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meæ esse cum filiis hominum.[162] Effundam spiritum meum super omnem
carnem.[163] Dii estis[164]_, etc.; and in other places, _Omnis caro
fænum.[165] Homo assimilatus est jumentis insipientibus, et similis
factus est illis.[166] Dixi in corde meo de filiis hominum._ Eccles.

Whence it clearly seems that man by grace is made like unto God, and a
partaker in His divinity, and that without grace he is like unto the
brute beasts.]


Without this divine knowledge what could men do but either become elated
by the inner feeling of their past greatness which still remains to
them, or become despondent at the sight of their present weakness? For,
not seeing the whole truth, they could not attain to perfect virtue.
Some considering nature as incorrupt, others as incurable, they could
not escape either pride or sloth, the two sources of all vice; since
they cannot but either abandon themselves to it through cowardice, or
escape it by pride. For if they knew the excellence of man, they were
ignorant of his corruption; so that they easily avoided sloth, but fell
into pride. And if they recognised the infirmity of nature, they were
ignorant of its dignity; so that they could easily avoid vanity, but it
was to fall into despair. Thence arise the different schools of the
Stoics and Epicureans, the Dogmatists, Academicians, etc.

The Christian religion alone has been able to cure these two vices, not
by expelling the one through means of the other according to the wisdom
of the world, but by expelling both according to the simplicity of the
Gospel. For it teaches the righteous that it raises them even to a
participation in divinity itself; that in this lofty state they still
carry the source of all corruption, which renders them during all their
life subject to error, misery, death, and sin; and it proclaims to the
most ungodly that they are capable of the grace of their Redeemer. So
making those tremble whom it justifies, and consoling those whom it
condemns, religion so justly tempers fear with hope through that double
capacity of grace and of sin, common to all, that it humbles infinitely
more than reason alone can do, but without despair; and it exalts
infinitely more than natural pride, but without inflating; thus making
it evident that alone being exempt from error and vice, it alone fulfils
the duty of instructing and correcting men.

Who then can refuse to believe and adore this heavenly light? For is it
not clearer than day that we perceive within ourselves ineffaceable
marks of excellence? And is it not equally true that we experience every
hour the results of our deplorable condition? What does this chaos and
monstrous confusion proclaim to us but the truth of these two states,
with a voice so powerful that it is impossible to resist it?


_Weakness._ - Every pursuit of men is to get wealth; and they cannot have
a title to show that they possess it justly, for they have only that of
human caprice; nor have they strength to hold it securely. It is the
same with knowledge, for disease takes it away. We are incapable both of
truth and goodness.


We desire truth, and find within ourselves only uncertainty.

We seek happiness, and find only misery and death.

We cannot but desire truth and happiness, and are incapable of certainty
or happiness. This desire is left to us, partly to punish us, partly to
make us perceive wherefrom we are fallen.


If man is not made for God, why is he only happy in God? If man is made
for God, why is he so opposed to God?


_Nature corrupted._ - Man does not act by reason, which constitutes his


The corruption of reason is shown by the existence of so many different
and extravagant customs. It was necessary that truth should come, in
order that man should no longer dwell within himself.


For myself, I confess that so soon as the Christian religion reveals the
principle that human nature is corrupt and fallen from God, that opens
my eyes to see everywhere the mark of this truth: for nature is such
that she testifies everywhere, both within man and without him, to a
lost God and a corrupt nature.


Man's true nature, his true good, true virtue, and true religion, are
things of which the knowledge is inseparable.


_Greatness, wretchedness._ - The more light we have, the more greatness
and the more baseness we discover in man. Ordinary men - those who are
more educated: philosophers, they astonish ordinary men - Christians,
they astonish philosophers.

Who will then be surprised to see that religion only makes us know
profoundly what we already know in proportion to our light?


This religion taught to her children what men have only been able to
discover by their greatest knowledge.


