Blaise Pascal.

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which men inflict upon Him; but in His agony He suffers the torments
which He inflicts on Himself; _turbare semetipsum_.[202] This is a
suffering from no human, but an almighty hand, for He must be almighty
to bear it.

Jesus seeks some comfort at least in His three dearest friends, and they
are asleep. He prays them to bear with Him for a little, and they leave
Him with entire indifference, having so little compassion that it could
not prevent their sleeping even for a moment. And thus Jesus was left
alone to the wrath of God.

Jesus is alone on the earth, without any one not only to feel and share
His suffering, but even to know of it; He and Heaven were alone in that
knowledge.

Jesus is in a garden, not of delight as the first Adam, where he lost
himself and the whole human race, but in one of agony, where He saved
Himself and the whole human race.

He suffers this affliction and this desertion in the horror of night.

I believe that Jesus never complained but on this single occasion; but
then He complained as if he could no longer bear His extreme suffering.
"My soul is sorrowful, even unto death."[203]

Jesus seeks companionship and comfort from men. This is the sole
occasion in all His life, as it seems to me. But He receives it not, for
His disciples are asleep.

Jesus will be in agony even to the end of the world. We must not sleep
during that time.

Jesus, in the midst of this universal desertion, including that of His
own friends chosen to watch with Him, finding them asleep, is vexed
because of the danger to which they expose, not Him, but themselves; He
cautions them for their own safety and their own good, with a sincere
tenderness for them during their ingratitude, and warns them that the
spirit is willing and the flesh weak.

Jesus, finding them still asleep, without being restrained by any
consideration for themselves or for Him, has the kindness not to waken
them, and leaves them in repose.

Jesus prays, uncertain of the will of His Father, and fears death; but,
when He knows it, He goes forward to offer Himself to death. _Eamus.
Processit_[204] (John).

Jesus asked of men and was not heard.

Jesus, while His disciples slept, wrought their salvation. He has
wrought that of each of the righteous while they slept, both in their
nothingness before their birth, and in their sins after their birth.

He prays only once that the cup pass away, and then with submission; and
twice that it come if necessary.

Jesus is weary.

Jesus, seeing all His friends asleep and all His enemies wakeful,
commits Himself entirely to His Father.

Jesus does not regard in Judas his enmity, but the order of God, which
He loves and admits, since He calls him friend.

Jesus tears Himself away from His disciples to enter into His agony; we
must tear ourselves away from our nearest and dearest to imitate Him.

Jesus being in agony and in the greatest affliction, let us pray longer.

We implore the mercy of God, not that He may leave us at peace in our
vices, but that He may deliver us from them.

If God gave us masters by His own hand, oh! how necessary for us to obey
them with a good heart! Necessity and events follow infallibly.

- "Console thyself, thou wouldst not seek Me, if thou hadst not found
Me.

"I thought of thee in Mine agony, I have sweated such drops of blood for
thee.

"It is tempting Me rather than proving thyself, to think if thou wouldst
do such and such a thing on an occasion which has not happened; I shall
act in thee if it occur.

"Let thyself be guided by My rules; see how well I have led the Virgin
and the saints who have let Me act in them.

"The Father loves all that I do.

"Dost thou wish that it always cost Me the blood of My humanity, without
thy shedding tears?

"Thy conversion is My affair; fear not, and pray with confidence as for
Me.

"I am present with thee by My Word in Scripture, by My Spirit in the
Church and by inspiration, by My power in the priests, by My prayer in
the faithful.

"Physicians will not heal thee, for thou wilt die at last. But it is I
who heal thee, and make the body immortal.

"Suffer bodily chains and servitude, I deliver thee at present only from
spiritual servitude.

"I am more a friend to thee than such and such an one, for I have done
for thee more than they, they would not have suffered what I have
suffered from thee, and they would not have died for thee as I have done
in the time of thine infidelities and cruelties, and as I am ready to
do, and do, among my elect and at the Holy Sacrament."

"If thou knewest thy sins, thou wouldst lose heart."

- I shall lose it then, Lord, for on Thy assurance I believe their
malice.

