passion to penetrate the impenetrable meaning of their anguish.

Author: James Hinton 
Publication Date: 1872

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