Original sin is foolishness to men, but it is admitted to be such. You
must not then reproach me for the want of reason in this doctrine, since
I admit it to be without reason. But this foolishness is wiser than all
the wisdom of men, _sapientius est hominibus_.[167] For without this,
what can we say that man is? His whole state depends on this
imperceptible point. And how should it be perceived by his reason, since
it is a thing against reason, and since reason, far from finding it out
by her own ways, is averse to it when it is presented to her?


_Of original sin.[168] Ample tradition of original sin according to the

On the saying in Genesis viii, 21: "The imagination of man's heart is
evil from his youth."

_R. Moses Haddarschan_: This evil leaven is placed in man from the time
that he is formed.

_Massechet Succa_: This evil leaven has seven names in Scripture. It is
called _evil, the foreskin, uncleanness, an enemy, a scandal, a heart of
stone, the north wind_; all this signifies the malignity which is
concealed and impressed in the heart of man.

_Midrasch Tillim_ says the same thing, and that God will deliver the
good nature of man from the evil.

This malignity is renewed every day against man, as it is written, Psalm
xxxvii, 32: "The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay
him"; but God will not abandon him. This malignity tries the heart of
man in this life, and will accuse him in the other. All this is found in
the Talmud.

_Midrasch Tillim_ on Psalm iv, 4: "Stand in awe and sin not." Stand in
awe and be afraid of your lust, and it will not lead you into sin. And
on Psalm xxxvi, 1: "The wicked has said within his own heart, Let not
the fear of God be before me." That is to say that the malignity natural
to man has said that to the wicked.

_Midrasch el Kohelet_: "Better is a poor and wise child than an old and
foolish king who cannot foresee the future."[169] The child is virtue,
and the king is the malignity of man. It is called king because all the
members obey it, and old because it is in the human heart from infancy
to old age, and foolish because it leads man in the way of
[_perdition_], which he does not foresee. The same thing is in _Midrasch

_Bereschist Rabba_ on Psalm xxxv, 10: "Lord, all my bones shall bless
Thee, which deliverest the poor from the tyrant." And is there a greater
tyrant than the evil leaven? And on Proverbs xxv, 21: "If thine enemy be
hungry, give him bread to eat." That is to say, if the evil leaven
hunger, give him the bread of wisdom of which it is spoken in Proverbs
ix., and if he be thirsty, give him the water of which it is spoken in
Isaiah lv.

_Midrasch Tillim_ says the same thing, and that Scripture in that
passage, speaking of the enemy, means the evil leaven; and that, in
[_giving_] him that bread and that water, we heap coals of fire on his

_Midrasch el Kohelet_ on Ecclesiastes ix, 14: "A great king besieged a
little city." This great king is the evil leaven; the great bulwarks
built against it are temptations; and there has been found a poor wise
man who has delivered it - that is to say, virtue.

And on Psalm xli, 1: "Blessed is he that considereth the poor."

And on Psalm lxxviii, 39: "The spirit passeth away, and cometh not
again"; whence some have erroneously argued against the immortality of
the soul. But the sense is that this spirit is the evil leaven, which
accompanies man till death, and will not return at the resurrection.

And on Psalm ciii the same thing.

And on Psalm xvi.

Principles of Rabbinism: two Messiahs.


Will it be said that, as men have declared that righteousness has
departed the earth, they therefore knew of original sin? - _Nemo ante
obitum beatus est_[170] - that is to say, they knew death to be the
beginning of eternal and essential happiness?


[_Miton_] sees well that nature is corrupt, and that men are averse to
virtue; but he does not know why they cannot fly higher.


_Order._ - After _Corruption_ to say: "It is right that all those who are
in that state should know it, both those who are content with it, and
those who are not content with it; but it is not right that all should
see Redemption."


If we do not know ourselves to be full of pride, ambition, lust,
weakness, misery, and injustice, we are indeed blind. And if, knowing
this, we do not desire deliverance, what can we say of a man...?

