To make clear fundamental ends and valuations, and to set them for the fast in the emotional life of an individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform in the social life of a man... They come into being not through demonstration but through revelation, through the medium of powerful personalities.
Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil.
Whenever I hear people talking about "liberal ideas," I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.
Religion may begin with our love of God, but true science ends there. In the very process of demystifying the world, we discover a new mystery, recognizing and celebrating God in everything.
Society's preservation and man's happiness depend on illusion. Nature itself, which certainly represents the will of God, deludes us in many respects, as when it leads us by the cords of love to reproduce the race. If a youth would consider the trouble in rearing a family, not one in a thousand would marry, but nature closes our eyes to the future (and indeed, wherever popular knowledge rises, the birth rate declines). The same is true of the other passions, which nature utilizes to deceive man and goad them toward the attainment of ends which, when attained, turn out to be but vanity.
God is withdrawn from both ends of time, for his life is not Time, but Eternity, the archetype of time. And in Eternity there is no past and future, only present.