2. All is harmony in creation. All reveals a foresight, the effects of which are wanting neither in the smallest nor largest of God’s works. We must then, firstly, discard irreconcilable caprice with the divine wisdom. Secondly, if our epoch is marked for the accomplishments of certain things, it is because there is a reason for their accomplishment in the onward march of all things.
Our globe, like all which exists, is submitted to the law of progress. It progresses physically by the transformation of the elements which compose it, and morally by the purification of the incarnated and discarnated spirits who people it. The progress of the two is a parallel one; for the habitation becomes perfected according to the degree of perfection of its inhabitant. Physically, the globe has been submitted to transformations, ascertained by science, which have successively rendered it habitable for beings more and more perfected; morally, humanity progresses by the development of intelligence of the moral sense and gentleness of manners. At the same time, as the improvement of the globe has been accomplished under the empire of material forces, men have concurred in it by the efforts of their intelligence. They have learned how to make unwholesome localities healthy, rendering communications with one another easier and the soil more productive.
This double progress is accomplished in two ways, one slow, gradual, and insensible; the other by sudden changes, to each one of which has been operated a more rapid upper movement, which mark, in distinct characters the progressive periods of humanity. These movements, subordinate in details to the free will of man, are in a measure necessary or inevitable in their relation to the whole, because they are submitted to laws like those operated in the germination, growth, and maturity of plants. This is why the progressive movement is sometimes partial – that is to say, limited to a race or one nation – at other times general.
The progress of humanity is effected then by virtue of a law. Now, as all laws of nature are the eternal work of wisdom and divine prescience, all which is the effect of these laws is the result of the will of God – not of an accidental, capricious will, but an immutable one. Then, when humanity is ripe to take a higher degree in progression, one can say that the time appointed by God has arrived, as one speaks of the harvest season as having arrived with the maturity of its fruit.