1. 'Man must have some belief,' continued the Egyptian, in a tone of sadness. 'He must fasten his hope to something: is our common nature that you inherit when, aghast and terrified to see that in which you have been taught to place your faith swept away, you float over a dreary and shoreless sea of incertitude, you cry for help, you ask for some plank to cling to, some land, however dim and distant, to attain. Well, then, have not forgotten our conversation of to-day?' [ch 8.]

2. And now, what morality do we glean from this religion?—for religion it is. I believe in two deities—Nature and Necessity; I worship the last by reverence, the first by investigation. What is the morality my religion teaches? This—all things are subject but to general rules; the sun shines for the joy of the many—it may bring sorrow to the few; the night sheds sleep on the multitude—but it harbors murder as well as rest; the forests adorn the earth—but shelter the serpent and the lion; the ocean supports a thousand barks—but it engulfs the one. It is only thus for the general, and not for the universal benefit, that Nature acts, and Necessity speeds on her awful course. This is the morality of the dread agents of the world—it is mine, who am their creature. [ch 8.]

Last modified 4 January 2007