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Christianity, that on the contrary it tells for it. For it is certain
that Jesus Christ has existed; that His religion has made a great talk;
and that these persons were not ignorant of it. Thus it is plain that
they purposely concealed it, or that, if they did speak of it, their
account has been suppressed or changed.


787

"I have reserved me seven thousand."[315] I love the worshippers unknown
to the world and to the very prophets.


788

As Jesus Christ remained unknown among men, so His truth remains among
common opinions without external difference. Thus the Eucharist among
ordinary bread.


789

Jesus would not be slain without the forms of justice; for it is far
more ignominious to die by justice than by an unjust sedition.


790

The false justice of Pilate only serves to make Jesus Christ suffer; for
he causes Him to be scourged by his false justice, and afterwards puts
Him to death. It would have been better to have put Him to death at
once. Thus it is with the falsely just. They do good and evil works to
please the world, and to show that they are not altogether of Jesus
Christ; for they are ashamed of Him. And at last, under great temptation
and on great occasions, they kill Him.


791

What man ever had more renown? The whole Jewish people foretell Him
before His coming. The Gentile people worship Him after His coming. The
two peoples, Gentile and Jewish, regard Him as their centre.

And yet what man enjoys this renown less? Of thirty-three years, He
lives thirty without appearing. For three years He passes as an
impostor; the priests and the chief people reject Him; His friends and
His nearest relatives despise Him. Finally, He dies, betrayed by one of
His own disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by all.

What part, then, has He in this renown? Never had man so much renown;
never had man more ignominy. All that renown has served only for us, to
render us capable of recognising Him; and He had none of it for Himself.


792

The infinite distance between body and mind is a symbol of the
infinitely more infinite distance between mind and charity; for charity
is supernatural.

All the glory of greatness has no lustre for people who are in search of
understanding.

The greatness of clever men is invisible to kings, to the rich, to
chiefs, and to all the worldly great.

The greatness of wisdom, which is nothing if not of God, is invisible to
the carnal-minded and to the clever. These are three orders differing in
kind.

Great geniuses have their power, their glory, their greatness, their
victory, their lustre, and have no need of worldly greatness, with which
they are not in keeping. They are seen, not by the eye, but by the mind;
this is sufficient.

The saints have their power, their glory, their victory, their lustre,
and need no worldly or intellectual greatness, with which they have no
affinity; for these neither add anything to them, nor take away anything
from them. They are seen of God and the angels, and not of the body, nor
of the curious mind. God is enough for them.

Archimedes,[316] apart from his rank, would have the same veneration. He
fought no battles for the eyes to feast upon; but he has given his
discoveries to all men. Oh! how brilliant he was to the mind!

Jesus Christ, without riches, and without any external exhibition of
knowledge, is in His own order of holiness. He did not invent; He did
not reign. But He was humble, patient, holy, holy to God, terrible to
devils, without any sin. Oh! in what great pomp, and in what wonderful
splendour, He is come to the eyes of the heart, which perceive wisdom!

It would have been useless for Archimedes to have acted the prince in
his books on geometry, although he was a prince.

It would have been useless for our Lord Jesus Christ to come like a
king, in order to shine forth in His kingdom of holiness. But He came
there appropriately in the glory of His own order.

It is most absurd to take offence at the lowliness of Jesus Christ, as
if His lowliness were in the same order as the greatness which He came
to manifest. If we consider this greatness in His life, in His passion,
in His obscurity, in His death, in the choice of His disciples, in their
desertion, in His secret resurrection, and the rest, we shall see it to
be so immense, that we shall have no reason for being offended at a
lowliness which is not of that order.

But there are some who can only admire worldly greatness, as though
there were no intellectual greatness; and others who only admire
intellectual greatness, as though there were not infinitely higher
things in wisdom.

All bodies, the firmament, the stars, the earth and its kingdoms, are
not equal to the lowest mind; for mind knows all these and itself; and
these bodies nothing.

All bodies together, and all minds together, and all their products, are
not equal to the least feeling of charity. This is of an order
infinitely more exalted.

From all bodies together, we cannot obtain one little thought; this is
impossible, and of another order. From all bodies and minds, we cannot
produce a feeling of true charity; this is impossible, and of another
and supernatural order.


