Religious phenomena are naturally arranged in two fundamental categories: beliefs and rites. The first are states of opinion, and consist in representations; the second are determined modes of action.
One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it. In vain, one bestows on it the name of infinity; this does not change its nature.
In Gaul were two orders, the nobility and the priesthood, while the people, says Caesar, were all slaves.
Thus the whole country was broken into many shreds and patches of sovereignty.
The human person, whose definition serves as the touchstone according to which good must be distinguished from evil, is considered as sacred, in what one might call the ritual sense of the word. It has something of that transcendental majesty which the churches of all times have given to their Gods.
It is inadmissible that systems of ideas like religions, which have held so considerable a place in history, and to which, in all times, men have come to receive the energy which they must have to live, should be made up of a tissue of illusions.
The rise of the Dutch Republic must ever be regarded as one of the leading events of modern times.
To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness.
There are two types of men: the great and the small.
It’s a fantastic privilege to spend three or four hundred pages with a reader. You have time to go into certain questions that are painful or difficult or complicated. That’s one thing that appeals to me very much about the novel form.