- "No, for I, by whom thou learnest, can heal thee of them, and what I
say to thee is a sign that I will heal thee. In proportion to thy
expiation of them, thou wilt know them, and it will be said to thee:
'Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee.' Repent, then, for thy hidden sins,
and for the secret malice of those which thou knowest."

- Lord, I give Thee all.

- "I love thee more ardently than thou hast loved thine abominations,
_ut immundus pro luto_.

"To Me be the glory, not to thee, worm of the earth.

"Ask thy confessor, when My own words are to thee occasion of evil,
vanity, or curiosity."

- I see in me depths of pride, curiosity, and lust. There is no relation
between me and God, nor Jesus Christ the Righteous. But He has been made
sin for me; all Thy scourges are fallen upon Him. He is more abominable
than I, and, far from abhorring me, He holds Himself honoured that I go
to Him and succour Him.

But He has healed Himself, and still more so will He heal me.

I must add my wounds to His, and join myself to Him; and He will save me
in saving Himself. But this must not be postponed to the future.

_Eritis sicut dii scientes bonum et malum._[205] Each one creates his
god, when judging, "This is good or bad"; and men mourn or rejoice too
much at events.

Do little things as though they were great, because of the majesty of
Jesus Christ who does them in us, and who lives our life; and do the
greatest things as though they were little and easy, because of His
omnipotence.


553

It seems to me that Jesus Christ only allowed His wounds to be touched
after His resurrection: _Noli me tangere._[206] We must unite ourselves
only to His sufferings.

At the Last Supper He gave Himself in communion as about to die; to the
disciples at Emmaus as risen from the dead; to the whole Church as
ascended into heaven.


554

"Compare not thyself with others, but with Me. If thou dost not find Me
in those with whom thou comparest thyself, thou comparest thyself to one
who is abominable. If thou findest Me in them, compare thyself to Me.
But whom wilt thou compare? Thyself, or Me in thee? If it is thyself, it
is one who is abominable. If it is I, thou comparest Me to Myself. Now I
am God in all.

"I speak to thee, and often counsel thee, because thy director cannot
speak to thee, for I do not want thee to lack a guide.

"And perhaps I do so at his prayers, and thus he leads thee without thy
seeing it. Thou wouldst not seek Me, if thou didst not possess Me.

"Be not therefore troubled."


SECTION VIII

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION


555

... Men blaspheme what they do not know. The Christian religion consists
in two points. It is of equal concern to men to know them, and it is
equally dangerous to be ignorant to them. And it is equally of God's
mercy that He has given indications of both.

And yet they take occasion to conclude that one of these points does not
exist, from that which should have caused them to infer the other. The
sages who have said there is only one God have been persecuted, the Jews
were hated, and still more the Christians. They have seen by the light
of nature that if there be a true religion on earth, the course of all
things must tend to it as to a centre.

The whole course of things must have for its object the establishment
and the greatness of religion. Men must have within them feelings suited
to what religion teaches us. And, finally, religion must so be the
object and centre to which all things tend, that whoever knows the
principles of religion can give an explanation both of the whole nature
of man in particular, and of the whole course of the world in general.

And on this ground they take occasion to revile the Christian religion,
because they misunderstand it. They imagine that it consists simply in
the worship of a God considered as great, powerful, and eternal; which
is strictly deism, almost as far removed from the Christian religion as
atheism, which is its exact opposite. And thence they conclude that this
religion is not true, because they do not see that all things concur to
the establishment of this point, that God does not manifest Himself to
men with all the evidence which He could show.

But let them conclude what they will against deism, they will conclude
nothing against the Christian religion, which properly consists in the
mystery of the Redeemer, who, uniting in Himself the two natures, human
and divine, has redeemed men from the corruption of sin in order to
reconcile them in His divine person to God.

