Blaise Pascal.

Pascal's Pensées online

. (page 20 of 26)
Online LibraryBlaise PascalPascal's Pensées → online text (page 20 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

should come to establish a new covenant, which should make them forget
the escape from Egypt (Jer. xxiii, 5; Is. xliii, 10); that He should
place His law not in externals, but in the heart; that He should put His
fear, which had only been from without, in the midst of the heart. Who
does not see the Christian law in all this?


... That then idolatry would be overthrown; that this Messiah would cast
down all idols, and bring men into the worship of the true God.

That the temples of the idols would be cast down, and that among all
nations, and in all places of the earth, He would be offered a pure
sacrifice, not of beasts.

That He would be king of the Jews and Gentiles. And we see this king of
the Jews and Gentiles oppressed by both, who conspire His death; and
ruler of both, destroying the worship of Moses in Jerusalem, which was
its centre, where He made His first Church; and also the worship of
idols in Rome, the centre of it, where He made His chief Church.


_Prophecies._ - That Jesus Christ will sit on the right hand, till God
has subdued His enemies.

Therefore He will not subdue them Himself.


"... Then they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, saying,
Here is the Lord, _for God shall make Himself known to all._"[273]

"... Your sons shall prophesy."[274] "I will put my spirit and my fear
_in your heart_."

All that is the same thing. To prophesy is to speak of God, not from
outward proofs, but from an inward and immediate feeling.


That He would teach men the perfect way.

And there has never come, before Him nor after Him, any man who has
taught anything divine approaching to this.


... That Jesus Christ would be small in His beginning, and would then
increase. The little stone of Daniel.

If I had in no wise heard of the Messiah, nevertheless, after such
wonderful predictions of the course of the world which I see fulfilled,
I see that He is divine. And if I knew that these same books foretold a
Messiah, I should be sure that He would come; and seeing that they place
His time before the destruction of the second temple, I should say that
He had come.


_Prophecies._ - That the Jews would reject Jesus Christ, and would be
rejected of God, for this reason, that the chosen vine brought forth
only wild grapes. That the chosen people would be fruitless, ungrateful,
and unbelieving, _populum non credentem et contradicentem_.[275] That
God would strike them with blindness, and in full noon they would grope
like the blind; and that a forerunner would go before Him.


_Transfixerunt._ Zech. xii, 10.

That a deliverer should come, who would crush the demon's head, and free
His people from their sins, _ex omnibus iniquitatibus_; that there
should be a New Covenant, which would be eternal; that there should be
another priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, and it should be
eternal; that the Christ should be glorious, mighty, strong, and yet so
poor that He would not be recognised, nor taken for what He is, but
rejected and slain; that His people who denied Him should no longer be
His people; that the idolaters should receive Him, and take refuge in
Him; that He should leave Zion to reign in the centre of idolatry; that
nevertheless the Jews should continue for ever; that He should be of
Judah, and when there should be no longer a king.




... Therefore I reject all other religions. In that way I find an answer
to all objections. It is right that a God so pure should only reveal
Himself to those whose hearts are purified. Hence this religion is
lovable to me, and I find it now sufficiently justified by so divine a
morality. But I find more in it.

I find it convincing that, since the memory of man has lasted, it was
constantly announced to men that they were universally corrupt, but that
a Redeemer should come; that it was not one man who said it, but
innumerable men, and a whole nation expressly made for the purpose, and
prophesying for four thousand years. This is a nation which is more
ancient than every other nation. Their books, scattered abroad, are four
thousand years old.

The more I examine them, the more truths I find in them: an entire
nation foretell Him before His advent, and an entire nation worship Him
after His advent; what has preceded and what has followed; in short,
people without idols and kings, this synagogue which was foretold, and
these wretches who frequent it, and who, being our enemies, are
admirable witnesses of the truth of these prophecies, wherein their
wretchedness and even their blindness are foretold.

I find this succession, this religion, wholly divine in its authority,
in its duration, in its perpetuity, in its morality, in its conduct, in
its doctrine, in its effects. The frightful darkness of the Jews was
foretold: _Eris palpans in meridie.[276] Dabitur liber scienti literas,
et dicet: Non possum legere._[277] While the sceptre was still in the
hands of the first foreign usurper, there is the report of the coming of
Jesus Christ.