What, then, can we have but esteem for a religion which knows so well
the defects of man, and desire for the truth of a religion which
promises remedies so desirable?


All men naturally hate one another. They employ lust as far as possible
in the service of the public weal. But this is only a [_pretence_] and a
false image of love; for at bottom it is only hate.


To pity the unfortunate is not contrary to lust. On the contrary, we can
quite well give such evidence of friendship, and acquire the reputation
of kindly feeling, without giving anything.


From lust men have found and extracted excellent rules of policy,
morality, and justice; but in reality this vile root of man, this
_figmentum malum_,[171] is only covered, it is not taken away.


_Injustice._ - They have not found any other means of satisfying lust
without doing injury to others.


Self is hateful. You, Miton, conceal it; you do not for that reason
destroy it; you are, then, always hateful.

- No; for in acting as we do to oblige everybody, we give no more
occasion for hatred of us. - That is true, if we only hated in Self the
vexation which comes to us from it. But if I hate it because it is
unjust, and because it makes itself the centre of everything, I shall
always hate it.

In a word, the Self has two qualities: it is unjust in itself since it
makes itself the centre of everything; it is inconvenient to others
since it would enslave them; for each Self is the enemy, and would like
to be the tyrant of all others. You take away its inconvenience, but not
its injustice, and so you do not render it lovable to those who hate
injustice; you render it lovable only to the unjust, who do not any
longer find in it an enemy. And thus you remain unjust, and can please
only the unjust.


It is a perverted judgment that makes every one place himself above the
rest of the world, and prefer his own good, and the continuance of his
own good fortune and life, to that of the rest of the world!


Each one is all in all to himself; for he being dead, all is dead to
him. Hence it comes that each believes himself to be all in all to
everybody. We must not judge of nature by ourselves, but by it.


"All that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the
eyes, or the pride of life; _libido sentiendi, libido sciendi, libido
dominandi._"[172] Wretched is the cursed land which these three rivers
of fire enflame rather than water![173] Happy they who, on these rivers,
are not overwhelmed nor carried away, but are immovably fixed, not
standing but seated on a low and secure base, whence they do not rise
before the light, but, having rested in peace, stretch out their hands
to Him, who must lift them up, and make them stand upright and firm in
the porches of the holy Jerusalem! There pride can no longer assail them
nor cast them down; and yet they weep, not to see all those perishable
things swept away by the torrents, but at the remembrance of their loved
country, the heavenly Jerusalem, which they remember without ceasing
during their prolonged exile.


The rivers of Babylon rush and fall and sweep away.

O holy Sion, where all is firm and nothing falls!

We must sit upon the waters, not under them or in them, but on them; and
not standing but seated; being seated to be humble, and being above them
to be secure. But we shall stand in the porches of Jerusalem.

Let us see if this pleasure is stable or transitory; if it pass away, it
is a river of Babylon.


_The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, pride, etc._ - There are
three orders of things: the flesh, the spirit, and the will. The carnal
are the rich and kings; they have the body as their object. Inquirers
and scientists; they have the mind as their object. The wise; they have
righteousness as their object.

God must reign over all, and all men must be brought back to Him. In
things of the flesh lust reigns specially; in intellectual matters,
inquiry specially; in wisdom, pride specially. Not that a man cannot
boast of wealth or knowledge, but it is not the place for pride; for in
granting to a man that he is learned, it is easy to convince him that he
is wrong to be proud. The proper place for pride is in wisdom, for it
cannot be granted to a man that he has made himself wise, and that he is
wrong to be proud; for that is right. Now God alone gives wisdom, and
that is why _Qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur_.[174]


The three lusts have made three sects; and the philosophers have done no
other thing than follow one of the three lusts.


_Search for the true good._ - Ordinary men place the good in fortune and
external goods, or at least in amusement. Philosophers have shown the
vanity of all this, and have placed it where they could.


