by Blaise Pascal (1660)
                 translated by W. F. Trotter

                         SECTION I

    1. The difference between the mathematical and the intuitive
mind.- In the one, the principles are palpable, but removed from
ordinary use; so that for want of habit it is difficult to turn
one's mind in that direction: but if one turns it thither ever so
little, one sees the principles fully, and one must have a quite
inaccurate mind who reasons wrongly from principles so plain that it
is almost impossible they should escape notice.
    But in the intuitive mind the principles are found in common use
and are before the eyes of everybody. One has only to look, and no
effort is necessary; it is only a question of good eyesight, but it
must be good, for the principles are so subtle and so numerous that it
is almost impossible but that some escape notice. Now the omission
of one principle leads to error; thus one must have very clear sight
to see all the principles and, in the next place, an accurate mind not
to draw false deductions from known principles.
    All mathematicians would then be intuitive if they had clear
sight, for they do not reason incorrectly from principles known to
them; and intuitive minds would be mathematical if they could turn
their eyes to the principles of mathematics to which they are unused.
    The reason, therefore, that some intuitive minds are not
mathematical is that they cannot at all turn their attention to the
principles of mathematics. But the reason that mathematicians are
not intuitive is that they do not see what is before them, and that,
accustomed to the exact and plain principles of mathematics, and not
reasoning till they have well inspected and arranged their principles,
they are lost in matters of intuition where the principles do not
allow of such arrangement. They are scarcely seen; they are felt
rather than seen; there is the greatest difficulty in making them felt
by those who do not of themselves perceive them. These principles
are so fine and so numerous that a very delicate and very clear
sense is needed to perceive them, and to judge rightly and justly when
they are perceived, without for the most part being able to
demonstrate them in order as in mathematics, because the principles
are not known to us in the same way, and because it would be an
endless matter to undertake it. We must see the matter at once, at one
glance, and not by a process of reasoning, at least to a certain
degree. And thus it is rare that mathematicians are intuitive and that
men of intuition are mathematicians, because mathematicians wish to
treat matters of intuition mathematically and make themselves
ridiculous, wishing to begin with definitions and then with axioms,
which is not the way to proceed in this kind of reasoning. Not that
the mind does not do so, but it does it tacitly, naturally, and
without technical rules; for the expression of it is beyond all men,
and only a few can feel it.
    Intuitive minds, on the contrary, being thus accustomed to judge
at a single glance, are so astonished when they are presented with
propositions of which they understand nothing, and the way to which is
through definitions and axioms so sterile, and which they are not
accustomed to see thus in detail, that they are repelled and
    But dull minds are never either intuitive or mathematical.
    Mathematicians who are only mathematicians have exact minds,
provided all things are explained to them by means of definitions
and axioms; otherwise they are inaccurate and insufferable, for they
are only right when the principles are quite clear.
    And men of intuition who are only intuitive cannot have the
patience to reach to first principles of things speculative and
conceptual, which they have never seen in the world and which are
altogether out of the common.
    2. There are different kinds of right understanding; some have
right understanding in a certain order of things, and not in others,
where they go astray. Some draw conclusions well from a few
premises, and this displays an acute judgment.
    Others draw conclusions well where there are many premises.
    For example, the former easily learn hydrostatics, where the
premises are few, but the conclusions are so fine that only the
greatest acuteness can reach them.
    And in spite of that these persons would perhaps not be great
mathematicians, because mathematics contain a great number of
premises, and there is perhaps a kind of intellect that can search
with ease a few premises to the bottom and cannot in the least
penetrate those matters in which there are many premises.
    There are then two kinds of intellect: the one able to penetrate
acutely and deeply into the conclusions of given premises, and this is
the precise intellect; the other able to comprehend a great number
of premises without confusing them, and this is the mathematical
intellect. The one has force and exactness, the other comprehension.
Now the one quality can exist without the other; the intellect can
be strong and narrow, and can also be comprehensive and weak.
    3. Those who are accustomed to judge by feeling do not
understand the process of reasoning, for they would understand at
first sight and are not used to seek for principles. And others, on
the contrary, who are accustomed to reason from principles, do not
at all understand matters of feeling, seeking principles and being
unable to see at a glance.
    4. Mathematics, intuition.- True eloquence makes light of
eloquence, true morality makes light of morality; that is to say,
the morality of the judgement, which has no rules, makes light of
the morality of the intellect.
    For it is to judgement that perception belongs, as science belongs
to intellect. Intuition is the part of judgement, mathematics of
    To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher.
    5. Those who judge of a work by rule are in regard to others as
those who have a watch are in regard to others. One says, "It is two
hours ago"; the other says, "It is only three-quarters of an hour."
I look at my watch, and say to the one, "You are weary," and to the
other, "Time gallops with you"; for it is only an hour and a half ago,
and I laugh at those who tell me that time goes slowly with me and
that I judge by imagination. They do not know that I judge by my
    6. Just as we harm the understanding, we harm the feelings also.
    The understanding and the feelings are moulded by intercourse; the
understanding and feelings are corrupted by intercourse. Thus good
or bad society improves or corrupts them. It is, then, all-important
to know how to choose in order to improve and not to corrupt them; and
we cannot make this choice, if they be not already improved and not
corrupted. Thus a circle is formed, and those are fortunate who escape
    7. The greater intellect one has, the more originality one finds
in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men.
    8. There are many people who listen to a sermon in the same way as
they listen to vespers.
    9. When we wish to correct with advantage and to show another that
he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on
that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but
reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with
that, for he sees that he was not mistaken and that he only failed
to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything;
but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the
fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he
cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our
senses are always true.
    10. People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which
they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the
mind of others.
    11. All great amusements are dangerous to the Christian life;
but among all those which the world has invented there is none more to
be feared than the theatre. It is a representation of the passions
so natural and so delicate that it excites them and gives birth to
them in our hearts, and, above all, to that of love, principally
when it is represented as very chaste and virtuous. For the more
innocent it appears to innocent souls, the more they are likely to
be touched by it. Its violence pleases our self-love, which
immediately forms a desire to produce the same effects which are
seen so well represented; and, at the same time, we make ourselves a
conscience founded on the propriety of the feelings which we see
there, by which the fear of pure souls is removed, since they
imagine that it cannot hurt their purity to love with a love which
seems to them so reasonable.
    So we depart from the theatre with our heart so filled with all
the beauty and tenderness of love, the soul and the mind so
persuaded of its innocence, that we are quite ready to receive its
first impressions, or rather to seek an opportunity of awakening
them in the heart of another, in order that we may receive the same
pleasures and the same sacrifices which we have seen so well
represented in the theatre.
    12. Scaramouch, who only thinks of one thing.
    The doctor, who speaks for a quarter of an hour after he has
said everything, so full is he of the desire of talking.
    13. One likes to see the error, the passion of Cleobuline, because
she is unconscious of it. She would be displeasing, if she were not
    14. When a natural discourse paints a passion or an effect, one
feels within oneself the truth of what one reads, which was there
before, although one did not know it. Hence one is inclined to love
him who makes us feel it, for he has not shown us his own riches,
but ours. And thus this benefit renders him pleasing to us, besides
that such community of intellect as we have with him necessarily
inclines the heart to love.
    15. Eloquence, which persuades by sweetness, not by authority;
as a tyrant, not as a king.
    16. Eloquence is an art of saying things in such a way (1) that
those to whom we speak may listen to them without pain and with
pleasure; (2) that they feel themselves interested, so that
self-love leads them more willingly to reflection upon it.
    It consists, then, in a correspondence which we seek to
establish between the head and the heart of those to whom we speak, on
the one hand, and, on the other, between the thoughts and the
expressions which we employ. This assumes that we have studied well
the heart of man so as to know all its powers and, then, to find the
just proportions of the discourse which we wish to adapt to them. We
must put ourselves in the place of those who are to hear us, and
make trial on our own heart of the turn which we give to our discourse
in order to see whether one is made for the other, and whether we
can assure ourselves that the hearer will be, as it were, forced to
surrender. We ought to restrict ourselves, so far as possible, to
the simple and natural, and not to magnify that which is little, or
belittle that which is great. It is not enough that a thing be
beautiful; it must be suitable to the subject, and there must be in it
nothing of excess or defect.
    17. Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we
desire to go.
    18. When we do not know the truth of a thing, it is of advantage
that there should exist a common error which determines the mind of
man, as, for example, the moon, to which is attributed the change of
seasons, the progress of diseases, etc. For the chief malady of man is
restless curiosity about things which he cannot understand; and it
is not so bad for him to be in error as to be curious to no purpose.
    The manner in which Epictetus, Montaigne, and Salomon de Tultie
wrote is the most usual, the most suggestive, the most remembered, and
the oftenest quoted, because it is entirely composed of thoughts
born from the common talk of life. As when we speak of the common
error which exists among men that the moon is the cause of everything,
we never fail to say that Salomon de Tultie says that, when we do
not know the truth of a thing, it is of advantage that there should
exist a common error, etc.; which is the thought above.
    19. The last thing one settles in writing a book is what one
should put in first.
    20. Order.- Why should I undertake to divide my virtues into
four rather than into six? Why should I rather establish virtue in
four, in two, in one? Why into Abstine et sustine* rather than into
"Follow Nature," or, "Conduct your private affairs without injustice,"
as Plato, or anything else? But there, you will say, everything is
contained in one word. Yes, but it is useless without explanation, and
when we come to explain it, as soon as we unfold this maxim which
contains all the rest, they emerge in that first confusion which you
desired to avoid. So, when they are all included in one, they are
hidden and useless, as in a chest, and never appear save in their
natural confusion. Nature has established them all without including
one in the other.

    * "Abstain and uphold." Stoic maxim.

    21. Nature has made all her truths independent of one another. Our
art makes one dependent on the other. But this is not natural. Each
keeps its own place.
    22. Let no one say that I have said nothing new; the arrangement
of the subject is new. When we play tennis, we both play with the same
ball, but one of us places it better.
    I had as soon it said that I used words employed before. And in
the same way if the same thoughts in a different arrangement do not
form a different discourse, no more do the same words in their
different arrangement form different thoughts!
    23. Words differently arranged have a different meaning, and
meanings differently arranged have different effects.
    24. Language.- We should not turn the mind from one thing to
another, except for relaxation, and that when it is necessary and
the time suitable, and not otherwise. For he that relaxes out of
season wearies, and he who wearies us out of season makes us
languid, since we turn quite away. So much does our perverse lust like
to do the contrary of what those wish to obtain from us without giving
us pleasure, the coin for which we will do whatever is wanted.
    25. Eloguence.- It requires the pleasant and the real; but the
pleasant must itself be drawn from the true.
    26. Eloquence is a painting of thought; and thus those who,
after having painted it, add something more, make a picture instead of
a portrait.
    27. Miscellaneous. Language.- Those who make antitheses by forcing
words are like those who make false windows for symmetry. Their rule
is not to speak accurately, but to make apt figures of speech.
    28. Symmetry is what we see at a glance; based on the fact that
there is no reason for any difference, and based also on the face of
man; whence it happens that symmetry is only wanted in breadth, not in
height or depth.
    29. When we see a natural style, we are astonished and
delighted; for we expected to see an author, and we find a man.
Whereas those who have good taste, and who, seeing a book, expect to
find a man, are quite surprised to find an author. Plus poetice quam
humane locutus es.* Those honour Nature well who teach that she can
speak on everything, even on theology.

    * Petronius, 90. "You have spoken more as a poet than as a man."

    30. We only consult the ear because the heart is wanting. The rule
is uprightness.
    Beauty of omission, of judgement.
    31. All the false beauties which we blame in Cicero have their
admirers, and in great number.
    32. There is a certain standard of grace and beauty which consists
in a certain relation between our nature, such as it is, weak or
strong, and the thing which pleases us.
    Whatever is formed according to this standard pleases us, be it
house, song, discourse, verse, prose, woman, birds, rivers, trees,
rooms, dress, etc. Whatever is not made according to this standard
displeases those who have good taste.
    And as there is a perfect relation between a song and a house
which are made after a good model, because they are like this good
model, though each after its kind; even so there is a perfect relation
between things made after a bad model. Not that the bad model is
unique, for there are many; but each bad sonnet, for example, on
whatever false model it is formed, is just like a woman dressed
after that model.
    Nothing makes us understand better the ridiculousness of a false
sonnet than to consider nature and the standard and, then, to
imagine a woman or a house made according to that standard.
    33. Poetical beauty.- As we speak of poetical beauty, so ought
we to speak of mathematical beauty and medical beauty. But we do not
do so; and the reason is that we know well what is the object of
mathematics, and that it consists in proofs, and what is the object of
medicine, and that it consists in healing. But we do not know in
what grace consists, which is the object of poetry. We do not know the
natural model which we ought to imitate; and through lack of this
knowledge, we have coined fantastic terms, "The golden age," "The
wonder of our times," "Fatal," etc., and call this jargon poetical
    But whoever imagines a woman after this model, which consists in
saying little things in big words, will see a pretty girl adorned with
mirrors and chains, at whom he will smile; because we know better
wherein consists the charm of woman than the charm of verse. But those
who are ignorant would admire her in this dress, and there are many
villages in which she would be taken for the queen; hence we call
sonnets made after this model "Village Queens."
    34. No one passes in the world as skilled in verse unless he has
put up the sign of a poet, a mathematician, etc. But educated people
do not want a sign and draw little distinction between the trade of
a poet and that of an embroiderer.
    People of education are not called poets or mathematicians,
etc.; but they are all these and judges of all these. No one guesses
what they are. When they come into society, they talk on matters about
which the rest are talking. We do not observe in them one quality
rather than another, save when they have to make use of it. But then
we remember it, for it is characteristic of such persons that we do
not say of them that they are fine speakers, when it is not a question
of oratory, and that we say of them that they are fine speakers,
when it is such a question.
    It is therefore false praise to give a man when we say of him,
on his entry, that he is a very clever poet; and it is a bad sign when
a man is not asked to give his judgement on some verses.
    35. We should not be able to say of a man, "He is a
mathematician," or "a preacher," or "eloquent"; but that he is "a
gentleman." That universal quality alone pleases me. It is a bad
sign when, on seeing a person, you remember his book. I would prefer
you to see no quality till you meet it and have occasion to use it (Ne
quid minis),* for fear some one quality prevail and designate the man.
Let none think him a fine speaker, unless oratory be in question,
and then let them think it.

    * "Nothing in excess."

    36. Man is full of wants: he loves only those who can satisfy them
all. "This one is a good mathematician," one will say. But I have
nothing to do with mathematics; he would take me for a proposition.
"That one is a good soldier." He would take me for a besieged town.
I need, then, an upright man who can accommodate himself generally
to all my wants.
    37. Since we cannot be universal and know all that is to be
known of everything, we ought to know a little about everything. For
it is far better to know something about everything than to know all
about one thing. This universality is the best. If we can have both,
still better; but if we must choose, we ought to choose the former.
And the world feels this and does so; for the world is often a good
    38. A poet and not an honest man.
    39. If lightning fell on low places, etc., poets, and those who
can only reason about things of that kind, would lack proofs.
    40. If we wished to prove the examples which we take to prove
other things, we should have to take those other things to be
examples; for, as we always believe the difficulty is in what we
wish to prove, we find the examples clearer and a help to
    Thus, when we wish to demonstrate a general theorem, we must
give the rule as applied to a particular case; but if we wish to
demonstrate a particular case, we must begin with the general rule.
For we always find the thing obscure which we wish to prove and that
clear which we use for the proof; for, when a thing is put forward
to be proved, we first fill ourselves with the imagination that it is,
therefore, obscure and, on the contrary, that what is to prove it is
clear, and so we understand it easily.
    41. Epigrams of Martial.- Man loves malice, but not against
one-eyed men nor the unfortunate, but against the fortunate and proud.
People are mistaken in thinking otherwise.
    For lust is the source of all our actions, and humanity, etc. We
must please those who have humane and tender feelings. That epigram
about two one-eyed people is worthless, for it does not console them
and only gives a point to the author's glory. All that is only for the
sake of the author is worthless. Ambitiosa recident ornamenta.*

    * Horace, Epistle to the pisos, 447. "They curtailed pretentious

    42. To call a king "Prince" is pleasing, because it diminishes his
    43. Certain authors, speaking of their works, say: "My book,"
"My commentary," "My history," etc. They resemble middle-class
people who have a house of their own and always have "My house" on
their tongue. They would do better to say: "Our book," "Our
commentary," "Our history," etc., because there is in them usually
more of other people's than their own.
    44. Do you wish people to believe good of you? Don't speak.
    45. Languages are ciphers, wherein letters are not changed into
letters, but words into words, so that an unknown language is
    46. A maker of witticisms, a bad character.
    47. There are some who speak well and write badly. For the place
and the audience warm them, and draw from their minds more than they
think of without that warmth.
    48. When we find words repeated in a discourse and, in trying to
correct them, discover that they are so appropriate that we would
spoil the discourse, we must leave them alone. This is the test; and
our attempt is the work of envy, which is blind, and does not see that
repetition is not in this place a fault; for there is no general rule.
    49. To mask nature and disguise her. No more king, pope, bishop-
but august monarch, etc.; not Paris- the capital of the kingdom. There
are places in which we ought to call Paris, "Paris," others in which
we ought to call it the capital of the kingdom.
    50. The same meaning changes with the words which express it.
Meanings receive their dignity from words instead of giving it to
them. Examples should be sought....
    51. Sceptic, for obstinate.
    52. No one calls another a Cartesian but he who is one himself,
a pedant but a pedant, a provincial but a provincial; and I would
wager it was the printer who put it on the title of Letters to a
    53. A carriage upset or overturned, according to the meaning. To
spread abroad or upset, according to the meaning. (The argument by
force of M. le Maitre over the friar.)
    54. Miscellaneous.- A form of speech, "I should have liked to
apply myself to that."
    55. The aperitive virtue of a key, the attractive virtue of a
    56. To guess: "The part that I take in your trouble." The Cardinal
did not want to be guessed.
    "My mind is disquieted." I am disquieted is better.
    57. I always feel uncomfortable under such compliments as these:
"I have given you a great deal of trouble," "I am afraid I am boring
you," "I fear this is too long." We either carry our audience with us,
or irritate them.
    58. You are ungraceful: "Excuse me, pray." Without that excuse I
would not have known there was anything amiss. "With reverence be it
spoken..." The only thing bad is their excuse.
    59. "To extinguish the torch of sedition"; too luxuriant. "The
restlessness of his genius"; two superfluous grand words.
                          SECTION II

    60.  First part: Misery of man without God.
        Second part: Happiness of man with God.
     Or, First part: That nature is corrupt. Proved by nature itself.
        Second part: That there is a Redeemer. Proved by Scripture.

    61. Order.- I might well have taken this discourse in an order
like this: to show the vanity of all conditions of men, to show the
vanity of ordinary lives, and then the vanity of philosophic lives,
sceptics, stoics; but the order would not have been kept. I know a
little what it is, and how few people understand it. No human
science can keep it. Saint Thomas did not keep it. Mathematics keep
it, but they are useless on account of their depth.
    62. Preface to the first part.- To speak of those who have treated
of the knowledge of self; of the divisions of Charron, which sadden
and weary us; of the confusion of Montaigne; that he was quite aware
of his want of method and shunned it by jumping from subject to
subject; that he sought to be fashionable.
    His foolish project of describing himself! And this not casually
and against his maxims, since every one makes mistakes, but by his
maxims themselves, and by first and chief design. For to say silly
things by chance and weakness is a common misfortune, but to say
them intentionally is intolerable, and to say such as that...
    63. Montaigne.- Montaigne's faults are great. Lewd words; this
is bad, notwithstanding Mademoiselle de Gournay. Credulous; people
without eyes. Ignorant; squaring the circle, a greater world. His
opinions on suicide, on death. He suggests an indifference about
salvation, without fear and without repentance. As his book was not
written with a religious purpose, he was not bound to mention
religion; but it is always our duty not to turn men from it. One can
excuse his rather free and licentious opinions on some relations of
life; but one cannot excuse his thoroughly pagan views on death, for a
man must renounce piety altogether, if he does not at least wish to
die like a Christian. Now, through the whole of his book his only
conception of death is a cowardly and effeminate one.
    64. It is not in Montaigne, but in myself, that I find all that
I see in him.
    65. What good there is in Montaigne can only have been acquired
with difficulty. The evil that is in him, I mean apart from his
morality, could have been corrected in a moment, if he had been
informed that he made too much of trifles and spoke too much of
    66. One must know oneself. If this does not serve to discover
truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing
    67. The vanity of the sciences.- Physical science will not console
me for the ignorance of morality in the time of affliction. But the
science of ethics will always console me for the ignorance of the
physical sciences.
    68. Men are never taught to be gentlemen and are taught everything
else; and they never plume themselves so much on the rest of their
knowledge as on knowing how to be gentlemen. They only plume
themselves on knowing the one thing they do not know.
    69. The infinites, the mean.- When we read too fast or too slowly,
we understand nothing.
    70. Nature... - Nature has set us so well in the centre, that if
we change one side of the balance, we change the other also. This
makes me believe that the springs in our brain are so adjusted that he
who touches one touches also its contrary.
    71. Too much and too little wine. Give him none, he cannot find
truth; give him too much, the same.
    72. Man's disproportion.- This is where our innate knowledge leads
us. If it be not true, there is no truth in man; and if it be true, he
finds therein great cause for humiliation, being compelled to abase
himself in one way or another. And since he cannot exist without
this knowledge, I wish that, before entering on deeper researches into
nature, he would consider her both seriously and at leisure, that he
would reflect upon himself also, and knowing what proportion there
is... Let man then contemplate the whole of nature in her full and
grand majesty, and turn his vision from the low objects which surround
him. Let him gaze on that brilliant light, set like an eternal lamp to
illumine the universe; let the earth appear to him a point in
comparison with the vast circle described by the sun; and let him
wonder at the fact that this vast circle is itself but a very fine
point in comparison with that described by the stars in their
revolution round the firmament. But if our view be arrested there, let
our imagination pass beyond; it will sooner exhaust the power of
conception than nature that of supplying material for conception.
The whole visible world is only an imperceptible atom in the ample
bosom of nature. No idea approaches it. We may enlarge our conceptions
beyond an imaginable space; we only produce atoms in comparison with
the reality of things. It is an infinite sphere, the centre of which
is everywhere, the circumference nowhere. In short, it is the greatest
sensible mark of the almighty power of God that imagination loses
itself in that thought.
    Returning to himself, let man consider what he is in comparison
with all existence; let him regard himself as lost in this remote
corner of nature; and from the little cell in which he finds himself
lodged, I mean the universe, let him estimate at their true value
the earth, kingdoms, cities, and himself. What is a man in the
    But to show him another prodigy equally astonishing, let him
examine the most delicate things he knows. Let a mite be given him,
with its minute body and parts incomparably more minute, limbs with
their joints, veins in the limbs, blood in the veins, humours in the
blood, drops in the humours, vapours in the drops. Dividing these last
things again, let him exhaust his powers of conception, and let the
last object at which he can arrive be now that of our discourse.
Perhaps he will think that here is the smallest point in nature. I
will let him see therein a new abyss. I will paint for him not only
the visible universe, but all that he can conceive of nature's
immensity in the womb of this abridged atom. Let him see therein an
infinity of universes, each of which has its firmament, its planets,
its earth, in the same proportion as in the visible world; in each
earth animals, and in the last mites, in which he will find again
all that the first had, finding still in these others the same thing
without end and without cessation. Let him lose himself in wonders
as amazing in their littleness as the others in their vastness. For
who will not be astounded at the fact that our body, which a little
while ago was imperceptible in the universe, itself imperceptible in
the bosom of the whole, is now a colossus, a world, or rather a whole,
in respect of the nothingness which we cannot reach? He who regards
himself in this light will be afraid of himself, and observing himself
sustained in the body given him by nature between those two abysses of
the Infinite and Nothing, will tremble at the sight of these
marvels; and I think that, as his curiosity changes into admiration,
he will be more disposed to contemplate them in silence than to
examine them with presumption.
    For, in fact, what is man in nature? A Nothing in comparison
with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing, a mean
between nothing and everything. Since he is infinitely removed from
comprehending the extremes, the end of things and their beginning
are hopelessly hidden from him in an impenetrable secret; he is
equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which he was made, and
the Infinite in which he is swallowed up.
    What will he do then, but perceive the appearance of the middle of
things, in an eternal despair of knowing either their beginning or
their end. All things proceed from the Nothing, and are borne
towards the Infinite. Who will follow these marvellous processes?
The Author of these wonders understands them. None other can do so.
    Through failure to contemplate these Infinites, men have rashly
rushed into the examination of nature, as though they bore some
proportion to her. It is strange that they have wished to understand
the beginnings of things, and thence to arrive at the knowledge of the
whole, with a presumption as infinite as their object. For surely this
design cannot be formed without presumption or without a capacity
infinite like nature.
    If we are well informed, we understand that, as nature has
graven her image and that of her Author on all things, they almost all
partake of her double infinity. Thus we see that all the sciences
are infinite in the extent of their researches. For who doubts that
geometry, for instance, has an infinite infinity of problems to solve?
They are also infinite in the multitude and fineness of their
premises; for it is clear that those which are put forward as ultimate
are not self-supporting, but are based on others which, again having
others for their support, do not permit of finality. But we
represent some as ultimate for reason, in the same way as in regard to
material objects we call that an indivisible point beyond which our
senses can no longer perceive anything, although by its nature it is
infinitely divisible.
    Of these two Infinites of science, that of greatness is the most
palpable, and hence a few persons have pretended to know all things.
"I will speak of the whole," said Democritus.
    But the infinitely little is the least obvious. Philosophers
have much oftener claimed to have reached it, and it is here they have
all stumbled. This has given rise to such common titles as First
Principles, Principles of Philosophy, and the like, as ostentatious in
fact, though not in appearance, as that one which blinds us, De omni

    * Title given by Pico della Mirandola to one of his proposed
nine hundred theses, in 1486.

    We naturally believe ourselves far more capable of reaching the
centre of things than of embracing their circumference. The visible
extent of the world visibly exceeds us; but as we exceed little
things, we think ourselves more capable of knowing them. And yet we
need no less capacity for attaining the Nothing than the All. Infinite
capacity is required for both, and it seems to me that whoever shall
have understood the ultimate principles of being might also attain
to the knowledge of the Infinite. The one depends on the other, and
one leads to the other. These extremes meet and reunite by force of
distance and find each other in God, and in God alone.
    Let us, then, take our compass; we are something, and we are not
everything. The nature of our existence hides from us the knowledge of
first beginnings which are born of the Nothing; and the littleness
of our being conceals from us the sight of the Infinite.
    Our intellect holds the same position in the world of thought as
our body occupies in the expanse of nature.
    Limited as we are in every way, this state which holds the mean
between two extremes is present in all our impotence. Our senses
perceive no extreme. Too much sound deafens us; too much light dazzles
us; too great distance or proximity hinders our view. Too great length
and too great brevity of discourse tend to obscurity; too much truth
is paralysing (I know some who cannot understand that to take four
from nothing leaves nothing). First principles are too self-evident
for us; too much pleasure disagrees with us. Too many concords are
annoying in music; too many benefits irritate us; we wish to have
the wherewithal to overpay our debts. Beneficia eo usque laeta sunt
dum videntur exsolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium
redditur.* We feel neither extreme heat nor extreme cold. Excessive
qualities are prejudicial to us and not perceptible by the senses;
we do not feel but suffer them. Extreme youth and extreme age hinder
the mind, as also too much and too little education. In short,
extremes are for us as though they were not, and we are not within
their notice. They escape us, or we them.

    * Tacitus, Annals, iv. "Kindnesses are agreeable so long as one
thinks them possible to render; further, recognition makes way for

    This is our true state; this is what makes us incapable of certain
knowledge and of absolute ignorance. We sail within a vast sphere,
ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. When we think to
attach ourselves to any point and to fasten to it, it wavers and
leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us,
and vanishes for ever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural
condition and yet most contrary to our inclination; we burn with
desire to find solid ground and an ultimate sure foundation whereon to
build a tower reaching to the Infinite. But our whole groundwork
cracks, and the earth opens to abysses.
    Let us, therefore, not look for certainty and stability. Our
reason is always deceived by fickle shadows; nothing can fix the
finite between the two Infinites, which both enclose and fly from it.
    If this be well understood, I think that we shall remain at
rest, each in the state wherein nature has placed him. As this
sphere which has fallen to us as our lot is always distant from either
extreme, what matters it that man should have a little more
knowledge of the universe? If he has it, he but gets a little
higher. Is he not always infinitely removed from the end, and is not
the duration of our life equally removed from eternity, even if it
lasts ten years longer?
    In comparison with these Infinites, all finites are equal, and I
see no reason for fixing our imagination on one more than on
another. The only comparison which we make of ourselves to the
finite is painful to us.
    If man made himself the first object of study, he would see how
incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole? But
he may perhaps aspire to know at least the parts to which he bears
some proportion. But the parts of the world are all so related and
linked to one another that I believe it impossible to know one without
the other and without the whole.
    Man, for instance, is related to all he knows. He needs a place
wherein to abide, time through which to live, motion in order to live,
elements to compose him, warmth and food to nourish him, air to
breathe. He sees light; he feels bodies; in short, he is in a
dependent alliance with everything. To know man, then, it is necessary
to know how it happens that he needs air to live, and, to know the
air, we must know how it is thus related to the life of man, etc.
Flame cannot exist without air; therefore, to understand the one, we
must understand the other.
    Since everything, then, is cause and effect, dependent and
supporting, mediate and immediate, and all is held together by a
natural though imperceptible chain which binds together things most
distant and most different, I hold it equally impossible to know the
parts without knowing the whole and to know the whole without
knowing the parts in detail.
    The eternity of things in itself or in God must also astonish
our brief duration. The fixed and constant immobility of nature, in
comparison with the continual change which goes on within us, must
have the same effect.
    And what completes our incapability of knowing things is the
fact that they are simple and that we are composed of two opposite
natures, different in kind, soul and body. For it is impossible that
our rational part should be other than spiritual; and if any one
maintain that we are simply corporeal, this would far more exclude
us from the knowledge of things, there being nothing so
inconceivable as to say that matter knows itself. It is impossible
to imagine how it should know itself.
    So, if we are simply material, we can know nothing at all; and
if we are composed of mind and matter, we cannot know perfectly things
which are simple, whether spiritual or corporeal. Hence it comes
that almost all philosophers have confused ideas of things, and
speak of material things in spiritual terms, and of spiritual things
in material terms. For they say boldly that bodies have a tendency
to fall, that they seek after their centre, that they fly from
destruction, that they fear the void, that they have inclinations,
sympathies, antipathies, all of which attributes pertain only to mind.
And in speaking of minds, they consider them as in a place, and
attribute to them movement from one place to another; and these are
qualities which belong only to bodies.
    Instead of receiving the ideas of these things in their purity, we
colour them with our own qualities, and stamp with our composite being
all the simple things which we contemplate.
    Who would not think, seeing us compose all things of mind and
body, but that this mixture would be quite intelligible to us? Yet
it is the very thing we least understand. Man is to himself the most
wonderful object in nature; for he cannot conceive what the body is,
still less what the mind is, and least of all how a body should be
united to a mind. This is the consummation of his difficulties, and
yet it is his very being. Modus quo corporibus adhaerent spiritus
comprehendi ab hominibus non potest, et hoc tamen homo est.*
Finally, to complete the proof of our weakness, I shall conclude
with these two considerations...

    * St. Augustine, City of God, xxi. 10. "The manner in which the
spirit is united to the body can not be understood by man; and yet
it is man."

    73. But perhaps this subject goes beyond the capacity of reason.
Let us therefore examine her solutions to problems within her
powers. If there be anything to which her own interest must have
made her apply herself most seriously, it is the inquiry into her
own sovereign good. Let us see, then, wherein these strong and
clear-sighted souls have placed it and whether they agree.
    One says that the sovereign good consists in virtue, another in
pleasure, another in the knowledge of nature, another in truth,
Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,* another in total ignorance,
another in indolence, others in disregarding appearances, another in
wondering at nothing, nihil admirari prope res una quae possit
facere et servare beatum,*(2) and the true sceptics in their
indifference, doubt, and perpetual suspense, and others, wiser,
think to find a better definition. We are well satisfied.

    * Virgil, Georgics, ii. "Happy is he who is able to know the
causes of things."
    *(2) Horace, Epistles, I. vi. 1. " To be astonished at nothing
is nearly the only thing which can give and conserve happiness."

    We must see if this fine philosophy has gained nothing certain
from so long and so intent study; perhaps at least the soul will
know itself. Let us hear the rulers of the world on this subject. What
have they thought of her substance? 394.* Have they been more
fortunate in locating her? 395.* What have they found out about her
origin, duration, and departure? Harum sententiarum,* 399.*(2)

    * Cicero, Disputationes Tusculanae, i, ii Harum sententiarum
quae vera sit, Deus aliquis viderit. "Which of these opinions in the
truth, a god will see."
    *(2) Montaigne, Essays, ii.

    Is, then, the soul too noble a subject for their feeble lights?
Let us, then, abase her to matter and see if she knows whereof is made
the very body which she animates and those others which she
contemplates and moves at her will. What have those great
dogmatists, who are ignorant of nothing, known of this matter? 393.*

    *(2) Montaigne, Essays, ii.

    This would doubtless suffice, if Reason were reasonable. She is
reasonable enough to admit that she has been unable to find anything
durable, but she does not yet despair of reaching it; she is as ardent
as ever in this search, and is confident she has within her the
necessary powers for this conquest. We must therefore conclude, and,
after having examined her powers in their effects, observe them in
themselves, and see if she has a nature and a grasp capable of
laying hold of the truth.

    74. A letter On the Foolishness of Human Knowledge and Philosophy.
    This letter before Diversion.
    Felix qui potuit... Nihil admirari.
    280 kinds of sovereign good in Montaigne.

