"It is difficult to say of which there is most in the world, a blind belief in religious dogmas, or a presumptuous and ignorant cavilling on revelation. The impression has gone abroad, that France was an example of the last, during the height of her great revolutionary mania; a charge that was scarcely true, as respects the nation, however just it might be in connection with her bolder and more unquiet spirits. Most of the excesses of France, during that momentous period, were to be attributed to the agency of a few, the bulk of the nation having little to do with any part of them, beyond yielding their physical and pecuniary aid to an audacious and mystifying political combination. One of the baneful results, however, of these great errors of the times, was the letting loose of the audacious from all the venerable and healthful restraints of the church, to set them afloat on the sea of speculation and conceit. There is something so gratifying to human vanity in fancying ourselves superior to most around us, that we believe few young men attain their majority without imbibing more or less of the taint of unbelief, and passing through the mists of a vapid moral atmosphere, before they come to the clear, manly, and yet humble perceptions that teach most of us, in the end, our own insignificance, the great benevolence as well as wisdom of the scheme of redemption, and the philosophy of the Christian religion, as well as its divinity."
-- Excerpted from "The Wing-and-Wing"