31. A common comparison will make this better comprehended. Let us suppose a regiment composed of a great majority of undisciplined and unruly men, those who in constant disorder are brought to feel the severity of the penal laws. These men are the stronger, because they are the more numerous; they are sustained, encouraged, and stimulated by example. The few good ones among them are without influence; their counsels are despised, they are scoffed at, badly treated by the others, and suffer from this contact. Is this not an emblem of society at present?
Let us suppose that these men are withdrawn from this regiment one by one, ten by ten, hundred by hundred, and that they are replaced by an equal number of good soldiers, even by those who have become seriously amended. At the end of some greater or less period of time, there will be the same regiment, but a transformed one; good order will have succeeded to disorder. Thus will it be with regenerated humanity.