...so long as the peoples keep to good customs, they do decent and just things rather than talk about them, because they do them instinctively, not from reflection. But when they are corrupted and ruined, then, because within themselves they ill endure their sense of lacking such things, they speak of nothing but decency and justice, just as it comes naturally for a man to talk of nothing but what he affects to be and is not. And because they feel themselves resisted by their religion (which naturally they cannot disavow or repudiate), in order to console their errant consciences they use the same religion with impious piety to consecrate their wicked and nefarious actions.
[Giambattista Vico, The New Science of Giambattista Vico, Bergin and Fisch, trs. Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY: 1976) p. 428 (section 1406).]