So I hold out my arms to my _Redeemer_, who, having been foretold for
four thousand years, has come to suffer and to die for me on earth, at
the time and under all the circumstances foretold. By His grace, I await
death in peace, in the hope of being eternally united to Him. Yet I
live with joy, whether in the prosperity which it pleases Him to bestow
upon me, or in the adversity which He sends for my good, and which He
has taught me to bear by His example.


The prophecies having given different signs which should all happen at
the advent of the Messiah, it was necessary that all these signs should
occur at the same time. So it was necessary that the fourth monarchy
should have come, when the seventy weeks of Daniel were ended; and that
the sceptre should have then departed from Judah. And all this happened
without any difficulty. Then it was necessary that the Messiah should
come; and Jesus Christ then came, who was called the Messiah. And all
this again was without difficulty. This indeed shows the truth of the


The prophets foretold, and were not foretold. The saints again were
foretold, but did not foretell. Jesus Christ both foretold and was


Jesus Christ, whom the two Testaments regard, the Old as its hope, the
New as its model, and both as their centre.


The two oldest books in the world are those of Moses and Job, the one a
Jew and the other a Gentile. Both of them look upon Jesus Christ as
their common centre and object: Moses in relating the promises of God to
Abraham, Jacob, etc., and his prophecies; and Job, _Quis mihi det
ut_,[278] etc. _Scio enim quod redemptor meus vivit_, etc.


The Gospel only speaks of the virginity of the Virgin up to the time of
the birth of Jesus Christ. All with reference to Jesus Christ.


_Proofs of Jesus Christ._

Why was the book of Ruth preserved?

Why the story of Tamar?


"Pray that ye enter not into temptation."[279] It is dangerous to be
tempted; and people are tempted because they do not pray.

_Et tu conversus confirma fratres tuos._ But before, _conversus Jesus
respexit Petrum_.

Saint Peter asks permission to strike Malchus, and strikes before
hearing the answer. Jesus Christ replies afterwards.

The word, _Galilee_, which the Jewish mob pronounced as if by chance, in
accusing Jesus Christ before Pilate, afforded Pilate a reason for
sending Jesus Christ to Herod. And thereby the mystery was accomplished,
that He should be judged by Jews and Gentiles. Chance was apparently the
cause of the accomplishment of the mystery.


Those who have a difficulty in believing seek a reason in the fact that
the Jews do not believe. "Were this so clear," say they, "why did the
Jews not believe?" And they almost wish that they had believed, so as
not to be kept back by the example of their refusal. But it is their
very refusal that is the foundation of our faith. We should be much less
disposed to the faith, if they were on our side. We should then have a
more ample pretext. The wonderful thing is to have made the Jews great
lovers of the things foretold, and great enemies of their fulfilment.


The Jews were accustomed to great and striking miracles, and so, having
had the great miracles of the Red Sea and of the land of Canaan as an
epitome of the great deeds of their Messiah, they therefore looked for
more striking miracles, of which those of Moses were only the patterns.


The carnal Jews and the heathen have their calamities, and Christians
also. There is no Redeemer for the heathen, for they do not so much as
hope for one. There is no Redeemer for the Jews; they hope for Him in
vain. There is a Redeemer only for Christians. (See _Perpetuity_.)


In the time of the Messiah the people divided themselves. The spiritual
embraced the Messiah, and the coarser-minded remained to serve as
witnesses of Him.


"If this was clearly foretold to the Jews, how did they not believe it,
or why were they not destroyed for resisting a fact so clear?"

I reply: in the first place, it was foretold both that they would not
believe a thing so clear, and that they would not be destroyed. And
nothing is more to the glory of the Messiah; for it was not enough that
there should be prophets; their prophets must be kept above suspicion.
Now, etc.


If the Jews had all been converted by Jesus Christ, we should have none
but questionable witnesses. And if they had been entirely destroyed, we
should have no witnesses at all.


What do the prophets say of Jesus Christ? That He will be clearly God?
No; but that He is a God truly hidden; that He will be slighted; that
none will think that it is He; that He will be a stone of stumbling,
upon which many will stumble, etc. Let people then reproach us no longer
for want of clearness, since we make profession of it.

