From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

that proceeds from the fancied possession of the one true creed. I am not come like you from the Bible itself to the way of freedom. It was a peculiar and in itself weaker impulse that led me into it. I was sent as a pious Catholic to the University of Leyden. One Ascension Eve I had studied so long that my lamp burned out; as I lay quietly in bed the thought passed like lightning through my mind, 'Where is that illuminating power now? The fire has annihilated its fuel and flowed into the Universe. What if it should be so with our souls also?' My teacher had impressed on me the once wide-spread theory that life was a process of burning. It can be called so without explaining much thereby; what we call soul, thought, and sensation is nothing but a combination of matter that has its nourishment from matter, palpable or impalpable, and will again become such. One man digests with difficulty, another with ease, one with comfort, another with discomfort."

"In what then lies our superiority to the brutes?"

"Who told you that such must exist? But we are indeed superior, only in so far, however, that we are more richly gifted and composed of finer material, therefore the so-called immaterial essences of color, sound, and language act more powerfully on us. The brain of a man outweighs a fiftieth of his whole body, therefore he has more of what is