    75. Part I, 1, 2, c. 1, section 4.*
    Probability.- It will not be difficult to put the case a stage
lower, and make it appear ridiculous. To begin at the very
beginning. What is more absurd than to say that lifeless bodies have
passions, fears, hatreds- that insensible bodies, lifeless and
incapable of life, have passions which presuppose at least a sensitive
soul to feel them, nay more, that the object of their dread is the
void? What is there in the void that could make them afraid? Nothing
is more shallow and ridiculous. This is not all; it is said that
they have in themselves a source of movement to shun the void. Have
they arms, legs, muscles, nerves?

    * Treatise on the Vacuum.

    76. To write against those who made too profound a study of
science: Descartes.
    77. I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would
have been quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him
give a fillip to set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no
further need of God.
    78. Descartes useless and uncertain.
    79. Descartes.- We must say summarily: "This is made by figure and
motion," for it is true. But to say what these are, and to compose the
machine, is ridiculous. For it is useless, uncertain, and painful. And
were it true, we do not think all Philosophy is worth one hour of
    80. How comes it that a cripple does not offend us, but that a
fool does? Because a cripple recognises that we walk straight, whereas
a fool declares that it is we who are silly; if it were not so, we
should feel pity and not anger.
    Epictetus asks still more strongly: "Why are we not angry if we
are told that we have a headache, and why are we angry if we are
told that we reason badly, or choose wrongly"? The reason is that we
are quite certain that we have not a headache, or are not lame, but we
are not so sure that we make a true choice. So, having assurance
only because we see with our whole sight, it puts us into suspense and
surprise when another with his whole sight sees the opposite, and
still more so when a thousand others deride our choice. For we must
prefer our own lights to those of so many others, and that is bold and
difficult. There is never this contradiction in the feelings towards a
    81. It is natural for the mind to believe and for the will to
love; so that, for want of true objects, they must attach themselves
to false.
    82. Imagination.- It is that deceitful part in man, that
mistress of error and falsity, the more deceptive that she is not
always so; for she would be an infallible rule of truth, if she were
an infallible rule of falsehood. But being most generally false, she
gives no sign of her nature, impressing the same character on the true
and the false.
    I do not speak of fools, I speak of the wisest men; and it is
among them that the imagination has the great gift of persuasion.
Reason protests in vain; it cannot set a true value on things.
    This arrogant power, the enemy of reason, who likes to rule and
dominate it, has established in man a second nature to show how
all-powerful she is. She makes men happy and sad, healthy and sick,
rich and poor; she compels reason to believe, doubt, and deny; she
blunts the senses, or quickens them; she has her fools and sages;
and nothing vexes us more than to see that she fills her devotees with
a satisfaction far more full and entire than does reason. Those who
have a lively imagination are a great deal more pleased with
themselves than the wise can reasonably be. They look down upon men
with haughtiness; they argue with boldness and confidence, others with
fear and diffidence; and this gaiety of countenance often gives them
the advantage in the opinion of the hearers, such favour have the
imaginary wise in the eyes of judges of like nature. Imagination
cannot make fools wise; but she can make them happy, to the envy of
reason which can only make its friends miserable; the one covers
them with glory, the other with shame.
    What but this faculty of imagination dispenses reputation,
awards respect and veneration to persons, works, laws, and the
great? How insufficient are all the riches of the earth without her
    Would you not say that this magistrate, whose venerable age
commands the respect of a whole people, is governed by pure and
lofty reason, and that he judges causes according to their true nature
without considering those mere trifles which only affect the
imagination of the weak? See him go to sermon, full of devout zeal,
strengthening his reason with the ardour of his love. He is ready to
listen with exemplary respect. Let the preacher appear, and let nature
have given him a hoarse voice or a comical cast of countenance, or let
his barber have given him a bad shave, or let by chance his dress be
more dirtied than usual, then, however great the truths he
announces, I wager our senator loses his gravity.
    If the greatest philosopher in the world find himself upon a plank
wider than actually necessary, but hanging over a precipice, his
imagination will prevail, though his reason convince him of his
safety. Many cannot bear the thought without a cold sweat. I will
not state all its effects.
    Every one knows that the sight of cats or rats, the crushing of
a coal, etc., may unhinge the reason. The tone of voice affects the
wisest, and changes the force of a discourse or a poem.
    Love or hate alters the aspect of justice. How much greater
confidence has an advocate, retained with a large fee, in the
justice of his cause! How much better does his bold manner make his
case appear to the judges, deceived as they are by appearances! How
ludicrous is reason, blown with a breath in every direction!
    I should have to enumerate almost every action of men who scarce
waver save under her assaults. For reason has been obliged to yield,
and the wisest reason takes as her own principles those which the
imagination of man has everywhere rashly introduced. He who would
follow reason only would be deemed foolish by the generality of men.
We must judge by the opinion of the majority of mankind. Because it
has pleased them, we must work all day for pleasures seen to be
imaginary; and, after sleep has refreshed our tired reason, we must
forthwith start up and rush after phantoms, and suffer the impressions
of this mistress of the world. This is one of the sources of error,
but it is not the only one.
    Our magistrates have known well this mystery. Their red robes, the
ermine in which they wrap themselves like furry cats, the courts in
which they administer justice, the fleurs-de-lis, and all such
august apparel were necessary; if the physicians had not their
cassocks and their mules, if the doctors had not their square caps and
their robes four times too wide, they would never have duped the
world, which cannot resist so original an appearance. If magistrates
had true justice, and if physicians had the true art of healing,
they would have no occasion for square caps; the majesty of these
sciences would of itself be venerable enough. But having only
imaginary knowledge, they must employ those silly tools that strike
the imagination with which they have to deal; and thereby, in fact,
they inspire respect. Soldiers alone are not disguised in this manner,
because indeed their part is the most essential; they establish
themselves by force, the others by show.
    Therefore our kings seek out no disguises. They do not mask
themselves in extraordinary costumes to appear such; but they are
accompanied by guards and halberdiers. Those armed and red-faced
puppets who have hands and power for them alone, those trumpets and
drums which go before them, and those legions round about them, make
the stoutest tremble. They have not dress only, they have might. A
very refined reason is required to regard as an ordinary man the Grand
Turk, in his superb seraglio, surrounded by forty thousand
    We cannot even see an advocate in his robe and with his cap on his
head, without a favourable opinion of his ability. The imagination
disposes of everything; it makes beauty, justice, and happiness, which
is everything in the world. I should much like to see an Italian work,
of which I only know the title, which alone is worth many books, Della
opinione regina del mondo. I approve of the book without knowing it,
save the evil in it, if any. These are pretty much the effects of that
deceptive faculty, which seems to have been expressly given us to lead
us into necessary error. We have, however, many other sources of
    Not only are old impressions capable of misleading us; the
charms of novelty have the same power. Hence arise all the disputes of
men, who taunt each other either with following the false
impressions of childhood or with running rashly after the new. Who
keeps the due mean? Let him appear and prove it. There is no
principle, however natural to us from infancy, which may not be made
to pass for a false impression either of education or of sense.
    "Because," say some, "you have believed from childhood that a
box was empty when you saw nothing in it, you have believed in the
possibility of a vacuum. This is an illusion of your senses,
strengthened by custom, which science must correct." "Because," say
others, "you have been taught at school that there is no vacuum, you
have perverted your common sense which clearly comprehended it, and
you must correct this by returning to your first state." Which has
deceived you, your senses or your education?
    We have another source of error in diseases. They spoil the
judgement and the senses; and if the more serious produce a sensible
change, I do not doubt that slighter ills produce a proportionate
    Our own interest is again a marvellous instrument for nicely
putting out our eyes. The justest man in the world is not allowed to
be judge in his own cause; I know some who, in order not to fall
into this self-love, have been perfectly unjust out of opposition. The
sure way of losing a just cause has been to get it recommended to
these men by their near relatives.
    Justice and truth are two such subtle points that our tools are
too blunt to touch them accurately. If they reach the point, they
either crush it, or lean all round, more on the false than on the
    Man is so happily formed that he has no... good of the true, and
several excellent of the false. Let us now see how much... But the
most powerful cause of error is the war existing between the senses
and reason.
    83. We must thus begin the chapter on the deceptive powers. Man is
only a subject full of error, natural and ineffaceable, without grace.
Nothing shows him the truth. Everything deceives him. These two
sources of truth, reason and the senses, besides being both wanting in
sincerity, deceive each other in turn. The senses mislead the Reason
with false appearances, and receive from Reason in their turn the same
trickery which they apply to her; Reason has her revenge. The passions
of the soul trouble the senses, and make false impressions upon
them. They rival each other in falsehood and deception.
    But besides those errors which arise accidentally and through lack
of intelligence, with these heterogeneous faculties...
    84. The imagination enlarges little objects so as to fill our
souls with a fantastic estimate; and, with rash insolence, it
belittles the great to its own measure, as when talking of God.
    85. Things which have most hold on us, as the concealment of our
few possessions, are often a mere nothing. It is a nothing which our
imagination magnifies into a mountain. Another turn of the imagination
would make us discover this without difficulty.
    86. My fancy makes me hate a croaker, and one who pants when
eating. Fancy has great weight. Shall we profit by it? Shall we
yield to this weight because it is natural? No, but by resisting it...
    87. Nae iste magno conatu magnas nugas dixerit.*

    * Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, III. v. 8. "There is one who
will say great foolishness with great effort."

    583.* Quasi quidquam infelicius sit homini cui sua figmenta

    * Montaigne, Essays, ii.
    *(2) Pliny, ii. "As though there were anyone more unhappy than a
man dominated by his imagination."

    88. Children who are frightened at the face they have blackened
are but children. But how shall one who is so weak in his childhood
become really strong when he grows older? We only change our
fancies. All that is made perfect by progress perishes also by
progress. All that has been weak can never become absolutely strong.
We say in vain, "He has grown, he has changed"; he is also the same.
    89. Custom is our nature. He who is accustomed to the faith
believes in it, can no longer fear hell, and believes in nothing else.
He who is accustomed to believe that the king is terrible... etc.
Who doubts, then, that our soul, being accustomed to see number,
space, motion, believes that and nothing else?
    90. Quod crebro videt non miratur, etiamsi cur fiat nescit; quod
ante non viderit, id si evenerit, ostentum esse censet.*

    * Cicero, De Divinatione ii. 22. "A common happening does not
astonish, even though the cause is unknown; an event such as one has
never seen before passes for a prodigy."

    91. Spongia solis.- When we see the same effect always recur, we
infer a natural necessity in it, as that there will be a tomorrow,
etc. But Nature often deceives us, and does not subject herself to her
own rules.
    92. What are our natural principles but principles of custom? In
children they are those which they have received from the habits of
their fathers, as hunting in animals. A different custom will cause
different natural principles. This is seen in experience; and if there
are some natural principles ineradicable by custom, there are also
some customs opposed to nature, ineradicable by nature or by a
second custom. This depends on disposition.
    93. Parents fear lest the natural love of their children may
fade away. What kind of nature is that which is subject to decay?
Custom is a second nature which destroys the former. But what is
nature? For is custom not natural? I am much afraid that nature is
itself only a first custom, as custom is a second nature.
    94. The nature of man is wholly natural, omne animal.*
    There is nothing he may not make natural; there is nothing natural
he may not lose.

    * Allusion to Gen. 7. 14. Ipsi et omne animal secundus genus suum.
"And every beast after his kind."

    95. Memory, joy, are intuitions; and even mathematical
propositions become intuitions, for education produces natural
intuitions, and natural intuitions are erased by education.
    96. When we are accustomed to use bad reasons for proving
natural effects, we are not willing to receive good reasons when
they are discovered. An example may be given from the circulation of
the blood as a reason why the vein swells below the ligature.
    97. The most important affair in life is the choice of a
calling; chance decides it. Custom makes men masons, soldiers,
slaters. "He is a good slater," says one, and, speaking of soldiers,
remarks, "They are perfect fools." But others affirm, "There is
nothing great but war; the rest of men are good for nothing." We
choose our callings according as we hear this or that praised or
despised in our childhood, for we naturally love truth and hate folly.
These words move us; the only error is in their application. So
great is the force of custom that, out of those whom nature has only
made men, are created all conditions of men. For some districts are
full of masons, others of soldiers, etc. Certainly nature is not so
uniform. It is custom then which does this, for it constrains
nature. But sometimes nature gains the ascendancy and preserves
man's instinct, in spite of all custom, good or bad.
    98. Bias leading to error.- It is a deplorable thing to see all
men deliberating on means alone, and not on the end. Each thinks how
he will acquit himself in his condition; but as for the choice of
condition, or of country, chance gives them to us.
    It is a pitiable thing to see so many Turks, heretics, and
infidels follow the way of their fathers for the sole reason that each
has been imbued with the prejudice that it is the best. And that fixes
for each man his condition of locksmith, soldier, etc.
    Hence savages care nothing for Providence.
    99. There is an universal and essential difference between the
actions of the will and all other actions.
    The will is one of the chief factors in belief, not that it
creates belief, but because things are true or false according to
the aspect in which we look at them. The will, which prefers one
aspect to another, turns away the mind from considering the
qualities of all that it does not like to see; and thus the mind,
moving in accord with the will, stops to consider the aspect which
it likes and so judges by what it sees.
    100. Self-love. The nature of self-love and of this human Ego is
to love self only and consider self only. But what will man do? He
cannot prevent this object that he loves from being full of faults and
wants. He wants to be great, and he sees himself small. He wants to be
happy, and he sees himself miserable. He wants to be perfect, and he
sees himself full of imperfections. He wants to be the object of
love and esteem among men, and he sees that his faults merit only
their hatred and contempt. This embarrassment in which he finds
himself produces in him the most unrighteous and criminal passion that
can be imagined; for he conceives a mortal enmity against that truth
which reproves him and which convinces him of his faults. He would
annihilate it, but, unable to destroy it in its essence, he destroys
it as far as possible in his own knowledge and in that of others; that
is to say, he devotes all his attention to hiding his faults both from
others and from himself, and he cannot endure either that others
should point them out to him, or that they should see them.
    Truly it is an evil to be full of faults; but it is a still
greater evil to be full of them and to be unwilling to recognise them,
since that is to add the further fault of a voluntary illusion. We
do not like others to deceive us; we do not think it fair that they
should be held in higher esteem by us than they deserve; it is not,
then, fair that we should deceive them and should wish them to
esteem us more highly than we deserve.
    Thus, when they discover only the imperfections and vices which we
really have, it is plain they do us no wrong, since it is not they who
cause them; they rather do us good, since they help us to free
ourselves from an evil, namely, the ignorance of these
imperfections. We ought not to be angry at their knowing our faults
and despising us; it is but right that they should know us for what we
are and should despise us, if we are contemptible.
    Such are the feelings that would arise in a heart full of equity
and justice. What must we say then of our own heart, when we see it in
a wholly different disposition? For is it not true that we hate
truth and those who tell it us, and that we like them to be deceived
in our favour, and prefer to be esteemed by them as being other than
what we are in fact? One proof of this makes me shudder. The
Catholic religion does not bind us to confess our sins
indiscriminately to everybody; it allows them to remain hidden from
all other men save one, to whom she bids us reveal the innermost
recesses of our heart and show ourselves as we are. There is only this
one man in the world whom she orders us to undeceive, and she binds
him to an inviolable secrecy, which makes this knowledge to him as
if it were not. Can we imagine anything more charitable and
pleasant? And yet the corruption of man is such that he finds even
this law harsh; and it is one of the main reasons which has caused a
great part of Europe to rebel against the Church.
    How unjust and unreasonable is the heart of man, which feels it
disagreeable to be obliged to do in regard to one man what in some
measure it were right to do to all men! For is it right that we should
deceive men?
    There are different degrees in this aversion to truth; but all may
perhaps be said to have it in some degree, because it is inseparable
from self-love. It is this false delicacy which makes those who are
under the necessity of reproving others choose so many windings and
middle courses to avoid offence. They must lessen our faults, appear
to excuse them, intersperse praises and evidence of love and esteem.
Despite all this, the medicine does not cease to be bitter to
self-love. It takes as little as it can, always with disgust, and
often with a secret spite against those who administer it.
    Hence it happens that, if any have some interest in being loved by
us, they are averse to render us a service which they know to be
disagreeable. They treat us as we wish to be treated. We hate the
truth, and they hide it from us. We desire flattery, and they
flatter us. We like to be deceived, and they deceive us.
    So each degree of good fortune which raises us in the world
removes us farther from truth, because we are most afraid of
wounding those whose affection is most useful and whose dislike is
most dangerous. A prince may be the byword of all Europe, and he alone
will know nothing of it. I am not astonished. To tell the truth is
useful to those to whom it is spoken, but disadvantageous to those who
tell it, because it makes them disliked. Now those who live with
princes love their own interests more than that of the prince whom
they serve; and so they take care not to confer on him a benefit so as
to injure themselves.
    This evil is no doubt greater and more common among the higher
classes; but the lower are not exempt from it, since there is always
some advantage in making men love us. Human life is thus only a
perpetual illusion; men deceive and flatter each other. No one
speaks of us in our presence as he does of us in our absence. Human
society is founded on mutual deceit; few friendships would endure if
each knew what his friend said of him in his absence, although he then
spoke in sincerity and without passion.
    Man is, then, only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in
himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell
him the truth; he avoids telling it to others, and all these
dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural
root in his heart.
    101. I set it down as a fact that if all men knew what each said
of the other, there would not be four friends in the world. This is
apparent from the quarrels which arise from the indiscreet tales
told from time to time. I say, further, all men would be...
    102. Some vices only lay hold of us by means of others, and these,
like branches, fall on removal of the trunk.
    103. The example of Alexander's chastity has not made so many
continent as that of his drunkenness has made intemperate. It is not
shameful not to be as virtuous as he, and it seems excusable to be
no more vicious. We do not believe ourselves to be exactly sharing
in the vices of the vulgar when we see that we are sharing in those of
great men; and yet we do not observe that in these matters they are
ordinary men. We hold on to them by the same end by which they hold on
to the rabble; for, however exalted they are, they are still united at
some point to the lowest of men. They are not suspended in the air,
quite removed from our society. No, no; if they are greater than we,
it is because their heads are higher; but their feet are as low as
ours. They are all on the same level, and rest on the same earth;
and by that extremity they are as low as we are, as the meanest
folk, as infants, and as the beasts.
    104. When our passion leads us to do something, we forget our
duty; for example, we like a book and read it, when we ought to be
doing something else. Now, to remind ourselves of our duty, we must
set ourselves a task we dislike; we then plead that we have
something else to do and by this means remember our duty.
    105. How difficult it is to submit anything to the judgement of
another, without prejudicing his judgement by the manner in which we
submit it! If we say, "I think it beautiful," "I think it obscure," or
the like, we either entice the imagination into that view, or irritate
it to the contrary. It is better to say nothing; and then the other
judges according to what really is, that is to say, according as it
then is and according as the other circumstances, not of our making,
have placed it. But we at least shall have added nothing, unless it be
that silence also produces an effect, according to the turn and the
interpretation which the other will be disposed to give it, or as he
will guess it from gestures or countenance, or from the tone of the
voice, if he is a physiognomist. So difficult is it not to upset a
judgement from its natural place, or, rather, so rarely is it firm and
    106. By knowing each man's ruling passion, we are sure of pleasing
him; and yet each has his fancies, opposed to his true good, in the
very idea which he has of the good. It is a singularly puzzling fact.
    107. Lustravit lampade terras.* - The weather and my mood have
little connection. I have my foggy and my fine days within me; my
prosperity or misfortune has little to do with the matter. I sometimes
struggle against luck, the glory of mastering it makes me master it
gaily; whereas I am sometimes surfeited in the midst of good fortune.

    * Homer, Odyssey, xviii.

    108. Although people may have no interest in what they are saying,
we must not absolutely conclude from this that they are not lying; for
there are some people who lie for the mere sake of lying.
    109. When we are well we wonder what we would do if we were ill,
but when we are ill we take medicine cheerfully; the illness persuades
us to do so. We have no longer the passions and desires for amusements
and promenades which health gave to us, but which are incompatible
with the necessities of illness. Nature gives us, then, passions and
desires suitable to our present state. We are only troubled by the
fears which we, and not nature, give ourselves, for they add to the
state in which we are the passions of the state in which we are not.
    As nature makes us always unhappy in every state, our desires
picture to us a happy state; because they add to the state in which we
are the pleasures of the state in which we are not. And if we attained
to these pleasures, we should not be happy after all; because we
should have other desires natural to this new state.
    We must particularise this general proposition....
    110. The consciousness of the falsity of present pleasures, and
the ignorance of the vanity of absent pleasures, cause inconstancy.
    111. Inconstancy.- We think we are playing on ordinary organs when
playing upon man. Men are organs, it is true, but, odd, changeable,
variable with pipes not arranged in proper order. Those who only
know how to play on ordinary organs will not produce barmonies on
these. We must know where are.
    112. Inconstancy.- Things have different qualities, and the soul
different inclinations; for nothing is simple which is presented to
the soul, and the soul never presents itself simply to any object.
Hence it comes that we weep and laugh at the same thing.
    113. Inconstancy and oddity.- To live only by work, and to rule
over the most powerful State in the world, are very opposite things.
They are united in the person of the great Sultan of the Turks.
    114. Variety is as abundant as all tones of the voice, all ways of
walking, coughing, blowing the nose, sneezing. We distinguish vines by
their fruit, and call them the Condrien, the Desargues, and such and
such a stock. Is this all? Has a vine ever produced two bunches
exactly the same, and has a bunch two grapes alike, etc.?
    I can never judge of the same thing exactly in the same way. I
cannot judge of my work, while doing it. I must do as the artists,
stand at a distance, but not too far. How far, then? Guess.
    115. Variety.- Theology is a science, but at the same time how
many sciences? A man is a whole; but if we dissect him, will he be the
head, the heart, the stomach, the veins, each vein, each portion of
a vein, the blood, each humour in the blood?
    A town, a country-place, is from afar a town and a
country-place. But, as we draw near, there are houses, trees, tiles,
leaves, grass, ants, limbs of ants, in infinity. All this is contained
under the name of country-place.
    116. Thoughts.- All is one, all is different. How many natures
exist in man? How many vocations? And by what chance does each man
ordinarily choose what he has heard praised? A well-turned heel.
    117. The heel of a slipper.- "Ah! How well this is turned! Here is
a clever workman! How brave is this soldier!" This is the source of
our inclinations and of the choice of conditions. "How much this man
drinks! How little that one"! This makes people sober or drunk,
soldiers, cowards, etc.
    118. Chief talent, that which rules the rest.
    119. Nature imitates herself A seed grown in good ground brings
forth fruit. A principle instilled into a good mind brings forth
fruit. Numbers imitate space, which is of a different nature.
    All is made and led by the same master, root, branches, and
fruits; principles and consequences.
    120. Nature diversifies and imitates; art imitates and
    121. Nature always begins the same things again, the years, the
days, the hours; in like manner spaces and numbers follow each other
from beginning to end. Thus is made a kind of infinity and eternity.
Not that anything in all this is infinite and eternal, but these
finite realities are infinitely multiplied. Thus it seems to me to
be only the number which multiplies them that is infinite.
    122. Time heals griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no
longer the same persons. Neither the offender nor the offended are any
more themselves. It is like a nation which we have provoked, but
meet again after two generations. They are still Frenchmen, but not
the same.
    123. He no longer loves the person whom he loved ten years ago.
I quite believe it. She is no longer the same, nor is he. He was
young, and she also; she is quite different. He would perhaps love her
yet, if she were what she was then.
    124. We view things not only from different sides, but with
different eyes; we have no wish to find them alike.
    125. Contraries.- Man is naturally credulous and incredulous,
timid and rash.
    126. Description of man: dependency, desire of independence, need.
    127. Condition of man: inconstancy, weariness, unrest.
    128. The weariness which is felt by us in leaving pursuits to
which we are attached. A man dwells at home with pleasure; but if he
sees a woman who charms him, or if he enjoys himself in play for
five or six days, he is miserable if he returns to his former way of
living. Nothing is more common than that.
    129. Our nature consists in motion; complete rest is death.
    130. Restlessness.- If a soldier, or labourer, complain of the
hardship of his lot, set him to do nothing.
    131. Weariness.- Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be
completely at rest, without passions, without business, without
diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his
forlornness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, his
emptiness. There will immediately arise from the depth of his heart
weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation, despair.
    132. Methinks Caesar was too old to set about amusing himself with
conquering the world. Such sport was good for Augustus or Alexander.
They were still young men and thus difficult to restrain. But Caesar
should have been more mature.
    133. Two faces which resemble each other make us laugh, when
together, by their resemblance, though neither of them by itself makes
us laugh.
    134. How useless is painting, which attracts admiration by the
resemblance of things, the originals of which we do not admire!
    135. The struggle alone pleases us, not the victory. We love to
see animals fighting, not the victor infuriated over the vanquished.
We would only see the victorious end; and, as soon as it comes, we are
satiated. It is the same in play, and the same in the search for
truth. In disputes we like to see the clash of opinions, but not at
all to contemplate truth when found. To observe it with pleasure, we
have to see it emerge out of strife. So in the passions, there is
pleasure in seeing the collision of two contraries; but when one
acquires the mastery, it becomes only brutality. We never seek
things for themselves, but for the search. Likewise in plays, scenes
which do not rouse the emotion of fear are worthless, so are extreme
and hopeless misery, brutal lust, and extreme cruelty.
    136. A mere trifle consoles us, for a mere trifle distresses us.
    137. Without examining every particular pursuit, it is enough to
comprehend them under diversion.
    138. Men naturally slaters and of all callings, save in their
own rooms.
    139. Diversion.- When I have occasionally set myself to consider
the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which
they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many
quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have
discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single
fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber. A man who
has enough to live on, if he knew how to stay with pleasure at home,
would not leave it to go to sea or to besiege a town. A commission
in the army would not be bought so dearly, but that it is found
insufferable not to budge from the town; and men only seek
conversation and entering games, because they cannot remain with
pleasure at home.
    But, on further consideration, when, after finding the cause of
all our ills, I have sought to discover the reason of it, I have found
that there is one very real reason, namely, the natural poverty of our
feeble and mortal condition, so miserable that nothing can comfort
us when we think of it closely.
    Whatever condition we picture to ourselves, if we muster all the
good things which it is possible to possess, royalty is the finest
position in the world. Yet, when we imagine a king attended with every
pleasure he can feel, if he be without diversion and be left to
consider and reflect on what he is, this feeble happiness will not
sustain him; he will necessarily fall into forebodings of dangers,
of revolutions which may happen, and, finally, of death and inevitable
disease; so that, if he be without what is called diversion, he is
unhappy and more unhappy than the least of his subjects who plays
and diverts himself.
    Hence it comes that play and the society of women, war and high
posts, are so sought after. Not that there is in fact any happiness in
them, or that men imagine true bliss to consist in money won at
play, or in the hare which they hunt; we would not take these as a
gift. We do not seek that easy and peaceful lot which permits us to
think of our unhappy condition, nor the dangers of war, nor the labour
of office, but the bustle which averts these thoughts of ours and
amuses us.
    Reasons why we like the chase better than the quarry.
    Hence it comes that men so much love noise and stir; hence it
comes that the prison is so horrible a punishment; hence it comes that
the pleasure of solitude is a thing incomprehensible. And it is, in
fact, the greatest source of happiness in the condition of kings
that men try incessantly to divert them and to procure for them all
kinds of pleasures.
    The king is surrounded by persons whose only thought is to
divert the king and to prevent his thinking of self. For he is
unhappy, king though he be, if he think of himself.
    This is all that men have been able to discover to make themselves
happy. And those who philosophise on the matter, and who think men
unreasonable for spending a whole day in chasing a hare which they
would not have bought, scarce know our nature. The hare in itself
would not screen us from the sight of death and calamities; but the
chase, which turns away our attention from these, does screen us.
    The advice given to Pyrrhus, to take the rest which he was about
to seek with so much labour, was full of difficulties.
    To bid a man live quietly is to bid him live happily. It is to
advise him to be in a state perfectly happy, in which he can think
at leisure without finding therein a cause of distress. This is to
misunderstand nature.
    As men who naturally understand their own condition avoid
nothing so much as rest, so there is nothing they leave undone in
seeking turmoil. Not that they have an instinctive knowledge of true
    So we are wrong in blaming them. Their error does not lie in
seeking excitement, if they seek it only as a diversion; the evil is
that they seek it as if the possession of the objects of their quest
would make them really happy. In this respect it is right to call
their quest a vain one. Hence in all this both the censurers and the
censured do not understand man's true nature.
    And thus, when we take the exception against them, that what
they seek with such fervour cannot satisfy them, if they replied- as
they should do if they considered the matter thoroughly- that they
sought in it only a violent and impetuous occupation which turned
their thoughts from self, and that they therefore chose an
attractive object to charm and ardently attract them, they would leave
their opponents without a reply. But they do not make this reply,
because they do not know themselves. They do not know that it is the
chase, and not the quarry, which they seek.
    Dancing: We must consider rightly where to place our feet.- A
gentleman sincerely believes that hunting is great and royal sport;
but a beater is not of this opinion.
    They imagine that, if they obtained such a post, they would then
rest with pleasure and are insensible of the insatiable nature of
the if desire. They think they are truly seeking quiet, and they are
only seeking excitement.
    They have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement
and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their
constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant
of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that
happiness in reality consists only in rest and not in stir. And of
these two contrary instincts they form within themselves a confused
idea, which hides itself from their view in the depths of their
soul, inciting them to aim at rest through excitement, and always to
fancy that the satisfaction which they have not will come to them, if,
by surmounting whatever difficulties confront them, they can thereby
open the door to rest.
    Thus passes away all man's life. Men seek rest in a struggle
against difficulties; and when they have conquered these, rest becomes
insufferable. For we think either of the misfortunes we have or of
those which threaten us. And even if we should see ourselves
sufficiently sheltered on all sides, weariness of its own accord would
not fail to arise from the depths of the heart wherein it has its
natural roots and to fill the mind with its poison.
    Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause
for weariness from the peculiar state of his disposition; and so
frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness,
the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is
sufficient to amuse him.
    But will you say what object has he in all this? The pleasure of
bragging tomorrow among his friends that he has played better than
another. So others sweat in their own rooms to show to the learned
that they have solved a problem in algebra, which no one had
hitherto been able to solve. Many more expose themselves to extreme
perils, in my opinion as foolishly, in order to boast afterwards
that they have captured a town. Lastly, others wear themselves out
in studying all these things, not in order to become wiser, but only
in order to prove that they know them; and these are the most
senseless of the band, since they are so knowingly, whereas one may
suppose of the others that, if they knew it, they would no longer be
    This man spends his life without weariness in playing every day
for a small stake. Give him each morning the money he can win each
day, on condition he does not play; you make him miserable. It will
perhaps be said that he seeks the amusement of play and not the
winnings. Make him, then, play for nothing; he will not become excited
over it and will feel bored. It is, then, not the amusement alone that
he seeks; a languid and passionless amusement will weary him. He
must get excited over it and deceive himself by the fancy that he will
be happy to win what he would not have as a gift on condition of not
playing; and he must make for himself an object of passion, and excite
over it his desire, his anger, his fear, to obtain his imagined end,
as children are frightened at the face they have blackened.
    Whence comes it that this man, who lost his only son a few
months ago, or who this morning was in such trouble through being
distressed by lawsuits and quarrels, now no longer thinks of them?
Do not wonder; he is quite taken up in looking out for the boar
which his dogs have been hunting so hotly for the last six hours. He
requires nothing more. However full of sadness a man may be, he is
happy for the time, if you can prevail upon him to enter into some
amusement; and however happy a man may be, he will soon be
discontented and wretched, if he be not diverted and occupied by
some passion or pursuit which prevents weariness from overcoming
him. Without amusement there is no joy; with amusement there is no
sadness. And this also constitutes the happiness of persons in high
position, that they have a number of people to amuse them and have the
power to keep themselves in this state.
    Consider this. What is it to be superintendent, chancellor,
first president, but to be in a condition wherein from early morning a
large number of people come from all quarters to see them, so as not
to leave them an hour in the day in which they can think of
themselves? And when they are in disgrace and sent back to their
country houses, where they lack neither wealth nor servants to help
them on occasion, they do not fail to be wretched and desolate,
because no one prevents them from thinking of themselves.
    140. How does it happen that this man, so distressed at the
death of his wife and his only son, or who has some great lawsuit
which annoys him, is not at this moment sad, and that he seems so free
from all painful and disquieting thoughts? We need not wonder; for a
ball has been served him, and he must return it to his companion. He
is occupied in catching it in its fall from the roof, to win a game.
How can he think of his own affairs, pray, when he has this other
matter in hand? Here is a care worthy of occupying this great soul and
taking away from him every other thought of the mind. This man, born
to know the universe, to judge all causes, to govern a whole state, is
altogether occupied and taken up with the business of catching a hare.
And if he does not lower himself to this and wants always to be on the
strain, he will be more foolish still, because he would raise
himself above humanity; and after all, he is only a man, that is to
say capable of little and of much, of all and of nothing; he is
neither angel nor brute, but man.
    141. Men spend their time in following a ball or a hare; it is the
pleasure even of kings.
    142. Diversion- Is not the royal dignity sufficiently great in
itself to make its possessor happy by the mere contemplation of what
he is? Must he be diverted from this thought like ordinary folk? I see
well that a man is made happy by diverting him from the view of his
domestic sorrows so as to occupy all his thoughts with the care of
dancing well. But will it be the same with a king, and will he be
happier in the pursuit of these idle amusements than in the
contemplation of his greatness? And what more satisfactory object
could be presented to his mind? Would it not be a deprivation of his
delight for him to occupy his soul with the thought of how to adjust
his steps to the cadence of an air, or of how to throw a ball
skilfully, instead of leaving it to enjoy quietly the contemplation of
the majestic glory which encompasses him? Let us make the trial; let
us leave a king all alone to reflect on himself quite at leisure,
without any gratification of the senses, without any care in his mind,
without society; and we will see that a king without diversion is a
man full of wretchedness. So this is carefully avoided, and near the
persons of kings there never fail to be a great number of people who
see to it that amusement follows business, and who watch all the
time of their leisure to supply them with delights and games, so
that there is no blank in it. In fact, kings are surrounded with
persons who are wonderfully attentive in taking care that the king
be not alone and in a state to think of himself, knowing well that
he will be miserable, king though he be, if he meditate on self.
    In all this I am not talking of Christian kings as Christians, but
only as kings.
    143. Diversion.- Men are entrusted from infancy with the care of
their honour, their property, their friends, and even with the
property and the honour of their friends. They are overwhelmed with
business, with the study of languages, and with physical exercise; and
they are made to understand that they cannot be happy unless their
health, their honour, their fortune and that of their friends be in
good condition, and that a single thing wanting will make them
unhappy. Thus they are given cares and business which make them bustle
about from break of day. It is, you will exclaim, a strange way to
make them happy! What more could be done to make them miserable?-
Indeed! what could be done? We should only have to relieve them from
all these cares; for then they would see themselves: they would
reflect on what they are, whence they came, whither they go, and
thus we cannot employ and divert them too much. And this is why, after
having given them so much business, we advise them, if they have
some time for relaxation, to employ it in amusement, in play, and to
be always fully occupied.
    How hollow and full of ribaldry is the heart of man!
    144. I spent a long time in the study of the abstract sciences,
and was disheartened by the small number of fellow-students in them.
When I commenced the study of man, I saw that these abstract
sciences are not suited to man and that I was wandering farther from
my own state in examining them than others in not knowing them. I
pardoned their little knowledge; but I thought at least to find many
companions in the study of man and that it was the true study which is
suited to him. I have been deceived; still fewer study it than
geometry. It is only from the want of knowing how to study this that
we seek the other studies. But is it not that even here is not the
knowledge which man should have and that for the purpose of
happiness it is better for him not to know himself.?
    145. One thought alone occupies us; we cannot think of two
things at the same time. This is lucky for us according to the
world, not according to God.
    146. Man is obviously made to think. It is his whole dignity and
his whole merit; and his whole duty is to think as he ought. Now,
the order of thought is to begin with self, and with its Author and
its end.
    Now, of what does the world think? Never of this, but of
dancing, playing the lute, singing, making verses, running at the
ring, etc., fighting, making oneself king, without thinking what it is
to be a king and what to be a man.
    147. We do not content ourselves with the life we have in
ourselves and in our own being; we desire to live an imaginary life in
the mind of others, and for this purpose we endeavour to shine. We
labour unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence
and neglect the real. And if we possess calmness, or generosity, or
truthfulness, we are eager to make it known, so as to attach these
virtues to that imaginary existence. We would rather separate them
from ourselves to join them to it; and we would willingly be cowards
in order to acquire the reputation of being brave. A great proof of
the nothingness of our being, not to be satisfied with the one without
the other, and to renounce the one for the other! For he would be
infamous who would not die to preserve his honour.
    148. We are so presumptuous that we would wish to be known by
all the world, even by people who shall come after, when we shall be
no more; and we are so vain that the esteem of five or six
neighbours delights and contents us.
    149. We do not trouble ourselves about being esteemed in the towns
through which we pass. But if we are to remain a little while there,
we are so concerned. How long is necessary? A time commensurate with
our vain and paltry life.
    150. Vanity is so anchored in the heart of man that a soldier, a
soldier's servant, a cook, a porter brags and wishes to have his
admirers. Even philosophers wish for them. Those who write against
it want to have the glory of having written well; and those who read
it desire the glory of having read it. I who write this have perhaps
this desire, and perhaps those who will read it...
    151. Glory.- Admiration spoils all from infancy. Ah! How well
said! Ah! How well done! How well-behaved he is! etc.
    The children of Port-Royal, who do not receive this stimulus of
envy and glory, fall into carelessness.
    152. Pride.- Curiosity is only vanity. Most frequently we wish
to know but to talk. Otherwise we would not take a sea voyage in order
never to talk of it, and for the sole pleasure of seeing without
hope of ever communicating it.
    153. Of the desire of being esteemed by those with whom we are.-
Pride takes such natural possession of us in the midst of our woes,
errors, etc. We even lose our life with joy, provided people talk of
    Vanity: play, hunting, visiting, false shame, a lasting name.
    154. I have no friends to your advantage.
    155. A true friend is so great an advantage, even for the greatest
lords, in order that he may speak well of them and back them in
their absence, that they should do all to have one. But they should
choose well; for, if they spend all their efforts in the interests
of fools, it will be of no use, however well these may speak of
them; and these will not even speak well of them if they find
themselves on the weakest side, for they have no influence; and thus
they will speak ill of them in company.
    156. Ferox gens, nullam esse vitam sine armis rati.* - They prefer
death to peace; others prefer death to war.