But, it is said, there are obscurities. - And without that, no one would
have stumbled over Jesus Christ, and this is one of the formal
pronouncements of the prophets: _Excæca_[280] ...


Moses first teaches the Trinity, original sin, the Messiah.

David: a great witness; a king, good, merciful, a beautiful soul, a
sound mind, powerful. He prophesies, and his wonder comes to pass. This
is infinite.

He had only to say that he was the Messiah, if he had been vain; for the
prophecies are clearer about him than about Jesus Christ. And the same
with Saint John.


Herod was believed to be the Messiah. He had taken away the sceptre from
Judah, but he was not of Judah. This gave rise to a considerable sect.

Curse of the Greeks upon those who count three periods of time.

In what way should the Messiah come, seeing that through Him the sceptre
was to be eternally in Judah, and at His coming the sceptre was to be
taken away from Judah?

In order to effect that seeing they should not see, and hearing they
should not understand, nothing could be better done.


_Homo existens te Deum facit.

Scriptum est, Dii estis, et non potest solvi Scriptura.

Hæc infirmitas non est ad vitam et est ad mortem.

Lazarus dormit, et deinde dixit: Lazarus mortuus est._[281]


The apparent discrepancy of the Gospels.[282]


What can we have but reverence for a man who foretells plainly things
which come to pass, and who declares his intention both to blind and to
enlighten, and who intersperses obscurities among the clear things which
come to pass?


The time of the first advent was foretold; the time of the second is not
so; because the first was to be obscure, and the second is to be
brilliant, and so manifest that even His enemies will recognise it. But,
as He was first to come only in obscurity, and to be known only of those
who searched the Scriptures ...


God, in order to cause the Messiah to be known by the good and not to be
known by the wicked, made Him to be foretold in this manner. If the
manner of the Messiah had been clearly foretold, there would have been
no obscurity, even for the wicked. If the time had been obscurely
foretold, there would have been obscurity, even for the good. For their
[goodness of heart] would not have made them understand, for instance,
that the closed _mem_ signifies six hundred years. But the time has been
clearly foretold, and the manner in types.

By this means, the wicked, taking the promised blessings for material
blessings, have fallen into error, in spite of the clear prediction of
the time; and the good have not fallen in error. For the understanding
of the promised blessings depends on the heart, which calls "good" that
which it loves; but the understanding of the promised time does not
depend on the heart. And thus the clear prediction of the time, and the
obscure prediction of the blessings, deceive the wicked alone.


[Either the Jews or the Christians must be wicked.]


The Jews reject Him, but not all. The saints receive Him, and not the
carnal-minded. And so far is this from being against His glory, that it
is the last touch which crowns it. For their argument, the only one
found in all their writings, in the Talmud and in the Rabbinical
writings, amounts only to this, that Jesus Christ has not subdued the
nations with sword in hand, _gladiumt uum, potentissime_.[283] (Is this
all they have to say? Jesus Christ has been slain, say they. He has
failed. He has not subdued the heathen with His might. He has not
bestowed upon us their spoil. He does not give riches. Is this all they
have to say? It is in this respect that He is lovable to me. I would not
desire Him whom they fancy.) It is evident that it is only His life
which has prevented them from accepting Him; and through this rejection
they are irreproachable witnesses, and, what is more, they thereby
accomplish the prophecies.

[By means of the fact that this people have not accepted Him, this
miracle here has happened. The prophecies were the only lasting miracles
which could be wrought, but they were liable to be denied.]


The Jews, in slaying Him in order not to receive Him as the Messiah,
have given Him the final proof of being the Messiah.

And in continuing not to recognise Him, they made themselves
irreproachable witnesses. Both in slaying Him, and in continuing to deny
Him, they have fulfilled the prophecies (Isa. lx; Ps. lxxi).


What could the Jews, His enemies, do? If they receive Him, they give
proof of Him by their reception; for then the guardians of the
expectation of the Messiah receive Him. If they reject Him, they give
proof of Him by their rejection.


The Jews, in testing if He were God, have shown that He was man.


The Church has had as much difficulty in showing that Jesus Christ was
man, against those who denied it, as in showing that he was God; and the
probabilities were equally great.


_Source of contradictions._ - A God humiliated, even to the death on the
cross; a Messiah triumphing over death by his own death. Two natures in
Jesus Christ, two advents, two states of man's nature.


