One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
But now, before that new birth take place in the spirit of man, it wants, but knows not what, craves indeterminately (who will shew us any good?) not fixing upon any particular good that is sufficient and finite, and labouring under an ignorance of the infinite, together with a disaffection thereunto. Its wants and cravings are beyond the measure of all finite good; for suppose it to have never so large a share, nay, could it grasp and engross the whole of it, an unsatisfiedness and desire of more would still remain : but that more is somewhat indeterminate and merely imaginary, an infinite nothing, an idol of fancy, a god of its own making. God it must have; but what a one he is, it misapprehends, and, wherein it rightly apprehends him, likes and loves him not, will by no means choose, desire, or take complacency in him. So that an unregenerate soul is, while it is such, necessarily doomed to be miserable. It cannot be happy in any inferior good; and in the supreme, it will not. What the real wants and just cravings of a man's spirit therefore are, is not to be understood by considering it in that state. And if the work of the new creature were perfected in it, it would want and crave no more, but would be satisfied fully, and at perfect rest.
The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.
Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.
The soul is made of love and must ever strive to return to love. Therefore, it can never find rest nor happiness in other things. It must lose itself in love. By its very nature it must seek God, who is love.
The first thing which I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. These are wonderful words. This life, to which neither time nor eternity can bring diminution - this everlasting living soul, began. My mind loses itself in these depths.
He who commends the nature of the soul as the supreme good, and condemns the nature of the flesh as evil, at once both carnally desires the soul, and carnally flies the flesh, because he feels thus from human vanity, not from divine truth.
cited in The Essays of Montaigne http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/3/6/0/3600/3600.txt