    * Livy, xxxiv. 17. "A brutal people, for whom, when they have
not armour, there is not life."

    Every opinion may be held preferable to life, the love of which is
so strong and so natural.
    157. Contradiction: contempt for our existence, to die for
nothing, hatred of our existence.
    158. Pursuits.- The charm of fame is so great that we like every
object to which it is attached, even death.
    159. Noble deeds are most estimable when hidden. When I see some
of these in history, they please me greatly. But after all they have
not been quite hidden, since they have been known; and though people
have done what they could to hide them, the little publication of them
spoils all, for what was best in them was the wish to hide them.
    160. Sneezing absorbs all the functions of the soul, as well as
work does; but we do not draw therefrom the same conclusions against
the greatness of man, because it is against his will. And although
we bring it on ourselves, it is nevertheless against our will that
we sneeze. It is not in view of the act itself; it is for another end.
And thus it is not a proof of the weakness of man and of his slavery
under that action.
    It is not disgraceful for man to yield to pain, and it is
disgraceful to yield to pleasure. This is not because pain comes to us
from without, and we ourselves seek pleasure; for it is possible to
seek pain, and yield to it purposely, without this kind of baseness.
Whence comes it, then, that reason thinks it honourable to succumb
under stress of pain, and disgraceful to yield to the attack of
pleasure? It is because pain does not tempt and attract us. It is we
ourselves who choose it voluntarily, and will it to prevail over us.
So that we are masters of the situation; and in this man yields to
himself. But in pleasure it is man who yields to pleasure. Now only
mastery and sovereignty bring glory, and only slavery brings shame.
    161. Vanity.- How wonderful it is that a thing so evident as the
vanity of the world is so little known, that it is a strange and
surprising thing to say that it is foolish to seek greatness?
    162. He who will know fully the vanity of man has only to consider
the causes and effects of love. The cause is a je ne sais quoi
(Corneille), and the effects are dreadful. This je ne sais quoi, so
small an object that we cannot recognise it, agitates a whole country,
princes, armies, the entire world.
    Cleopatra's nose: had it been shorter, the whole aspect of the
world would have been altered.
    163. Vanity.- The cause and the effects of love: Cleopatra.
    164. He who does not see the vanity of the world is himself very
vain. Indeed who do not see it but youths who are absorbed in fame,
diversion, and the thought of the future? But take away diversion, and
you will see them dried up with weariness. They feel then their
nothingness without knowing it; for it is indeed to be unhappy to be
in insufferable sadness as soon as we are reduced to thinking of
self and have no diversion.
    165. Thoughts.- In omnibus requiem quaesivi.* If our condition
were truly happy, we not need diversion from thinking of it in order
to make ourselves happy.

    * Ecclus. 24. 11. "With all these I have sought rest."

    166. Diversion.- Death is easier to bear without thinking of it
than is the thought of death without peril.
    167. The miseries of human life has established all this: as men
have seen this, they have taken up diversion.
    168. Diversion.- As men are not able to fight against death,
misery, ignorance, they have taken it into their heads, in order to be
happy, not to think of them at all.
    169. Despite these miseries, man wishes to be happy, and only
wishes to be happy, and cannot wish not to be so. But how will he
set about it? To be happy he would have to make himself immortal; but,
not being able to do so, it has occurred to him to prevent himself
from thinking of death.
    170. Diversion.- If man were happy, he would be the more so, the
less he was diverted, like the Saints and God. Yes; but is it not to
be happy to have a faculty of being amused by diversion? No; for
that comes from elsewhere and from without, and thus is dependent, and
therefore subject to be disturbed by a thousand accidents, which bring
inevitable griefs.
    171. Misery.- The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is
diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is
this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves and
which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in
a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us to seek a
more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and
leads us unconsciously to death.
    172. We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate
the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course;
or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent
are we that we wander in the times which are not ours and do not think
of the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we
dream of those times which are no more and thoughtlessly overlook that
which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We
conceal it from our sight, because it troubles us; and, if it be
delightful to us, we regret to see it pass away. We try to sustain
it by the future and think of arranging matters which are not in our
power, for a time which we have no certainty of reaching.
    Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all
occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the
present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to
arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the
present are our means; the future alone is our end. So we never
live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be
happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.
    173. They say that eclipses foretoken misfortune, because
misfortunes are common, so that, as evil happens so often, they
often foretell it; whereas if they said that they predict good
fortune, they would often be wrong. They attribute good fortune only
to rare conjunctions of the heavens; so they seldom fail in
    174. Misery.- Solomon and Job have best known and best spoken of
the misery of man; the former the most fortunate, and the latter the
most unfortunate of men; the former knowing the vanity of pleasures
from experience, the latter the reality of evils.
    175. We know ourselves so little that many think they are about to
die when they are well, and many think they are well when they are
near death, unconscious of approaching fever, or of the abscess
ready to form itself.
    176. Cromwell was about to ravage all Christendom; the royal
family was undone, and his own for ever established, save for a little
grain of sand which formed in his ureter. Rome herself was trembling
under him; but this small piece of gravel having formed there, he is
dead, his family cast down, all is peaceful, and the king is restored.
    177. Three hosts. Would he who had possessed the friendship of the
King of England, the King of Poland, and the Queen of Sweden, have
believed he would lack a refuge and shelter in the world?
    178. Macrobius: on the innocents slain by Herod.
    179. When Augustus learnt that Herod's own son was amongst the
infants under two years of age, whom he had caused to be slain, he
said that it was better to be Herod's pig than his son. Macrobius,
Saturnalia, ii. 4.
    180. The great and the humble have the same misfortunes, the
same griefs, the same passions; but the one is at the top of the
wheel, and the other near the centre, and so less disturbed by the
same revolutions.
    181. We are so unfortunate that we can only take pleasure in a
thing on condition of being annoyed if it turn out ill, as a
thousand things can do, and do every hour. He who should find the
secret of rejoicing in the good, without troubling himself with its
contrary evil, would have hit the mark. It is perpetual motion.
    182. Those who have always good hope in the midst of
misfortunes, and who are delighted with good luck, are suspected of
being very pleased with the ill success of the affair, if they are not
equally distressed by bad luck; and they are overjoyed to find these
pretexts of hope, in order to show that they are concerned and to
conceal by the joy which they feign to feel that which they have at
seeing the failure of the matter.
    183. We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put
something before us to prevent us seeing it.
                      SECTION III

    184. A letter to incite to the search after God.
    And then to make people seek Him among the philosophers, sceptics,
and dogmatists, who disquiet him who inquires of them.
    185. The conduct of God, who disposes all things kindly, is to put
religion into the mind by reason, and into the heart by grace. But
to will to put it into the mind and heart by force and threats is
not to put religion there, but terror; terorrem potius quam

    * "Terror which is more powerful than religion."

    186. Nisi terrerentur et non docerentur, improba quasi dominatio
videretur (St. Augustine, Epistle 48 or 49),* Contra Mendacium ad

    * "From fear that they are being led by terror, without
guidance, domination appears tyrannical."

    187. Order.- Men despise religion; they hate it and fear it is
true. To remedy this, we must begin by showing that religion is not
contrary to reason; that it is venerable, to inspire respect for it;
then we must make it lovable, to make good men hope it is true;
finally, we must prove it is true.
    Venerable, because it has perfect knowledge of man; lovable
because it promises the true good.
    188. In every dialogue and discourse, we must be able to say to
those who take offence, "Of what do you complain?"
    189. To begin by pitying unbelievers; they are wretched enough
by their condition. We ought only to revile them where it is
beneficial; but this does them harm.
    190. To pity atheists who seek, for are they not unhappy enough?
To inveigh against those who make a boast of it.
    191. And will this one scoff at the other? Who ought to scoff? And
yet, the latter does not scoff at the other, but pities him.
    192. To reproach Milton with not being troubled, since God will
reproach him.
    193. Quid fiet hominibus qui minima contemnunt, majora non

    * "What will become of men who mistake small things and do not
believe in greater?"

    194. ... Let them at least learn what is the religion they attack,
before attacking it. If this religion boasted of having a clear view
of God, and of possessing it open and unveiled, it would be
attacking it to say that we see nothing in the world which shows it
with this clearness. But since, on the contrary, it says that men
are in darkness and estranged from God, that He has hidden Himself
from their knowledge, that this is in fact the name which He gives
Himself in the Scriptures, Deus absconditus;* and finally, if it
endeavours equally to establish these two things: that God has set
up in the Church visible signs to make Himself known to those who
should seek Him sincerely, and that He has nevertheless so disguised
them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all
their heart; what advantage can they obtain, when, in the negligence
with which they make profession of being in search of the truth,
they cry out that nothing reveals it to them; and since that
darkness in which they are, and with which they upbraid the Church,
establishes only one of the things which she affirms, without touching
the other, and, very far from destroying, proves her doctrine?

    * Is. 45. 15. "Thou art a God that hidest thyself."

    In order to attack it, they should have protested that they had
made every effort to seek Him everywhere, and even in that which the
Church proposes for their instruction, but without satisfaction. If
they talked in this manner, they would in truth be attacking one of
her pretensions. But I hope here to show that no reasonable person can
speak thus, and I venture even to say that no one has ever done so. We
know well enough how those who are of this mind behave. They believe
they have made great efforts for their instruction when they have
spent a few hours in reading some book of Scripture and have
questioned some priests on the truths of the faith. After that, they
boast of having made vain search in books and among men. But,
verily, I will tell them what I have often said, that this
negligence is insufferable. We are not here concerned with the
trifling interests of some stranger, that we should treat it in this
fashion; the matter concerns ourselves and our all.
    The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great
consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have
lost all feeling to be indifferent as to knowing what it is. All our
actions and thoughts must take such different courses, according as
there are or are not eternal joys to hope for, that it is impossible
to take one step with sense and judgment unless we regulate our course
by our view of this point which ought to be our ultimate end.
    Thus our first interest and our first duty is to enlighten
ourselves on this subject, whereon depends all our conduct.
Therefore among those who do not believe, I make a vast difference
between those who strive with all their power to inform themselves and
those who live without troubling or thinking about it.
    I can have only compassion for those who sincerely bewail their
doubt, who regard it as the greatest of misfortunes, and who,
sparing no effort to escape it, make of this inquiry their principal
and most serious occupation.
    But as for those who pass their life without thinking of this
ultimate end of life, and who, for this sole reason that they do not
find within themselves the lights which convince them of it, neglect
to seek them elsewhere, and to examine thoroughly whether this opinion
is one of those which people receive with credulous simplicity, or one
of those which, although obscure in themselves, have nevertheless a
solid and immovable foundation, I look upon them in a manner quite
    This carelessness in a matter which concerns themselves, their
eternity, their all, moves me more to anger than pity; it astonishes
and shocks me; it is to me monstrous. I do not say this out of the
pious zeal of a spiritual devotion. I expect, on the contrary, that we
ought to have this feeling from principles of human interest and
self-love; for this we need only see what the least enlightened
persons see.
    We do not require great education of the mind to understand that
here is no real and lasting satisfaction; that our pleasures are
only vanity; that our evils are infinite; and, lastly, that death,
which threatens us every moment, must infallibly place us within a few
years under the dreadful necessity of being for ever either
annihilated or unhappy.
    There is nothing more real than this, nothing more terrible. Be we
as heroic as we like, that is the end which awaits the world. Let us
reflect on this and then say whether it is not beyond doubt that there
is no good in this life but in the hope of another; that we are
happy only in proportion as we draw near it; and that, as there are no
more woes for those who have complete assurance of eternity, so
there is no more happiness for those who have no insight into it.
    Surely then it is a great evil thus to be in doubt, but it is at
least an indispensable duty to seek when we are in such doubt; and
thus the doubter who does not seek is altogether completely unhappy
and completely wrong. And if besides this he is easy and content,
professes to be so, and indeed boasts of it; if it is this state
itself which is the subject of his joy and vanity, I have no words
to describe so silly a creature.
    How can people hold these opinions? What joy can we find in the
expectation of nothing but hopeless misery? What reason for boasting
that we are in impenetrable darkness? And how can it happen that the
following argument occurs to a reasonable man?
    "I know not who put me into the world, nor what the world is,
nor what I myself am. I am in terrible ignorance of everything. I know
not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul, not even that part of
me which thinks what I say, which reflects on all and on itself, and
knows itself no more than the rest. I see those frightful spaces of
the universe which surround me, and I find myself tied to one corner
of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place
rather than in another, nor why the short time which is given me to
live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the
whole eternity which was before me or which shall come after me. I see
nothing but infinites on all sides, which surround me as an atom and
as a shadow which endures only for an instant and returns no more. All
I know is that I must soon die, but what I know least is this very
death which I cannot escape.
    "As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I know
only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into
annihilation or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing to
which of these two states I shall be for ever assigned. Such is my
state, full of weakness and uncertainty. And from all this I
conclude that I ought to spend all the days of my life without
caring to inquire into what must happen to me. Perhaps I might find
some solution to my doubts, but I will not take the trouble, nor
take a step to seek it; and after treating with scorn those who are
concerned with this care, I will go without foresight and without fear
to try the great event, and let myself be led carelessly to death,
uncertain of the eternity of my future state."
    Who would desire to have for a friend a man who talks in this
fashion? Who would choose him out from others to tell him of his
affairs? Who would have recourse to him in affliction? And indeed to
what use in life could one put him?
    In truth, it is the glory of religion to have for enemies men so
unreasonable; and their opposition to it is so little dangerous that
it serves, on the contrary, to establish its truths. For the Christian
faith goes mainly to establish these two facts: the corruption of
nature, and redemption by Jesus Christ. Now I contend that, if these
men do not serve to prove the truth of the redemption by the
holiness of their behaviour, they at least serve admirably to show the
corruption of nature by sentiments so unnatural.
    Nothing is so important to man as his own state, nothing is so
formidable to him as eternity; and thus it is not natural that there
should be men indifferent to the loss of their existence, and to the
perils of everlasting suffering. They are quite different with
regard to all other things. They are afraid of mere trifles; they
foresee them; they feel them. And this same man who spends so many
days and nights in rage and despair for the loss of office, or for
some imaginary insult to his honour, is the very one who knows without
anxiety and without emotion that he will lose all by death. It is a
monstrous thing to see in the same heart and at the same time this
sensibility to trifles and this strange insensibility to the
greatest objects. It is an incomprehensible enchantment, and a
supernatural slumber, which indicates as its cause an all-powerful
    There must be a strange confusion in the nature of man, that he
should boast of being in that state in which it seems incredible
that a single individual should be. However, experience has shown me
so great a number of such persons that the fact would be surprising,
if we did not know that the greater part of those who trouble
themselves about the matter are disingenuous and not, in fact, what
they say. They are people who have heard it said that it is the
fashion to be thus daring. It is what they call "shaking off the
yoke," and they try to imitate this. But it would not be difficult
to make them understand how greatly they deceive themselves in thus
seeking esteem. This is not the way to gain it, even I say among those
men of the world who take a healthy view of things and who know that
the only way to succeed in this life is to make ourselves appear
honourable, faithful, judicious, and capable of useful service to a
friend; because naturally men love only what may be useful to them.
Now, what do we gain by hearing it said of a man that he has now
thrown off the yoke, that he does not believe there is a God who
watches our actions, that he considers himself the sole master of
his conduct, and that he thinks he is accountable for it only to
himself.? Does he think that he has thus brought us to have henceforth
complete confidence in him and to look to him for consolation, advice,
and help in every need of life? Do they profess to have delighted us
by telling us that they hold our soul to be only a little wind and
smoke, especially by telling us this in a haughty and self-satisfied
tone of voice? Is this a thing to say gaily? Is it not, on the
contrary, a thing to say sadly, as the saddest thing in the world?
    If they thought of it seriously, they would see that this is so
bad a mistake, so contrary to good sense, so opposed to decency, and
so removed in every respect from that good breeding which they seek,
that they would be more likely to correct than to pervert those who
had an inclination to follow them. And, indeed, make them give an
account of their opinions, and of the reasons which they have for
doubting religion, and they will say to you things so feeble and so
petty, that they persuade you of the contrary. The following is what a
person one day said to such a one very appositely: "If you continue to
talk in this manner, you will really make me religious." And he was
right, for who would not have a horror of holding opinions in which he
would have such contemptible persons as companions!
    Thus those who only feign these opinions would be very unhappy, if
they restrained their natural feelings in order to make themselves the
most conceited of men. If, at the bottom of their heart, they are
troubled at not having more light, let them not disguise the fact;
this avowal will not be shameful. The only shame is to have none.
Nothing reveals more an extreme weakness of mind than not to know
the misery of a godless man. Nothing is more indicative of a bad
disposition of heart than not to desire the truth of eternal promises.
Nothing is more dastardly than to act with bravado before God. Let
them then leave these impieties to those who are sufficiently ill-bred
to be really capable of them. Let them at least be honest men, if they
cannot be Christians. Finally, let them recognise that there are two
kinds of people one can call reasonable; those who serve God with
all their heart because they know Him, and those who seek Him with all
their heart because they do not know Him.
    But as for those who live without knowing Him and without
seeking Him, they judge themselves so little worthy of their own care,
that they are not worthy of the care of others; and it needs all the
charity of the religion which they despise, not to despise them even
to the point of leaving them to their folly. But because this religion
obliges us always to regard them, so long as they are in this life, as
capable of the grace which can enlighten them, and to believe that
they may, in a little time, be more replenished with faith than we
are, and that, on the other hand, we may fall into the blindness
wherein they are, we must do for them what we would they should do for
us if we were in their place, and call upon them to have pity upon
themselves, and to take at least some steps in the endeavour to find
light. Let them give to reading this some of the hours which they
otherwise employ so uselessly; whatever aversion they may bring to the
task, they will perhaps gain something, and at least will not lose
much. But as for those who bring to the task perfect sincerity and a
real desire to meet with truth, those I hope will be satisfied and
convinced of the proofs of a religion so divine, which I have here
collected, and in which I have followed somewhat after this order...
    195. Before entering into the proofs of the Christian religion,
I find it necessary to point out the sinfulness of those men who
live in indifference to the search for truth in a matter which is so
important to them, and which touches them so nearly.
    Of all their errors, this doubtless is the one which most convicts
them of foolishness and blindness, and in which it is easiest to
confound them by the first glimmerings of common sense and by
natural feelings.
    For it is not to be doubted that the duration of this life is
but a moment; that the state of death is eternal, whatever may be
its nature; and that thus all our actions and thoughts must take
such different directions, according to the state of that eternity,
that it is impossible to take one step with sense and judgement,
unless we regulate our course by the truth of that point which ought
to be our ultimate end.
    There is nothing clearer than this; and thus, according to the
principles of reason, the conduct of men is wholly unreasonable, if
they do not take another course.
    On this point, therefore, we condemn those who live without
thought of the ultimate end of life, who let themselves be guided by
their own inclinations and their own pleasures without reflection
and without concern, and, as if they could annihilate eternity by
turning away their thought from it, think only of making themselves
happy for the moment.
    Yet this eternity exists, and death, which must open into it and
threatens them every hour, must in a little time infallibly put them
under the dreadful necessity of being either annihilated or unhappy
for ever, without knowing which of these eternities is for ever
prepared for them.
    This is a doubt of terrible consequence. They are in peril of
eternal woe and thereupon, as if the matter were not worth the
trouble, they neglect to inquire whether this is one of those opinions
which people receive with too credulous a facility, or one of those
which, obscure in themselves, have a very firm, though hidden,
foundation. Thus they know not whether there be truth or falsity in
the matter, nor whether there be strength or weakness in the proofs.
They have them before their eyes; they refuse to look at them; and
in that ignorance they choose all that is necessary to fall into
this misfortune if it exists, to await death to make trial of it,
yet to be very content in this state, to make profession of it, and
indeed to boast of it. Can we think seriously of the importance of
this subject without being horrified at conduct so extravagant?
    This resting in ignorance is a monstrous thing, and they who
pass their life in it must be made to feel its extravagance and
stupidity, by having it shown to them, so that they may be
confounded by the sight of their folly. For this is how men reason,
when they choose to live in such ignorance of what they are and
without seeking enlightenment. "I know not," they say...
    196. Men lack heart; they would not make a friend of it.
    197. To be insensible to the extent of despising interesting
things, and to become insensible to the point which interests us most.
    198. The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to
great things, indicates a strange inversion.
    199. Let us imagine a number of men in chains and all condemned to
death, where some are killed each day in the sight of the others,
and those who remain see their own fate in that of their fellows and
wait their turn, looking at each other sorrowfully and without hope.
It is an image of the condition of men.
    200. A man in a dungeon, ignorant whether his sentence be
pronounced and having only one hour to learn it, but this hour enough,
if he knew that it is pronounced, to obtain its repeal, would act
unnaturally in spending that hour, not in ascertaining his sentence,
but in playing piquet. So it is against nature that man, etc. It is
making heavy the hand of God.
    Thus not only the zeal of those who seek Him proves God, but
also the blindness of those who seek Him not.
    201. All the objections of this one and that one only go against
themselves, and not against religion. All that infidels say ...
    202. From those who are in despair at being without faith, we
see that God does not enlighten them; but as to the rest, we see there
is a God who makes them blind.
    203. Fascinatio nugacitatis.* - That passion may not harm us,
let us act as if we had only eight hours to live.

    * Wisd. of Sol. 4. 12. "Bewitching of naughtiness."

    204. If we ought to devote eight hours of life, we ought to devote
a hundred years.
    205. When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up
in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill and
even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which
I am ignorant and which know me not, I am frightened and am astonished
at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here
rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By
whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to
me? Memoria hospitis unius diei praetereuntis.*

    * Wisd. of Sol. 5. 15. "The remembrance of a guest that tarrieth
but a day."

    206. The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.
    207. How many kingdoms know us not!
    208. Why is my knowledge limited? Why my stature? Why my life to
one hundred years rather than to a thousand? What reason has nature
had for giving me such, and for choosing this number rather than
another in the infinity of those from which there is no more reason to
choose one than another, trying nothing else?
    209. Art thou less a slave by being loved and favoured by thy
master? Thou art indeed well off, slave. Thy master favours thee; he
will soon beat thee.
    210. The last act is tragic, however happy all the rest of the
play is; at the last a little earth is thrown upon our head, and
that is the end for ever.
    211. We are fools to depend upon the society of our fellow-men.
Wretched as we are, powerless as we are, they will not aid us; we
shall die alone. We should therefore act as if we were alone, and in
that case should we build fine houses, etc. We should seek the truth
without hesitation; and, if we refuse it, we show that we value the
esteem of men more than the search for truth.
    212. Instability.- It is a horrible thing to feel all that we
possess slipping away.
    213. Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is
the frailest thing in the world.
    214. Injustice.- That presumption should be joined to meanness
is extreme injustice.
    215. To fear death without danger, and not in danger, for one must
be a man.
    216. Sudden death alone is feared; hence confessors stay with
    217. An heir finds the title-deeds of his house. Will he say,
"Perhaps they are forged" and neglect to examine them?
    218. Dungeon.- I approve of not examining the opinion of
Copernicus; but this...! It concerns all our life to know whether
the soul be mortal or immortal.
    219. It is certain that the mortality or immortality of the soul
must make an entire difference to morality. And yet philosophers
have constructed their ethics independently of this: they discuss to
pass an hour.
    Plato, to incline to Christianity.
    220. The fallacy of philosophers who have not discussed the
immortality of the soul. The fallacy of their dilemma in Montaigne.
    221. Atheists ought to say what is perfectly evident; now it is
not perfectly evident that the soul is material.
    222. Atheists.- What reason have they for saying that we cannot
rise from the dead? What is more difficult, to be born or to rise
again; that what has never been should be, or that what has been
should be again? Is it more difficult to come into existence than to
return to it? Habit makes the one appear easy to us; want of habit
makes the other impossible. A popular way of thinking!
    Why cannot a virgin bear a child? Does a hen not lay eggs
without a cock? What distinguishes these outwardly from others? And
who has told us that the hen may not form the germ as well as the
    223. What have they to say against the resurrection, and against
the child-bearing of the Virgin? Which is the more difficult, to
produce a man or an animal, or to reproduce it? And if they had
never seen any species of animals, could they have conjectured whether
they were produced without connection with each other?
    224. How I hate these follies of not believing in the Eucharist,
etc.! If the Gospel be true, if Jesus Christ be God, what difficulty
is there?
    225. Atheism shows strength of mind, but only to a certain degree.
    226. Infidels, who profess to follow reason, ought to be
exceedingly strong in reason. What say they then? "Do we not see," say
they, "that the brutes live and die like men, and Turks like
Christians? They have their ceremonies, their prophets, their doctors,
their saints, their monks, like us," etc. (Is this contrary to
Scripture? Does it not say all this?)
    If you care but little to know the truth, here is enough of it
to leave you in repose. But if you desire with all your heart to
know it, it is not enough; look at it in detail. This would be
sufficient for a question in philosophy; but not here, where it
concerns your all. And yet, after a trifling reflection of this
kind, we go to amuse ourselves, etc. Let us inquire of this same
religion whether it does not give a reason for this obscurity; perhaps
it will teach it to us.
     227. Order by dialogues.- What ought I to do? I see only darkness
everywhere. Shall I believe I am nothing? Shall I believe I am God?
    "All things change and succeed each other." You are mistaken;
there is...
    228. Objection of atheists: "But we have no light."
    229. This is what I see and what troubles me. I look on all sides,
and I see only darkness everywhere. Nature presents to me nothing
which is not matter of doubt and concern. If I saw nothing there which
revealed a Divinity, I would come to a negative conclusion; if I saw
everywhere the signs of a Creator, I would remain peacefully in faith.
But, seeing too much to deny and too little to be sure, I am in a
state to be pitied; wherefore I have a hundred times wished that if
a God maintains Nature, she should testify to Him unequivocally, and
that, if the signs she gives are deceptive, she should suppress them
altogether; that she should say everything or nothing, that I might
see which cause I ought to follow. Whereas in my present state,
ignorant of what I am or of what I ought to do, I know neither my
condition nor my duty. My heart inclines wholly to know where is the
true good, in order to follow it; nothing would be too dear to me
for eternity.
    I envy those whom I see living in the faith with such carelessness
and who make such a bad use of a gift of which it seems to me I
would make such a different use.
    230. It is incomprehensible that God should exist, and it is
incomprehensible that He should not exist; that the soul should be
joined to the body, and that we should have no soul; that the world
should be created, and that it should not be created, etc.; that
original sin should be, and that it should not be.
    231. Do you believe it to be impossible that God is infinite,
without parts? Yes. I wish therefore to show you an infinite and
indivisible thing. It is a point moving everywhere with an infinite
velocity; for it is one in all places and is all totality in every
    Let this effect of nature, which previously seemed to you
impossible, make you know that there may be others of which you are
still ignorant. Do not draw this conclusion from your experiment, that
there remains nothing for you to know; but rather that there remains
an infinity for you to know.
    232. Infinite movement, the point which fills everything, the
moment of rest; infinite without quantity, indivisible and infinite.
    233. Infinite- nothing.- Our soul is cast into a body, where it
finds number, dimension. Thereupon it reasons, and calls this nature
necessity, and can believe nothing else.
    Unity joined to infinity adds nothing to it, no more than one foot
to an infinite measure. The finite is annihilated in the presence of
the infinite, and becomes a pure nothing. So our spirit before God, so
our justice before divine justice. There is not so great a
disproportion between our justice and that of God as between unity and
    The justice of God must be vast like His compassion. Now justice
to the outcast is less vast and ought less to offend our feelings than
mercy towards the elect.
    We know that there is an infinite, and are ignorant of its nature.
As we know it to be false that numbers are finite, it is therefore
true that there is an infinity in number. But we do not know what it
is. It is false that it is even, it is false that it is odd; for the
addition of a unit can make no change in its nature. Yet it is a
number, and every number is odd or even (this is certainly true of
every finite number). So we may well know that there is a God
without knowing what He is. Is there not one substantial truth, seeing
there are so many things which are not the truth itself?
    We know then the existence and nature of the finite, because we
also are finite and have extension. We know the existence of the
infinite and are ignorant of its nature, because it has extension like
us, but not limits like us. But we know neither the existence nor
the nature of God, because He has neither extension nor limits.
    But by faith we know His existence; in glory we shall know His
nature. Now, I have already shown that we may well know the
existence of a thing, without knowing its nature.
    Let us now speak according to natural lights.
    If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since,
having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then
incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is. This being so, who
will dare to undertake the decision of the question? Not we, who
have no affinity to Him.
    Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give a reason
for their belief, since they profess a religion for which they
cannot give a reason? They declare, in expounding it to the world,
that it is a foolishness, stultitiam;* and then you complain that they
do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it
is in lacking proofs that they are not lacking in sense. "Yes, but
although this excuses those who offer it as such and takes away from
them the blame of putting it forward without reason, it does not
excuse those who receive it." Let us then examine this point, and say,
"God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can
decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us.
A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance
where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to
reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to
reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.

    * I Cor. 1. 21.

    Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice;
for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having
made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses
heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both
in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."
    Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked.
Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let
us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the
true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will,
your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to
shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one
rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose. This is one
point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the
loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If
you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then,
without hesitation that He is. "That is very fine. Yes, I must
wager; but I may perhaps wager too much." Let us see. Since there is
an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two
lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were
three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the
necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced
to play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where there
is an equal risk of loss and gain. But there is an eternity of life
and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of
chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be
right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being
obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game
in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you, if
there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But
there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a
chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what
you stake is finite. It is all divided; where-ever the infinite is and
there is not an infinity of chances of loss against that of gain,
there is no time to hesitate, you must give all. And thus, when one is
forced to play, he must renounce reason to preserve his life, rather
than risk it for infinite gain, as likely to happen as the loss of
    For it is no use to say it is uncertain if we will gain, and it is
certain that we risk, and that the infinite distance between the
certainly of what is staked and the uncertainty of what will be
gained, equals the finite good which is certainly staked against the
uncertain infinite. It is not so, as every player stakes a certainty
to gain an uncertainty, and yet he stakes a finite certainty to gain a
finite uncertainty, without transgressing against reason. There is not
an infinite distance between the certainty staked and the
uncertainty of the gain; that is untrue. In truth, there is an
infinity between the certainty of gain and the certainty of loss.
But the uncertainty of the gain is proportioned to the certainty of
the stake according to the proportion of the chances of gain and loss.
Hence it comes that, if there are as many risks on one side as on
the other, the course is to play even; and then the certainty of the
stake is equal to the uncertainty of the gain, so far is it from
fact that there is an infinite distance between them. And so our
proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in
a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the
infinite to gain. This is demonstrable; and if men are capable of
any truths, this is one.
    "I confess it, I admit it. But, still, is there no means of seeing
the faces of the cards?" Yes, Scripture and the rest, etc. "Yes, but I
have my hands tied and my mouth closed; I am forced to wager, and am
not free. I am not released, and am so made that I cannot believe.
What, then, would you have me do?"
    True. But at least learn your inability to believe, since reason
brings you to this, and yet you cannot believe. Endeavour, then, to
convince yourself, not by increase of proofs of God, but by the
abatement of your passions. You would like to attain faith and do
not know the way; you would like to cure yourself of unbelief and
ask the remedy for it. Learn of those who have been bound like you,
and who now stake all their possessions. These are people who know the
way which you would follow, and who are cured of an ill of which you
would be cured. Follow the way by which they began; by acting as if
they believed, taking the holy water, having masses said, etc. Even
this will naturally make you believe, and deaden your acuteness.
"But this is what I am afraid of." And why? What have you to lose?
    But to show you that this leads you there, it is this which will
lessen the passions, which are your stumbling-blocks.
    The end of this discourse.- Now, what harm will befall you in
taking this side? You will be faithful, humble, grateful, generous,
a sincere friend, truthful. Certainly you will not have those
poisonous pleasures, glory and luxury; but will you not have others? I
will tell you that you will thereby gain in this life, and that, at
each step you take on this road, you will see so great certainty of
gain, so much nothingness in what you risk, that you will at last
recognise that you have wagered for something certain and infinite,
for which you have given nothing.
    "Ah! This discourse transports me, charms me," etc.
    If this discourse pleases you and seems impressive, know that it
is made by a man who has knelt, both before and after it, in prayer to
that Being, infinite and without parts, before whom he lays all he
has, for you also to lay before Him all you have for your own good and
for His glory, that so strength may be given to lowliness.
    234. If we must not act save on a certainty, we ought not to act
on religion, for it is not certain. But how many things we do on an
uncertainty, sea voyages, battles! I say then we must do nothing at
all, for nothing is certain, and that there is more certainty in
religion than there is as to whether we may see to-morrow; for it is
not certain that we may see to-morrow, and it is certainly possible
that we may not, see it. We cannot say as much about religion. It is
not certain that it is; but who will venture to say that it is
certainly possible that it is not? Now when we work for to-morrow, and
so on an uncertainty, we act reasonably; for we ought to work for an
uncertainty according to the doctrine of chance which was demonstrated
    Saint Augustine has seen that we work for an uncertainty, on
sea, in battle, etc. But he has not seen the doctrine of chance
which proves that we should do so. Montaigne has seen that we are
shocked at a fool, and that habit is all-powerful; but he has not seen
the reason of this effect.
    All these persons have seen the effects, but they have not seen
the causes. They are, in comparison with those who have discovered the
causes, as those who have only eyes are in comparison with those who
have intellect. For the effects are perceptible by sense, and the
causes are visible only to the intellect. And although these effects
are seen by the mind, this mind is, in comparison with the mind
which sees the causes, as the bodily senses are in comparison with the
    235. Rem viderunt, causam non viderunt.*

    * "They have seen the thing; they have not seen the cause." St.
Augustine, Contra Pelagium, iv.

    236. According to the doctrine of chance, you ought to put
yourself to the trouble of searching for the truth; for if you die
without worshipping the True Cause, you are lost. "But," say you,
"if He had wished me to worship Him, He would have left me signs of
His will." He has done so; but you neglect them. Seek them, therefore;
it is well worth it.
    237. Chances.- We must live differently in the world, according to
these different assumptions: (1) that we could always remain in it;
(2) that it is certain that we shall not remain here long, and
uncertain if we shall remain here one hour. This last assumption is
our condition.
    238. What do you then promise me, in addition to certain troubles,
but ten years of self-love (for ten years is the chance), to try
hard to please without success?
    239. Objection.- Those who hope for salvation are so far happy;
but they have as a counterpoise the fear of hell.
    Reply.- Who has most reason to fear hell: he who is in ignorance
whether there is a hell, and who is certain of damnation if there
is; or he who certainly believes there is a hell and hopes to be saved
if there is?
    240. "I would soon have renounced pleasure," say they, "had I
faith." For my part I tell you, "You would soon have faith, if you
renounced pleasure." Now, it is for you to begin. If I could, I
would give you faith. I cannot do so, nor therefore test the truth
of what you say. But you can well renounce pleasure and test whether
what I say is true.
    241. Order.- I would have far more fear of being mistaken, and
of finding that the Christian religion was true, than of not being
mistaken in believing it true.
                          SECTION IV
                    OF THE MEANS OF BELIEF

    242. Preface to the second part.- To speak of those who have
treated of this matter.
    I admire the boldness with which these persons undertake to
speak of God. In addressing their argument to infidels, their first
chapter is to prove Divinity from the works of nature. I should not be
astonished at their enterprise, if they were addressing their argument
to the faithful; for it is certain that those who have the living
faith in their hearts see at once that all existence is none other
than the work of the God whom they adore. But for those in whom this
light is extinguished, and in whom we purpose to rekindle it,
persons destitute of faith and grace, who, seeking with all their
light whatever they see in nature that can bring them to this
knowledge, find only obscurity and darkness; to tell them that they
have only to look at the smallest things which surround them, and they
will see God openly, to give them, as a complete proof of this great
and important matter, the course of the moon and planets, and to claim
to have concluded the proof with such an argument, is to give them
ground for believing that the proofs of our religion are very weak.
And I see by reason and experience that nothing is more calculated
to arouse their contempt.
    It is not after this manner that Scripture speaks, which has a
better knowledge of the things that are of God. It says, on the
contrary, that God is a hidden God, and that, since the corruption
of nature, He has left men in a darkness from which they can escape
only through Jesus Christ, without whom all communion with God is
cut off. Nemo novit Patrem, nisi Filius, et cui voluerit Filius

    * Matt 11. 27 "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son,
and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."

    This is what Scripture points out to us, when it says in so many
places that those who seek God find Him. It is not of that light,
"like the noonday sun," that this is said. We do not say that those
who seek the noonday sun, or water in the sea, shall find them; and
hence the evidence of God must not be of this nature. So it tells us
elsewhere: Vere tu es Deus absconditus.*

    * Is. 45. 15. "Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself."

    243. It is an astounding fact that no canonical writer has ever
made use of nature to prove God. They all strive to make us believe in
Him. David, Solomon, etc., have never said, "There is no void,
therefore there is a God." They must have had more knowledge than
the most learned people who came after them, and who have all made use
of this argument. This is worthy of attention.
    244. "Why! Do you not say yourself that the heavens and birds
prove God?" No. "And does your religion not say so"? No. For
although it is true in a sense for some souls to whom God gives this
light, yet it is false with respect to the majority of men.
    245. There are three sources of belief: reason, custom,
inspiration. The Christian religion, which alone has reason, does
not acknowledge as her true children those who believe without
inspiration. It is not that she excludes reason and custom. On the
contrary, the mind must be opened to proofs, must be confirmed by
custom and offer itself in humbleness to inspirations, which alone can
produce a true and saving effect. Ne evacuetur crux Christi.*

    * I Cor. 1. 17. "Lest the cross of Christ should be made of none

    246. Order.- After the letter That we ought to seek God, to
write the letter On removing obstacles, which is the discourse on "the
machine," on preparing the machine, on seeking by reason.
    247. Order.- A letter of exhortation to a friend to induce him
to seek. And he will reply, "But what is the use of seeking? Nothing
is seen." Then to reply to him, "Do not despair." And he will answer
that he would be glad to find some light, but that, according to
this very religion, if he believed in it, it will be of no use to him,
and that therefore he prefers not to seek. And to answer to that:
The machine.
    248. A letter which indicates the use of proofs by the machine.-
Faith is different from proof; the one is human, the other is a gift
of God. Justus ex fide vivit.* It is this faith that God Himself
puts into the heart, of which the proof is often the instrument, fides
ex auditu;*(2) but this faith is in the heart, and makes us not say
scio, but credo.*(3)

    * Rom. 1. 17. "The just shall live by faith."
    *(2) Rom. 10. 17. "Faith cometh by hearing."
    *(3) "I know." "I believe."

     249. It is superstition to put one's hope in formalities; but
it is pride to be unwilling to submit to them.
    250. The external must be joined to the internal to obtain
anything from God, that is to say, we must kneel, pray with the
lips, etc., in order that proud man, who would not submit himself to
God, may be now subject to the creature. To expect help from these
externals is superstition; to refuse to join them to the internal is
    251. Other religions, as the pagan, are more popular, for they
consist in externals. But they are not for educated people. A purely
intellectual religion would be more suited to the learned, but it
would be of no use to the common people. The Christian religion
alone is adapted to all, being composed of externals and internals. It
raises the common people to the internal, and humbles the proud to the
external; it is not perfect without the two, for the people must
understand the spirit of the letter, and the learned must submit their
spirit to the letter.
    252. For we must not misunderstand ourselves; we are as much
automatic as intellectual; and hence it comes that the instrument by
which conviction is attained is not demonstrated alone. How few things
are demonstrated! Proofs only convince the mind. Custom is the
source of our strongest and most believed proofs. It bends the
automaton, which persuades the mind without its thinking about the
matter. Who has demonstrated that there will be a to-morrow and that
we shall die? And what is more believed? It is, then, custom which
persuades us of it; it is custom that makes so many men Christians;
custom that makes them Turks, heathens, artisans, soldiers, etc.
(Faith in baptism is more received among Christians than among Turks.)
Finally, we must have recourse to it when once the mind has seen where
the truth is, in order to quench our thirst, and steep ourselves in
that belief, which escapes us at every hour; for always to have proofs
ready is too much trouble. We must get an easier belief, which is that
of custom, which, without violence, without art, without argument,
makes us believe things and inclines all our powers to this belief, so
that our soul falls naturally into it. It is not enough to believe
only by force of conviction, when the automaton is inclined to believe
the contrary. Both our parts must be made to believe, the mind by
reasons which it is sufficient to have seen once in a lifetime, and
the automaton by custom, and by not allowing it to incline to the
contrary. Inclina cor meum, Deus.*

    * Ps. 119. 36. "Incline my heart, O Lord."

    The reason acts slowly, with so many examinations and on so many
principles, which must be always present, that at every hour it
falls asleep, or wanders, through want of having all its principles
present. Feeling does not act thus; it acts in a moment, and is always
ready to act. We must then put our faith in feeling; otherwise it will
be always vacillating.
    253. Two extremes: to exclude reason, to admit reason only.
    254. It is not a rare thing to have to reprove the world for too
much docility. It is a natural vice like credulity, and as pernicious.
    255. Piety is different from superstition.
    To carry piety as far as superstition is to destroy it.
    The heretics reproach us for this superstitious submission. This
is to do what they reproach us for...
    Infidelity, not to believe in the Eucharist, because it is not
    Superstition to believe propositions. Faith, etc.
    256. I say there are few true Christians, even as regards faith.
There are many who believe but from superstition. There are many who
do not believe solely from wickedness. Few are between the two.
    In this I do not include those who are of truly pious character,
nor all those who believe from a feeling in their heart.
    257. There are only three kinds of persons; those who serve God,
having found Him; others who are occupied in seeking Him, not having
found Him; while the remainder live without seeking Him and without
having found Him. The first are reasonable and happy, the last are
foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and reasonable.
    258. Unusquisque sibi Deum fingit.*

    * Wisd. of Sol. 15. 8, 16. "He moulds a God... like unto himself."

    259. Ordinary people have the power of not thinking of that
about which they do not wish to think. "Do not meditate on the
passages about the Messiah, said the Jew to his son. Thus our people
often act. Thus are false religions preserved, and even the true
one, in regard to many persons.
    But there are some who have not the power of thus preventing
thought, and who think so much the more as they are forbidden. These
undo false religions and even the true one, if they do not find
solid arguments.
    260. They hide themselves in the press and call numbers to their
rescue. Tumult.
    Authority.- So far from making it a rule to believe a thing
because you have heard it, you ought to believe nothing without
putting yourself into the position as if you had never heard it.
    It is your own assent to yourself, and the constant voice of
your own reason, and not of others, that should make you believe.
    Belief is so important! A hundred contradictions might be true. If
antiquity were the rule of belief, men of ancient time would then be
without rule. If general consent, if men had perished?
    False humanity, pride.
    Lift the curtain. You try in vain; if you must either believe,
or deny, or doubt. Shall we then have no rule? We judge that animals
do well what they do. Is there no rule whereby to judge men?
    To deny, to believe, and to doubt well, are to a man what the race
is to a horse.
    Punishment of those who sin, error.
    261. Those who do not love the truth take as a pretext that it
is disputed, and that a multitude deny it. And so their error arises
only from this, that they do not love either truth or charity. Thus
they are without excuse.
    262. Superstition and lust. Scruples, evil desires. Evil fear;
fear, not such as comes from a belief in God, but such as comes from a
doubt whether He exists or not. True fear comes from faith; false fear
comes from doubt. True fear is joined to hope, because it is born of
faith, and because men hope in the God in whom they believe. False
fear is joined to despair, because men fear the God in whom they
have no belief. The former fear to lose Him; the latter fear to find
    263. "A miracle," says one, "would strengthen my faith." He says
so when he does not see one. Reasons, seen from afar, appear to
limit our view; but when they are reached, we begin to see beyond.
Nothing stops the nimbleness of our mind. There is no rule, say we,
which has not some exceptions, no truth so general which has not
some aspect in which it fails. It is sufficient that it be not
absolutely universal to give us a pretext for applying the
exceptions to the present subject and for saying, "This is not
always true; there are therefore cases where it is not so." It only
remains to show that this is one of them; and that is why we are
very awkward or unlucky, if we do not find one some day.
    264. We do not weary of eating and sleeping every day, for
hunger and sleepiness recur. Without that we should weary of them. So,
without the hunger for spiritual things, we weary of them. Hunger
after righteousness, the eighth beautitude.
    265. Faith indeed tells what the senses do not tell, but not the
contrary of what they see. It is above them and not contrary to them.
    266. How many stars have telescopes revealed to us which did not
exist for our philosophers of old! We freely attack Holy Scripture
on the great number of stars, saying, "There are only one thousand and
twenty-eight, we know it." There is grass on the earth, we see it-
from the moon we would not see it- and on the grass are leaves, and in
these leaves are small animals; but after that no more. O presumptuous
man! The compounds are composed of elements, and the elements not. O
presumptuous man! Here is a fine reflection. We must not say that
there is anything which we do not see. We must then talk like
others, but not think like them.
    267. The last proceeding of reason is to recognise that there is
an infinity of things which are beyond it. It is but feeble if it does
not see so far as to know this. But if natural things are beyond it,
what will be said of supernatural?
    268. Submission.- We must know where to doubt, where to feel
certain, where to submit. He who does not do so understands not the
force of reason. There are some who offend against these three
rules, either by affirming everything as demonstrative, from want of
knowing what demonstration is; or by doubting everything, from want of
knowing where to submit; or by submitting in everything, from want
of knowing where they must judge.
    269. Submission is the use of reason in which consists true
    270. Saint Augustine.- Reason would never submit, if it did not
judge that there are some occasions on which it ought to submit. It is
then right for it to submit, when it judges that it ought to submit.
    271. Wisdom sends us to childhood. Nisi efficiamini sicut

    * Matt. 18. 3. "Except ye become as little children."

    272. There is nothing so conformable to reason as this disavowal
of reason.
    273. If we submit everything to reason, our religion will have
no mysterious and supernatural element. If we offend the principles of
reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.
    274. All our reasoning reduces itself to yielding to feeling.
    But fancy is like, though contrary to, feeling, so that we
cannot distinguish between these contraries. One person says that my
feeling is fancy, another that his fancy is feeling. We should have
a rule. Reason offers itself; but it is pliable in every sense; and
thus there is no rule.
    275. Men often take their imagination for their heart; and they
believe they are converted as soon as they think of being converted.
    276. M. de Roannez said: "Reasons come to me afterwards, but at
first a thing pleases or shocks me without my knowing the reason,
and yet it shocks me for that reason which I only discover
afterwards." But I believe, not that it shocked him for the reasons
which were found afterwards, but that these reasons were only found
because it shocked him.
    277. The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know. We
feel it in a thousand things. I say that the heart naturally loves the
Universal Being, and also itself naturally, according as it gives
itself to them; and it hardens itself against one or the other at
its will. You have rejected the one and kept the other. Is it by
reason that you love yourself?
    278. It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason.
This, then, is faith: God felt by the heart, not by the reason.
    Faith is a gift of God; do not believe that we said it was a
gift of reasoning. Other religions do not say this of their faith.
They only give reasoning in order to arrive at it, and yet it does not
bring them to it.
    279. Faith is a gift of God; do not believe that we said it was
a gift of reasoning. Other religions do not say this of their faith.
They only gave reasoning in order to arrive at it, and yet it does not
bring them to it.
    280. The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him.
    281. Heart, instinct, principles.
    282. We know truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart,
and it is in this last way that we know first principles; and
reason, which has no part in it, tries in vain to impugn them. The
sceptics, who have only this for their object, labour to no purpose.
We know that we do not dream, and, however impossible it is for us
to prove it by reason, this inability demonstrates only the weakness
of our reason, but not, as they affirm, the uncertainty of all our
knowledge. For the knowledge of first principles, as space, time,
motion, number, is as sure as any of those which we get from
reasoning. And reason must trust these intuitions of the heart, and
must base them on every argument. (We have intuitive knowledge of
the tri-dimensional nature of space and of the infinity of number, and
reason then shows that there are no two square numbers one of which is
double of the other. Principles are intuited, propositions are
inferred, all with certainty, though in different ways.) And it is
as useless and absurd for reason to demand from the heart proofs of
her first principles, before admitting them, as it would be for the
heart to demand from reason an intuition of all demonstrated
propositions before accepting them.
    This inability ought, then, to serve only to humble reason,
which would judge all, but not to impugn our certainty, as if only
reason were capable of instructing us. Would to God, on the
contrary, that we had never need of it, and that we knew everything by
instinct and intuition! But nature has refused us this boon. On the
contrary, she has given us but very little knowledge of this kind; and
all the rest can be acquired only by reasoning.
    Therefore, those to whom God has imparted religion by intuition
are very fortunate and justly convinced. But to those who do not
have it, we can give it only by reasoning, waiting for God to give
them spiritual insight, without which faith is only human and
useless for salvation.
    283. Order.- Against the objection that Scripture has no order.
    The heart has its own order; the intellect has its own, which is
by principle and demonstration. The heart has another. We do not prove
that we ought to be loved by enumerating in order the causes of
love; that would be ridiculous.
    Jesus Christ and Saint Paul employ the rule of love, not of
intellect; for they would warm, not instruct. It is the same with
Saint Augustine. This order consists chiefly in digressions on each
point to indicate the end, and keep it always in sight.
    284. Do not wonder to see simple people believe without reasoning.
God imparts to them love of Him and hatred of self. He inclines
their heart to believe. Men will never believe with a saving and
real faith, unless God inclines their heart; and they will believe
as soon as He inclines it. And this is what David knew well, when he
said: Inclina cor meum, Deus, in... *

    * Ps. 119. 36. "Incline my heart, O Lord, unto thy testimonies."

    285. Religion is suited to all kinds of minds. Some pay
attention only to its establishment, and this religion is such that
its very establishment suffices to prove its truth. Others trace it
even to the apostles. The more learned go back to the beginning of the
world. The angels see it better still, and from a more distant time.
    286. Those who believe without having read the Testaments, do so
because they have an inward disposition entirely holy, and all that
they hear of our religion conforms to it. They feel that a God has
made them; they desire only to love God; they desire to hate
themselves only. They feel that they have no strength in themselves;
that they are incapable of coming to God; and that if God does not
come to them, they can have no communion with Him. And they hear our
religion say that men must love God only, and hate self only; but
that, all being corrupt and unworthy of God, God made Himself man to
unite Himself to us. No more is required to persuade men who have this
disposition in their heart, and who have this knowledge of their
duty and of their inefficiency.
    287. Those whom we see to be Christians without the knowledge of
the prophets and evidences, nevertheless judge of their religion as
well as those who have that knowledge. They judge of it by the
heart, as others judge of it by the intellect. God himself inclines
them to believe, and thus they are most effectively convinced.
    I confess indeed that one of those Christians who believe
without proofs will not, perhaps, be capable of convincing an
infidel who will say the same of himself. But those who know the
proofs of religion will prove without difficulty that such a
believer is truly inspired by God, though he cannot prove it himself.
    For God having said in His prophecies (which are undoubtedly
prophecies) that in the reign of Jesus Christ He would spread His
spirit abroad among nations, and that the youths and maidens and
children of the Church would prophesy; it is certain that the Spirit
of God is in these and not in the others.
    288. Instead of complaining that God had hidden Himself, you
will give Him thanks for not having revealed so much of Himself; and
you will also give Him thanks for not having revealed Himself to
haughty sages, unworthy to know so holy a God.
    Two kinds of persons know Him: those who have a humble heart,
and who love lowliness, whatever kind of intellect they may have, high
or low; and those who have sufficient understanding to see the
truth, whatever opposition they may have to it.
    289. Proof.- 1. The Christian religion, by its establishment,
having established itself so strongly, so gently, whilst so contrary
to nature. 2. The sanctity, the dignity, and the humility of a
Christian soul. 3. The miracles of Holy Scripture. 4. Jesus Christ
in particular. 5. The apostles in particular. 6. Moses and the
prophets in particular. 7. The Jewish people. 8. The prophecies. 9.
Perpetuity; no religion has perpetuity. 10. The doctrine which gives a
reason for everything. 11. The sanctity of this law. 12. By the course
of the world.
    Surely, after considering what is life and what is religion, we
should not refuse to obey the inclination to follow it, if it comes
into our heart; and it is certain that there is no ground for laughing
at those who follow it.
    290. Proofs of religion.- Morality, doctrine, miracles,
prophecies, types.
                         SECTION V

    291. In the letter On Injustice can come the ridiculousness of the
law that the elder gets all. "My friend, you were born on this side of
the mountain, it is therefore just that your elder brother gets
    "Why do you kill me"?
    292. He lives on the other side of the water.
    293. "Why do you kill me? What! do you not live on the other
side of the water? If you lived on this side, my friend, I should be
an assassin, and it would be unjust to slay you in this manner. But
since you live on the other side, I am a hero, and it is just."
    294. On what shall man found the order of the world which he would
govern? Shall it be on the caprice of each individual? What confusion!
Shall it be on justice? Man is ignorant of it.
    Certainly, had he known it, he would not have established this
maxim, the most general of all that obtain among men, that each should
follow the custom of his own country. The glory of true equity would
have brought all nations under subjection, and legislators would not
have taken as their model the fancies and caprice of Persians and
Germans instead of this unchanging justice. We would have seen it
set up in all the States on earth and in all times; whereas we see
neither justice nor injustice which does not change its nature with
change in climate. Three degrees of latitude reverse all
jurisprudence; a meridian decides the truth. Fundamental laws change
after a few years of possession; right has its epochs; the entry of
Saturn into the Lion marks to us the origin of such and such a
crime. A strange justice that is bounded by a river! Truth on this
side of the Pyrenees, error on the other side.
    Men admit that justice does not consist in these customs, but that
it resides in natural laws, common to every country. They would
certainly maintain it obstinately, if reckless chance which has
distributed human laws had encountered even one which was universal;
but the farce is that the caprice of men has so many vagaries that
there is no such law.
    Theft, incest, infanticide, parricide, have all had a place
among virtuous actions. Can anything be more ridiculous than that a
man should have the right to kill me because he lives on the other
side of the water, and because his ruler has a quarrel with mine,
though I have none with him?
    Doubtless there are natural laws; but good reason once corrupted
has corrupted all. Nihil amplius nostrum est; quod nostrum dicimus,
artis est.* Ex senatus- consultis et plebiscitis crimina
exercentur.*(2) Ut olim vitiis, sic nunc legibus laboramus.*(3)

    * Cicero, De finibus, V. 21. "There is no longer anything which is
ours; what I call ours is conventional."
    *(2) Seneca, Epistles, xcv. "It is by virtue of
senatus-consultes and plebiscites that one commits crimes."
    *(3) Tacitus, Annals, iii. 25. "Once we suffered from our vices;
today we suffer from our laws."

    The result of this confusion is that one affirms the essence of
justice to be the authority of the legislator; another, the interest
of the sovereign; another, present custom, and this is the most
sure. Nothing, according to reason alone, is just itself; all
changes with time. Custom creates the whole of equity, for the
simple reason that it is accepted. It is the mystical foundation of
its authority; whoever carries it back to first principles destroys
it. Nothing is so faulty as those laws which correct faults. He who
obeys them because they are just obeys a justice which is imaginary
and not the essence of law; it is quite self-contained, it is law
and nothing more. He who will examine its motive will find it so
feeble and so trifling that, if he be not accustomed to contemplate
the wonders of human imagination, he will marvel that one century
has gained for it so much pomp and reverence. The art of opposition
and of revolution is to unsettle established customs, sounding them
even to their source, to point out their want of authority and
justice. We must, it is said, get back to the natural and
fundamental laws of the State, which an unjust custom has abolished.
It is a game certain to result in the loss of all; nothing will be
just on the balance. Yet people readily lend their ear to such
arguments. They shake off the yoke as soon as they recognise it; and
the great profit by their ruin and by that of these curious
investigators of accepted customs. But from a contrary mistake men
sometimes think they can justly do everything which is not without
an example. That is why the wisest of legislators said that it was
necessary to deceive men for their own good; and another, a good
politician, Cum veritatem qua liberetur ignoret, expedit quod
fallatur.* We must not see the fact of usurpation; law was once
introduced without reason, and has become reasonable. We must make
it regarded as authoritative, eternal, and conceal its origin, if we
do not wish that it should soon come to an end.

    * Saint Augustine, City of God, iv. 27. "As he has ignored the
truth which frees, it is right he is mistaken."

    295. Mine, thine.- "This dog is mine," said those poor children;
"that is my place in the sun." Here is the beginning and the image
of the usurpation of all the earth.
    296. When the question for consideration is whether we ought to
make war and kill so many men- condemn so many Spaniards to death-
only one man is judge, and he is an interested party. There should
be a third, who is disinterested.
    297. Veri juris.* - We have it no more; if we had it, we should
take conformity to the customs of a country as the rule of justice. It
is here that, not finding justice, we have found force, etc.

    * Cicero, De officiis, iii, 17. "Concerning true law."