_Types._ - Saviour, father, sacrificer, offering, food, king, wise,
law-giver, afflicted, poor, having to create a people whom He must lead
and nourish, and bring into His land....

_Jesus Christ. Offices._ - He alone had to create a great people, elect,
holy, and chosen; to lead, nourish, and bring it into the place of rest
and holiness; to make it holy to God; to make it the temple of God; to
reconcile it to, and save it from, the wrath of God; to free it from the
slavery of sin, which visibly reigns in man; to give laws to this
people, and engrave these laws on their heart; to offer Himself to God
for them, and sacrifice Himself for them; to be a victim without
blemish, and Himself the sacrificer, having to offer Himself, His body,
and His blood, and yet to offer bread and wine to God ...

_Ingrediens mundum._[284]

"Stone upon stone."[285]

What preceded and what followed. All the Jews exist still, and are


Of all that is on earth, He partakes only of the sorrows, not of the
joys. He loves His neighbours, but His love does not confine itself
within these bounds, and overflows to His own enemies, and then to those
of God.


Jesus Christ typified by Joseph, the beloved of his father, sent by his
father to see his brethren, etc., innocent, sold by his brethren for
twenty pieces of silver, and thereby becoming their lord, their saviour,
the saviour of strangers, and the saviour of the world; which had not
been but for their plot to destroy him, their sale and their rejection
of him.

In prison Joseph innocent between two criminals; Jesus Christ on the
cross between two thieves. Joseph foretells freedom to the one, and
death to the other, from the same omens. Jesus Christ saves the elect,
and condemns the outcast for the same sins. Joseph foretells only; Jesus
Christ acts. Joseph asks him who will be saved to remember him, when he
comes into his glory; and he whom Jesus Christ saves asks that He will
remember him, when He comes into His kingdom.


The conversion of the heathen was only reserved for the grace of the
Messiah. The Jews have been so long in opposition to them without
success; all that Solomon and the prophets said has been useless. Sages,
like Plato and Socrates, have not been able to persuade them.


After many persons had gone before, Jesus Christ at last came to
say:[286] "Here am I, and this is the time. That which the prophets have
said was to come in the fullness of time, I tell you My apostles will
do. The Jews shall be cast out. Jerusalem shall be soon destroyed. And
the heathen shall enter into the knowledge of God. My apostles shall do
this after you have slain the heir of the vineyard."

Then the apostles said to the Jews: "You shall be accursed," (_Celsus
laughed at it_); and to the heathen, "You shall enter into the knowledge
of God." And this then came to pass.


Jesus Christ came to blind those who saw clearly, and to give sight to
the blind; to heal the sick, and leave the healthy to die; to call to
repentance, and to justify sinners, and to leave the righteous in their
sins; to fill the needy, and leave the rich empty.


_Holiness._ - _Effundam spiritum meum._[287] All nations were in unbelief
and lust. The whole world now became fervent with love. Princes
abandoned their pomp; maidens suffered martyrdom. Whence came this
influence? The Messiah was come. These were the effect and sign of His


Destruction of the Jews and heathen by Jesus Christ: _Omnes gentes
venient et adorabunt eum.[288] Parum est ut_,[289] etc. _Postula a
me.[290] Adorabunt eum omnes reges.[291] Testes iniqui.[292] Dabit
maxillam percutienti.[293] Dederunt fel in escam._[294]


Jesus Christ for all, Moses for a nation.

The Jews blessed in Abraham: "I will bless those that bless thee."[295]
But: "All nations blessed in his seed."[296] _Parum est ut_, etc.

_Lumen ad revelationem gentium._[297]

_Non fecit taliter omni nationi_,[298] said David, in speaking of the
Law. But, in speaking of Jesus Christ, we must say: _Fecit taliter omni
nationi. Parum est ut_, etc., Isaiah. So it belongs to Jesus Christ to
be universal. Even the Church offers sacrifice only for the faithful.
Jesus Christ offered that of the cross for all.


