……..The whole object of the universe, he learned (Thomas Carlyle), is for the divine purpose to obtain expression in material form. This it does by splitting fragments off itself and lodging them in created mechanisms. So long as the fragments, of Beings, can maintain a free intuitive contact with each other and with the parent force, the whole natural order will roll along smoothly to its transcendent goal. But should the mechanisms, or minds wherein the fragments dwell, exceed their proper function of applying the inscrutable precepts to the material world, and to find the precepts for themselves, disorder will prevail. The precious link to the infinite will be cut off, the divine plan will be disrupted, chaos and discord will ensue. Then, the immutable Purpose will resort to extraordinary means in order to restore the balance. A man will appear, furnished with a larger Being than the rest. His instructions will be clearer, fuller: and his will more dominant. It will be his mission to lead mankind back to proper harmony with the infinite, either by prophecy and exhortation, or if that is not enough, by force. The whole of his process, the faithful toil, the fall from grace, the arrival of the Hero, and the restoration of order, is history. It is cyclic and repetitive, not progressive. Except in relation to the cycle, there is no such thing as progress upon earth. If there is progress, it is not human but divine, and it is as ineluctable as the passage of he universe through space. Like the nature of the Godhead, the nature of the Hero, and the nature of man, it is a sacred mystery.
The Life of John Stuart Mill by Michael St John Packe