    298. Justice, might.- It is right that what is just should be
obeyed; it is necessary that what is strongest should be obeyed.
Justice without might is helpless; might without justice is
tyrannical. Justice without might is gainsaid, because there are
always offenders; might without justice is condemned. We must then
combine justice and might and, for this end, make what is just strong,
or what is strong just.
    Justice is subject to dispute; might is easily recognised and is
not disputed. So we cannot give might to justice, because might has
gainsaid justice and has declared that it is she herself who is
just. And thus, being unable to make what is just strong, we have made
what is strong just.
    299. The only universal rules are the laws of the country in
ordinary affairs and of the majority in others. Whence comes this?
From the might which is in them. Hence it comes that kings, who have
power of a different kind, do not follow the majority of their
    No doubt equality of goods is just; but, being unable to cause
might to obey justice, men have made it just to obey might. Unable
to strengthen justice, they have justified might; so that the just and
the strong should unite, and there should be peace, which is the
sovereign good.
    300. "When a strong man armed keepeth his goods, his goods are
in peace."
    301. Why do we follow the majority? Is it because they have more
reason? No, because they have more power.
    Why do we follow the ancient laws and opinions? Is it because they
are more sound? No, but because they are unique and remove from us the
root of difference.
    302. ... It is the effect of might, not of custom. For those who
are capable of originality are few; the greater number will only
follow and refuse glory to those inventors who seek it by their
inventions. And if these are obstinate in their wish to obtain glory
and despise those who do not invent, the latter will call them
ridiculous names and will beat them with a stick. Let no one, then,
boast of his subtlety, or let him keep his complacency to himself.
    303. Might is the sovereign of the world, and not opinion. But
opinion makes use of might. It is might that makes opinion. Gentleness
is beautiful in our opinion. Why? Because he who will dance on a
rope will be alone, and I win gather a stronger mob of people who will
say that it is unbecoming.
    304. The cords which bind the respect of men to each other are
in general cords of necessity; for there must be different degrees,
all men wishing to rule, and not all being able to do so, but some
being able.
    Let us, then, imagine we see society in the process of
formation. Men will doubtless fight till the stronger party
overcomes the weaker, and a dominant party is established. But when
this is once determined, the masters, who do not desire the
continuation of strife, then decree that the power which is in their
hands shall be transmitted as they please. Some place it in election
by the people, others in hereditary succession, etc.
    And this is the point where imagination begins to play its part.
Till now power makes fact; now power is sustained by imagination in
a certain party, in France in the nobility, in Switzerland in the
burgesses, etc.
    These cords which bind the respect of men to such and such an
individual are therefore the cords of imagination.
    305. The Swiss are offended by being called gentlemen, and prove
themselves true plebeians in order to be thought worthy of great
    306. As duchies, kingships, and magistracies are real and
necessary, because might rules all, they exist everywhere and
always. But since only caprice makes such and such a one a ruler,
the principle is not constant, but subject to variation, etc.
    307. The chancellor is grave and clothed with ornaments, for his
position is unreal. Not so the king; he has power and has nothing to
do with the imagination. Judges, physicians, etc., appeal only to
the imagination.
    308. The habit of seeing kings accompanied by guards, drums,
officers, and all the paraphernalia which mechanically inspire respect
and awe, makes their countenance, when sometimes seen alone without
these accompaniments, impress respect and awe on their subjects;
because we cannot separate in thought their persons from the
surroundings with which we see them usually joined. And the world,
which knows not that this effect is the result of habit, believes that
it arises by a natural force, whence come these words, "The
character of Divinity is stamped on his countenance," etc.
    309. Justice.- As custom determines what is agreeable, so also
does it determine justice.
    310. King and tyrant.- I, too, will keep my thoughts secret.
    I will take care on every journey.
    Greatness of establishment, respect for establishment.
    The pleasure of the great is the power to make people happy.
    The property of riches is to be given liberally.
    The property of each thing must be sought. The property of power
is to protect.
    When force attacks humbug, when a private soldier takes the square
cap off a first president, and throws it out of the window.
    311. The government founded on opinion and imagination reigns
for some time, and this government is pleasant and voluntary; that
founded on might lasts for ever. Thus opinion is the queen of the
world, but might is its tyrant.
    312. Justice is what is established; and thus all our
established laws will necessarily be regarded as just without
examination, since they are established.
    313. Sound opinions of the people.- Civil wars are the greatest of
evils. They are inevitable, if we wish to reward desert; for all
will say they are deserving. The evil we have to fear from a fool
who succeeds by right of birth, is neither so great nor so sure.
    314. God has created all for Himself. He has bestowed upon Himself
the power of pain and pleasure.
    You can apply it to God, or to yourself. If to God, the Gospel
is the rule. If to yourself, you will take the place of God. As God is
surrounded by persons full of charity, who ask of Him the blessings of
charity that are in His power, so... recognise, then, and learn that
you are only a king of lust, and take the ways of lust.
    315. The reason of effects.- It is wonderful that men would not
have me honour a man clothed in brocade and followed by seven or eight
lackeys! Why! He will have me thrashed, if I do not salute him. This
custom is a farce. It is the same with a horse in fine trappings in
comparison with another! Montaigne is a fool not to see what
difference there is, to wonder at our finding any, and to ask the
reason. "Indeed," says he, "how comes it," etc....
    316. Sound opinions of the people.- To be spruce is not altogether
foolish, for it proves that a great number of people work for one.
It shows by one's hair, that one has a valet, a perfumer, etc., by
one's band, thread, lace,... etc. Now it is not merely superficial nor
merely outward show to have many arms at command. The more arms one
has, the more powerful one is. To be spruce is to show one's power.
    317. Deference means, "Put yourself to inconvenience." This is
apparently silly, but is quite right. For it is to say, "I would
indeed put myself to inconvenience if you required it, since indeed
I do so when it is of no service to you." Deference further serves
to distinguish the great. Now if deference was displayed by sitting in
an arm-chair, we should show deference to everybody, and so no
distinction would be made; but, being put to inconvenience, we
distinguish very well.
    318. He has four lackeys.
    319. How rightly do we distinguish men by external appearances
rather than by internal qualities! Which of us two shall have
precedence? Who will give place to the other? The least clever. But
I am as clever as he. We should have to fight over this. He has four
lackeys, and I have only one. This can be seen; we have only to count.
It falls to me to yield, and I am a fool if I contest the matter. By
this means we are at peace, which is the greatest of boons.
    320. The most unreasonable things in the world become most
reasonable, because of the unruliness of men. What is less
reasonable than to choose the eldest son of a queen to rule a State?
We do not choose as captain of a ship the passenger who is of the best
    This law would be absurd and unjust; but, because men are so
themselves and always will be so, it becomes reasonable and just.
For whom will men choose, as the most virtuous and able? We at once
come to blows, as each claims to be the most virtuous and able. Let us
then attach this quality to something indisputable. This is the king's
eldest son. That is clear, and there is no dispute. Reason can do no
better, for civil war is the greatest of evils.
    321. Children are astonished to see their comrades respected.
    322. To be of noble birth is a great advantage. In eighteen
years it places a man within the select circle, known and respected,
as another have merited in fifty years. It is a gain of thirty years
without trouble.
    323. What is the Ego?
    Suppose a man puts himself at a window to see those who pass by.
If I pass by, can I say that he placed himself there to see me? No;
for he does not think of me in particular. But does he who loves
someone on account of beauty really love that person? No; for the
small-pox, which will kill beauty without killing the person, will
cause him to love her no more.
    And if one loves me for my judgement, memory, he does not love me,
for I can lose these qualities without losing myself. Where, then,
is this Ego, if it be neither in the body nor in the soul? And how
love the body or the soul, except for these qualities which do not
constitute me, since they are perishable? For it is impossible and
would be unjust to love the soul of a person in the abstract and
whatever qualities might be therein. We never, then, love a person,
but only qualities.
    Let us, then, jeer no more at those who are honoured on account of
rank and office; for we love a person only on account of borrowed
    324. The people have very sound opinions, for example:
    1. In having preferred diversion and hunting to poetry. The
half-learned laugh at it, and glory in being above the folly of the
world; but the people are right for a reason which these do not
    2. In having distinguished men by external marks, as birth or
wealth. The world again exults in showing how unreasonable this is;
but it is very reasonable. Savages laugh at an infant king.
    3. In being offended at a blow, or in desiring glory so much.
But it is very desirable on account of the other essential goods which
are joined to it; and a man who has received a blow, without resenting
it, is overwhelmed with taunts and indignities.
    4. In working for the uncertain; in sailing on the sea; in walking
over a plank.
    325. Montaigne is wrong. Custom should be followed only because it
is custom, and not because it is reasonable or just. But people follow
it for this sole reason, that they think it just. Otherwise they would
follow it no longer, although it were the custom; for they will only
submit to reason or justice. Custom without this would pass for
tyranny; but the sovereignty of reason and justice is no more
tyrannical than that of desire. They are principles natural to man.
    It would, therefore, be right to obey laws and customs, because
they are laws; but we should know that there is neither truth nor
justice to introduce into them, that we know nothing of these, and
so must follow what is accepted. By this means we would never depart
from them. But people cannot accept this doctrine; and, as they
believe that truth can be found, and that it exists in law and custom,
they believe them and take their antiquity as a proof of their
truth, and not simply of their authority apart from truth. Thus they
obey laws, but they are liable to revolt when these are proved to be
valueless; and this can be shown of all, looked at from a certain
    326. Injustice.- It is dangerous to tell the people that the
laws are unjust; for they obey them only because they think them just.
Therefore it is necessary to tell them at the same time that they must
obey them because they are laws, just as they must obey superiors, not
because they are just, but because they are superiors. In this way all
sedition is prevented, if this can be made intelligible and it be
understood what is the proper definition of justice.
    327. The world is a good judge of things, for it is in natural
ignorance, which is man's true state. The sciences have two extremes
which meet. The first is the pure natural ignorance in which all men
find themselves at birth. The other extreme is that reached by great
intellects, who, having run through all that men can know, find they
know nothing, and come back again to that same ignorance from which
they set out; but this is a learned ignorance which is conscious of
itself. Those between the two, who have departed from natural
ignorance and not been able to reach the other, have some smattering
of this vain knowledge and pretend to be wise. These trouble the world
and are bad judges of everything. The people and the wise constitute
the world; these despise it, and are despised. They judge badly of
everything, and the world judges rightly of them.
    328. The reason of effects.- Continual alternation of pro and con.
    We have, then, shown that man is foolish, by the estimation he
makes of things which are not essential; and all these opinions are
destroyed. We have next shown that all these opinions are very sound
and that thus, since all these vanities are well founded, the people
are not so foolish as is said. And so we have destroyed the opinion
which destroyed that of the people.
    But we must now destroy this last proposition and show that it
remains always true that the people are foolish, though their opinions
are sound because they do not perceive the truth where it is, and,
as they place it where it is not, their opinions are always very false
and very unsound.
    329. The reason of effects.- The weakness of man is the reason why
so many things are considered fine, as to be good at playing the lute.
It is only an evil because of our weakness.
    330. The power of kings is founded on the reason and on the
folly of the people, and specially on their folly. The greatest and
most important thing in the world has weakness for its foundation, and
this foundation is wonderfully sure; for there is nothing more sure
than this, that the people will be weak. What is based on sound reason
is very ill-founded as the estimate of wisdom.
    331. We can only think of Plato and Aristotle in grand academic
robes. They were honest men, like others, laughing with their friends,
and, when they diverted themselves with writing their Laws and the
Politics, they did it as an amusement. That part of their life was the
least philosophic and the least serious; the most philosophic was to
live simply and quietly. If they wrote on politics, it was as if
laying down rules for a lunatic asylum; and if they presented the
appearance of speaking of a great matter, it was because they knew
that the madmen, to whom they spoke, thought they were kings and
emperors. They entered into their principles in order to make their
madness as little harmful as possible.
    332. Tyranny consists in the desire of universal power beyond
its scope.
    There are different assemblies of the strong, the fair, the
sensible, the pious, in which each man rules at home, not elsewhere.
And sometimes they meet, and the strong and the fair foolishly fight
as to who shall be master, for their mastery is of different kinds.
They do not understand one another, and their fault is the desire to
rule everywhere. Nothing can effect this, not even might, which is
of no use in the kingdom of the wise, and is only mistress of external
    Tyranny-... So these expressions are false and tyrannical: "I am
fair, therefore I must be feared. I am strong, therefore I must be
loved. I am...
    Tyranny is the wish to have in one way what can only be had in
another. We render different duties to different merits; the duty of
love to the pleasant; the duty of fear to the strong; duty of belief
to the learned.
    We must render these duties; it is unjust to refuse them, and
unjust to ask others. And so it is false and tyrannical to say, "He is
not strong, therefore I will not esteem him; he is not able, therefore
I will not fear him."
    333. Have you never seen people who, in order to complain of the
little fuss you make about them, parade before you the example of
great men who esteem them? In answer I reply to them, "Show me the
merit whereby you have charmed these persons, and I also will esteem
    334. The reason of effects.- Lust and force are the source of
all our actions; lust causes voluntary actions, force involuntary
    335. The reason of effects.- It is, then, true to say that all the
world is under a delusion; for, although the opinions of the people
are sound, they are not so as conceived by them, since they think
the truth to be where it is not. Truth is indeed in their opinions,
but not at the point where they imagine it. Thus it is true that we
must honour noblemen, but not because noble birth is real superiority,
    336. The reason of effects.- We must keep our thought secret,
and judge everything by it, while talking like the people.
    337. The reason of effects. Degrees. The people honour persons
of high birth. The semi-learned despise them, saying that birth is not
a personal, but a chance superiority. The learned honour them, not for
popular reasons, but for secret reasons. Devout persons, who have more
zeal than knowledge, despise them, in spite of that consideration
which makes them honoured by the learned, because they judge them by a
new light which piety gives them. But perfect Christians honour them
by another and higher light. So arise a succession of opinions for and
against, according to the light one has.
    338. True Christians, nevertheless, comply with folly, not because
they respect folly, but the command of God, who for the punishment
of men has made them subject to these follies. Omnis creatura subjecta
est vanitati.* Liberabitur.*(2) Thus Saint Thomas explains the passage
in Saint James on giving place to the rich, that, if they do it not in
the sight of God, they depart from the command of religion.

    * Eccles. 3. 19. "for all is vanity."
    *(2) Rom. 8. 20-21. "It shall be delivered."
                        SECTION VI
                     THE PHILOSOPHERS

    339. I can well conceive a man without hands, feet, head (for it
is only experience which teaches us that the head is more necessary
than feet). But I cannot conceive man without thought; he would be a
stone or a brute.
    340. The arithmetical machine produces effects which approach
nearer to thought than all the actions of animals. But it does nothing
which would enable us to attribute will to it, as to the animals.
    341. The account of the pike and frog of Liancourt. They do it
always, and never otherwise, nor any other thing showing mind.
    342. If an animal did by mind what it does by instinct, and if
it spoke by mind what it speaks by instinct, in hunting and in warning
its mates that the prey is found or lost, it would indeed also speak
in regard to those things which affect it closer, as example, "Gnaw me
this cord which is wounding me, and which I cannot reach."
    343. The beak of the parrot, which it wipes, although it is clean.
    344. Instinct and reason, marks of two natures.
    345. Reason commands us far more imperiously than a master; for in
disobeying the one we are unfortunate, and in disobeying the other
we are fools.
    346. Thought constitutes the greatness of man.
    347. Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is
a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him.
A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe
were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which
killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which
the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
    All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must
elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let
us endeavour, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.
    348. A thinking reed.- It is not from space that I must seek my
dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more
if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me
up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.
    349. Immateriality of the soul- Philosophers who have mastered
their passions. What matter could do that?
    350. The Stoics.- They conclude that what has been done once can
be done always, and that, since the desire of glory imparts some power
to those whom it possesses, others can do likewise. There are feverish
movements which health cannot imitate.
    Epictetus concludes that, since there are consistent Christians,
every man can easily be so.
    351. Those great spiritual efforts, which the soul sometimes
assays, are things on which it does not lay hold. It only leaps to
them, not as upon a throne, for ever, but merely for an instant.
    352. The strength of a man's virtue must not be measured by his
efforts, but by his ordinary life.
    353. I do not admire the excess of a virtue as of valour, except I
see at the same time the excess of the opposite virtue, as in
Epaminondas, who had the greatest valour and the greatest kindness.
For otherwise it is not to rise, it is to fall. We do not display
greatness by going to one extreme, but in touching both at once, and
filling all the intervening space. But perhaps this is only a sudden
movement of the soul from one to the other extreme, and in fact it
is ever at one point only, as in the case of a firebrand. Be it so,
but at least this indicates agility if not expanse of soul.
    354. Man's nature is not always to advance; it has its advances
and retreats.
    Fever has its cold and hot fits; and the cold proves as well as
the hot the greatness of the fire of fever.
    The discoveries of men from age to age turn out the same. The
kindness and the malice of the world in general are the same.
Plerumque gratae principibus vices.*

    * Horace, Odes, III. xxix. 13. "Changes nearly always please the

    355. Continuous eloquence wearies.
    Princes and kings sometimes play. They are not always on their
thrones. They weary there. Grandeur must be abandoned to be
appreciated. Continuity in everything is unpleasant. Cold is
agreeable, that we may get warm.
    Nature acts by progress, itus et reditus. It goes and returns,
then advances further, then twice as much backwards, then more forward
than ever, etc.
    The tide of the sea behaves in the same manner; and so,
apparently, does the sun in its course.
    356. The nourishment of the body is little by little. Fullness
of nourishment and smallness of substance.
    357. When we would pursue virtues to their extremes on either
side, vices present themselves, which insinuate themselves
insensibly there, in their insensible journey towards the infinitely
little; and vices present themselves in a crowd towards the infinitely
great, so that we lose ourselves in them and no longer see virtues. We
find fault with perfection itself.
    358. Man is neither angel nor brute, and the unfortunate thing
is that he who would act the angel acts the brute.
    359. We do not sustain ourselves in virtue by our own strength,
but by the balancing of two opposed vices, just as we remain upright
amidst two contrary gales. Remove one of the vices, and we fall into
the other.
    360. What the Stoics propose is so difficult and foolish!
    The Stoics lay down that all those who are not at the high
degree of wisdom are equally foolish and vicious, as those who are two
inches under water.
    361. The sovereign good. Dispute about the sovereign good.- Ut sis
contentus temetipso et ex te nascentibus bonis.* There is a
contradiction, for in the end they advise suicide. Oh! What a happy
life, from which we are to free ourselves as from the plague!

    * Seneca, Epistles, xx. 8. "In order that you are satisfied with
yourself and the good that is born from you."

    362. Ex senatus-consultis et plebiscitis...
    To ask like passages.
    363. Ex senatus-consultis et plebiscitis scelera exercentur.
Seneca. 588.*
    Nihil tam absurde dici potest quod non dicatur ab aliquo
    Quibusdam destinatis sententiis consecrati quae non probant
coguntur defendere.*(3)
    Ut omnium rerum sic litterarum quoque intemperantia laboramus.*(4)
    Id maxime quemque decet, quod est cujusque suum maxime.*(5)
    Hos natura modos primum dedit.*(6)

    * Montaigne, Essays, ii. 12.
    *(2) Cicero, De Divinatione, ii. 58. "There is nothing so absurd
that it has not been said by some philosopher."
    *(3) Cicero, Disputationes Tusculanae, ii. 2. "Devoted to
certain fixed opinions, they are forced to defend what they hardly
    *(4) Seneca, Epistles, cvi. "We suffer from an excess of
literature as from an excess of anything."
    *(5) Cicero, De officiis, i. 31. "What suits each one best is what
is to him the most natural."
    *(6) Virgil, The Georgics, ii. "Nature gave them first these

    Paucis opus est litteris ad bonam mentem.*
    Si quando turpe non sit, tamen non est non turpe quum id a
multitudine laudetur.*(2)
    Mihi sic usus est, tibi ut opus est facto, fac.*(3)

    * Seneca, Epistles, cvi. "Wisdom does not demand much teaching."
    *(2) Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum. "What is not
shameful begins to become so when it is approved by the multitude."
    *(3) Terence, Heauton Timorumenos, I. i. 21. "That is how I use
it; you must do as you wish."

    364. Rarum est enim ut satis se quisque vereatur.*
    Tot circa unum caput tumultuantes deos.*(2)
    Nihil turpius quam cognitioni assertionem praecurrere.*(3)
    Nec me pudet, ut istos, fateri nescire quid nesciam.*(4)
    Melius non incipient.*(5)

    * Quintillian, x. 7. "It is rare that one sufficiently respects
one's self."
    *(2) Seneca the Elder, Suasoriae, i. 4. "So many gods are busy
around a single head."
    *(3) Cicero, Academica, i. 45. "Nothing is more shameful than to
affirm before knowing."
    *(4) Cicero, Disputationes Tusculanae, i. 25. "I have not shame,
as they do, to admit that I know not what I do not know."
    *(5) Seneca, Epistles, lxxii. "It is easier not to begin....

    365. Thought.- All the dignity of man consists in thought. Thought
is, therefore, by its nature a wonderful and incomparable thing. It
must have strange defects to be contemptible. But it has such, so that
nothing is more ridiculous. How great it is in its nature! How vile it
is in its defects!
    But what is this thought? How foolish it is!
    366. The mind of this sovereign judge of the world is not so
independent that it is not liable to be disturbed by the first din
about it. The noise of a cannon is not necessary to hinder its
thoughts; it needs only the creaking of a weathercock or pulley. Do
not wonder if at present it does not reason well; a fly is buzzing
in its ears; that is enough to render it incapable of good
judgement. If you wish it to be able to reach the truth, chase away
that animal which holds its reason in check and disturbs that powerful
intellect which rules towns and kingdoms. Here is a comical god! O
ridicolosissimo eroe!
    367. The power of flies; they win battles, hinder our soul from
acting, eat our body.
    368. When it is said that heat is only the motions of certain
molecules, and light the conatus recedendi which we feel, it
astonishes us. What! Is pleasure only the ballet of our spirits? We
have conceived so different an idea of it! And these sensations seem
so removed from those others which we say are the same as those with
which we compare them! The sensation from the fire, that warmth
which affects us in a manner wholly different from touch, the
reception of sound and light, all this appears to us mysterious, and
yet it is material like the blow of a stone. It is true that the
smallness of the spirits which enter into the pores touches other
nerves, but there are always some nerves touched.
    369. Memory is necessary for all the operations of reason.
    370. Chance gives rise to thoughts, and chance removes them; no
art can keep or acquire them.
    A thought has escaped me. I wanted to write it down. I write
instead that it has escaped me.
    371. When I was small, I hugged my book; and because it
sometimes happened to me to... in believing I hugged it, I doubted....
    372. In writing down my thought, it sometimes escapes me; but this
makes me remember my weakness, that I constantly forget. This is as
instructive to me as my forgotten thought; for I strive only to know
my nothingness.
    373. Scepticism.- I shall here write my thoughts without order,
and not perhaps in unintentional confusion; that is true order,
which will always indicate my object by its very disorder. I should do
too much honour to my subject, if I treated it with order, since I
want to show that it is incapable of it.
    374. What astonishes me most is to see that all the world is not
astonished at its own weakness. Men act seriously, and each follows
his own mode of life, not because it is in fact good to follow since
it is the custom, but as if each man knew certainly where reason and
justice are. They find themselves continually deceived, and, by a
comical humility, think it is their own fault and not that of the
art which they claim always to possess. But it is well there are so
many such people in the world, who are not sceptics for the glory of
scepticism, in order to show that man is quite capable of the most
extravagant opinions, since he is capable of believing that he is
not in a state of natural and inevitable weakness, but, on the
contrary, of natural wisdom.
    Nothing fortifies scepticism more than that there are some who are
not sceptics; if all were so, they would be wrong.
    375. I have passed a great part of my life believing that there
was justice, and in this I was not mistaken; for there is justice
according as God has willed to reveal it to us. But I did not take
it so, and this is where I made a mistake; for I believed that our
justice was essentially just, and that I had that whereby to know
and judge of it. But I have so often found my right judgement at
fault, that at last I have come to distrust myself and then others.
I have seen changes in all nations and men, and thus, after many
changes of judgement regarding true justice, I have recognised that
our nature was but in continual change, and I have not changed
since; and if I changed, I would confirm my opinion.
    The sceptic Arcesilaus, who became a dogmatist.
    376. This sect derives more strength from its enemies than from
its friends; for the weakness of man is far more evident in those
who know it not than in those who know it.
    377. Discourses on humility are a source of pride in the vain
and of humility in the humble. So those on scepticism cause
believers to affirm. Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of
chastity, few doubtingly of scepticism. We are only falsehood,
duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal and disguise ourselves
from ourselves.
    378. Scepticism.- Excess, like defect of intellect, is accused
of madness. Nothing is good but mediocrity. The majority has settled
that and finds fault with him who escapes it at whichever end. I
will not oppose it. I quite consent to put there, and refuse to be
at the lower end, not because it is low, but because it is an end; for
I would likewise refuse to be placed at the top. To leave the mean
is to abandon humanity. The greatness of the human soul consists in
knowing how to preserve the mean. So far from greatness consisting
in leaving it, it consists in not leaving it.
    379. It is not good to have too much liberty. It is not good to
have all one wants.
    380. All good maxims are in the world. We only need to apply them.
For instance, we do not doubt that we ought to risk our lives in
defence of the public good; but for religion, no.
    It is true there must be inequality among men; but if this be
conceded, the door is opened not only to the highest power, but to the
highest tyranny.
    We must relax our minds a little; but this opens the door to the
greatest debauchery. Let us mark the limits. There are no limits in
things. laws would put them there, and the mind cannot suffer it.
    381. When we are too young, we do not judge well; so, also, when
we are too old. If we do not think enough, or if we think too much
on any matter, we get obstinate and infatuated with it. If one
considers one's work immediately after having done it, one is entirely
prepossessed in its favour; by delaying too long, one can no longer
enter into the spirit of it. So with pictures seen from too far or too
near; there is but one exact point which is the true place wherefrom
to look at them: the rest are too near, too far, too high or too
low. Perspective determines that point in the art of painting. But who
shall determine it in truth and morality?
    382. When all is equally agitated, nothing appears to be agitated,
as in a ship. When all tend to debauchery, none appears to do so. He
who stops draws attention to the excess of others, like a fixed point.
    383. The licentious tell men of orderly lives that they stray from
nature's path, while they themselves follow it; as people in a ship
think those move who are on the shore. On all sides the language is
similar. We must have a fixed point in order to judge. The harbour
decides for those who are in a ship; but where shall we find a harbour
in morality?
    384. Contradiction is a bad sign of truth; several things which
are certain are contradicted; several things which are false pass
without contradiction. Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the
want of contradiction a sign of truth.
    385. Scepticism.- Each thing here is partly true and partly false.
Essential truth is not so; it is altogether pure and altogether
true. This mixture dishonours and annihilates it. Nothing is purely
true, and thus nothing is true, meaning by that pure truth. You will
say it is true that homicide is wrong. Yes; for we know well the wrong
and the false. But what will you say is good? Chastity? I say no;
for the world would come to an end. Marriage? No; continence is
better. Not to kill? No; for lawlessness would be horrible, and the
wicked would kill all the good. To kill? No; for that destroys nature.
We possess truth and goodness only in part, and mingled with falsehood
and evil.
    386. If we dreamt the same thing every night, it would affect us
as much as the objects we see every day. And if an artisan were sure
to dream every night for twelve hours' duration that he was a king,
I believe he would be almost as happy as a king, who should dream
every night for twelve hours on end that he was an artisan.
    If we were to dream every night that we were pursued by enemies
and harassed by these painful phantoms, or that we passed every day in
different occupations, as in making a voyage, we should suffer
almost as much as if it were real, and should fear to sleep, as we
fear to wake when we dread in fact to enter on such mishaps. And,
indeed, it would cause pretty nearly the same discomforts as the
    But since dreams are all different, and each single one is
diversified, what is seen in them affects us much less than what we
see when awake, because of its continuity, which is not, however, so
continuous and level as not to change too; but it changes less
abruptly, except rarely, as when we travel, and then we say, "It seems
to me I am dreaming." For life is a dream a little less inconstant.
    387. It may be that there are true demonstrations; but this is not
certain. Thus, this proves nothing else but that it is not certain
that all is uncertain, to the glory of scepticism.
    388. Good sense.- They are compelled to say, "You are not acting
in good faith; we are not asleep," etc. How I love to see this proud
reason humiliated and suppliant! For this is not the language of a man
whose right is disputed, and who defends it with the power of armed
hands. He is not foolish enough to declare that men are not acting
in good faith, but he punishes this bad faith with force.
    389. Ecclesiastes shows that man without God is in total ignorance
and inevitable misery. For it is wretched to have the wish, but not
the power. Now he would be happy and assured of some truth, and yet he
can neither know, nor desire not to know. He cannot even doubt.
    390. My God! How foolish this talk is! "Would God have made the
world to damn it? Would He ask so much from persons so weak"? etc.
Scepticism is the cure for this evil, and will take down this vanity.
    391. Conversation.- Great words: Religion, I deny it.
    Conversation.- Scepticism helps religion.
    392. Against Scepticism.- ... It is, then, a strange fact that
we cannot define these things without obscuring them, while we speak
of them with all assurance. We assume that all conceive of them in the
same way; but we assume it quite gratuitously, for we have no proof of
it. I see, in truth, that the same words are applied on the same
occasions, and that every time two men see a body change its place,
they both express their view of this same fact by the same word,
both saying that it has moved; and from this conformity of application
we derive a strong conviction of a conformity of ideas. But this is
not absolutely or finally convincing though there is enough to support
a bet on the affirmative, since we know that we often draw the same
conclusions from different premises.
    This is enough, at least, to obscure the matter; not that it
completely extinguishes the natural light which assures us of these
things. The academicians would have won. But this dulls it and
troubles the dogmatists to the glory of the sceptical crowd, which
consists in this doubtful ambiguity and in a certain doubtful
dimness from which our doubts cannot take away all the clearness,
nor our own natural lights chase away all the darkness.
    393. It is a singular thing to consider that there are people in
the world who, having renounced all the laws of God and nature, have
made laws for themselves which they strictly obey, as, for instance,
the soldiers of Mahomet, robbers, heretics, etc. It is the same with
logicians. It seems that their license must be without any limits or
barriers, since they have broken through so many that are so just
and sacred.
    394. All the principles of sceptics, stoics, atheists, etc., are
true. But their conclusions are false, because the opposite principles
are also true.
    395. Instinct, reason.- We have an incapacity of proof,
insurmountable by all dogmatism. We have an idea of truth,
invincible to all scepticism.
    396. Two things instruct man about his whole nature; instinct
and experience.
    397. The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to
be miserable. A tree does not know itself to be miserable. It is
then being miserable to know oneself to be miserable; but it is also
being great to know that one is miserable.
    398. All these same miseries prove man's greatness. They are the
miseries of a great lord, of a deposed king.
    399. We are not miserable without feeling it. A ruined house is
not miserable. Man only is miserable. Ego vir videns.*

    * Lam. 3. 1. "I am the man that hath seen."

    400. The greatness of man.- We have so great an idea of the soul
of man that we cannot endure being despised, or not being esteemed
by any soul; and all the happiness of men consists in this esteem.
    401. Glory.- The brutes do not admire each other. A horse does not
admire his companion. Not that there is no rivalry between them in a
race, but that is of no consequence; for, when in the stable, the
heaviest and most ill-formed does not give up his oats to another,
as men would have others do to them. Their virtue is satisfied with
    402. The greatness of man even in his lust, to have known how to
extract from it a wonderful code, and to have drawn from it a
picture of benevolence.
    403. Greatness.- The reasons of effects indicate the greatness
of man, in having extracted so fair an order from lust.
    404. The greatest baseness of man is the pursuit of glory. But
is the greatest mark of his excellence; for whatever possessions he
may have on earth, whatever health and essential comfort, he is not
satisfied if he has not the esteem of men. He values human reason so
highly that, whatever advantages he may have on earth, he is not
content if he is not also ranked highly in the judgement of man.
This is the finest position in the world. Nothing can turn him from
that desire, which is the most indelible quality of man's heart.
    And those who must despise men, and put them on a level with the
brutes, yet wish to be admired and believed by men, and contradict
themselves by their own feelings; their nature, which is stronger than
all, convincing them of the greatness of man more forcibly than reason
convinces them of their baseness.
    405. Contradiction.- Pride counterbalancing all miseries. Man
either hides his miseries, or, if he disclose them, glories in knowing
    406. Pride counterbalances and takes away all miseries. Here is
a strange monster and a very plain aberration. He is fallen from his
place and is anxiously seeking it. This is what all men do. Let us see
who will have found it.
    407. When malice has reason on its side, it becomes proud and
parades reason in all its splendour. When austerity or stern choice
has not arrived at the true good and must needs return to follow
nature, it becomes proud by reason of this return.
    408. Evil is easy, and has infinite forms; good is almost
unique. But a certain kind of evil is as difficult to find as what
we call good; and often on this account such particular evil gets
passed off as good. An extraordinary greatness of soul is needed in
order to attain to it as well as to good.
    409. The greatness of man.- The greatness of man is so evident
that it is even proved by his wretchedness. For what in animals is
nature, we call in man wretchedness, by which we recognise that, his
nature being now like that of animals, he has fallen from a better
nature which once was his.
    For who is unhappy at not being a king, except a deposed king? Was
Paulus Aemilius unhappy at being no longer consul? On the contrary,
everybody thought him happy in having been consul, because the
office could only be held for a time. But men thought Perseus so
unhappy in being no longer king, because the condition of kingship
implied his being always king, that they thought it strange that he
endured life. Who is unhappy at only having one mouth? And who is
not unhappy at having only one eye? Probably no man ever ventured to
mourn at not having three eyes. But any one is inconsolable at
having none.
    410. Perseus, King of Macedon.- Paulus Aemilius reproached Perseus
for not killing himself.
    411. Notwithstanding the sight of all our miseries, which press
upon us and take us by the throat, we have an instinct which we cannot
repress and which lifts us up.
    412. There is internal war in man between reason and the passions.
    If he had only reason without passions...
    If he had only passions without reason...
    But having both, he cannot be without strife, being unable to be
at peace with the one without being at war with the other. Thus he
is always divided against and opposed to himself.
    413. This internal war of reason against the passions has made a
division of those who would have peace into two sects. The first would
renounce their passions and become gods; the others would renounce
reason and become brute beasts. (Des Barreaux.) But neither can do so,
and reason still remains, to condemn the vileness and injustice of the
passions and to trouble the repose of those who abandon themselves
to them; and the passions keep always alive in those who would
renounce them.
    414. Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to
another form of madness.
    415. The nature of man may be viewed in two ways: the one
according to its end, and then he is great and incomparable; the other
according to the multitude, just as we judge of the nature of the
horse and the dog, popularly, by seeing its fleetness, et animum
arcendi; and then man is abject and vile. These are the two ways which
make us judge of him differently and which occasion such disputes
among philosophers. For one denies the assumption of the other. One
says, "He is not born for this end, for all his actions are
repugnant to it." The other says, "He forsakes his end, when he does
these base actions."
    416. For Port-Royal. Greatness and wretchedness.- Wretchedness
being deduced from greatness, and greatness from wretchedness, some
have inferred man's wretchedness all the more because they have
taken his greatness as a proof of it, and others have inferred his
greatness with all the more force, because they have inferred it
from his very wretchedness. All that the one party has been able to
say in proof of his greatness has only served as an argument of his
wretchedness to the others, because the greater our fall, the more
wretched we are, and vice versa. The one party is brought back to
the other in an endless circle, it being certain that, in proportion
as men possess light, they discover both the greatness and the
wretchedness of man. In a word, man knows that he is wretched. He is
therefore wretched, because be is so; but he is really great because
he knows it.
    417. This twofold nature of man is so evident that some have
thought that we had two souls. A single subject seemed to them
incapable of such sudden variations from unmeasured presumption to a
dreadful dejection of heart.
    418. It is dangerous to make man see too clearly his equality with
the brutes without showing him his greatness. It is also dangerous
to make his see his greatness too clearly, apart from his vileness. It
is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both. But it is
very advantageous to show him both. Man must not think that he is on a
level either with the brutes or with the angels, nor must he be
ignorant of both sides of his nature; but he must know both.
    419. I will not allow man to depend upon himself, or upon another,
to the end that, being without a resting-place and without repose.
    420. If he exalt himself, I humble him; if he humble himself, I
exalt him; and I always contradict him, till he understands that he is
an incomprehensible monster.
    421. I blame equally those who choose to praise man, those who
choose to blame him, and those who choose to amuse themselves; and I
can only approve of those who seek with lamentation.
    422. It is good to be tired and wearied by the vain search after
the true good, that we may stretch out our arms to the Redeemer.
    423. Contraries. After having shown the vileness and the greatness
of man.- Let man now know his value. Let him love himself, for there
is in him a nature capable of good; but let him not for this reason
love the vileness which is in him. Let him despise himself, for this
capacity is barren; but let him not therefore despise this natural
capacity. Let him hate himself, let him love himself; he has within
him the capacity of knowing the truth and of being happy, but he
possesses no truth, either constant or satisfactory.
    I would then lead man to the desire of finding truth; to be free
from passions, and ready to follow it where he may find it, knowing
how much his knowledge is obscured by the passions. I would, indeed,
that he should hate in himself the lust which determined his will by
itself so that it may not blind him in making his choice, and may
not hinder him when he has chosen.
    424. All these contradictions, which seem most to keep me from the
knowledge of religion, have led me most quickly to the true one.
                          SECTION VII
                     MORALITY AND DOCTRINE