There is heresy in always explaining _omnes_ by "all," and heresy in not
explaining it sometimes by "all." _Bibite ex hoc omnes_;[299] the
Huguenots are heretics in explaining it by "all." _In quo omnes
peccaverunt_;[300] the Huguenots are heretics in excepting the children
of true believers. We must then follow the Fathers and tradition in
order to know when to do so, since there is heresy to be feared on both


_Ne timeas pusillus grex.[301] Timore et tremore. - Quid ergo? Ne timeas
[modo] timeas._ Fear not, provided you fear; but if you fear not, then

_Qui me recipit, non me recipit, sed eum qui me misit._[302]

_Nemo scit, neque Filius._

_Nubes lucida obumbravit._

Saint John[303] was to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and Jesus Christ[304] to plant division. There is not contradiction.


The effects _in communi_ and _in particulari_. The semi-Pelagians err in
saying of _in communi_ what is true only _in particulari_; and the
Calvinists in saying _in particulari_ what is true _in communi_. (Such
is my opinion.)


_Omnis Judæa regio, et Jerosolomymi universi, et baptizabantur._[305]
Because of all the conditions of men who came there. From these stones
there _can_ come children unto Abraham.[306]


If men knew themselves, God would heal and pardon them. _Ne convertantur
et sanem eos, et dimittantur eis peccata._[307]


Jesus Christ never condemned without hearing. To Judas: _Amice, ad quid
venisti?_[308] To him that had not on the wedding garment, the same.


The types of the completeness of the Redemption, as that the sun gives
light to all, indicate only completeness; but [_the types_] of
exclusions, as of the Jews elected to the exclusion of the Gentiles,
indicate exclusion.

"Jesus Christ the Redeemer of all." - Yes, for He has offered, like a man
who has ransomed all those who were willing to come to Him. If any die
on the way, it is their misfortune; but, so far as He was concerned, He
offered them redemption. - That holds good in this example, where he who
ransoms and he who prevents death are two persons, but not of Jesus
Christ, who does both these things. - No, for Jesus Christ, in the
quality of Redeemer, is not perhaps Master of all; and thus, in so far
as it is in Him, He is the Redeemer of all.

When it is said that Jesus Christ did not die for all, you take undue
advantage of a fault in men who at once apply this exception to
themselves; and this is to favour despair, instead of turning them from
it to favour hope. For men thus accustom themselves in inward virtues by
outward customs.


The victory over death. "What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole
world and lose his own soul?[309] Whosoever will save his soul, shall
lose it."[310]

"I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil."[311]

"Lambs took not away the sins of the world, but I am the lamb which
taketh away the sins."[312]

"Moses[313] hath not led you out of captivity, and made you truly free."


... Then Jesus Christ comes to tell men that they have no other enemies
but themselves; that it is their passions which keep them apart from
God; that He comes to destroy these, and give them His grace, so as to
make of them all one Holy Church; that He comes to bring back into this
Church the heathen and Jews; that He comes to destroy the idols of the
former and the superstition of the latter. To this all men are opposed,
not only from the natural opposition of lust; but, above all, the kings
of the earth, as had been foretold, join together to destroy this
religion at its birth. (_Proph.: Quare fremuerunt gentes ... reges terræ
... adversus Christum._)[314]

All that is great on earth is united together; the learned, the wise,
the kings. The first write; the second condemn; the last kill. And
notwithstanding all these oppositions, these men, simple and weak,
resist all these powers, subdue even these kings, these learned men and
these sages, and remove idolatry from all the earth. And all this is
done by the power which had foretold it.


Jesus Christ would not have the testimony of devils, nor of those who
were not called, but of God and John the Baptist.


I consider Jesus Christ in all persons and in ourselves: Jesus Christ as
a Father in His Father, Jesus Christ as a Brother in His Brethren, Jesus
Christ as poor in the poor, Jesus Christ as rich in the rich, Jesus
Christ as Doctor and Priest in priests, Jesus Christ as Sovereign in
princes, etc. For by His glory He is all that is great, being God; and
by His mortal life He is all that is poor and abject. Therefore He has
taken this unhappy condition, so that He could be in all persons, and
the model of all conditions.


Jesus Christ is an obscurity (according to what the world calls
obscurity), such that historians, writing only of important matters of
states, have hardly noticed Him.


_On the fact that neither Josephus, nor Tacitus, nor other historians
have spoken of Jesus Christ._ - So far is this from telling against

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 26

Online LibraryBlaise PascalPascal's Pensées → online text (page 20 of 26)