793

Why did Jesus Christ not come in a visible manner, instead of obtaining
testimony of Himself from preceding prophecies? Why did He cause Himself
to be foretold in types?


794

If Jesus Christ had only come to sanctify, all Scripture and all things
would tend to that end; and it would be quite easy to convince
unbelievers. If Jesus Christ had only come to blind, all His conduct
would be confused; and we would have no means of convincing unbelievers.
But as He came _in sanctificationem et in scandalum_,[317] as Isaiah
says, we cannot convince unbelievers, and they cannot convince us. But
by this very fact we convince them; since we say that in His whole
conduct there is no convincing proof on one side or the other.


795

Jesus Christ does not say that He is not of Nazareth, in order to leave
the wicked in their blindness; nor that He is not Joseph's son.


796

_Proofs of Jesus Christ._ - Jesus Christ said great things so simply,
that it seems as though He had not thought them great; and yet so
clearly that we easily see what He thought of them. This clearness,
joined to this simplicity, is wonderful.


797

The style of the gospel is admirable in so many ways, and among the rest
in hurling no invectives against the persecutors and enemies of Jesus
Christ. For there is no such invective in any of the historians against
Judas, Pilate, or any of the Jews.

If this moderation of the writers of the Gospels had been assumed, as
well as many other traits of so beautiful a character, and they had only
assumed it to attract notice, even if they had not dared to draw
attention to it themselves, they would not have failed to secure
friends, who would have made such remarks to their advantage. But as
they acted thus without pretence, and from wholly disinterested motives,
they did not point it out to any one; and I believe that many such facts
have not been noticed till now, which is evidence of the natural
disinterestedness with which the thing has been done.


798

An artisan who speaks of wealth, a lawyer who speaks of war, of royalty,
etc.; but the rich man rightly speaks of wealth, a king speaks
indifferently of a great gift he has just made, and God rightly speaks
of God.


799

Who has taught the evangelists the qualities of a perfectly heroic soul,
that they paint it so perfectly in Jesus Christ? Why do they make Him
weak in His agony? Do they not know how to paint a resolute death? Yes,
for the same Saint Luke paints the death of Saint Stephen as braver than
that of Jesus Christ.

They make Him therefore capable of fear, before the necessity of dying
has come, and then altogether brave.

But when they make Him so troubled, it is when He afflicts Himself; and
when men afflict Him, He is altogether strong.


800

_Proof of Jesus Christ._ - The supposition that the apostles were
impostors is very absurd. Let us think it out. Let us imagine those
twelve men, assembled after the death of Jesus Christ, plotting to say
that He was risen. By this they attack all the powers. The heart of man
is strangely inclined to fickleness, to change, to promises, to gain.
However little any of them might have been led astray by all these
attractions, nay more, by the fear of prisons, tortures, and death, they
were lost. Let us follow up this thought.


801

The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Either supposition has
difficulties; for it is not possible to mistake a man raised from the
dead ...

While Jesus Christ was with them, He could sustain them. But, after
that, if He did not appear to them, who inspired them to act?


SECTION XIII

THE MIRACLES


802

_The beginning._ - Miracles enable us to judge of doctrine, and doctrine
enables us to judge of miracles.

There are false miracles and true. There must be a distinction, in order
to know them; otherwise they would be useless. Now they are not useless;
on the contrary, they are fundamental. Now the rule which is given to us
must be such, that it does not destroy the proof which the true miracles
give of the truth, which is the chief end of the miracles.

Moses has given two rules: that the prediction does not come to pass
(Deut. xviii), and that they do not lead to idolatry (Deut. xiii); and
Jesus Christ[318] one.

If doctrine regulates miracles, miracles are useless for doctrine.

If miracles regulate....

_Objection to the rule._ - The distinction of the times. One rule during
the time of Moses, another at present.


803

_Miracle._ - It is an effect, which exceeds the natural power of the
means which are employed for it; and what is not a miracle is an effect,
which does not exceed the natural power of the means which are employed
for it. Thus, those who heal by invocation of the devil do not work a
miracle; for that does not exceed the natural power of the devil.
But ...


