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written by "Kelman, John, 1864-1929"
...a dignity about him now, even while the "nameless Unrest" urges him forward through his darkened world. The scenes of his childhood in the little Entepfuhl bring no consolation. Nature, even in his wanderings among her mountains, is equally futile, for the wanderer can never escape from his own shadow among her solitudes. Yet is his nature not dissolved, but only "compressed closer," as it were, and we watch the next stage of this development with a sense that some mysteriously great and splendid experience is on the eve of being born. Thus we come to those three central chapters—chapters so fundamental and so true to human life, that it is safe to prophesy that they will be familiar so long as books are read upon the earth—"The Everlasting No," "Centre of Indifference" and "The Everlasting Yea." In "The Everlasting No" we watch the work of negation upon the soul of man. His life has capitulated to the Spirit that denies, and the unbelief is as bitter as it is hopeless. "Doubt had darkened into Unbelief; shade after shade goes [Pg 213] grimly over your soul, till you have the fixed, starless, Tartarean black." "Is there no God, then; but at best an absentee God, sitting idle, ever since the first Sabbath, at the outside of his Universe, and seeing it go? Has the word Duty no meaning?" "Thus has the bewildered Wanderer to stand, as so many have done, shouting question after question into the Sibyl-cave of Destiny, and receive no Answer but an Echo." Faith, indeed, lies dormant but alive beneath the doubt. But in the meantime the man's own weakness paralyses action; and, while this paralysis lasts, all faith appears to have departed. He has ceased to believe in himself, and to believe in his friends. "The very Devil has been pulled down, you cannot so much as believe in a Devil. To me the Universe was all void of Life, of Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility: it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling ...

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