out the purpose of reason; I respect, love, or feel an interest in myself only as such, and desire the successful issue of my deed only in so far as it promotes this purpose. I regard all the events of this world, in the same way, only with reference to this one purpose; whether they proceed from me or from others, whether they relate directly to me or to others. My breast is steeled against annoyance on account of personal offences and vexations, or exultation in personal merit; for my whole personality has disappeared in the contemplation of the purpose of my being.
Should it ever seem to me as if truth had been put to silence, and virtue expelled from the world; as if folly and vice had now summoned all their powers, and even assumed the place of reason and true wisdom; — should it happen, that just when all good men looked with hope for the regeneration of the human race, everything should become even worse than it had been before; — should the work, well and happily begun, on which the eyes of all true-minded men were fixed with joyous expectation, suddenly and unexpectedly be changed into the vilest forms of evil, — these things will not disturb me; and as little will I be persuaded to indulge in idleness, neglect, or false security, on account of an apparent rapid growth of enlightenment, a seeming diffusion of freedom and independence, an increase of more gentle manners, peacefulness, docility, and general moderation among men, as if now everything were attained. Thus it appears to me; or rather it is so, for it is actually so to me; and I know in both cases, as indeed I know in all possible cases, what I have next to do. As to everything else, I rest in the most perfect tranquillity, for I know nothing what-