    425. Second part.- That man without faith cannot know the true
good, nor justice.
    All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever
different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of
some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in
both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least
step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every
man, even of those who hang themselves.
    And yet, after such a great number of years, no one without
faith has reached the point to which all continually look. All
complain, princes and subjects, noblemen and commoners, old and young,
strong and weak, learned and ignorant, healthy and sick, of all
countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions.
    A trial so long, so continuous, and so uniform, should certainly
convince us of our inability to reach the good by our own efforts. But
example teaches us little. No resemblance is ever so perfect that
there is not some slight difference; and hence we expect that our hope
will not be deceived on this occasion as before. And thus, while the
present never satisfies us, experience dupes us and, from misfortune
to misfortune, leads us to death, their eternal crown.
    What is it, then, that this desire and this inability proclaim
to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which
there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in
vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things
absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are
all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an
infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself. He
only is our true good, and since we have forsaken him, it is a strange
thing that there is nothing in nature which has not been serviceable
in taking His place; the stars, the heavens, earth, the elements,
plants, cabbages, leeks, animals, insects, calves, serpents, fever,
pestilence, war, famine, vices, adultery, incest. And since man has
lost the true good, everything can appear equally good to him, even
his own destruction, though so opposed to God, to reason, and to the
whole course of nature.
    Some seek good in authority, others in scientific research, others
in pleasure. Others, who are in fact nearer the truth, have considered
it necessary that the universal good, which all men desire, should not
consist in any of the particular things which can only be possessed by
one man, and which, when shared, afflict their possessors more by
the want of the part he has not than they please him by the possession
of what he has. They have learned that the true good should be such as
all can possess at once, without diminution and without envy, and
which no one can lose against his will. And their reason is that
this desire, being natural to man, since it is necessarily in all, and
that it is impossible not to have it, they infer from it...
    426. True nature being lost, everything becomes its own nature; as
the true good being lost, everything becomes its own true good.
    427. Man does not know in what rank to place himself. He has
plainly gone astray and fallen from his true place without being
able to find it again. He seeks it anxiously and unsuccessfully
everywhere in impenetrable darkness.
    428. If it is a sign of weakness to prove God by nature, do not
despise Scripture; if it is a sign of strength to have known these
contradictions, esteem Scripture.
    429. The vileness of man in submitting himself to the brutes and
in even worshipping them.
e    430. For Port-Royal. The beginning, after having explained the
incomprehensibility.- The greatness and the wretchedness of man are so
evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us both that
there is in man some great source of greatness and a great source of
wretchedness. It must then give us a reason for these astonishing
    In order to make man happy, it must prove to him that there is a
God; that we ought to love Him; that our true happiness is to be in
Him, and our sole evil to be separated from Him; it must recognise
that we are full of darkness which hinders us from knowing and
loving Him; and that thus, as our duties compel us to love God, and
our lusts turn us away from Him, we are full of unrighteousness. It
must give us an explanation of our opposition to God and to our own
good. It must teach us the remedies for these infirmities and the
means of obtaining these remedies. Let us, therefore, examine all
the religions of the world and see if there be any other than the
Christian which is sufficient for this purpose.
    Shall it be that of the philosophers, who put forward, as the
chief good, the good which is in ourselves? Is this the true good?
Have they found the remedy for our ills? Is man's pride cured by
placing him on an equality with God? Have those who have made us equal
to the brutes, or the Mohammedans who have offered us earthly
pleasures as the chief good even in eternity, produced the remedy
for our lusts? What religion, then, will teach us to cure pride and
lust? What religion will, in fact, teach us our good, our duties,
the weakness which turns us from them, the cause of this weakness, the
remedies which can cure it, and the means of obtaining these remedies?
    All other religions have not been able to do so. Let us see what
the wisdom of God will do.
    "Expect neither truth," she says, "nor consolation from men. I
am she who formed you, and who alone can teach you what you are. But
you are now no longer in the state in which I formed you. I created
man holy, innocent, perfect. I filled him with light and intelligence.
I communicated to him my glory and my wonders. The eye of man saw then
the majesty of God. He was not then in the darkness which blinds
him, nor subject to mortality and the woes which afflict him. But he
has not been able to sustain so great glory without falling into
pride. He wanted to make himself his own centre and independent of
my help. He withdrew himself from my rule; and, on his making
himself equal to me by the desire of finding his happiness in himself,
I abandoned him to himself. And setting in revolt the creatures that
were subject to him, I made them his enemies; so that man is now
become like the brutes and so estranged from me that there scarce
remains to him a dim vision of his Author. So far has all his
knowledge been extinguished or disturbed! The senses, independent of
reason, and often the masters of reason, have led him into pursuit
of pleasure. All creatures either torment or tempt him, and domineer
over him, either subduing him by their strength, or fascinating him by
their charms, a tyranny more awful and more imperious.
    "Such is the state in which men now are. There remains to them
some feeble instinct of the happiness of their former state; and
they are plunged in the evils of their blindness and their lust, which
have become their second nature.
  "From this principle which I disclose to you, you can recognize
the cause of those contradictions which have astonished all men and
have divided them into parties holding so different views. Observe,
now, all the feelings of greatness and glory which the experience of
so many woes cannot stifle, and see if the cause of them must not be
in another nature.
    For Port-Royal to-morrow (Prosopopaea).- "It is in vain, O men,
that you seek within yourselves the remedy for your ills. All your
light can only reach the knowledge that not in yourselves will you
find truth or good. The philosophers have promised you that, and you
have been unable to do it. They neither know what is your true good,
nor what is your true state. How could they have given remedies for
your ills, when they did not even know them? Your chief maladies are
pride, which takes you away from God, and lust, which binds you to
earth; and they have done nothing else but cherish one or other of
these diseases. If they gave you God as an end, it was only to
administer to your pride; they made you think that you are by nature
like Him and conformed to Him. And those who saw the absurdity of this
claim put you on another precipice, by making you understand that your
nature was like that of the brutes, and led you to seek your good in
the lusts which are shared by the animals. This is not the way to cure
you of your unrighteousness, which these wise men never knew. I
alone can make you understand who you are...."
    Adam, Jesus Christ.
    If you are united to God, it is by grace, not by nature. If you
are humbled, it is by penitence, not by nature.
    Thus this double capacity...
    You are not in the state of your creation.
    As these two states are open, it is impossible for you not to
recognise them. Follow your own feelings, observe yourselves, and
see if you do not find the lively characteristics of these two
natures. Could so many contradictions be found in a simple subject?
    Incomprehensible. Not all that is incomprehensible ceases to
exist. Infinite number. An infinite space equal to a finite.
    Incredible that God should unite Himself to us. This consideration
is drawn only from the sight of our vileness. But if you are quite
sincere over it, follow it as far as I have done and recognise that we
are indeed so vile that we are incapable in ourselves of knowing if
His mercy cannot make us capable of Him. For I would know how this
animal, who knows himself to be so weak, has the right to measure
the mercy of God and set limits to it, suggested by his own fancy.
He has so little knowledge of what God is that he does not know what
he himself is, and, completely disturbed at the sight of his own
state, dares to say that God cannot make him capable of communion with
    But I would ask him if God demands anything else from him than the
knowledge and love of Him, and why, since his nature is capable of
love and knowledge, he believes that God cannot make Himself known and
loved by him. Doubtless he knows at least that he exists, and that
he loves something. Therefore, if he sees anything in the darkness
wherein he is, and if he finds some object of his love among the
things on earth, why, if God impart to him some ray of His essence,
will he not be capable of knowing and of loving Him in the manner in
which it shall please Him to communicate Himself to us? There must,
then, be certainly an intolerable presumption in arguments of this
sort, although they seem founded on an apparent humility, which is
neither sincere nor reasonable, if it does not make us admit that, not
knowing of ourselves what we are, we can only learn it from God.
    "I do not mean that you should submit your belief to me without
reason, and I do not aspire to overcome you by tyranny. In fact, I
do not claim to give you a reason for everything. And to reconcile
these contradictions, I intend to make you see clearly, by
convincing proofs, those divine signs in me, which may convince you of
what I am, and may gain authority for me by wonders and proofs which
you cannot reject; so that you may then believe without... the
things which I teach you, since you will find no other ground for
rejecting them, except that you cannot know of yourselves if they
are true or not.
    "God has willed to redeem men and to open salvation to those who
seek it. But men render themselves so unworthy of it that it is
right that God should refuse to some, because of their obduracy,
what He grants others from a compassion which is not due to them. If
He had willed to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, He could
have done so by revealing Himself so manifestly to them that they
could not have doubted of the truth of His essence; as it will
appear at the last day, with such thunders and such a convulsion of
nature that the dead will rise again, and the blindest will see Him.
    "It is not in this manner that He has willed to appear in His
advent of mercy, because, as so many make themselves unworthy of His
mercy, He has willed to leave them in the loss of the good which
they do not want. It was not, then, right that He should appear in a
manner manifestly divine, and completely capable of convincing all
men; but it was also not right that He should come in so hidden a
manner that He could not be known by those who should sincerely seek
Him. He has willed to make himself quite recognisable by those; and
thus, willing to appear openly to those who seek Him with all their
heart, and to be hidden from those who flee from Him with all their
heart, He so regulates the knowledge of Himself that He has given
signs of Himself, visible to those who seek Him, and not to those
who seek Him not. There is enough light for those who only desire to
see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition."
    431. No other religion has recognised that man is the most
excellent creature. Some, which have quite recognised the reality of
his excellence, have considered as mean and ungrateful the low
opinions which men naturally have of themselves; and others, which
have thoroughly recognised how real is this vileness, have treated
with proud ridicule those feelings of greatness, which are equally
natural to man.
    "Lift your eyes to God," say the first; "see Him whom you resemble
and who has created you to worship Him. You can make yourselves like
unto Him; wisdom will make you equal to Him, if you will follow it."
"Raise your heads, free men," says Epictetus. And others say, "Bend
your eyes to the earth, wretched worm that you are, and consider the
brutes whose companion you are."
    What, then, will man become? Will he be equal to God or the
brutes? What a frightful difference! What, then, shall we be? Who does
not see from all this that man has gone astray, that he has fallen
from his place, that he anxiously seeks it, that he cannot find it
again? And who shall then direct him to it? The greatest men have
    432. Scepticism is true; for, after all, men before Jesus Christ
did not know where they were, nor whether they were great or small.
And those who have said the one or the other knew nothing about it and
guessed without reason and by chance. They also erred always in
excluding the one or the other.
    Quod ergo ignorantes, quaeritis, religio annuntiat vobis.*

    * "What you seek without knowing, religion will announce to
you." Pascal misquotes Acts 17. 23. "Whom therefore ye ignorantly
worship, him declare I unto you."

    433. After having understood the whole nature of man.- That a
religion may be true, it must have knowledge of our nature. It ought
to know its greatness and littleness, and the reason of both. What
religion but the Christian has known this?
    434. The chief arguments of the sceptics- I pass over the lesser
ones- are that we have no certainty of the truth of these principles
apart from faith and revelation, except in so far as we naturally
perceive them in ourselves. Now this natural intuition is not a
convincing proof of their truth; since, having no certainty, apart
from faith, whether man was created by a good God, or by a wicked
demon, or by chance, it is doubtful whether these principles given
to us are true, or false, or uncertain, according to our origin.
Again, no person is certain, apart from faith, whether he is awake
or sleeps, seeing that during sleep we believe that we are awake as
firmly as we do when we are awake; we believe that we see space,
figure, and motion; we are aware of the passage of time, we measure
it; and in fact we act as if we were awake. So that half of our life
being passed in sleep, we have on our own admission no idea of
truth, whatever we may imagine. As all our intuitions are, then,
illusions, who knows whether the other half of our life, in which we
think we are awake, is not another sleep a little different from the
former, from which we awake when we suppose ourselves asleep?
    And who doubts that, if we dreamt in company, and the dreams
chanced to agree, which is common enough, and if we were always
alone when awake, we should believe that matters were reversed? In
short, as we often dream that we dream, heaping dream upon dream,
may it not be that this half of our life, wherein we think ourselves
awake, is itself only a dream on which the others are grafted, from
which we wake at death, during which we have as few principles of
truth and good as during natural sleep, these different thoughts which
disturb us being perhaps only illusions like the flight of time and
the vain fancies of our dreams?
    These are the chief arguments on one side and the other.
    I omit minor ones, such as the sceptical talk against the
impressions of custom, education, manners, country and the like.
Though these influence the majority of common folk, who dogmatise only
on shallow foundations, they are upset by the least breath of the
sceptics. We have only to see their books if we are not sufficiently
convinced of this, and we shall very quickly become so, perhaps too
    I notice the only strong point of the dogmatists, namely, that,
speaking in good faith and sincerely, we cannot doubt natural
principles. Against this the sceptics set up in one word the
uncertainty of our origin, which includes that of our nature. The
dogmatists have been trying to answer this objection ever since the
world began.
    So there is open war among men, in which each must take a part and
side either with dogmatism or scepticism. For he who thinks to
remain neutral is above all a sceptic. This neutrality is the
essence of the sect; he who is not against them is essentially for
them. In this appears their advantage. They are not for themselves;
they are neutral, indifferent, in suspense as to all things, even
themselves being no exception.
    What, then, shall man do in this state? Shall he doubt everything?
Shall he doubt whether he is awake, whether he is being pinched, or
whether he is being burned? Shall he doubt whether he doubts? Shall he
doubt whether he exists? We cannot go so far as that; and I lay it
down as a fact that there never has been a real complete sceptic.
Nature sustains our feeble reason and prevents it raving to this
    Shall he, then, say, on the contrary, that he certainly
possesses truth- he who, when pressed ever so little, can show no
title to it and is forced to let go his hold?
    What a chimera, then, is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what
a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things,
imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty
and error; the pride and refuse of the universe!
    Who will unravel this tangle? Nature confutes the sceptics, and
reason confutes the dogmatists. What, then, will you become, O men!
who try to find out by your natural reason what is your true
condition? You cannot avoid one of these sects, nor adhere to one of
    Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself. Humble
yourself, weak reason; be silent, foolish nature; learn that man
infinitely transcends man, and learn from your Master your true
condition, of which you are ignorant. Hear God.
    For in fact, if man had never been corrupt, he would enjoy in
his innocence both truth and happiness with assurance; and if man
had always been corrupt, he would have no idea of truth or bliss. But,
wretched as we are, and more so than if there were no greatness in our
condition, we have an idea of happiness and can not reach it. We
perceive an image of truth and possess only a lie. Incapable of
absolute ignorance and of certain knowledge, we have thus been
manifestly in a degree of perfection from which we have unhappily
    It is, however, an astonishing thing that the mystery furthest
removed from our knowledge, namely, that of the transmission of sin,
should be a fact without which we can have no knowledge of
ourselves. For it is beyond doubt that there is nothing which more
shocks our reason than to say that the sin of the first man has
rendered guilty those who, being so removed from this source, seem
incapable of participation in it. This transmission does not only seem
to us impossible, it seems also very unjust. For what is more contrary
to the rules of our miserable justice than to damn eternally an infant
incapable of will, for a sin wherein he seems to have so little a
share that it was committed six thousand years before he was in
existence? Certainly nothing offends us more rudely than this
doctrine; and yet without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of
all, we are incomprehensible to ourselves. The knot of our condition
takes its twists and turns in this abyss, so that man is more
inconceivable without this mystery than this mystery is
inconceivable to man.
    Whence it seems that God, willing to render the difficulty of
our existence unintelligible to ourselves, has concealed the knot so
high, or, better speaking, so low, that we are quite incapable of
reaching it; so that it is not by the proud exertions of our reason,
but by the simple submissions of reason, that we can truly know
    These foundations, solidly established on the inviolable authority
of religion, make us know that there are two truths of faith equally
certain: the one, that man, in the state of creation, or in that of
grace, is raised above all nature, made like unto God and sharing in
His divinity; the other, that in the state of corruption and sin, he
is fallen from this state and made like unto the beasts.
    These two propositions are equally sound and certain. Scripture
manifestly declares this to us, when it says in some places:
Deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum.* Effundam spiritum meum super
omnem carnem.*(2) Dii estis,*(3) etc.; and in other places, Omnis caro
faenum.*(4) Homo assimilatus est jumentis insipientibus, et similis
factus est illis.*(5) Dixi in corde meo de filiis hominum.*(6)

    * Prov. 8. 31. "And my delights were with the sons of men."
    *(2) Joel 2. 28. "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh."
    *(3) Ps. 82 .6. "Ye are gods."
    *(4) Is. 40. 6. "All flesh is grass."
    *(5) Ps. 49. 12,13. "He is like the beasts that perish; this their
way is their folly."
    *(6) Eccles. 3. 18. "I said in mine heart concerning the estate of
the sons of men."

    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.
    435. 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 recognized
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?
    436. 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.
    437. 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.
    438. 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?
    439. Nature corrupted.- Man does not act by reason, which
constitutes his being.
    440. 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.
    441. 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.
    442. Man's true nature, his true good, true virtue, and true
religion, are things of which the knowledge is inseparable.
    443. 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?
    444. This religion taught to her children what men have only
been able to discover by their greatest knowledge.
    445. 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.* 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?

    * I Cor. 1. 25 "The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and
the weakness of God is stronger than men."

    446. Of original sin. Ample tradition of original sin according to
the Jews.
    On the saying in Genesis 8. 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 4. 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 36. 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." 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 Tillim.
    Bereschist Rabba on Psalm 35. 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 25. 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 9, and if he be thirsty, give him the water of which it is
spoken in Isaiah 55.
    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 9. 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 41. 1: "Blessed is he that considereth the poor."
    And on Psalm 78. 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
    And on Psalm 103 the same thing.
    And on Psalm 16.
    Principles of Rabbinism: two Messiahs.
    447. 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*- that is to say, they knew death to be the
beginning of eternal and essential happiness?

    * Ovid, Metamorphoses, iii. "No one is happy before death."

    448. Milton sees well that nature is corrupt and that men are
averse to virtue; he does not know why they cannot fly higher.
    449. 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."
    450. 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
    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?
    451. 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
pretnece and a false image of love; for at bottom it is only hate.
    452. 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.
    453. 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, is only covered, it is not taken away.
    454. Injustice.- They have not found any other means of satisfying
lust without doing injury to others.
    455. Self is hateful. You, Milton, 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.
    456. It is a perverted judgement 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!
    457. 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.
    458. "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."* Wretched is the cursed land which these
three rivers of fire enflame rather than water! 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.

    * I John 2. 16.

    459. The rivers of Babylon rush and fall and sweep away.
    O holy Zion, 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
    Let us see if this pleasure is stable or transitory; if it pass
away, it is a river of Babylon.
    460. 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

    * Cor. 1. 31. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

    461. The three lusts have made three sects; and the philosophers
have done no other thing than follow one of the three lusts.
    462. 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.
    463. 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.
    464. Philosophers.- We are full of things which take us out of
    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.
    465. 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.
    466. 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.* The vices of Zeno himself.

    * John 14. 6. "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

    467. The reason of effects.- Epictetus. 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 from
this the fact that there were some Christians.
    468. 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.
    469. 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.
    470. "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.
    471. 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.
    472. 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.
    473. Let us imagine a body full of thinking members.
    474. 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, etc....
    475. 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.
    476. 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.
    477. 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
    478. 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 us.
    479. 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
is only based upon the nonexistence 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 creatures."
    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.
    480. To make the members happy, they must have one will and submit
it to the body.
    481. The examples of the noble deaths of the Lacedaemonians 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.
    482. 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 be not only unjust, but also
miserable, and 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 themselves.
    483. 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 subject it to self, because each thing loves itself more than
all. But, in loving the body, it loves itself, because it only
exists in it, by it, and for it. Qui adhaeret Deo unus spiritus est.*

    * I Cor. 6. 17. "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one

    The body loves the hand; and the hand, if it had a will, should
love itself in the same way as it is loved by the soul. All love which
goes beyond this is unfair.
    Adhaerens Deo unus spiritus est. We love ourselves, because we are
members of Jesus Christ. We love Jesus Christ, because He is the
body of which we are members. All is one, one is in the other, like
the Three Persons.
    484. Two laws suffice to rule the whole Christian Republic
better than all the laws of statecraft.
    485. The true and only virtue, then, is to hate self (for we are
hateful on account of lust) and to seek a truly lovable being to love.
But as we cannot love what is outside ourselves, we must love a
being who is in us and is not ourselves; and that is true of each
and all men. Now, only the Universal Being is such. The kingdom of God
is within us; the universal good is within us, is ourselves- and not
    486. The dignity of man in his innocence consisted in using and
having dominion over the creatures, but now in separating himself from
them and subjecting himself to them.
    487. Every religion is false which, as to its faith, does not
worship one God as the origin of everything and which, as to its
morality, does not love one only God as the object of everything.
    488.... But it is impossible that God should ever be the end, if
He is not the beginning. We lift our eyes on high, but lean upon the
sand; and the earth will dissolve, and we shall fall whilst looking at
the heavens.
    489. If there is one sole source of everything, there is one
sole end of everything; everything through Him, everything for Him.
The true religion, then, must teach us to worship Him only, and to
love Him only. But as we find ourselves unable to worship what we know
not, and to love any other object but ourselves, the religion which
instructs us in these duties must instruct us also of this
inability, and teach us also the remedies for it. It teaches us that
by one man all was lost, and the bond broken between God and us, and
that by one man the bond is renewed.
    We are born so averse to this love of God, and it is so necessary,
that we must be born guilty, or God would be unjust.
    490. Men, not being accustomed to form merit, but only to
recompense it where they find it formed, judge of God by themselves.
    491. The true religion must have as a characteristic the
obligation to love God. This is very just, and yet no other religion
has commanded this; ours has done so. It must also be aware of human
lust and weakness; ours is so. It must have adduced remedies for this;
one is prayer. No other religion has asked of God to love and follow
    492. He who hates not in himself his self-love, and that
instinct which leads him to make himself God, is indeed blinded. Who
does not see that there is nothing so opposed to justice and truth?
For it is false that we deserve this, and it is unfair and
impossible to attain it, since all demand the same thing. It is, then,
a manifest injustice which is innate in us, of which we cannot get
rid, and of which we must get rid.
    Yet no religion has indicated that this was a sin; or that we were
born in it; or that we were obliged to resist it; or has thought of
giving us remedies for it.
    493. The true religion teaches our duties; our weaknesses,
pride, and lust; and the remedies, humility and mortification.
    494. The true religion must teach greatness and misery; must
lead to the esteem and contempt of self, to love and to hate.
    495. If it is an extraordinary blindness to live without
investigating what we are, it is a terrible one to live an evil
life, while believing in God.
    496. Experience makes us see an enormous difference between
piety and goodness.
    497. Against those who, trusting to the mercy of God, live
heedlessly, without doing good works.- As the two sources of our
sins are pride and sloth, God has revealed to us two of His attributes
to cure them, mercy and justice. The property of justice is to
humble pride, however holy may be our works, et non intres injudicium,
etc.; and the property of mercy is to combat sloth by exhorting to
good works, according to that passage: "The goodness of God leadeth to
repentance, and that other of the Ninevites: "Let us do penance to see
if peradventure He will pity us." And thus mercy is so far from
authorising slackness that it is on the contrary the quality which
formally attacks it; so that instead of saying, "If there were no
mercy in God we should have to make every kind of effort after
virtue," we must say, on the contrary, that it is because there is
mercy in God that we must make every kind of effort.
    498. It is true there is difficulty in entering into godliness.
But this difficulty does not arise from the religion which begins in
us, but from the irreligion which is still there. If our senses were
not opposed to penitence, and if our corruption were not opposed to
the purity of God, there would be nothing in this painful to us. We
suffer only in proportion as the vice which is natural to us resists
supernatural grace. Our heart feels torn asunder between these opposed
efforts. But it would be very unfair to impute this violence to God,
who is drawing us on, instead of to the world, which is holding us
back. It is as a child, which a mother tears from the arms of robbers,
in the pain it suffers, should love the loving and legitimate violence
of her who procures its liberty, and detest only the impetuous and
tyrannical violence of those who detain it unjustly. The most cruel
war which God can make with men in this life is to leave them
without that war which He came to bring. "I came to send war," He
says, "and to teach them of this war. I came to bring fire and the
sword." Before Him the world lived in this false peace.
    499. External works.- There nothing so perilous as what pleases
God and man. For those states, which please God and man, have one
property which pleases God, and another which pleases men; as the
greatness of Saint Teresa. What pleased God was her deep humility in
the midst of her revelations; what pleased men was her light. And so
we torment ourselves to imitate her discourses, thinking to imitate
her conditions, and not so much to love what God loves and to put
ourselves in the state which God loves.
    It is better not to fast, and be thereby humbled, than to fast and
be self-satisfied therewith. The Pharisee and the Publican.
    What use will memory be to me, if it can alike hurt and help me,
and all depends upon the blessing of God, who gives only to things
done for Him, according to His rules and in His ways, the manner being
thus as important as the thing and perhaps more; since God can bring
forth good out of evil, and without God we bring forth evil out of
    500. The meaning of the words, good and evil.
    501. First step: to be blamed for doing evil, and praised for
doing good.
    Second step: to be neither praised nor blamed.
    502. Abraham took nothing for himself, but only for his
servants. So the righteous man takes for himself nothing of the world,
nor of the applause of the world, but only for his passions, which
he uses as their master, saying to the one, "Go," and to another,
"Come." Sub te erit appetitus tuus.* The passions thus subdued are
virtues. Even God attributes to Himself avarice, jealousy, anger;
and these are virtues as well as kindness, pity, constancy, which
are also passions. We must employ them as slaves, and, leaving to them
their food, prevent the soul from taking any of it, For, when the
passions become masters, they are vices; and they give their nutriment
to the soul, and the soul nourishes itself upon it and is poisoned.

    * Gen. 4. 7. "Unto thee shall be his desire."

    503. Philosophers have consecrated the vices by placing them in
God Himself. Christians have consecrated the virtues.
    504. The just man acts by faith in the least things; when he
reproves his servants, he desires their conversion by the Spirit of
God, and prays God to correct them; and he expects as much from God as
from his own reproofs, and prays God to bless his corrections. And
so in all his other actions he proceeds with the Spirit of God; and
his actions deceive us by reason of the... or suspension of the Spirit
of God in him; and he repents in his affliction.
    505. All things can be deadly to us, even the things made to serve
us; as in nature walls can kill us, and stairs can kill us, if we do
not walk circumspectly.
    The least movement affects all nature; the entire sea changes
because of a rock. Thus, in grace, the least action affects everything
by its consequences; therefore everything is important.
    In each action we must look beyond the action at our past,
present, and future state, and at others whom it affects, and see
the relations of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious.
    506. Let God not impute to us our sins, that is to say, all the
consequences and results of our sins, which are dreadful, even those
of the smallest faults, if we wish to follow them out mercilessly!
    507. The spirit of grace; the hardness of the heart; external
    508. Grace is indeed needed to turn a man into a saint; and he who
doubts it does not know what a saint or a man is.
    509. Philosophers.- A fine thing to cry to a man who does not know
himself, that he should come of himself to God! And a fine thing to
say so to a man who does know himself!
    510. Man is not worthy of God, but he is not incapable of being
made worthy.
    It is unworthy of God to unite Himself to wretched man; but it
is not unworthy of God to pull him out of his misery.
    511. If we would say that man is too insignificant to deserve
communion with God, we must indeed be very great to judge of it.
    512. It is, in peculiar phraseology, wholly the body of Jesus
Christ, but it cannot be said to be the whole body of Jesus Christ.
The union of two things without change does not enable us to say
that one becomes the other; the soul thus being united to the body,
the fire to the timber, without change. But change is necessary to
make the form of the one become the form of the other; thus the
union of the Word to man. Because my body without my soul would not
make the body of a man; therefore my soul united to any matter
whatsoever will make my body. It does not distinguish the necessary
condition from the sufficient condition; the union is necessary, but
not sufficient. The left arm is not the right.
    Impenetrability is a property of matter.
    Identity de numero in regard to the same time requires the
identity of matter.
    Thus if God united my soul to a body in China, the same body, idem
numero would be in China.
    The same river which runs there is idem numero as that which
runs at the same time in China.
    513. Why God has established prayer.
    1. To communicate to His creatures the dignity of causality.
    2. To teach us from whom our virtue comes.
    3. To make us deserve other virtues by work.
    (But to keep His own pre-eminence, He grants prayer to whom He
    Objection: But we believe that we hold prayer of ourselves.
    This is absurd; for since, though having faith, we cannot have
virtues, how should we have faith? Is there a greater distance between
infidelity and faith than between faith and virtue?
    Merit. This word is ambiguous.
    Meruit habere Redemptorem.*
    Meruit tam sacra membra tangere.*(2)
    Digno tam sacra membra tangere.*(3)
    Non sum dignus.*(4)
    Qui manducat indignus.*(5)
    Dignus est accipere.*(6)
    Dignare me.*(7)

    * Office for Holy Saturday. "Which won for us a Saviour."
    *(2) Office for Good Friday. "Which won for us God's hallowed
members to embrace."
    *(3) Hymn Vexilla regis. "Worthy God's hallowed members to
    *(4) Luke 7. 6 "I am not worthy."
    *(5) I Cor. 11. 29. "Who eateth unworthily."
    *(6) Rev. 4. 11. "Thou art worthy to receive."
    *(7) Office of the Holy Virgin. "Make me worthy."

    God is only bound according to His promises. He has promised to
grant justice to prayers; He has never promised prayer only to the
children of promise.
    Saint Augustine has distinctly said that strength would be taken
away from the righteous. But it is by chance that he said it; for it
might have happened that the occasion of saying it did not present
itself. But his principles make us see that, when the occasion for
it presented itself, it was impossible that he should not say it, or
that he should say anything to the contrary. It is then rather that he
was forced to say it, when the occasion presented itself, than that he
said it, when the occasion presented itself, the one being of
necessity, the other of chance. But the two are all that we can ask.
    514. "Work out your own salvation with fear."
    Proofs of prayer. Petenti dabitur.*

    * Matthew, 7. 7, "Ask and it shall be given you."

    Therefore it is in our power to ask. On the other hand, there is
God. So it is not in our power, since the obtaining of (the grace)
to pray to Him is not in our power. For since salvation is not in
us, and the obtaining of such grace is from Him, prayer is not in
our power.
    The righteous man should then hope no more in God, for he ought
not to hope, but to strive to obtain what he wants.
    Let us conclude then that, since man is now unrighteous since
the first sin, and God is unwilling that he should thereby not be
estranged from Him, it is only by a first effect that he is not
    Therefore, those who depart from God have not this first effect
without which they are not estranged from God, and those who do not
depart from God have this first effect. Therefore, those whom we
have seen possessed for some time of grace by this first effect, cease
to pray, for want of this first effect.
    Then God abandons the first in this sense.
    515. The elect will be ignorant of their virtues, and the
outcast of the greatness of their sins: "Lord, when saw we Thee an
hungered, thirsty"? etc.
    516. Romans 3. 27. Boasting is excluded. By what law? Of works?
Nay, but by faith. Then faith is not within our power like the deeds
of the law, and it is given to us in another way.
    517. Comfort yourselves. It is not from yourselves that you should
expect grace; but, on the contrary, it is in expecting nothing from
yourselves that you must hope for it.
    518. Every condition, and even the martyrs, have to fear,
according to Scripture. The greatest pain of purgatory is the
uncertainty of the judgement. Deus absconditus.*

    * Is. 45. 15.

    519. John 8. Multi crediderunt in eum. Dicebat ergo Jesus: "Si
manseritis... VERE mei discipuli eritis, et VERITAS LIBERABIT VOS."
Responderunt: "Semen Abrahae sumus, et nemini servimus unquam."*

    * John 8. 30-33. "Many believed on him. Then Jesus said: 'If ye
continue... then ye are my disciples indeed, and the truth shall
make you free.' They answered him: 'We be Abraham's seed, and were
never in bondage to any man.'"

    There is a great difference between disciples and true
disciples. We recognise them by telling them that the truth will
make them free; for if they answer that they are free and that it is
in their power to come out of slavery to the devil, they are indeed
disciples, but not true disciples.
    520. The law has not destroyed nature, but has instructed it;
grace has not destroyed the law, but has made it act. Faith received
at baptism is the source of the whole life of Christians and of the
    521. Grace will always be in the world, and nature also; so that
the former is in some sort natural. And thus there will always be
Pelagians, and always Catholics, and always strife; because the
first birth makes the one, and the grace of the second birth the
    522. The law imposed what it did not give. Grace gives what it
    523. All faith consists in Jesus Christ and in Adam, and all
morality in lust and in grace.
    524. There is no doctrine more appropriate to man than this, which
teaches him his double capacity of receiving and of losing grace,
because of the double peril to which he is exposed, of despair or of
    525. The philosophers did not prescribe feelings suitable to the
two states.
    They inspired feelings of pure greatness, and that is not man's
    They inspired feelings of pure littleness, and that is not man's
    There must be feelings of humility, not from nature, but from
penitence, not to rest in them, but to go on to greatness. There
must be feelings of greatness, not from merit, but from grace, and
after having passed through humiliation.
    526. Misery induces despair, pride induces presumption. The
Incarnation shows man the greatness of his misery by the greatness
of the remedy which he required.
    527. The knowledge of God without that of man's misery causes
pride. The knowledge of man's misery without that of God causes
despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ constitutes the middle
course, because in Him we find both God and our misery.
    528. Jesus Christ is a God whom we approach without pride and
before whom we humble ourselves without despair.
    529.... Not a degradation which renders us incapable of good,
nor a holiness exempt from evil.
    530. A person told me one day that on coming from confession he
felt great joy and confidence. Another told me that he remained in
fear. Whereupon I thought that these two together would make one
good man, and that each was wanting in that he had not the feeling
of the other. The same often happens in other things.
    531. He who knows the will of his master will be beaten with
more blows, because of the power he has by his knowledge. Qui justus
est, justificetur adhuc,* because of the power he has by justice. From
him who has received most, will the greatest reckoning be demanded,
because of the power he has by this help.

    * Rev. 22. 11. "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still."

    532. Scripture has provided passages of consolation and of warning
for all conditions.
    Nature seems to have done the same thing by her two infinities,
natural and moral; for we shall always have the higher and the
lower, the more clever and the less clever, the most exalted and the
meanest, in order to humble our pride and exalt our humility.
    533. Comminutum cor (Saint Paul).* This is the Christian
character. Alba has named you, I know you no more (Corneille). That is
the inhuman character. The human character is the opposite.

    * Circumcidentes cor. Rom. 2. "Circumcision is that of the heart."

    534. There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who believe
themselves sinners; the rest, sinners, who believe themselves
    535. We owe a great debt to those who point out faults. For they
mortify us. They teach us that we have been despised. They do not
prevent our being so in the future; for we have many other faults
for which we may be despised. They prepare for us the exercise of
correction and freedom from fault.
    536. Man is so made that by continually telling him he is a fool
he believes it, and by continually telling it to himself he makes
himself believe it. For man holds an inward talk with his self
alone, which it behoves him to regulate well: Corrumpunt bonos mores
colloquia prava.* We must keep silent as much as possible and talk
with ourselves only of God, whom we know to be true; and thus we
convince ourselves of the truth.

    * I Cor. 15. 33. "Evil communications corrupt good manners."

    537. Christianity is strange. It bids man recognise that he is
vile, even abominable, and bids him desire to be like God. Without
such a counterpoise, this dignity would make him horribly vain, or
this humiliation would make him terribly abject.
    538. With how little pride does a Christian believe himself united
to God! With how little humiliation does he place himself on a level
with the worms of earth!
    A glorious manner to welcome life and death, good and evil!
    539. What difference in point of obedience is there between a
soldier and a Carthusian monk? For both are equally under obedience
and dependent, both engaged in equally painful exercises. But the
soldier always hopes to command and never attains this, for even
captains and princes are ever slaves and dependants; still he ever
hopes and ever works to attain this. Whereas the Carthusian monk makes
a vow to be always dependent. So they do not differ in their perpetual
thraldom, in which both of them always exist, but in the hope, which
one always has, and the other never.
    540. The hope which Christians have of possessing an infinite good
is mingled with real enjoyment as well as with fear; for it is not
as with those who should hope for a kingdom, of which they, being
subjects, would have nothing; but they hope for holiness, for
freedom from injustice, and they have something of this.
    541. None is so happy as a true Christian, nor so reasonable,
virtuous, or amiable.
    542. The Christian religion alone makes man altogether lovable and
happy. In honesty, we cannot perhaps be altogether lovable and happy.
    543. Preface.- The metaphysical proofs of God are so remote from
the reasoning of men, and so complicated, that they make little
impression; and if they should be of service to some, it would be only
during the moment that they see such demonstration; but an hour
afterwards they fear they have been mistaken.
    Quod curiositate cognoverunt superbia amiserunt.*

    * "What they have found by their curiosity, they have lost by
their pride." Quod curiositate invenerunt, superbia perdiderunt. St.
Augustine, Sermon cxli.

