It is maintained by many individuals that there is no such thing as positive evil in existence; that the indulging in a contrary opinion would, in fact, be a reflection upon the wisdom and beneficence of the Divine Being; and that those events which we call evils are, in reality, only blessings in disguise, or, as the poet expresses the sentiment,—
“All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony, not understood;
All partial evil, universal good.”
It may, probably, be rather a difficult task fully and cordially on all occasions to subscribe to these doctrines; yet still, it must be acknowledged by all thinking men, that few events occur, however afflictive to individuals they may be, without their being the means of accomplishing some good end. And we may fully agree with the expression of the poet, in the last line of the quotation, if we qualify his meaning by presuming that he intends to convey the idea that partial evil results in universal good.
That our common country has, within the last twelve months, experienced a grievous visitation in the failure of the potato crop, which produced a partial famine, with its attendant evils, particularly in Ireland, cannot be gainsaid; and we must all endeavour to make a right use of these afflictions. To the farmer this reads a lesson peculiarly applicable. It is undoubtedly his province to provide food for the country; and he is amenable to ...
- © Yorkshire Geological Society, 1842-48