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Page 302 - air. We will not attack you as Voltaire did; we will not exterminate you ; we shall explain you. History will place your dogma in its class, above or below a hundred competing dogmas, exactly as the naturalist classifies his species. From being a conviction, it will sink to a curiosity ; from being the guide to millions of human
Page 301 - of degradation, hastened to proclaim the charlatanry of their past lives, as they filed before the Convention, led by the Archbishop of Paris, and accompanied by rude acolytes bearing' piles of the robes and the vessels of silver and gold with which they had once served their holy offices.
Page 297 - Atheism is aristocratic. The idea of a great Being who watches over oppressed innocence and punishes triumphant crime, is essentially the idea of the people.
Page 314 - can scarcely call it a creed. It is mainly a name for a particular mood of fine spiritual exaltation; the expression of a state of indefinite aspiration and supreme feeling for lofty things. Are you going to convert the new barbarians of
Page 302 - You,' he might have said to the priests—' you have so debilitated the minds of men and women by your promises and your dreams, that many a generation must come and go before Europe can throw off the yoke of your
Page 300 - of the churchmen : and even those who agree with the dogmatic denials of the atheists—if such there be—ought yet to admit that the mere change from superstition to reason is a small gain, if the conclusions of reason are still to be enforced by the instruments of superstition. Our opinions are less important than the spirit and temper
Page 296 - which he did not make to the assembled Jacobins at least one speech and that never a short one. . . . Strange as it may seem Robespierre's credit with this grim assembly was due to his truly philistine respectability and to his literary faculty. He figured as the
Page 299 - It was the first appearance of dogmatic atheism in Europe as a political force. This makes it one of the most remarkable moments in the Revolution, just as it makes the Revolution itself the most remarkable moment in modern history. The first political demonstration of atheism was attended by some of the excesses, the folly, the extravagances that stained the growth of Christianity.
Page 305 - feeling for high things. But here, as in all else, his aspiration was far beyond his faculty ; he yearned for great spiritual emotions, as he had yearned for great thoughts and great achievements, but his spiritual capacity was as scanty and obscure as his intelligence.