|"But the anathema must strike down man most directly and most visibly: the exterminating angel circles this unhappy globe like the sun, and allows one nation a respite only to strike down others. When crimes, and especially crimes of a certain kind, accumulate to a designated point, the angel relentlessly quickens its tireless flight. Like a rapidly turning burning torch, the immense speed of his movement allows him to be simultaneously present everywhere in his formidable orbit. He strikes all the peoples of the earth at the same time. At other times, a minister of a precise and infallible vengeance, he pursues particular nations and bathes them in blood. Do not expect them to make any effort to escape or alleviate their sentence. It is if as we saw these great criminals, enlightened by their consciences, requesting the punishment and accepting it for the sake of their atonement. So long as they have any blood left they will come to offer it, and soon a sparse youth will get used to telling of these devastating wars caused by the crimes of their fathers."|
--------- Joseph de Maistre, St. Petersburg Dialogues: Or Conversations on the Temporal Government of Providence.