804

The two fundamentals; one inward, the other outward; grace and miracles;
both supernatural.


805

Miracles and truth are necessary, because it is necessary to convince
the entire man, in body and soul.


806

In all times, either men have spoken of the true God, or the true God
has spoken to men.


807

Jesus Christ has verified that He was the Messiah, never in verifying
His doctrine by Scripture and the prophecies, but always by His
miracles.

He proves by a miracle that He remits sins.

Rejoice not in your miracles, said Jesus Christ, but because your names
are written in heaven.[319]

If they believe not Moses, neither will they believe one risen from the
dead.

Nicodemus recognises by His miracles that His teaching is of God.
_Scimus quia venisti a Deo magister; nemo enim potest hæc signa facere
quæ tu facis nisi Deus fuerit cum eo._[320] He does not judge of the
miracles by the teaching, but of the teaching by the miracles.

The Jews had a doctrine of God as we have one of Jesus Christ, and
confirmed by miracles. They were forbidden to believe every worker of
miracles; and they were further commanded to have recourse to the chief
priests, and to rely on them.

And thus, in regard to their prophets, they had all those reasons which
we have for refusing to believe the workers of miracles.

And yet they were very sinful in rejecting the prophets, and Jesus
Christ, because of their miracles; and they would not have been
culpable, if they had not seen the miracles. _Nisi fecissem ... peccatum
non haberent._[321] Therefore all belief rests upon miracles.

Prophecy is not called miracle; as Saint John speaks of the first
miracle in Cana, and then of what Jesus Christ says to the woman of
Samaria, when He reveals to her all her hidden life. Then He heals the
centurion's son; and Saint John calls this "the second miracle."[322]


808

The combinations of miracles.


809

The second miracle can suppose the first, but the first cannot suppose
the second.


810

Had it not been for the miracles, there would have been no sin in not
believing in Jesus Christ.


811

I should not be a Christian, but for the miracles, said Saint Augustine.


812

_Miracles._ - How I hate those who make men doubt of miracles!
Montaigne[323] speaks of them as he should in two places. In one, we see
how careful he is; and yet, in the other, he believes, and makes sport
of unbelievers.

However it may be, the Church is without proofs if they are right.


813

Montaigne against miracles.

Montaigne for miracles.


814

It is not possible to have a reasonable belief against miracles.


815

Unbelievers the most credulous. They believe the miracles of Vespasian,
in order not to believe those of Moses.


816

_Title: How it happens that men believe so many liars, who say that they
have seen miracles, and do not believe any of those who say that they
have secrets to make men immortal, or restore youth to them._ - Having
considered how it happens that so great credence is given to so many
impostors, who say they have remedies, often to the length of men
putting their lives into their hands, it has appeared to me that the
true cause is that there are true remedies. For it would not be possible
that there should be so many false remedies, and that so much faith
should be placed in them, if there were none true. If there had never
been any remedy for any ill, and all ills had been incurable, it is
impossible that men should have imagined that they could give remedies,
and still more impossible that so many others should have believed those
who boasted of having remedies; in the same way as did a man boast of
preventing death, no one would believe him, because there is no example
of this. But as there were a number of remedies found to be true by the
very knowledge of the greatest men, the belief of men is thereby
induced; and, this being known to be possible, it has been therefore
concluded that it was. For people commonly reason thus: "A thing is
possible, therefore it is"; because the thing cannot be denied
generally, since there are particular effects which are true, the
people, who cannot distinguish which among these particular effects are
true, believe them all. In the same way, the reason why so many false
effects are credited to the moon, is that there are some true, as the
tide.

It is the same with prophecies, miracles, divination by dreams,
sorceries, etc. For if there had been nothing true in all this, men
would have believed nothing of them; and thus, instead of concluding
that there are no true miracles because there are so many false, we
must, on the contrary, say that there certainly are true miracles, since
there are false, and that there are false miracles only because some are
true. We must reason in the same way about religion; for it would not be
possible that men should have imagined so many false religions, if there
had not been a true one. The objection to this is that savages have a
religion; but the answer is that they have heard the true spoken of, as
appears by the deluge, circumcision, the cross of Saint Andrew, etc.