    This is the result of the knowledge of God obtained without
Jesus Christ; it is communion without a mediator with the God whom
they have known without a mediator. Whereas those who have known God
by a mediator know their own wretchedness.
    544. The God of the Christians is a God who makes the soul feel
that He is her only good, that her only rest is in Him, that her
only delight is in loving Him; and who makes her at the same time
abhor the obstacles which keep her back and prevent her from loving
God with all her strength. Self-love and lust, which hinder us, are
unbearable to her. Thus God makes her feel that she has this root of
self-love which destroys her, and which He alone can cure.
    545. Jesus Christ did nothing but teach men that they loved
themselves, that they were slaves, blind, sick, wretched, and sinners;
that He must deliver them, enlighten, bless, and heal them; that
this would be effected by hating self, and by following Him through
suffering and the death on the cross.
    546. Without Jesus Christ man must be in vice and misery; with
Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery; in Him is all our
virtue and all our happiness. Apart from Him there is but vice,
misery, darkness, death, despair.
    547. We know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator,
all communion with God is taken away; through Jesus Christ we know
God. All those who have claimed to know God, and to prove Him
without Jesus Christ, have had only weak proofs. But in proof of Jesus
Christ we have the prophecies, which are solid and palpable proofs.
And these prophecies, being accomplished and proved true by the event,
mark the certainty of these truths and, therefore, the divinity of
Christ. In Him, then, and through Him, we know God. Apart from Him,
and without the Scripture, without original sin, without a necessary
mediator promised and come, we cannot absolutely prove God, nor
teach right doctrine and right morality. But through Jesus Christ, and
in Jesus Christ, we prove God, and teach morality and doctrine.
Jesus Christ is, then, the true God of men.
    But we know at the same time our wretchedness; for this God is
none other than the Saviour of our wretchedness. So we can only know
God well by knowing our iniquities. Therefore those who have known
God, without knowing their wretchedness, have not glorified Him, but
have glorified themselves. Quia... non cognovit per sapientiam...
placuit Deo per stultitiam praedicationis salvos facere.*

    * I Cor. 1. 21. "Which... by wisdom knew not... it pleased God
by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

    548. Not only do we know God by Jesus Christ alone, but we know
ourselves only by Jesus Christ. We know life and death only through
Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, we do not know what is our
life, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves.
    Thus without the Scripture, which has Jesus Christ alone for its
object, we know nothing, and see only darkness and confusion in the
nature of God and in our own nature.
    549. It is not only impossible but useless to know God without
Jesus Christ. They have not departed from Him, but approached; they
have not humbled themselves, but...
    Quo quisque optimus est, pessimus, si hoc ipsum, quod optimus est,
adscribat sibi.*

    * St. Bernard, Sermones in Cantica Canticorum, lxxxiv. "The better
one is, the worse one becomes, if one attributes the cause of this
goodness to one's self."

    550. I love poverty because He loved it. I love riches because
they afford me the means of helping the very poor. I keep faith with
everybody; I do not render evil to those who wrong me, but I wish them
a lot like mine, in which I receive neither evil nor good from men.
I try to be just, true, sincere, and faithful to all men; I have a
tender heart for those to whom God has more closely united me; and
whether I am alone, or seen of men, I do all my actions in the sight
of God, who must judge of them, and to whom I have consecrated them
    These are my sentiments; and every day of my life I bless my
Redeemer, who has implanted them in me, and who, of a man full of
weakness, of miseries, of lust, of pride, and of ambition, has made
a man free from all these evils by the power of His grace, to which
all the glory of it is due, as of myself I have only misery and error.
    551. Dignior plagis quam osculis non timeo quia amo.*

    * Ibid. "Meriting blows more than kisses, I fear not, because I

    552. The Sepulchre of Jesus Christ.- Jesus Christ was dead, but
seen on the Cross. He was dead, and hidden in the Sepulchre.
    Jesus Christ was buried by the saints alone.
    Jesus Christ wrought no miracle at the Sepulchre.
    Only the saints entered it.
    It is there, not on the Cross, that Jesus Christ takes a new life.
    It is the last mystery of the Passion and the Redemption.
    Jesus Christ had nowhere to rest on earth but in the Sepulchre.
His enemies only ceased to persecute Him at the Sepulchre.
    553. The Mystery of Jesus.- Jesus suffers in His passions the
torments which men inflict upon Him; but in His agony He suffers the
torments which He inflicts on himself; turbare semetipsum.* This is
a suffering from no human, but an almighty hand, for He must be
almighty to bear it.

    * John 11. 33. Et turbarit seipsum. "And he troubled himself."

    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
    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."
    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 (John).*(2)

    * Matt. 26. 46. "Let us be going."
    *(2) 18.2. "Jesus went forth."

    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
    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
    We implore the mercy of God, not that He may leave us at peace
in our vices, 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
    "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 then 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
    "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
    Eritis sicut dii scientes bonum et malum.* Each one creates his
god, when judging, "This is good or bad"; and men mourn or rejoice too
much at events.

    * Gen. 3. 5. "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

      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.
    554. It seems to me that Jesus Christ only allowed His wounds to
be touched after His resurrection: Noli me tangere.* We must unite
ourselves only to His sufferings.

    * John 20. 17. "Touch me not."

    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.
    555. "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

    556.... 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 of 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 the 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 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.
    557.... 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.
    558. What shall we conclude from all our darkness, but our
    559. 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.
    560. 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.
    561. 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.
    562. 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.
    563. 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.
    564. 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 Israelita, vere liberi, vere cibus.*

    * Allusion to John 6. 56; 1. 47; 8. 36; 6. 32. "True disciple;
an Israelite indeed; free indeed; true bread."

    565. 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.
    566. 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
    567. 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.
    568. 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.
    569. Canonical.- The heretical books in the beginning of the
Church serve to prove the canonical.
    570. 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.
    571. 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 prophesies, 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 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,* and that Jesus Christ shall be a stone of stumbling. But,
"Blessed are they who shall not be offended in him." Hosea, 14. 9,
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."

    * In discipulis meis. Isaiah 8. 16. "Seal the law among my

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

                      1600 prophets.
                       400 scattered.

    573. Blindness of Scripture.- "The Scripture," said the Jews,
"says that we shall not know whence Christ will come (John 7. 27,
and 12. 34)- The Scripture says that Christ abideth for ever, and He
said that He should die." Therefore, says Saint John, they believed
not, though He had done so many miracles, that the word of Isaiah
might be fulfilled: "He hath blinded them," etc.
    574. 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?
    575. 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.
    576. 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.
    577. God has made the blindness of this people subservient to
the good of the elect.
    578. 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, Sebond.
    The genealogy of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is intermingled
with so many others that are useless that it cannot be
distinguished. If Moses had kept only the record of the ancestors of
Christ, that might have been too plain. If he had not noted that of
Jesus Christ, it might not have been sufficiently plain. But, after
all, whoever looks closely sees that of Jesus Christ expressly
traced through Tamar, Ruth, etc.
    Those who ordained these sacrifices knew their uselessness;
those who have declared their uselessness, have not ceased to practise
    If God had permitted only one religion, it has been too easily
known; but when we look at it closely, we clearly discern the truth
amidst this confusion.
    The premiss.- Moses was a clever man. If, then, he ruled himself
by his reason, he would say nothing clearly which was directly against
    Thus all the very apparent weaknesses are strength. Example; the
two genealogies in Saint Matthew and Saint Luke. What can be clearer
than that this was not concerted?
    579. God (and the Apostles), foreseeing that the seeds of pride
would make heresies spring up, and being unwilling to give them
occasion to arise from correct expressions, has put in Scripture and
the prayers of the Church contrary words and sentences to produce
their fruit in time.
    So in morals He gives charity, which produces fruits contrary to
    580. Nature has some perfections to show that she is the image
of God, and some defects to show that she is only His image.
    581. God prefers rather to incline the will than the intellect.
Perfect clearness would be of use to the intellect and would harm
the will. To humble pride.
    582. We make an idol of truth itself; for truth apart from charity
is not God, but His image and idol, which we must neither love nor
worship; and still less must we love or worship its opposite,
namely, falsehood.
    I can easily love total darkness; but if God keeps me in a state
of semi-darkness, such partial darkness displeases me, and, because
I do not see therein the advantage of total darkness, it is unpleasant
to me. This is a fault and a sign that I make for myself an idol of
darkness, apart from the order of God. Now only His order must be
    583. The feeble-minded are people who know the truth, but only
affirm it so far as consistent with their own interest. But, apart
from that, they renounce it.
    584. The world exists for the exercise of mercy and judgement, not
as if men were placed in it out of the hands of God, but as hostile to
God; and to them He grants by grace sufficient light, that they may
return to Him, if they desire to seek and follow Him; and also that
they may be punished, if they refuse to seek or follow Him.
    585. That God has willed to hide Himself.- If there were only
one religion, God would indeed be manifest. The same would be the case
if there were no martyrs but in our religion.
    God being thus hidden, every religion which does not affirm that
God is hidden is not true; and every religion which does not give
the reason of it is not instructive. Our religion does all this:
Vere tu es Deus absconditus.*

    * Is. 45. 15.

    586. If there were no obscurity, man would not be sensible of
his corruption; if there were no light, man would not hope for a
remedy. Thus, it is not only fair, but advantageous to us, that God be
partly hidden and partly revealed; since it is equally dangerous to
man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness, and to know
his own wretchedness without knowing God.
    587. This religion, so great in miracles, saints, blameless
Fathers, learned and great witnesses, martyrs, established kings as
David, and Isaiah, a prince of the blood, and so great in science,
after having displayed all her miracles and all her wisdom, rejects
all this, and declares that she has neither wisdom nor signs, but only
the cross and foolishness.
    For those, who, by these signs and that wisdom, have deserved your
belief, and who have proved to you their character, declare to you
that nothing of all this can change you, and render you capable of
knowing and loving God, but the power of the foolishness of the
cross without wisdom and signs, and not the signs without this
power. Thus our religion is foolish in respect to the effective
cause and wise in respect to the wisdom which prepares it.
    588. Our religion is wise and foolish. Wise, because it is the
most learned and the most founded on miracles, prophecies, etc.
Foolish, because it is not all this which makes us belong to it.
This makes us, indeed, condemn those who do not belong to it; but it
does not cause belief in those who do belong to it. It is the cross
that makes them believe, ne evacuata sit crux.* And so Saint Paul, who
came with wisdom and signs, says that he has come neither with
wisdom nor with signs; for he came to convert. But those who come only
to convince can say that they come with wisdom and with signs.

    * I Cor. 1. 17. "Lest the cross of Christ should be made of none
                          SECTION IX

    589. On the fact that the Christian religion is not the only
religion.- So far is this from being a reason for believing that it is
not the true one that, on the contrary, it makes us see that it is so.
    590. Men must be sincere in all religions; true heathens, true
Jews, true Christians.

    591.                  J. C.
                 Heathens   |   Mahomet
                  \                  /
                    Ignorance of God

    592. The falseness of other religions.- They have no witnesses.
Jews have. God defies other religions to produce such signs: Isaiah
43. 9; 44. 8.
    593. History of China.- I believe only the histories, whose
witnesses got themselves killed.
    Which is the more credible of the two, Moses or China?
    It is not a question of seeing this summarily. I tell you there is
in it something to blind, and something to enlighten.
    By this one word I destroy all your reasoning. "But China
obscures," say you; and I answer, "China obscures, but there is
clearness to be found; seek it."
    Thus all that you say makes for one of the views and not at all
against the other.
    So this serves, and does no harm.
    We must, then, see this in detail; we must put the papers on the
    594. Against the history of China.- The historians of Mexico,
the five suns, of which the last is only eight hundred years old.
    The difference between a book accepted by a nation and one which
makes a nation.
    595. Mahomet was without authority. His reasons, then, should have
been very strong, having only their own force. What does he say, then,
that we must believe him?
    596. The Psalms are chanted throughout the whole world.
    Who renders testimony to Mahomet? Himself. Jesus Christ desires
His own testimony to be as nothing.
    The quality of witnesses necessitates their existence always and
everywhere; and he, miserable creature, is alone.
    597. Against Mahomet.- The Koran is not more of Mahomet than the
Gospel is of Saint Matthew, for it is cited by many authors from age
to age. Even its very enemies, Celsus and Porphyry, never denied it.
    The Koran says Saint Matthew was an honest man. Therefore
Mahomet was a false prophet for calling honest men wicked, or for
not agreeing with what they have said of Jesus Christ.
    598. It is not by that which is obscure in Mahomet, and which
may be interpreted in a mysterious sense, that I would have him
judged, but by what is clear, as his paradise and the rest. In that he
is ridiculous. And since what is clear is ridiculous, it is not
right to take his obscurities for mysteries.
    It is not the same with the Scripture. I agree that there are in
it obscurities as strange as those of Mahomet; but there are admirably
clear passages, and the prophecies are manifestly fulfilled. The cases
are, therefore, not on a par. We must not confound and put on one
level things which only resemble each other in their obscurity, and
not in the clearness, which requires us to reverence the obscurities.
    599. The difference between Jesus Christ and Mahomet.- Mahomet was
not foretold; Jesus Christ was foretold.
    Mahomet slew; Jesus Christ caused His own to be slain.
    Mahomet forbade reading; the Apostles ordered reading.
    In fact, the two are so opposed that, if Mahomet took the way to
succeed from a worldly point of view, Jesus Christ, from the same
point of view, took the way to perish. And instead of concluding that,
since Mahomet succeeded, Jesus Christ might well have succeeded, we
ought to say that, since Mahomet succeeded, Jesus Christ should have
    600. Any man can do what Mahomet has done; for he performed no
miracles, he was not foretold. No man can do what Christ has done.
    601. The heathen religion has no foundation at the present day. It
is said once to have had a foundation by the oracles which spoke.
But what are the books which assure us of this? Are they so worthy
of belief on account of the virtue of their authors? Have they been
preserved with such care that we can be sure that they have not been
meddled with?
    The Mahometan religion has for a foundation the Koran and Mahomet.
But has this prophet, who was to be the last hope of the world, been
foretold? What sign has he that every other man has not who chooses to
call himself a prophet? What miracles does he himself say that he
has done? What mysteries has he taught, even according to his own
tradition? What was the morality, what the happiness held out by him?
    The Jewish religion must be differently regarded in the
tradition of the Holy Bible and in the tradition of the people. Its
morality and happiness are absurd in the tradition of the people,
but are admirable in that of the Holy Bible. (And all religion is
the same; for the Christian religion is very different in the Holy
Bible and in the casuists.) The foundation is admirable; it is the
most ancient book in the world, and the most authentic; and whereas
Mahomet, in order to make his own book continue in existence,
forbade men to read it, Moses, for the same reason, ordered every
one to read his.
    Our religion is so divine that another divine religion has only
been the foundation of it.
    602. Order.- To see what is clear and indisputable in the whole
state of the Jews.
    603. The Jewish religion is wholly divine in its authority, its
duration, its perpetuity, its morality, its doctrine, and its effects.
    604. The only science contrary to common sense and human nature is
that alone which has always existed among men.
    605. The only religion contrary to nature, to common sense, and to
our pleasure, is that alone which has always existed.
    606. No religion but our own has taught that man is born in sin.
No sea of philosophers has said this. Therefore none have declared the
    No sect or religion has always existed on earth, but the Christian
    607. Whoever judges of the Jewish religion by its coarser forms
will misunderstand it. It is to be seen in the Holy Bible, and in
the tradition of the prophets, who have made it plain enough that they
did not interpret the law according to the letter. So our religion
is divine in the Gospel, in the Apostles, and in tradition; but it
is absurd in those who tamper with it.
    The Messiah, according to the carnal Jews, was to be a great
temporal prince. Jesus Christ, according to carnal Christians, has
come to dispense us from the love of God and to give us sacraments
which shall do everything without our help. Such is not the
Christian religion, nor the Jewish. True Jews and true Christians have
always expected a Messiah who should make them love God and by that
love triumph over their enemies.
    608. The carnal Jews hold a midway place between Christians and
heathens. The heathens know not God, and love the world only. The Jews
know the true God, and love the world only. The Christians know the
true God, and love not the world. Jews and heathens love the same
good. Jews and Christians know the same God.
    The Jews were of two kinds; the first had only heathen affections,
the other had Christian affections.
    609. There are two kinds of men in each religion: among the
heathen, worshippers of beasts and the worshippers of the one only God
of natural religion; among the Jews, the carnal, and the spiritual,
who were the Christians of the old law; among Christians, the
coarser-minded, who are the Jews of the new law. The carnal Jews
looked for a carnal Messiah; the coarser Christians believe that the
Messiah has dispensed them from the love of God; true Jews and true
Christians worship a Messiah who makes them love God.
    610. To show that the true Jews and the true Christians have but
the same religion.- The religion of the Jews seemed to consist
essentially in the fatherhood of Abraham, in circumcision, in
sacrifices, in ceremonies, in the Ark, in the temple, in Jerusalem,
and, finally, in the law, and in the covenant with Moses.
    I say that it consisted in none of those things, but only in the
love of God, and that God disregarded all the other things.
    That God did not accept the posterity of Abraham.
    That the Jews were to be punished like strangers, if they
transgressed. Deut. 8. 19: "If thou do at all forget the Lord thy God,
and walk after other gods, I testify against you this day that ye
shall surely perish, as the nations which the Lord destroyeth before
your face."
    That strangers, if they loved God, were to be received by Him as
the Jews. Isaiah 56. 3: "Let not the stranger say, 'The Lord will
not receive me.' The strangers who join themselves unto the Lord to
serve Him and love Him, will I bring unto my holy mountain, and accept
therein sacrifices, for mine house is a house of prayer."
    That the true Jews considered their merit to be from God only, and
not from Abraham. Isaiah 63. 16: "Doubtless thou art our Father,
though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not.
Thou art our Father and our Redeemer."
    Moses himself told them that God would not accept persons. Deut.
10. 17: "God," said he, "regardeth neither persons nor sacrifices."
    The Sabbath was only a sign, Exod. 31. 13; and in memory of the
escape from Egypt, Deut. 5. 19. Therefore it is no longer necessary,
since Egypt must be forgotten.
    Circumcision was only a sign, Gen. 17. 11. And thence it came to
pass that, being in the desert, they were not circumcised, because
they could not be confounded with other peoples; and after Jesus
Christ came, it was no longer necessary.
    That the circumcision of the heart is commanded. Deut. 10. 16;
Jeremiah 4. 4: "Be ye circumcised in heart; take away the
superfluities of your heart, and harden yourselves not. For your God
is a mighty God, strong and terrible, who accepteth not persons."
    That God said He would one day do it. Deut. 30. 6: "God will
circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, that thou mayest
love Him with all thine heart."
    That the uncircumcised in heart shall be judged. Jeremiah 9. 26:
For God will judge the uncircumcised peoples, and all the people of
Israel, because he is "uncircumcised in heart."
    That the external is of no avail apart from the internal. Joel
2. 13: Scindite corda vestra,* etc.; Isaiah 58. 3, 4, etc.

    * "Rend your heart."

    The love of God is enjoined in the whole of Deuteronomy. Deut. 30.
19: "I call heaven and earth to record that I have set before you life
and death, that you should choose life, and love God, and obey Him,
for God is your life."
    That the Jews, for lack of that love, should be rejected for their
offences, and the heathen chosen in their stead. Hosea 1. 10; Deut.
32. 20. "I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end
shall be, for they are a very froward generation, children in whom
is no faith. have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God...
and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a
people... and with a foolish nation." Isaiah 65. 1.
    That temporal goods are false, and that the true good is to be
united to God. Psalm 143. 15.
    That their feasts are displeasing to God. Amos 5. 21.
    That the sacrifices of the Jews displeased God. Isaiah 66. 1-3; 1.
11; Jer. 6. 20; David, Miserere.* Even on the part of the good,
Expectavi.*(2) Psalm 49. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.

    * Ps. 9. 14. "Have mercy."
    *(2) Is. 5. 7. "He has looked for."
    That He has established them only for their hardness. Micah,
admirably, 6; I Kings 15. 22; Hosea 6. 6.
    That the sacrifices of the Gentiles will be accepted of God, and
that God will take no pleasure in the sacrifices of the Jews.
Malachi 1. 11.
    That God will make a new covenant with the Messiah, and the old
will be annulled. Jer. 31. 31. Mandata non bona.*

    * Ezek. 20. 25. Praecepta non bona. "Statutes that were not good."

    That the old things will be forgotten. Isaiah 43. 18, 19; 65.
17, 10
    That the Ark will no longer be remembered. Jer. 3. 15, 16
    That the temple should be rejected. Jer 7. 12, 13, 14.
    That the sacrifices should be rejected, and other pure
sacrifices established. Malachi 1. 11.
    That the order of Aaron's priesthood should be rejected, and
that of Melchizedek introduced by the Messiah. Ps. Dixit Dominus.
    That this priesthood should be eternal. Ibid.
    That Jerusalem should be rejected, and Rome admitted, Ibid.
    That the name of the Jews should be rejected, and a new name
given. Isaiah 65. 15.
    That this last name should be more excellent than that of the
Jews, and eternal. Isaiah 56. 5.
    That the Jews should be without prophets (Amos), without a king,
without princes, without sacrifice, without an idol.
    That the Jews should, nevertheless, always remain a people. Jer.
31. 36
    611. Republic.- The Christian republic- and even the Jewish- has
only had God for ruler, as Philo the Jew notices, On Monarchy.
    When they fought, it was for God only; their chief hope was in God
only; they considered their towns as belonging to God only, and kept
them for God. I Chron. 19. 13.
    612. Gen. 17. 7. Statuam pactum meum inter me et te foedere
sempiterno... us sim Deus tuus...*
    Et tu ergo custodies pactum meum.*(2)

    * "I will establish my covenant between me and Thee for an
everlasting covenant, to be a God unto Thee."
    *(2) Gen. 17. 9. "Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore."

    Perpetuity.- That religion has always existed on earth which
consists in believing that man has fallen from a state of glory and of
communion with God into a state of sorrow, penitence, and estrangement
from God, but that after this life we shall be restored by a Messiah
who should have come. All things have passed away, and this has
endured, for which all things are.
    Men have in the first age of the world been carried away into
every kind of debauchery, and yet there were saints, as Enoch, Lamech,
and others, who waited patiently for the Christ promised from the
beginning of the world. Noah saw the wickedness of men at its
height; and he was held worthy to save the world in his person, by the
hope of the Messiah of whom he was the type. Abraham was surrounded by
idolaters, when God made known to him the mystery of the Messiah, whom
he welcomed from afar. In the time of Isaac and Jacob, abomination was
spread over all the earth; but these saints lived in faith; and Jacob,
dying and blessing his children, cried in a transport which made him
break off his discourse, "I await, O my God, the Saviour whom Thou
hast promised. Salutare tuum expectabo, Domine."* The Egyptians were
infected both with idolatry and magic; the very people of God were led
astray by their example. Yet Moses and others believed Him whom they
saw not, and worshipped Him, looking to the eternal gifts which He was
preparing for them.

    * Gen. 49. 18. "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord."

    The Greeks and Latins then set up false deities; the poets made
a hundred different theologies, while the philosophers separated
into a thousand different sects; and yet in the heart of Judaea
there were always chosen men who foretold the coming of this
Messiah, which was known to them alone.
    He came at length in the fullness of time, and time has since
witnessed the birth of so many schisms and heresies, so many political
revolutions, so many changes in all things; yet this Church, which
worships Him who has always been worshipped, has endured
uninterruptedly. It is a wonderful, incomparable, and altogether
divine fact that this religion, which has always endured, has always
been attacked. It has been a thousand times on the eve of universal
destruction, and every time it has been in that state, God has
restored it by extraordinary acts of His power. This is astonishing,
as also that it has preserved itself without yielding to the will of
tyrants. For it is not strange that a State endures, when its laws are
sometimes made to give way to necessity, but that... (See the
passage indicated in Montaigne.)*

    * Essays, 1. 22.

     614. States would perish if they did not often make their laws
give way to necessity. But religion has never suffered this, or
practised it. Indeed, there must be these compromises or miracles.
It is not strange to be saved by yieldings, and this is not strictly
self-preservation; besides, in the end they perish entirely. None
has endured a thousand years. But the fact that this religion has
always maintained itself, inflexible as it is, proves its divinity.
    615. Whatever may be said, it must be admitted that the
Christian religion has something astonishing in it. Some will say,
"This is because you were born in it." Far from it; I stiffen myself
against it for this very reason, for fear this prejudice bias me. But,
although I am born in it, I cannot help finding it so.
    616. Perpetuity.- The Messiah has always been believed in. The
tradition from Adam was fresh in Noah and in Moses. Since then the
prophets have foretold him, while at the same time foretelling other
things, which, being from time to time fulfilled in the sight of
men, showed the truth of their mission, and consequently that of their
promises touching the Messiah. Jesus Christ performed miracles, and
the Apostles also, who converted all the heathen; and all the
prophecies being thereby fulfilled, the Messiah is for ever proved.
    617. Perpetuity.- Let us consider that since the beginning of
the world the expectation of worship of the Messiah has existed
uninterruptedly; that there have been found men who said that God
had revealed to them that a Redeemer was to be born, who should save
His people; that Abraham came afterwards, saying that he had had
revelation that the Messiah was to spring from him by a son, whom he
should have; that Jacob declared that, of his twelve sons, the Messiah
would spring from Judah; that Moses and the prophets then came to
declare the time and the manner of His coming; that they said their
law was only temporary till that of the Messiah, that it should endure
till then, but that the other should last for ever; that thus either
their law, or that of the Messiah, of which it was the promise,
would be always upon the earth; that, in fact, it has always
endured; that at last Jesus Christ came with all the circumstances
foretold. This is wonderful.
    618. This is positive fact. While all philosophers separate into
different sects, there is found in one corner of the world the most
ancient people in it, declaring that all the world is in error, that
God has revealed to them the truth, that they will always exist on the
earth. In fact, all other seas come to an end, this one still endures,
and has done so for four thousand years.
    They declare that they hold from their ancestors that man has
fallen from communion with God, and is entirely estranged from God,
but that He has promised to redeem them; that this doctrine shall
always exist on the earth; that their law has a double
signification; that during sixteen hundred years they have had people,
whom they believed prophets, foretelling both the time and the manner;
that four hundred years after they were scattered everywhere,
because Jesus Christ was to be everywhere announced; that Jesus Christ
came in the manner, and at the time foretold; that the Jews have since
been scattered abroad under a curse and, nevertheless, still exist.
    619. I see the Christian religion founded upon a preceding
religion, and this is what I find as a fact.
    I do not here speak of the miracles of Moses, of Jesus Christ, and
of the Apostles, because they do not at first seem convincing, and
because I only wish here to put in evidence all those foundations of
the Christian religion which are beyond doubt and which cannot be
called in question by any person whatsoever. It is certain that we see
in many places of the world a peculiar people, separated from all
other peoples of the world and called the Jewish people.
    I see then a crowd of religions in many parts of the world and
in all times; but their morality cannot please me, nor can their
proofs convince me. Thus I should equally have rejected the religion
of Mahomet and of China, of the ancient Romans and of the Egyptians,
for the sole reason that none having more marks of truth than another,
nor anything which should necessarily persuade me, reason cannot
incline to one rather than the other.
    But, in thus considering this changeable and singular variety of
morals and beliefs at different times, I find in one corner of the
world a peculiar people, separated from all other peoples on earth,
the most ancient of all, and whose histories are earlier by many
generations than the most ancient which we possess.
    I find, then, this great and numerous people, sprung from a single
man, who worship one God and guide themselves by a law which they
say that they obtained from His own hand. They maintain that they
are the only people in the world to whom God has revealed His
mysteries; that all men are corrupt and in disgrace with God; that
they are all abandoned to their senses and their own imagination,
whence come the strange errors and continual changes which happen
among them, both of religions and of morals, whereas they themselves
remain firm in their conduct; but that God will not leave other
nations in this darkness for ever; that there will come a Saviour
for all; that they are in the world to announce Him to men; that
they are expressly formed to be forerunners and heralds of this
great event and to summon all nations to join with them in the
expectation of this Saviour.
    To meet with this people is astonishing to me, and seems to me
worthy of attention. I look at the law which they boast of having
obtained from God, and I find it admirable. It is the first law of all
and is of such a kind that, even before the term law was in currency
among the Greeks, it had, for nearly a thousand years earlier, been
uninterruptedly accepted and observed by the Jews. I likewise think it
strange that the first law of the world happens to be the most
perfect; so that the greatest legislators have borrowed their laws
from it, as is apparent from the law of the Twelve Tables at Athens,
afterwards taken by the Romans, and as it would be easy to prove, if
Josephus and others had not sufficiently dealt with this subject.
    620. Advantages of the Jewish people.- In this search the Jewish
people at once attracts my attention by the number of wonderful and
singular facts which appear about them.
    I first see that they are a people wholly composed of brethren,
and whereas all others are formed by the assemblage of an infinity
of families, this, though so wonderfully fruitful, has all sprung from
one man alone, and, being thus all one flesh, and members one of
another, they constitute a powerful state of one family. This is
    This family, or people, is the most ancient within human
knowledge, a fact which seems to me to inspire a peculiar veneration
for it, especially in view of our present inquiry; since if God had
from all time revealed himself to men, it is to these we must turn for
knowledge of the tradition.
    This people are not eminent solely by their antiquity, but are
also singular by their duration, which has always continued from their
origin till now. For, whereas the nations of Greece and of Italy, of
Lacedaemon, of Athens and of Rome, and others who came long after,
have long since perished, these ever remain, and in spite of the
endeavours of many powerful kings who have a hundred times tried to
destroy them, as their historians testify, and as it is easy to
conjecture from the natural order of things during so long a space
of years, they have nevertheless been preserved (and this preservation
has been foretold); and extending from the earliest times to the
latest, their history comprehends in its duration all our histories
which it preceded by a long time.
    The law by which this people is governed is at once the most
ancient law in the world, the most perfect, and the only one which has
been always observed without a break in a state. This is what Josephus
admirably proves, Against Apion, and also Philo the Jew, in
different places, where they point out that it is so ancient that
the very name of law was only known by the oldest nation more than a
thousand years afterwards; so that Homer, who has written the
history of so many states, has never used the term. And it is easy
to judge of its perfection by simply reading it; for we see that it
has provided for all things with so great wisdom, equity, and
judgement, that the most ancient legislators, Greek and Roman,
having had some knowledge of it, have borrowed from it their principal
laws; this is evident from what are called the Twelve Tables, and from
the other proofs which Josephus gives.
    But this law is at the same time the severest and strictest of all
in respect to their religious worship, imposing on this people, in
order to keep them to their duty, a thousand peculiar and painful
observances, on pain of death. Whence it is very astonishing that it
has been constantly preserved during many centuries by a people,
rebellious and impatient as this one was; while all other states
have changed their laws from time to time, although these were far
more lenient.
    The book which contains this law, the first of all, is itself
the most ancient book in the world, those of Homer, Hesiod, and
others, being six or seven hundred years later.
    621. The creation of the deluge being past, and God no longer
requiring to destroy the world, nor to create it anew, nor to give
such great signs of Himself, He began to establish a people on the
earth, purposely formed, who were to last until the coming of the
people whom the Messiah should fashion by His spirit.
    622. The creation of the world beginning to be distant, God
provided a single contemporary historian, and appointed a whole people
as guardians of this book, in order that this history might be the
most authentic in the world, and that all men might thereby learn a
fact so necessary to know, and which could only be known through
that means.
    623. Japhet begins the genealogy.
    Joseph folds his arms, and prefers the younger.
    624. Why should Moses make the lives of men so long, and their
generations so few?
    Because it is not the length of years, but the multitude of
generations, which renders things obscure. For truth is perverted only
by the change of men. And yet he puts two things, the most memorable
that were ever imagined, namely, the creation and the deluge, so
near that we reach from one to the other.
    625. Shem, who saw Lamech, who saw Adam, saw also Jacob, who saw
those who saw Moses; therefore the deluge and the creation are true.
This is conclusive among certain people who understand it rightly.
    626. The longevity of the patriarchs, instead of causing the
loss of past history, conduced, on the contrary, to its
preservation. For the reason why we are sometimes insufficiently
instructed in the history of our ancestors is that we have never lived
long with them, and that they are often dead before we have attained
the age of reason. Now, when men lived so long, children lived long
with their parents. They conversed long with them. But what else could
be the subject of their talk save the history of their ancestors,
since to that all history was reduced, and men did not study science
or art, which now form a large part of daily conversation? We see also
that in these days tribes took particular care to preserve their
    627. I believe that Joshua was the first of God's people to have
this name, as Jesus Christ was the last of God's people.
    628. Antiquity of the Jews.- What a difference there is between
one book and another! I am not astonished that the Greeks made the
Iliad, nor the Egyptians and the Chinese their histories.
    We have only to see how this originates. These fabulous historians
are not contemporaneous with the facts about which they write. Homer
composes a romance, which he gives out as such, and which is
received as such; for nobody doubted that Troy and Agamemnon no more
existed than did the golden apple. Accordingly, he did not think of
making a history, but solely a book to amuse; he is the only writer of
his time; the beauty of the work has made it last, every one learns it
and talks of it, it is necessary to know it, and each one knows it
by heart. Four hundred years afterwards the witnesses of these facts
are no longer alive, no one knows of his own knowledge if it be a
fable or a history; one has only learnt it from his ancestors, and
this can pass for truth.
    Every history which is not contemporaneous, as the books of the
Sibyls and Trismegistus, and so many others which have been believed
by the world, are false, and found to be false in the course of
time. It is not so with contemporaneous writers.
    There is a great difference between a book which an individual
writes and publishes to a nation, and a book which itself creates a
nation. We cannot doubt that the book is as old as the people.
    629. Josephus hides the shame of his nation.
    Moses does not hide his own shame.
    Quis mihi det ut omnes prophetent?*
    He was weary of the multitude.

    * Num. 11. 29 Quis tribuat ut omnis populus prophetet. "Would
God that all the Lord's people were prophets."

