8. If one of those unknown beings who spend their ephemeral existence in the depths of the dark regions of the ocean, if one of those polygrastic animals, one of the nereids, miserable animalcules, who only know the ichthyophagous fish and the submarine forests, received suddenly the gift of intelligence, the faculty of studying their world, and of establishing a reasonable idea of that living nature which develops in their midst, and of the terrestrial world which is not now included in the field of their observation.
If by the marvelous effect of some new power this strange race of beings should be lifted out of their unbroken darkness to the surface of the sea, not far from the fertile banks of an isle covered with luxuriant vegetation, to the genial sun, dispenser of a beneficent warmth, — what judgment would they pass? What theories of universal creation would be theirs, — theories to be soon effaced by larger appreciation, but by theories still as relatively incomplete as the first? Such is, O man! an image of all your speculative science. *
* Such is the state of those who deny the spiritual world, when, after having been despoiled of their fleshly envelope the horizons of this world are revealed to their vision, they comprehend the emptiness of the theories whereby they attempted to explain everything by matter alone. However, these horizons hold yet for them mysteries which are successively unveiled as they are raised to greater heights of wisdom by purification; but on their entrance into this new world they are first to recognize their blindness, and how far they were from the truth.