817

Having considered how it comes that there are so many false miracles,
false revelations, sorceries, etc., it has seemed to me that the true
cause is that there are some true; for it would not be possible that
there should be so many false miracles, if there were none true, nor so
many false revelations, if there were none true, nor so many false
religions, if there were not one true. For if there had never been all
this, it is almost impossible that men should have imagined it, and
still more impossible that so many others should have believed it. But
as there have been very great things true, and as they have been
believed by great men, this impression has been the cause that nearly
everybody is rendered capable of believing also the false. And thus,
instead of concluding that there are no true miracles, since there are
so many false, it must be said, on the contrary, that there are true
miracles, since there are so many false; and that there are false ones
only because there are true; and that in the same way there are false
religions because there is one true. - Objection to this: savages have a
religion. But this is because they have heard the true spoken of, as
appears by the cross of Saint Andrew, the deluge, circumcision,
etc. - This arises from the fact that the human mind, finding itself
inclined to that side by the truth, becomes thereby susceptible of all
the falsehoods of this ...


818

Jeremiah xxiii, 32. The _miracles_ of the false prophets. In the Hebrew
and Vatable[324] they are the _tricks_.

_Miracle_ does not always signify miracle. I Sam. xiv, 15; _miracle_
signifies _fear_, and is so in the Hebrew. The same evidently in Job
xxxiii, 7; and also Isaiah xxi, 4; Jeremiah xliv, 12. _Portentum_
signifies _simulacrum_, Jeremiah l, 38; and it is so in the Hebrew and
Vatable. Isaiah viii, 18. Jesus Christ says that He and His will be in
_miracles_.


819

If the devil favoured the doctrine which destroys him, he would be
divided against himself, as Jesus Christ said. If God favoured the
doctrine which destroys the Church, He would be divided against Himself.
_Omne regnum divisum._[325] For Jesus Christ wrought against the devil,
and destroyed his power over the heart, of which exorcism is the
symbolisation, in order to establish the kingdom of God. And thus He
adds, _Si in digito Dei ... regnum Dei ad vos_.[326]


820

There is a great difference between tempting and leading into error. God
tempts, but He does not lead into error. To tempt is to afford
opportunities, which impose no necessity; if men do not love God, they
will do a certain thing. To lead into error is to place a man under the
necessity of inferring and following out what is untrue.


821

Abraham and Gideon are above revelation. The Jews blinded themselves in
judging of miracles by the Scripture. God has never abandoned His true
worshippers.

I prefer to follow Jesus Christ than any other, because He has miracle,
prophecy, doctrine, perpetuity, etc.

The Donatists. No miracle which obliges them to say it is the devil.

The more we particularise God, Jesus Christ, the Church ...


822

If there were no false miracles, there would be certainty. If there were
no rule to judge of them, miracles would be useless, and there would be
no reason for believing.

Now there is, humanly speaking, no human certainty, but we have reason.


823

Either God has confounded the false miracles, or He has foretold them;
and in both ways He has raised Himself above what is supernatural with
respect to us, and has raised us to it.


824

Miracles serve not to convert, but to condemn. (Q. 113, A. 10, _Ad._
2.)[327]


825

_Reasons why we do not believe._

John xii, 37. _Cum autem tanta signa fecisset, non credebant in eum, ut
sermo Isayæ impleretur. Excæcavit_, etc.

_Hæc dixit Isaias, quando vidit gloriam ejus et locutus est de eo._

_Judæi signa petunt et Græci sapientiam quærunt, nos autem Jesum
crucifixum. Sed plenum signis, sed plenum sapientia; vos autem Christum
non crucifixum et religionem sine miraculis et sine sapientia._[328]

What makes us not believe in the true miracles, is want of love. John:
_Sed vos non creditis, quia non estis ex ovibus._[329] What makes us
believe the false is want of love. II Thess. ii.

The foundation of religion. It is the miracles. What then? Does God
speak against miracles, against the foundations of the faith which we
have in Him?

If there is a God, faith in God must exist on earth. Now the miracles of
Jesus Christ are not foretold by Antichrist, but the miracles of
Antichrist are foretold by Jesus Christ. And so if Jesus Christ were not
the Messiah, He would have indeed led into error. When Jesus Christ
foretold the miracles of Antichrist, did He think of destroying faith in
His own miracles?