The Christian religion, then, teaches men these two truths; that there
is a God whom men can know, and that there is a corruption in their
nature which renders them unworthy of Him. It is equally important to
men to know both these points; and it is equally dangerous for man to
know God without knowing his own wretchedness, and to know his own
wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can free him from it. The
knowledge of only one of these points gives rise either to the pride of
philosophers, who have known God, and not their own wretchedness, or to
the despair of atheists, who know their own wretchedness, but not the
Redeemer.

And, as it is alike necessary to man to know these two points, so is it
alike merciful of God to have made us know them. The Christian religion
does this; it is in this that it consists.

Let us herein examine the order of the world, and see if all things do
not tend to establish these two chief points of this religion: Jesus
Christ is the end of all, and the centre to which all tends. Whoever
knows Him knows the reason of everything.

Those who fall into error err only through failure to see one of these
two things. We can then have an excellent knowledge of God without that
of our own wretchedness, and of our own wretchedness without that of
God. But we cannot know Jesus Christ without knowing at the same time
both God and our own wretchedness.

Therefore I shall not undertake here to prove by natural reasons either
the existence of God, or the Trinity, or the immortality of the soul, or
anything of that nature; not only because I should not feel myself
sufficiently able to find in nature arguments to convince hardened
atheists, but also because such knowledge without Jesus Christ is
useless and barren. Though a man should be convinced that numerical
proportions are immaterial truths, eternal and dependent on a first
truth, in which they subsist, and which is called God, I should not
think him far advanced towards his own salvation.

The God of Christians is not a God who is simply the author of
mathematical truths, or of the order of the elements; that is the view
of heathens and Epicureans. He is not merely a God who exercises His
providence over the life and fortunes of men, to bestow on those who
worship Him a long and happy life. That was the portion of the Jews. But
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of
Christians, is a God of love and of comfort, a God who fills the soul
and heart of those whom He possesses, a God who makes them conscious of
their inward wretchedness, and His infinite mercy, who unites Himself to
their inmost soul, who fills it with humility and joy, with confidence
and love, who renders them incapable of any other end than Himself.

All who seek God without Jesus Christ, and who rest in nature, either
find no light to satisfy them, or come to form for themselves a means of
knowing God and serving Him without a mediator. Thereby they fall either
into atheism, or into deism, two things which the Christian religion
abhors almost equally.

Without Jesus Christ the world would not exist; for it should needs be
either that it would be destroyed or be a hell.

If the world existed to instruct man of God, His divinity would shine
through every part in it in an indisputable manner; but as it exists
only by Jesus Christ, and for Jesus Christ, and to teach men both their
corruption and their redemption, all displays the proofs of these two
truths.

All appearance indicates neither a total exclusion nor a manifest
presence of divinity, but the presence of a God who hides Himself.
Everything bears this character.

... Shall he alone who knows his nature know it only to be miserable?
Shall he alone who knows it be alone unhappy?

... He must not see nothing at all, nor must he see sufficient for him
to believe he possesses it; but he must see enough to know that he has
lost it. For to know of his loss, he must see and not see; and that is
exactly the state in which he naturally is.

... Whatever part he takes, I shall not leave him at rest ...


556

... It is then true that everything teaches man his condition, but he
must understand this well. For it is not true that all reveals God, and
it is not true that all conceals God. But it is at the same time true
that He hides Himself from those who tempt Him, and that He reveals
Himself to those who seek Him, because men are both unworthy and capable
of God; unworthy by their corruption capable by their original nature.


557

What shall we conclude from all our darkness, but our unworthiness?


558

If there never had been any appearance of God, this eternal deprivation
would have been equivocal, and might have as well corresponded with the
absence of all divinity, as with the unworthiness of men to know Him;
but His occasional, though not continual, appearances remove the
ambiguity, If He appeared once, He exists always; and thus we cannot but
conclude both that there is a God, and that men are unworthy of Him.


559

We do not understand the glorious state of Adam, nor the nature of his
sin, nor the transmission of it to us. These are matters which took
place under conditions of a nature altogether different from our own,
and which transcend our present understanding.

The knowledge of all this is useless to us as a means of escape from it;
and all that we are concerned to know, is that we are miserable,
corrupt, separated from God, but ransomed by Jesus Christ, whereof we
have wonderful proofs on earth.

