Meditation troisieme, at the end.
 Gen. xxviii. 16.
 “On le montre.”
 “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.... Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccles. i. and xii.)
Si mon coeur, fatigue
du reve qui l’obsede,
A la realite revient pour s’assouvir,
Au fond des vains plaisirs que j’appelle a mon aide,
Je trouve un tel degout que je me sens mourir.
We have just studied what life without God would be for the individual. Let us now direct our attention to those collections of human beings which form societies. We shall not speak here of the relations of civil with ecclesiastical authorities,—a complex question, the solution of which must vary with times, places, and circumstances. Let us only remark that the distinction between the temporal and spiritual order of things is one of the foundations of modern civilization. This distinction is based upon those great words which, eighteen hundred years ago, separated the domain of God from the domain of Caesar. Religion considered as a function of civil life; dogma supported by the word of a monarch or the vote of a body politic; the formula of that dogma imposed forcibly by a government on the lips of the governed—these are debris of paganism which have been struggling for centuries against the restraints of Christian thought. The religious convictions of individuals do not belong to the State; religious sentiments are not amenable to human tribunals; and it would be hard to say whether it is the spiritual or the temporal order of things which suffers most from the confusion of these distinct domains. Religion should have its own proper life, and its special representatives; civil life ought to be set free from all tyranny exercised in the name of dogma; but religion is not the less on that account, by the influence which it exerts over the consciences of men, the necessary bond and strength of human society.