no purpose of destroying them.
‘Spare them,’ he
would say, ‘though they are not all of gold and diamonds.
Take the world as it goes; if all is not good, all is passable.’1
Thus skepticism proceeded unconsciously in the work of destruction, invalidating the past, yet unable to construct the future.
For good government is not the creation of skepticism.
Her garments are red with blood, and ruins are her delight; her despair may stimulate to voluptuousness and revenge; she never kindled with the disinterested love of man.
The age could have learnt, from the school of Voltaire
, to scoff at its past; but the studious and observing Montesquieu
discovered ‘the title deeds of humanity,’ as they lay buried under the rubbish of privileges, conventional charters, and statutes.
His was a generous nature that disdained the impotence of epicureanism, and found no resting-place in doubt.
He saw that society, notwithstanding all its revolutions, must repose on principles that do not change; that Christianity, which seems to aim only at the happiness of another life, also constitutes man's blessedness in this.2
He questioned the laws of every nation to unfold to him the truth that had inspired them; and behind the confused masses of positive rules, he recognised the anterior existence and reality of justice.
Full of the inquiring spirit of his time, he demanded tolerance for every opinion; and to him belongs the