Moses foretold Jesus Christ, and bade to follow Him. Jesus Christ
foretold Antichrist, and forbade to follow him.

It was impossible that in the time of Moses men should keep their faith
for Antichrist, who was unknown to them. But it is quite easy, in the
time of Antichrist, to believe in Jesus Christ, already known.

There is no reason for believing in Antichrist, which there is not for
believing in Jesus Christ. But there are reasons for believing in Jesus
Christ, which there are not for believing in the other.


826

Judges xiii, 23: "If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have
shewed us all these things."

Hezekiah, Sennacherib.

Jeremiah. Hananiah, the false prophet, dies in seven months.

2 Macc. iii. The temple, ready for pillage, miraculously succoured. - 2
Macc. xv.

1 Kings xvii. The widow to Elijah, who had restored her son, "By this I
know that thy words are true."

1 Kings xviii. Elijah with the prophets of Baal.

In the dispute concerning the true God and the truth of religion, there
has never happened any miracle on the side of error, and not of truth.


827

_Opposition._ - Abel, Cain; Moses, the Magicians; Elijah, the false
prophets: Jeremiah, Hananiah; Micaiah, the false prophets; Jesus Christ,
the Pharisees; St. Paul, Bar-jesus; the Apostles, the Exorcists;
Christians, unbelievers; Catholics, heretics; Elijah, Enoch, Antichrist.


828

Jesus Christ says that the Scriptures testify of Him. But He does not
point out in what respect.

Even the prophecies could not prove Jesus Christ during His life; and
so, men would not have been culpable for not believing in Him before His
death, had the miracles not sufficed without doctrine. Now those who did
not believe in Him, when He was still alive, were sinners, as He said
Himself, and without excuse. Therefore they must have had proof beyond
doubt, which they resisted. Now, they had not the prophecies, but only
the miracles. Therefore the latter suffice, when the doctrine is not
inconsistent with them; and they ought to be believed.

John vii, 40. _Dispute among the Jews as among the Christians of
to-day._ Some believed in Jesus Christ; others believed Him not, because
of the prophecies which said that He should be born in Bethlehem. They
should have considered more carefully whether He was not. For His
miracles being convincing, they should have been quite sure of these
supposed contradictions of His teaching to Scripture; and this obscurity
did not excuse, but blinded them. Thus those who refuse to believe in
the miracles in the present day on account of a supposed contradiction,
which is unreal, are not excused.

The Pharisees said to the people, who believed in Him, because of His
miracles: "This people who knoweth not the law are cursed. But have any
of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? For we know that out
of Galilee ariseth no prophet." Nicodemus answered: "Doth our law judge
any man before it hear him, [and specially, such a man who works such
miracles]?"


829

The prophecies were ambiguous; they are no longer so.


830

The five propositions were ambiguous; they are no longer so.


831

Miracles are no longer necessary, because we have had them already. But
when tradition is no longer minded; when the Pope alone is offered to
us; when he has been imposed upon; and when the true source of truth,
which is tradition, is thus excluded; and the Pope, who is its guardian,
is biased; the truth is no longer free to appear. Then, as men speak no
longer of truth, truth itself must speak to men. This is what happened
in the time of Arius. (Miracles under Diocletian and under Arius.)


832

_Miracle._ - The people concluded this of themselves; but if the reason
of it must be given to you ...

It is unfortunate to be in exception to the rule. The same must be
strict, and opposed to exception. But yet, as it is certain that there
are exceptions to a rule, our judgment must though strict, be just.


833

John vi, 26: _Non quia vidisti signum, sed quia saturati estis._

Those who follow Jesus Christ because of His miracles honour His power
in all the miracles which it produces. But those who, making profession
to follow Him because of His miracles, follow Him in fact only because
He comforts them and satisfies them with worldly blessings, discredit
His miracles, when they are opposed to their own comforts.

John ix: _Non est hic homo a Deo, quia sabbatum non custodit. Alii:
Quomodo potest homo peccator hæc signa facere?_



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