So the two proofs of corruption and redemption are drawn from the
ungodly, who live in indifference to religion, and from the Jews who are
irreconcilable enemies.


560

There are two ways of proving the truths of our religion; one by the
power of reason, the other by the authority of him who speaks.

We do not make use of the latter, but of the former. We do not say,
"This must be believed, for Scripture, which says it, is divine." But we
say that it must be believed for such and such a reason, which are
feeble arguments, as reason may be bent to everything.


561

There is nothing on earth that does not show either the wretchedness of
man, or the mercy of God; either the weakness of man without God, or the
strength of man with God.


562

It will be one of the confusions of the damned to see that they are
condemned by their own reason, by which they claimed to condemn the
Christian religion.


563

The prophecies, the very miracles and proofs of our religion, are not of
such a nature that they can be said to be absolutely convincing. But
they are also of such a kind that it cannot be said that it is
unreasonable to believe them. Thus there is both evidence and obscurity
to enlighten some and confuse others. But the evidence is such that it
surpasses, or at least equals, the evidence to the contrary; so that it
is not reason which can determine men not to follow it, and thus it can
only be lust or malice of heart. And by this means there is sufficient
evidence to condemn, and insufficient to convince; so that it appears in
those who follow it, that it is grace, and not reason, which makes them
follow it; and in those who shun it, that it is lust, not reason, which
makes them shun it.

_Vere discipuli, vere Israëlita, vere liberi, vere cibus._[207]


564

Recognise, then, the truth of religion in the very obscurity of
religion, in the little light we have of it, and in the indifference
which we have to knowing it.


565

We understand nothing of the works of God, if we do not take as a
principle that He has willed to blind some, and enlighten others.


566

The two contrary reasons. We must begin with that; without that we
understand nothing, and all is heretical; and we must even add at the
end of each truth that the opposite truth is to be remembered.


567

_Objection._ The Scripture is plainly full of matters not dictated by
the Holy Spirit. - _Answer._ Then they do not harm faith. - _Objection._
But the Church has decided that all is of the Holy Spirit. - _Answer._ I
answer two things: first, the Church has not so decided; secondly, if
she should so decide, it could be maintained.

Do you think that the prophecies cited in the Gospel are related to make
you believe? No, it is to keep you from believing.


568

_Canonical._ - The heretical books in the beginning of the Church serve
to prove the canonical.


569

To the chapter on the _Fundamentals_ must be added that on _Typology_
touching the reason of types: why Jesus Christ was prophesied as to His
first coming; why prophesied obscurely as to the manner.


570

_The reason why. Types._ - [They had to deal with a carnal people and to
render them the depositary of the spiritual covenant.] To give faith to
the Messiah, it was necessary there should have been precedent
prophecies, and that these should be conveyed by persons above
suspicion, diligent, faithful, unusually zealous, and known to all the
world.

To accomplish all this, God chose this carnal people, to whom He
entrusted the prophecies which foretell the Messiah as a deliverer, and
as a dispenser of those carnal goods which this people loved. And thus
they have had an extraordinary passion for their prophets, and, in sight
of the whole world, have had charge of these books which foretell their
Messiah, assuring all nations that He should come, and in the way
foretold in the books, which they held open to the whole world. Yet this
people, deceived by the poor and ignominious advent of the Messiah, have
been His most cruel enemies. So that they, the people least open to
suspicion in the world of favouring us, the most strict and most zealous
that can be named for their law and their prophets, have kept the books
incorrupt. Hence those who have rejected and crucified Jesus Christ, who
has been to them an offence, are those who have charge of the books
which testify of Him, and state that He will be an offence and rejected.
Therefore they have shown it was He by rejecting Him, and He has been
alike proved both by the righteous Jews who received Him, and by the
unrighteous who rejected Him, both facts having been foretold.

Wherefore the prophecies have a hidden and spiritual meaning, to which
this people were hostile, under the carnal meaning which they loved. If
the spiritual meaning had been revealed, they would not have loved it,
and, unable to bear it, they would not have been zealous of the
preservation of their books and their ceremonies; and if they had loved
these spiritual promises, and had preserved them incorrupt till the time
of the Messiah, their testimony would have had no force, because they
had been his friends.