[_Against the philosophers who believe in God without Jesus Christ_]

_Philosophers._ - They believe that God alone is worthy to be loved and
admired; and they have desired to be loved and admired of men, and do
not know their own corruption. If they feel full of feelings of love and
admiration, and find therein their chief delight, very well, let them
think themselves good. But if they find themselves averse to Him, if
they have no inclination but the desire to establish themselves in the
esteem of men, and if their whole perfection consists only in making
men - but without constraint - find their happiness in loving them, I
declare that this perfection is horrible. What! they have known God, and
have not desired solely that men should love Him, but that men should
stop short at them! They have wanted to be the object of the voluntary
delight of men.


_Philosophers._ - We are full of things which take us out of ourselves.

Our instinct makes us feel that we must seek our happiness outside
ourselves. Our passions impel us outside, even when no objects present
themselves to excite them. External objects tempt us of themselves, and
call to us, even when we are not thinking of them. And thus philosophers
have said in vain, "Retire within yourselves, you will find your good
there." We do not believe them, and those who believe them are the most
empty and the most foolish.


The Stoics say, "Retire within yourselves; it is there you will find
your rest." And that is not true.

Others say, "Go out of yourselves; seek happiness in amusement." And
this is not true. Illness comes.

Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both
without us and within us.


Had Epictetus seen the way perfectly, he would have said to men, "You
follow a wrong road"; he shows that there is another, but he does not
lead to it. It is the way of willing what God wills. Jesus Christ alone
leads to it: _Via, veritas._[175]

The vices of Zeno[176] himself.


_The reason of effects._ - Epictetus.[177] Those who say, "You have a
headache;" this is not the same thing. We are assured of health, and not
of justice; and in fact his own was nonsense.

And yet he believed it demonstrable, when he said, "It is either in our
power or it is not." But he did not perceive that it is not in our power
to regulate the heart, and he was wrong to infer this from the fact that
there were some Christians.


No other religion has proposed to men to hate themselves. No other
religion then can please those who hate themselves, and who seek a Being
truly lovable. And these, if they had never heard of the religion of a
God humiliated, would embrace it at once.


I feel that I might not have been; for the Ego consists in my thoughts.
Therefore I, who think, would not have been, if my mother had been
killed before I had life. I am not then a necessary being. In the same
way I am not eternal or infinite; but I see plainly that there exists in
nature a necessary Being, eternal and infinite.


"Had I seen a miracle," say men, "I should become converted." How can
they be sure they would do a thing of the nature of which they are
ignorant? They imagine that this conversion consists in a worship of God
which is like commerce, and in a communion such as they picture to
themselves. True religion consists in annihilating self before that
Universal Being, whom we have so often provoked, and who can justly
destroy us at any time; in recognising that we can do nothing without
Him, and have deserved nothing from Him but His displeasure. It consists
in knowing that there is an unconquerable opposition between us and God,
and that without a mediator there can be no communion with Him.


It is unjust that men should attach themselves to me, even though they
do it with pleasure and voluntarily. I should deceive those in whom I
had created this desire; for I am not the end of any, and I have not the
wherewithal to satisfy them. Am I not about to die? And thus the object
of their attachment will die. Therefore, as I would be blamable in
causing a falsehood to be believed, though I should employ gentle
persuasion, though it should be believed with pleasure, and though it
should give me pleasure; even so I am blamable in making myself loved,
and if I attract persons to attach themselves to me. I ought to warn
those who are ready to consent to a lie, that they ought not to believe
it, whatever advantage comes to me from it; and likewise that they ought
not to attach themselves to me; for they ought to spend their life and
their care in pleasing God, or in seeking Him.


Self-will will never be satisfied, though it should have command of all
it would; but we are satisfied from the moment we renounce it. Without
it we cannot be discontented; with it we cannot be content.


Let us imagine a body full of thinking members.[178]


_Members, To commence with that._ - To regulate the love which we owe to
ourselves, we must imagine a body full of thinking members, for we are
members of the whole, and must see how each member should love itself,


If the feet and the hands had a will of their own, they could only be in
their order in submitting this particular will to the primary will which
governs the whole body. Apart from that, they are in disorder and
mischief; but in willing only the good of the body, they accomplish
their own good.


