Analyze with me, if you are not overwhelmed with humiliation, the five or six Revelations of the latter days; and ask yourselves, as I have often asked myself, while listening to them, if these revealers of pretended human felicity do indeed address themselves to men, or to herds of fatted cattle! And are they astonished that the intellectual world resists them? Do they complain that the ignorant are their only disciples? Are they indignant that the ideas they attempt to spread, creep, like fetid mists, along the abysses of society, and excite, instead of enthusiasm, only the fanaticism of hunger and thirst? I can well believe it! What People is there who would become fanatics, only for their own destruction; renounce their moral nature, their divine souls, their immortal destinies, only for a morsel of more savory bread upon their table, for a larger portion of earth under their feet? No! no! enthusiasm soars aloft, it does not fall to earth. Bear me up to Heaven, if you wish to dazzle my eyes; promise me immortality, if you would offer to my soul a motive worthy of its nature, an aim worthy of its efforts, a price worthy of its virtue! But what do your systems of atheistic society show us in perspective? What do they promise us in compensation for our griefs? What do they give us in exchange for our souls? You know, -- we will not speak of it.
But, indeed, if these sects survive the month which sees and which produces them; and, if these questions which they debate, and these systems which they bring before the astonished People, are destined to serve as enigmas to posterity; what will the future say of us? It will only explain the Materialism, Atheism, and brutality of the doctrines and sects by which we have been disturbed for ten or twelve years, as the nightmare of a starving People, whose dreams have, for an object, only a frantic satisfaction of the senses. All these philosophies, or all these deliriums, are the deliriums or philosophies of the stomach! |All this epoch,| future historians will say, |the French must have been a nation distressed by a terrible famine, to have forgotten, in so total an eclipse of the intellectual nature, the great and immortal ideas which have alone inspired even these, the human race, and rendered the revolutions of the People worthy of the regard of posterity, and of the blood of man. The Eighteenth Century must have been a time when avaricious Nature shut up her bosom, and the earth brought forth neither fruit nor harvests, that this great intellectual People, formerly called the French People, should have forgotten their souls for a morsel of bread, their immortality for an income, and their God for a dollar! Let us turn away our eyes and weep over that age.|