Therefore it was well that the spiritual meaning should be concealed;
but, on the other hand, if this meaning had been so hidden as not to
appear at all, it could not have served as a proof of the Messiah. What
then was done? In a crowd of passages it has been hidden under the
temporal meaning, and in a few has been clearly revealed; besides that
the time and the state of the world have been so clearly foretold that
it is clearer than the sun. And in some places this spiritual meaning is
so clearly expressed, that it would require a blindness like that which
the flesh imposes on the spirit when it is subdued by it, not to
recognise it.

See, then, what has been the prudence of God. This meaning is concealed
under another in an infinite number of passages, and in some, though
rarely, it is revealed; but yet so that the passages in which it is
concealed are equivocal, and can suit both meanings; whereas the
passages where it is disclosed are unequivocal, and can only suit the
spiritual meaning.

So that this cannot lead us into error, and could only be misunderstood
by so carnal a people.

For when blessings are promised in abundance, what was to prevent them
from understanding the true blessings, but their covetousness, which
limited the meaning to worldly goods? But those whose only good was in
God referred them to God alone. For there are two principles, which
divide the wills of men, covetousness and charity. Not that covetousness
cannot exist along with faith in God, nor charity with worldly riches;
but covetousness uses God, and enjoys the world, and charity is the
opposite.

Now the ultimate end gives names to things. All which prevents us from
attaining it, is called an enemy to us. Thus the creatures, however
good, are the enemies of the righteous, when they turn them away from
God, and God Himself is the enemy of those whose covetousness He
confounds.

Thus as the significance of the word "enemy" is dependent on the
ultimate end, the righteous understood by it their passions, and the
carnal the Babylonians; and so these terms were obscure only for the
unrighteous. And this is what Isaiah says: _Signa legem in electis
meis_,[208] and that Jesus Christ shall be a stone of stumbling. But,
"Blessed are they who shall not be offended in him." Hosea,[209] _ult._,
says excellently, "Where is the wise? and he shall understand what I
say. The righteous shall know them, for the ways of God are right; but
the transgressors shall fall therein."


571

Hypothesis that the apostles were impostors. - The time clearly, the
manner obscurely. - Five typical proofs.

{1600 prophets.
2000 {
{ 400 scattered.


572

_Blindness of Scripture._ - "The Scripture," said the Jews, "says that we
shall not know whence Christ will come (John vii, 27, and xii, 34). The
Scripture says that Christ abideth for ever, and He said that He should
die." Therefore, says Saint John,[210] they believed not, though He had
done so many miracles, that the word of Isaiah might be fulfilled: "He
hath blinded them," etc.


573

_Greatness._ - Religion is so great a thing that it is right that those
who will not take the trouble to seek it, if it be obscure, should be
deprived of it. Why, then, do any complain, if it be such as can be
found by seeking?


574

All things work together for good to the elect, even the obscurities of
Scripture; for they honour them because of what is divinely clear. And
all things work together for evil to the rest of the world, even what is
clear; for they revile such, because of the obscurities which they do
not understand.


575

_The general conduct of the world towards the Church: God willing to
blind and to enlighten._ - The event having proved the divinity of these
prophecies, the rest ought to be believed. And thereby we see the order
of the world to be of this kind. The miracles of the Creation and the
Deluge being forgotten, God sends the law and the miracles of Moses, the
prophets who prophesied particular things; and to prepare a lasting
miracle, He prepares prophecies and their fulfilment; but, as the
prophecies could be suspected, He desires to make them above suspicion,
etc.


576

God has made the blindness of this people subservient to the good of the
elect.


577

There is sufficient clearness to enlighten the elect, and sufficient
obscurity to humble them. There is sufficient obscurity to blind the
reprobate, and sufficient clearness to condemn them, and make them
inexcusable. - Saint Augustine, Montaigne, Sébond.

The genealogy of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is intermingled with


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