He wore on his breast a badge with his title of "Pere," was spoken of by his preachers as "the living law," declared, and probably believed, himself to be the chosen of God, and sent out emissaries in a quest of a woman predestined to be the "female Messiah," and the mother of a new Saviour.
But suddenly instead of those chances and that genius which hitherto had so consistently led him by an uninterrupted series of successes to the predestined goal, an innumerable sequence of inverse chances occur--from the cold in his head at Borodino to the sparks which set Moscow on fire, and the frosts--and instead of genius, stupidity and immeasurable baseness become evident.
Except in finance, he was not able to accomplish much, for he was met and thwarted at every turn by his chief's invincible hostility to change; but the more advanced section of the Liberal party began to look upon him as their predestined leader.
From the theological standpoint every individual is predestined either by his natural birthright to evil or by Divine Grace to good, and the absolute foreknowledge and omnipotence of God excludes even the possibility of any initiative on the part of the individual by means of which he might influence God's timeless choice.
And he fell back into that artificial realm of imaginary greatness, and again--as a horse walking a treadmill thinks it is doing something for itself--he submissively fulfilled the cruel, sad, gloomy, and inhuman role predestined for him.