We must love God only and hate self only.

If the foot had always been ignorant that it belonged to the body, and
that there was a body on which it depended, if it had only had the
knowledge and the love of self, and if it came to know that it belonged
to a body on which it depended, what regret, what shame for its past
life, for having been useless to the body which inspired its life, which
would have annihilated it if it had rejected it and separated it from
itself, as it kept itself apart from the body! What prayers for its
preservation in it! And with what submission would it allow itself to be
governed by the will which rules the body, even to consenting, if
necessary, to be cut off, or it would lose its character as member! For
every member must be quite willing to perish for the body, for which
alone the whole is.


It is false that we are worthy of the love of others; it is unfair that
we should desire it. If we were born reasonable and impartial, knowing
ourselves and others, we should not give this bias to our will. However,
we are born with it; therefore born unjust, for all tends to self. This
is contrary to all order. We must consider the general good; and the
propensity to self is the beginning of all disorder, in war, in
politics, in economy, and in the particular body of man. The will is
therefore depraved.

If the members of natural and civil communities tend towards the weal of
the body, the communities themselves ought to look to another more
general body of which they are members. We ought therefore to look to
the whole. We are therefore born unjust and depraved.


When we want to think of God, is there nothing which turns us away, and
tempts us to think of something else? All this is bad, and is born in


If there is a God, we must love Him only, and not the creatures of a
day. The reasoning of the ungodly in the book of Wisdom[179] is only
based upon the non-existence of God. "On that supposition," say they,
"let us take delight in the creatures." That is the worst that can
happen. But if there were a God to love, they would not have come to
this conclusion, but to quite the contrary. And this is the conclusion
of the wise: "There is a God, let us therefore not take delight in the

Therefore all that incites us to attach ourselves to the creatures is
bad; since it prevents us from serving God if we know Him, or from
seeking Him if we know Him not. Now we are full of lust. Therefore we
are full of evil; therefore we ought to hate ourselves and all that
excited us to attach ourselves to any other object than God only.


To make the members happy, they must have one will, and submit it to the


The examples of the noble deaths of the Lacedæmonians and others scarce
touch us. For what good is it to us? But the example of the death of the
martyrs touches us; for they are "our members." We have a common tie
with them. Their resolution can form ours, not only by example, but
because it has perhaps deserved ours. There is nothing of this in the
examples of the heathen. We have no tie with them; as we do not become
rich by seeing a stranger who is so, but in fact by seeing a father or a
husband who is so.


_Morality._ - God having made the heavens and the earth, which do not
feel the happiness of their being, He has willed to make beings who
should know it, and who should compose a body of thinking members. For
our members do not feel the happiness of their union, of their
wonderful intelligence, of the care which has been taken to infuse into
them minds, and to make them grow and endure. How happy they would be if
they saw and felt it! But for this they would need to have intelligence
to know it, and good-will to consent to that of the universal soul. But
if, having received intelligence, they employed it to retain nourishment
for themselves without allowing it to pass to the other members, they
would hate rather than love themselves; their blessedness, as well as
their duty, consisting in their consent to the guidance of the whole
soul to which they belong, which loves them better than they love


To be a member is to have neither life, being, nor movement, except
through the spirit of the body, and for the body.

The separate member, seeing no longer the body to which it belongs, has
only a perishing and dying existence. Yet it believes it is a whole, and
seeing not the body on which it depends, it believes it depends only on
self, and desires to make itself both centre and body. But not having in
itself a principle of life, it only goes astray, and is astonished in
the uncertainty of its being; perceiving in fact that it is not a body,
and still not seeing that it is a member of a body. In short, when it
comes to know itself, it has returned as it were to its own home, and
loves itself only for the body. It deplores its past wanderings.

It cannot by its nature love any other thing, except for itself and to

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