14. From these different faiths touching the future of man, doubts and incredulity arise. However, incredulity leaves a painful void. Man regards with anxiety the unknown future upon which he must sooner or later enter. The idea of annihilation chills him. His conscience says to him that beyond the present there is something for him. But what? His developed reason forbids him any longer to accept the histories which have quieted his early days, which have put conscience to sleep by his taking the allegory for a reality. What is the meaning of this allegory? Science has torn away the corner of the veil; but it has not revealed that which it is most important for man to know. He interrogates it, but in vain; it answers nothing in a convincing way to calm his apprehensions. He finds everywhere affirmation hurling itself against negation, without more positive proofs on one side than on the other. Incertitude concerning things of the future life has made many men reject the duties of the material life with a kind of frenzy.
Such is the inevitable effect in transitional epochs. The edifice of the past is crumbling away, and that of the future is not yet constructed. Man is like an adolescent who has lost the innocent belief of his early years, and has not yet obtained the knowledge of a riper age; he has only vague aspirations, which he knows not how to define.