    630. The sincerity of the Jews.- Maccabees, after they had no more
prophets; the Masorah, since Jesus Christ.
    This book will be a testimony for you.
    Defective and final letters.
    Sincere against their honour, and dying for it; this has no
example in the world, and no root in nature.
    631. Sincerity of the Jews.- They preserve lovingly and
carefully the book in which Moses declares that they have been all
their life ungrateful to God, and that he knows they will be still
more so after his death; but that he calls heaven and earth to witness
against them and that he has taught them enough.
    He declares that God, being angry with them, shall at last scatter
them among all the nations of the earth; that as they have offended
Him by worshipping gods who were not their God, so He will provoke
them by calling a people who are not His people; that He desires
that all His words be preserved for ever, and that His book be
placed in the Ark of the Covenant to serve for ever as a witness
against them.
    Isaiah says the same thing, 30.
    632. On Esdras.- The story that the books were burnt with the
temple proved false by Maccabees: "Jeremiah gave them the law."
    The story that he recited the whole by heart. Josephus and
Esdras point out that he read the book. Baronius, Annales
Ecclesiastici a Christo Nato ad Annum 1198, 180: Nullus penitus
Hebraeorum antiquorum reperitur qui tradiderit libros periisse et
per Esdram esse restitutos, nisi in IV Esdrae.
    The story that he changed the letters.
    Philo, in Vita Mosis: Illa lingua ac character quo antiquitus
scripta est lex sic permansit usque ad LXX.
    Josephus says that the Law was in Hebrew when it was translated by
the Seventy.
    Under Antiochus and Vespasian, when they wanted to abolish the
books, and when there was no prophet, they could not do so. And
under the Babylonians, when no persecution had been made, and when
there were so many prophets, would they have let them be burnt?
    Josephus laughs at the Greeks who would not hear...
    Tertullian: Perinde potuit abolefactam eam violentia cataclysmi in
spiritu rursus reformare, quemadmodum et Hierosolymis Babylonia
expugnatione deletis, omne instrumentum Judaicae literaturae per
Esdram constat restauratum.*

    * De cultu feminarum, i-3. "He could equally have renewed it,
under the Spirit's inspiration, after it had been destroyed by the
violence of the deluge, as, after the destruction of Jerusalem by
the Babylonian storming of it, every document of the Jewish literature
is generally agreed to have been restored through Ezra."

    He says that Noah could as easily have restored in spirit the book
of Enoch, destroyed by the Deluge, as Esdras could have restored the
Scriptures lost during the Captivity.
    (Theos) en te epi Nabouchodonosor aichmalosia tou laou,
diaphthareison ton Graphon... enepneuse 'Esdra to ierei, ek tes phules
Leui tous ton progegonoton propheton pantas anataxasthai logous, kai
apokatastesai to lae ten dia Mouseos nomothesian. He alleges this to
prove that it is not incredible that the Seventy may have explained
the Holy Scriptures with that uniformity which we admire in them.
And he took that from Saint Irenaeus.
    Saint Hilary, in his preface to the Psalms, says that Esdras
arranged the Psalms in order.
    The origin of this tradition comes from the 14th chapter of the
fourth book of Esdras. Deus glorificatus est, et Scripturae vere
divinae creditae sunt, omnibus eandem et eisdem verbis et eisdem
nominibus recitantibus ab initio usque ad finem, uti et praesentes
gentes cognoscerent quoniam per inspirationem Dei interpretatae sunt
Scripturae, et non esset mirabile Deum hoc in eis operatum: quando
in ea captivitate populi quae facta est a Nabuchodonosor, corruptis
scripturis et post 70 annos Judaeis descendentibus in regionem suam,
et post deinde temporibus Artaxerxis Persarum regis, inspiravit Esdrae
sacerdoti tribus Levi praeteritorum prophetarum omnes rememorare
sermones, et restituere populo eam legem quae data est per Moysen.*

    * Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, V. viii. 14. "God was
glorified, and the Scriptures were recognized as truly divine, for
they all rendered the same things in the same words and the same
names, from beginning to end, so that even the heathen who were
present knew that the Scriptures had been translated by the
inspiration of God. And it is no marvel that God did this, for when
the Scriptures had been destroyed in the captivity of the people in
the days of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews had gone back to their
country after seventy years, then in the times of Artaxerxes, the king
of the Persians, he inspired Ezra, the priest of the tribe of Levi, to
restore all the sayings of the prophets who had gone before, and to
restore to the people the law given by Moses." This is Pascal's
rendering into Latin of the passage from Eusebius of which the last
lines are in Greek, above.

    633. Against the story in Esdras, II Maccab. 2.; Josephus,
Antiquities, II, i.- Cyrus took occasion from the prophecy of Isaiah
to release the people. The Jews held their property in peace under
Cyrus in Babylon; hence they could well have the law.
    Josephus, in the whole history of Esdras, does not say one word
about this restoration. II Kings 17. 27.
    634. If the story in Esdras is credible, then it must be
believed that the Scripture is Holy Scripture; for this story is based
only on the authority of those who assert that of the Seventy, which
shows that the Scripture is holy.
    Therefore, if this account be true, we have what we want
therein; if not, we have it elsewhere. And thus those who would ruin
the truth of our religion, founded on Moses, establish it by the
same authority by which they attack it. So by this providence it still
    635. Chronology of Rabbinism. (The citations of pages are from the
book Pugio.)
    Page 27. R. Hakadosch (anno 200), author of the Mischna, or
vocal law, or second law.
    Commentaries on the Mischna (anno 340):  The one Siphra.
                                             Talmud Hierosol.
    Bereschit Rabah, by R. Osaiah Rabah, commentary on the Mischna.
    Bereschit Rabah, Bar Naconi, are subtle and pleasant discourses,
historical and theological. This same author wrote the books called
    A hundred years after the Talmud Hierosol was composed the
Babylonian Talmud, by R. Ase, A.D. 440, by the universal consent of
all the Jews, who are necessarily obliged to observe all that is
contained therein.
    The addition of R. Ase is called the Gemara, that is to say, the
commentary on the Mischna.
    And the Talmud includes together the Mischna and the Gemara.
    636. If does not indicate indifference: Malachi, Isaiah.
    Isaiah, Si volumus, etc.
    In quacumque die.*

    * "Each time that."

    637. Prophecies.- The sceptre was not interrupted by the captivity
in Babylon, because the return was promised and foretold.
    638. Proofs of Jesus Christ.- Captivity, with the assurance of
deliverance within seventy years, was not real captivity. But now they
are captives without any hope.
    God has promised them that, even though He should scatter them
to the ends of the earth, nevertheless, if they were faithful to His
law, He would assemble them together again. They are very faithful
to it and remain oppressed.
    639. When Nebuchadnezzar carried away the people, for fear they
should believe that the sceptre had departed from Judah, they were
told beforehand that they would be there for a short time, and that
they would be restored. They were always consoled by the prophets; and
their kings continued. But the second destruction is without promise
of restoration, without prophets, without kings, without
consolation, without hope, because the sceptre is taken away for ever.
    640. It is a wonderful thing, and worthy of particular
attention, to see this Jewish people existing so many years in
perpetual misery, it being necessary as a proof of Jesus Christ both
that they should exist to prove Him and that they should be
miserable because they crucified Him; and though to be miserable and
to exist are contradictory, they nevertheless still exist in spite
of their misery.
    641. They are visibly a people expressly created to serve as a
witness to the Messiah (Isaiah 43. 9; 44. 8). They keep the books, and
love them, and do not understand them. And all this was foretold; that
God's judgments are entrusted to them, but as a sealed book.
                            SECTION X

    642. Proof of the two Testaments at once.- To prove the two at one
stroke, we need only see if the prophecies in one are fulfilled in the
other. To examine the prophecies, we must understand them. For if we
believe they have only one meaning, it is certain that the Messiah has
not come; but if they have two meanings, it is certain that He has
come in Jesus Christ.
    The whole problem then is to know if they have two meanings.
    That the Scripture has two meanings, which Jesus Christ and the
Apostles have given, is shown by the following proofs:
    1. Proof by Scripture itself.
    2. Proof by the Rabbis. Moses Maimonides says that it has two
aspects and that the prophets have prophesied Jesus Christ only.
    3. Proof by the Kabbala.
    4. Proof by the mystical interpretation which the Rabbis
themselves give to Scripture.
    5. Proof by the principles of the Rabbis, that there are two
meanings; that there are two advents of the Messiah, a glorious and an
humiliating one, according to their desert; that the prophets have
prophesied of the Messiah only- the Law is not eternal, but must
change at the coming of the Messiah- that then they shall no more
remember the Red Sea; that the Jews and the Gentiles shall be mingled.
    6. Proof by the key which Jesus Christ and the Apostles give us.
    643. Isaiah 51. The Red Sea an image of the Redemption. Ut sciatis
quod filius hominis habet potestatem remittendi peccata... tibi
dico: Surge.* God, wishing to show that He could form a people holy
with an invisible holiness, and fill them with an eternal glory,
made visible things. As nature is an image of grace, He has done in
the bounties of nature what He would do in those of grace, in order
that we might judge that He could make the invisible, since He made
the visible excellently.

    * Mark 2. 10, 11. "But that ye may know that the son of man hath
power on earth to forgive sins... I say unto thee, Arise."

    Therefore He saved this people from the deluge; He has raised them
up from Abraham, redeemed them from their enemies, and set them at
    The object of God was not to save them from the deluge, and
raise up a whole people from Abraham, only in order to bring them into
a rich land.
    And even grace is only the type of glory, for it is not the
ultimate end. It has been symbolised by the law, and itself symbolises
glory. But it is the type of it, and the origin or cause.
    The ordinary life of men is like that of the saints. They all seek
their satisfaction and differ only in the object in which they place
it; they call those their enemies who hinder them, etc. God has then
shown the power which He has of giving invisible blessings, by that
which He has shown Himself to have over things visible.
    644. Types.- God, wishing to form for Himself an holy people, whom
He should separate from all other nations, whom He should deliver from
their enemies and should put into a place of rest, has promised to
do so and has foretold by His prophets the time and the manner of
His coming. And yet, to confirm the hope of His elect, He has made
them see in it an image through all time, without leaving them
devoid of assurances of His power and of His will to save them. For,
at the creation of man, Adam was the witness, and guardian of the
promise of a Saviour, who should be born of woman, when men were still
so near the creation that they could not have forgotten their creation
and their fall. When those who had seen Adam were no longer in the
world, God sent Noah whom He saved, and drowned the whole earth by a
miracle which sufficiently indicated the power which He had to save
the world, and the will which He had to do so, and to raise up from
the seed of woman Him whom He had promised. This miracle was enough to
confirm the hope of men.
    The memory of the Deluge being so fresh among men, while Noah
was still alive, God made promises to Abraham, and, while Shem was
still living, sent Moses, etc....
    645. Types.- God, willing to deprive His own of perishable
blessings, created the Jewish people in order to show that this was
not owing to lack of power.
    646. The Synagogue did not perish, because it was a type. But,
because it was only a type, it fell into servitude. The type existed
till the truth came, in order that the Church should be always
visible, either in the sign which promised it, or in substance.
    647. That the law was figurative.
    648. Two errors: 1. To take everything literally. 2. To take
everything spiritually.
    649. To speak against too greatly figurative language.
    650. There are some types clear and demonstrative, but others
which seem somewhat far-fetched, and which convince only those who are
already persuaded. These are like the Apocalyptics. But the difference
is that they have none which are certain, so that nothing is so unjust
as to claim that theirs are as well founded as some of ours; for
they have none so demonstrative as some of ours. The comparison is
unfair. We must not put on the same level and confound things, because
they seem to agree in one point, while they are so different in
another. The clearness in divine things requires us to revere the
obscurities in them.
    It is like men, who employ a certain obscure language among
themselves. Those who should not understand it would understand only a
foolish meaning.
    651. Extravagances of the Apocalyptics, Preadamites, who would
base extravagant opinions on Scripture will, for example, base them on
this. It is said that "this generation shall not pass till all these
things be fulfilled." Upon that I will say that after that
generation will come another generation, and so on ever in succession.
    Solomon and the King are spoken of in the second book of
Chronicles as if they were two different persons. I will say that they
were two.
    652. Particular Types.- A double law, double tables of the law,
a double temple, a double captivity.
    653. Types.- The prophets prophesied by symbols of a girdle, a
beard, and burnt hair, etc.
    654. Difference between dinner and supper.
    In God the word does not differ from the intention, for He is
true; nor the word from the effect, for He is powerful; nor the
means from the effect, for He is wise. St. Bernard, Ultimo Sermo in
    St. Augustine, City of God, v. 10. This rule is general. God can
do everything, except those things which, if He could do, He would not
be almighty, as dying, being deceived, lying, etc.
    Several Evangelists for the confirmation of the truth; their
difference useful.
    The Eucharist after Lord's Supper. Truth after the type.
    The ruin of Jerusalem, a type of the ruin of the world, forty
years after the death of Jesus. "I know not," as a man, or as an
ambassador (Mark 13. 32; Matthew 24. 36.)
    Jesus condemned by the Jews and the Gentiles.
    The Jews and the Gentiles typified by the two sons. St.
Augustine City of God, xx. 29.
    655. The six ages, the six Fathers of the six ages, the six
wonders at the beginning of the six ages, the six mornings at the
beginning of the six ages.
    656. Adam forma futuri.* The six days to form the one, the six
ages to form the other. The six days, which Moses represents for the
formation of Adam, are only the picture of the six ages to form
Jesus Christ and the Church. If Adam had not sinned, and Jesus
Christ had not come, there had been only one covenant, only one age of
men, and the creation would have been represented as accomplished at
one single time.

    * Rom. 5. 14. "The figure of him that was to come."

    657. Types.- The Jewish and Egyptian peoples were plainly foretold
by the two individuals whom Moses met; the Egyptian beating the Jew,
Moses avenging him and killing the Egyptian, and the Jew being
    658. The symbols of the Gospel for the state of the sick soul
are sick bodies; but, because one body cannot be sick enough to
express it well, several have been needed. Thus there are the deaf,
the dumb, the blind, the paralytic, the dead Lazarus, the possessed.
All this crowd is in the sick soul.
    659. Types.- To show that the Old Testament is only figurative and
that the prophets understood by temporal blessings other blessings,
this is the proof:
    First, that this would be unworthy of God.
    Secondly, that their discourses express very clearly the promise
of temporal blessings, and that they say nevertheless that their
discourses are obscure, and that their meaning will not be understood.
Whence it appears that this secret meaning was not that which they
openly expressed, and that consequently they meant to speak of other
sacrifices, of another deliverer, etc. They say that they will be
understood only in the fullness of time (Jer. 30. 24).
    The third proof is that their discourses are contradictory, and
neutralise each other; so that, if we think that they did not mean
by the words law and sacrifice anything else than that of Moses, there
is a plain and gross contradiction. Therefore they meant something
else, sometimes contradicting themselves in the same chapter. Now,
to understand the meaning of an author...
    660. Lust has become natural to us and has made our second nature.
Thus there are two natures in us- the one good, the other bad. Where
is God? Where you are not, and the kingdom of God is within you.The
    661. Penitence, alone of all these mysteries, has been
manifestly declared to the Jews, and by Saint John, the Forerunner;
and then the other mysteries; to indicate that in each man, as in
the entire world, this order must be observed.
    662. The carnal Jews understood neither the greatness nor the
humiliation of the Messiah foretold in their prophecies. They
misunderstood Him in His foretold greatness, as when He said that
the Messiah should be lord of David, though his son, and that He was
before Abraham, who had seen Him. They did not believe Him so great as
to be eternal, and they likewise misunderstood Him in His
humiliation and in His death. "The Messiah," said they, "abideth for
ever, and this man says that he shall die." Therefore they believed
Him neither mortal nor eternal; they only sought in Him for a carnal
    663. Typical.- Nothing is so like charity as covetousness, and
nothing is so opposed to it. Thus the Jews, full of possessions
which flattered their covetousness, were very like Christians, and
very contrary. And by this means they had the two qualities which it
was necessary they should have, to be very like the Messiah to
typify Him, and very contrary not to be suspected witnesses.
    664. Typical.- God made use of the lust of the Jews to make them
minister to Jesus Christ, who brought the remedy for their lust.
    665. Charity is not a figurative precept. It is dreadful to say
that Jesus Christ, who came to take away types in order to establish
the truth, came only to establish the type of charity, in order to
take away the existing reality which was there before.
    "If the light be darkness, how great is that darkness!"
    666. Fascination. Somnum suum.* Figura hujus mundi.*(2)
    The Eucharist. Comedes panem tuum.*(3) Panem nostrum.*(4)
    Inimici Dei terram lingent.*(5) Sinners lick the dust, that is
to say, love earthly pleasures.
    The Old Testament contains the types of future joy, and the New
contains the means of arriving at it. The types were of joy; the means
of penitence; and nevertheless the Paschal Lamb was eaten with
bitter herbs, cum amaritudinibus.*(6)
    Singularis sum ego donec transeam.*(7) Jesus Christ before His
death was almost the only martyr.

    * Ps. 75. 5. "They have slept their sleep."
    *(2) I Cor. 7. 31 "The fashion of this world."
    *(3) Deut. 8. 9. "Bread without scarceness."
    *(4) Luke 11. 3. "Our daily bread."
    *(5) Ps. 71. 9. "The enemies of the Lord shall lick the dust."
    *(6) Exod. 12. 8. Cum lacticibus agrestibus. "With bitter herbs."
    *(7) Ps. 140. 10. "Whilst that I withal escape."

    667. Typical.- The expressions sword, shield. Potentissime.*

    * Ps. 44. 4 "O most mighty."

    668. We are estranged only by departing from charity. Our
prayers and our virtues are abominable before God, if they are not the
prayers and the virtues of Jesus Christ. And our sins will never be
the object of mercy, but of the justice of God, if they are not
Jesus Christ. He has adopted our sins, and has us into union, for
virtues are His own, and sins are foreign to Him; while virtues are
foreign to us, and our sins are our own.
    Let us change the rule which we have hitherto chosen for judging
what is good. We had our own will as our rule. Let us now take the
will of God; all that He wills is good and right to us, all that He
does not will is bad.
    All that God does not permit is forbidden. Sins are forbidden by
the general declaration that God has made, that He did not allow them.
Other things which He has left without general prohibition, and
which for that reason are said to be permitted, are nevertheless not
always permitted. For when God removed some one of them from us, and
when, by the event, which is a manifestation of the will of God, it
appears that God does not will that we should have a thing, that is
then forbidden to us as sin; since the will of God is that we should
not have one more than another. There is this sole difference
between these two things, that it is certain that God will never allow
sin, while it is not certain that He will never allow the other. But
so long as God does not permit it, we ought to regard it as sin; so
long as the absence of God's will, which alone is all goodness and all
justice, renders it unjust and wrong.
    669. To change the type, because of our weakness.
    670. Types.- The Jews had grown old in these earthly thoughts,
that God loved their father Abraham, his flesh and what sprung from
it; that on account of this He had multiplied them and distinguished
them from all other nations, without allowing them to intermingle;
that, when they were languishing in Egypt, He brought them out with
all these great signs in their favour; that He fed them with manna
in the desert, and led them into a very rich land; that He gave them
kings and a well-built temple, in order to offer up beasts before Him,
by the shedding of whose blood they should be purified; and that, at
last, He was to send them the Messiah to make them masters of all
the world, and foretold the time of His coming.
    The world having grown old in these carnal errors, Jesus Christ
came at the time foretold, but not with the expected glory; and thus
men did not think it was He. After His death, Saint Paul came to teach
men that all these things had happened in allegory; that the kingdom
of God did not consist in the flesh, but in the spirit; that the
enemies of men were not the Babylonians, but the passions; that God
delighted not in temples made with hands, but in a pure and contrite
heart; that the circumcision of the body was unprofitable, but that of
the heart was needed; that Moses had not given them the bread from
heaven, etc.
    But God, not having desired to reveal these things to this
people who were unworthy of them and having, nevertheless, desired
to foretell them, in order that they might be believed, foretold the
time clearly, and expressed the things sometimes clearly, but very
often in figures, in order that those who loved symbols might consider
them and those who loved what was symbolised might see it therein.
    All that tends not to charity is figurative.
    The sole aim of the Scripture is charity.
    All which tends not to the sole end is the type of it. For since
there is only one end, all which does not lead to it in express
terms is figurative.
    God thus varies that sole precept of charity to satisfy our
curiosity which seeks for variety, by that variety which still leads
us to the one thing needful. For one thing alone is needful, and we
love variety; and God satisfies both by these varieties, which lead to
the one thing needful.
    The Jews have so much loved the shadows and have so strictly
expected them that they have misunderstood the reality, when it came
in the time and manner foretold.
    The Rabbis take the breasts of the Spouse for types, and all
that does not express the only end they have, namely, temporal good.
    And Christians take even the Eucharist as a type of the glory at
which they aim.
    671. The Jews, who have been called to subdue nations and kings,
have been the slaves of sin; and the Christians, whose calling has
been to be servants and subjects, are free children.
    672. A formal point.- When Saint Peter and the Apostles
deliberated about abolishing circumcision, where it was a question
of acting against the law of God, they did not heed the prophets,
but simply the reception of the Holy Spirit in the persons
    They thought it more certain that God approved of those whom He
filled with His Spirit than it was that the law must be obeyed. They
knew that the end of the law was only the Holy Spirit; and that
thus, as men certainly had this without circumcision, it was not
    673. Fac secundum exemplar quod tibi ostensum est in monte.*-
The Jewish religion then has been formed on its likeness to the
truth of the Messiah; and the truth of the Messiah has been recognised
by the religion, which was the type of it.

    * Exod. 25. 40. "Make them after their pattern, which was showed
thee on the mount."

    Among the Jews the truth was only typified; in heaven it is
    In the Church it is hidden and recognised by its resemblance to
the type.
    The type has been made according to the truth, and the truth has
been recognised according to the type.
    Saint Paul says himself that people will forbid to marry, and he
himself speaks of it to the Corinthians in a way which is a snare. For
if a prophet had said the one, and Saint Paul had then said the other,
he would have been accused.
    674. Typical.- "Do all things according to the pattern which has
been shown thee on the mount." On which Saint Paul says that the
Jews have shadowed forth heavenly things.
    675.... And yet this Covenant, made to blind some and enlighten
others, indicated in those very persons, whom it blinded, the truth
which should be recognised by others. For the visible blessings
which they received from God were so great and so divine that He
indeed appeared able to give them those that are invisible and a
    For nature is an image of Grace, and visible miracles are images
of the invisible. Ut sciatis... tibi dico: Surge.*

    * Mark 2. 10, 11. "That ye may know... I say unto thee: Arise."

    Isaiah says that Redemption will be as the passage of the Red Sea.
    God has, then, shown by the deliverance from Egypt, and from the
sea, by the defeat of kings, by the manna, by the whole genealogy of
Abraham, that He was able to save, to send down bread from heaven,
etc.; so that the people hostile to Him are the type and the
representation of the very Messiah whom they know not, etc.
    He has, then, taught us at last that all these things were only
types and what is "true freedom," a "true Israelite," "true
circumcision," "true bread from heaven," etc.
    In these promises each one finds what he has most at heart,
temporal benefits or spiritual, God or the creatures; but with this
difference, that those who therein seek the creatures find them, but
with many contradictions, with a prohibition against loving them, with
the command to worship God only, and to love Him only, which is the
same thing, and, finally, that the Messiah came not for them;
whereas those who therein seek God find Him, without any
contradiction, with the command to love Him only, and that the Messiah
came in the time foretold, to give them the blessings which they ask.
    Thus the Jews had miracles and prophecies, which they saw
fulfilled, and the teaching of their law was to worship and love God
only; it was also perpetual. Thus it had all the marks of the true
religion; and so it was. But the Jewish teaching must be distinguished
from the teaching of the Jewish law. Now the Jewish teaching was not
true, although it had miracles and prophecy and perpetuity, because it
had not this other point of worshipping and loving God only.
    676. The veil, which is upon these books for the Jews, is there
also for evil Christians and for all who do not hate themselves.
    But how well disposed men are to understand them and to know Jesus
Christ, when they truly hate themselves!
    677. A type conveys absence and presence, pleasure and pain.
    A cipher has a double meaning, one clear and one in which it is
said that the meaning is hidden.
    678. Types.- A portrait conveys absence and presence, pleasure and
pain. The reality excludes absence and pain.
    To know if the law and the sacrifices are a reality or a type,
we must see if the prophets, in speaking of these things, confined
their view and their thought to them, so that they saw only the old
covenant; or if they saw therein something else of which they were the
representation, for in a portrait we see the thing figured. For this
we need only examine what they say of them.
    When they say that it will be eternal, do they mean to speak of
that covenant which they say will be changed; and so of the
sacrifices, etc.?
    A cipher has two meanings. When we find out an important letter in
which we discover a clear meaning, and in which it is nevertheless
said that the meaning is veiled and obscure, that it is hidden, so
that we might read the letter without seeing it, and interpret it
without understanding it, what must we think but that here is a cipher
with a double meaning, and the more so if we find obvious
contradictions in the literal meaning? The prophets have clearly
said that Israel would be always loved by God and that the law would
be eternal; and they have said that their meaning would not be
understood and that it was veiled.
    How greatly, then, ought we to value those who interpret the
cipher and teach us to understand the hidden meaning, especially if
the principles which they educe are perfectly clear and natural!
This is what Jesus Christ did, and the Apostles. They broke the
seal; He rent the veil, and revealed the spirit. They have taught us
through this that the enemies of man are his passions; that the
Redeemer would be spiritual, and His reign spiritual; that there would
be two advents, one in lowliness to humble the proud, the other in
glory to exalt the humble; that Jesus Christ would be both God and
    679. Types.- Jesus Christ opened their mind to understand the
    Two great revelations are these. (1) All things happened to them
in types: vere Israelitae, vere liberi, true bread from Heaven. (2)
A God humbled to the Cross. It was necessary that Christ should suffer
in order to enter into glory, "that He should destroy death through
death." Two advents.
    680. Types.- When once this secret is disclosed, it is
impossible not to see it. Let us read the Old Testament in this light,
and let us see if the sacrifices were real; if the fatherhood of
Abraham was the true cause of the friendship of God; and if the
promised land was the true place of rest. No. They are therefore
types. Let us in the same way examine all those ordained ceremonies,
all those commandments which are not of charity, and we shall see that
they are types.
    All these sacrifices and ceremonies were then either types or
nonsense. Now these are things too clear and too lofty to be thought
    To know if the prophets confined their view in the Old
Testament, or saw therein other things.
    681. Typical.- The key of the cipher. Veri adoratores.* Ecce agnus
Dei qui tollit peccata mundi.*(2)

    * John 4. 23. "True worshippers."
    *(2) John 1. 29. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world."

    682. Is. 1. 21. Change of good into evil, and the vengeance of
God. Is. 10. 1; 26. 20; 28. 1. Miracles: Is. 33. 9; 40. 17; 41. 26;
43. 13.
    Jer. 11. 21; 15. 12; 17. 9. Pravum est cor omnium et incrustabile;
quis cognoscet illud?* that is to say, Who can know all its evil?
For it is already known to be wicked. Ego dominus,*(2) etc.- vii.
14, Faciam domui huic,*(3) etc. Trust in external sacrifices- 7. 22,
Quia non sum locutus,*(4) etc. Outward sacrifice is not the
essential point- 11. 13, Secundum numerum,*(5) etc. A multitude of

    * "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked:
who can know it?"
    *(2) Is. 44. 24. "I am the Lord."
    *(3) "I will do unto this house."
    *(4) "For I spoke not unto your fathers."
    *(5) "According to the number."

    Is. 44. 20-24; 54. 8; 63. 12-17; 66. 17. Jer. 2. 35; 4. 22-24;
5. 4, 29-31; 6. 16; 22. 15-17.
    683. Types.- The letter kills. All happened in types. Here is
the cipher which Saint Paul gives us. Christ must suffer. An
humiliated God. Circumcision of the heart, true fasting, true
sacrifice, a true temple. The prophets have shown that all these
must be spiritual.
    Not the meat which perishes, but that which does not perish.
    "Ye shall be free indeed." Then the other freedom was only a
type of freedom.
    "I am the true bread from Heaven."
    684. Contradiction.- We can only describe a good character by
reconciling all contrary qualities, and it is not enough to keep up
a series of harmonious qualities, without reconciling contradictory
ones. To understand the meaning of an author, we must make all the
contrary passages agree.
    Thus, to understand Scripture, we must have a meaning in which all
the contrary passages are reconciled. It is not enough to have one
which suits many concurring passages; but it is necessary to have
one which reconciles even contradictory passages.
    Every author has a meaning in which all the contradictory passages
agree, or he has no meaning at all. We cannot affirm the latter of
Scripture and the prophets; they undoubtedly are full of good sense.
We must, then, seek for a meaning which reconciles all discrepancies.
    The true meaning, then, is not that of the Jews; but in Jesus
Christ all the contradictions are reconciled.
    The Jews could not reconcile the cessation of the royalty and
principality, foretold by Hosea, with the prophecy of Jacob.
    If we take the law, the sacrifices, and the kingdom as
realities, we cannot reconcile all the passages. They must then
necessarily be only types. We cannot even reconcile the passages of
the same author, nor of the same book, nor sometimes of the same
chapter, which indicates copiously what was the meaning of the author.
As when Ezekiel, chap. 20., Says that man will not live by the
commandments of God and will live by them.
    685. Types.- If the law and the sacrifices are the truth, it
must please God, and must not displease Him. If they are types, they
must be both pleasing and displeasing.
    Now in all the Scripture they are both pleasing and displeasing.
It is said that the law shall be changed; that the sacrifice shall
be changed; that they shall be without law, without a prince, and
without a sacrifice; that a new covenant shall be made; that the law
shall be renewed; that the precepts which they have received are not
good; that their sacrifices are abominable; that God has demanded none
of them.
    It is said, on the contrary, that the law shall abide for ever;
that this covenant shall be for ever; that sacrifice shall be eternal;
that the sceptre shall never depart from among them, because it
shall not depart from them till the eternal King comes.
    Do all these passages indicate what is real? No. Do they then
indicate what is typical? No, but what is either real or typical.
But the first passages, excluding as they do reality, indicate that
all this is only typical.
    All these passages together cannot be applied to reality; all
can be said to be typical; therefore they are not spoken of reality,
but of the type.
    Agnus occisus est ab origine mundi.* A sacrificing judge.

    * Rev. 13. 8. "The Lambs slain from the foundation of the world."

    686. Contradictions.- The sceptre till the Messiah- without king
or prince.
    The eternal law- changed.
    The eternal covenant- a new covenant.
    Good laws- bad precepts. Ezekiel.
    687. Types.- When the word of God, which is really true, is
false literally, it is true spiritually. Sede a dextris meis:* this is
false literally, therefore it is true spiritually.

    * Ps. 109. 1. " Sit then at my right hand."

    In these expressions, God is spoken of after the manner of men;
and this means nothing else but that the intention which men have in
giving a seat at their right hand, God will have also. It is then an
indication of the intention of God, not of His manner of carrying it
    Thus when it is said, "God has received the odour of your incense,
and will in recompense give you a rich land," that is equivalent to
saying that the same intention which a man would have, who, pleased
with your perfumes, should in recompense give you a rich land, God
will have towards you, because you have had the same intention as a
man has towards him to whom he presents perfumes. So iratus est, a
"jealous God," etc. For, the things of God being inexpressible, they
cannot be spoken of otherwise, and the Church makes use of them even
to-day: Quia confortavit seras,* etc.

    * Ps. 147. 13. Quoniam not quia. "For he hath strengthened the

    It is not allowable to attribute to Scripture the meaning which is
not revealed to us that it has. Thus, to say that the closed mem of
Isaiah signifies six hundred, has not been revealed. It might be
said that the final tsade and he deficientes may signify mysteries.
But it is not allowable to say so, and still less to say this is the
way of the philosopher's stone. But we say that the literal meaning is
not the true meaning, because the prophets have themselves said so.
    688. I do not say that the mem is mystical.
    689. Moses (Deut. 30) Promises that God will circumcise their
heart to render them capable of loving Him.
    690. One saying of David, or of Moses, as for instance that "God
will circumcise the heart," enables us to judge of their spirit. If
all their other expressions were ambiguous and left us in doubt
whether they were philosophers or Christians, one saying of this
kind would in fact determine all the rest, as one sentence of
Epictetus decides the meaning of all the rest to be the opposite. So
far ambiguity exists, but not afterwards.
    691. If one of two persons, who are telling silly stories, uses
language with a double meaning, understood in his own circle, while
the other uses it with only one meaning, any one not in the secret,
who hears them both talk in this manner, will pass upon them the
same judgment. But, if, afterwards, in the rest of their
conversation one says angelic things, and the other always dull
commonplaces, he will judge that the one spoke in mysteries, and not
the other; the one having sufficiently shown that he is incapable of
such foolishness and capable of being mysterious; and the other that
he is incapable of mystery and capable of foolishness.
    The Old Testament is a cipher.
    692. There are some that see clearly that man has no other enemy
than lust, which turns him from God, and not God; and that he has no
other good than God, and not a rich land. Let those who believe that
the good of man is in the flesh, and evil in what turns him away
from sensual pleasures, satiate themselves with them, and die in them.
But let those who seek God with all their heart, who are only troubled
at not seeing Him, who desire only to possess Him and have as
enemies only those who turn them away from Him, who are grieved at
seeing themselves surrounded and overwhelmed with such enemies, take
comfort. I proclaim to them happy news. There exists a Redeemer for
them. I shall show Him to them. I shall show that there is a God for
them. I shall not show Him to others. I shall make them see that a
Messiah has been promised, who should deliver them from their enemies,
and that One has come to free them from their iniquities, but not from
their enemies.
    When David foretold that the Messiah would deliver His people from
their enemies, one can believe that in the flesh these would be the
Egyptians; and then I cannot show that the prophecy was fulfilled. But
one can well believe also that the enemies would be their sins; for
indeed the Egyptians were not their enemies, but their sins were so.
This word enemies is, therefore, ambiguous. But if he says
elsewhere, as he does, that He will deliver His people from their
sins, as indeed do Isaiah and others, the ambiguity is removed, and
the double meaning of enemies is reduced to the simple meaning of
iniquities. For if he had sins in his mind, he could well denote
them as enemies; but if he thought of enemies, he could not
designate them as iniquities.
    Now Moses, David, and Isaiah used the same terms. Who will say,
then, that they have not the same meaning and that David's meaning,
which is plainly iniquities when he spoke of enemies, was not the same
as that of Moses when speaking of enemies?
    Daniel (ix) prays for the deliverance of the people from the
captivity of their enemies. But he was thinking of sins, and, to
show this, he says that Gabriel came to tell him that his prayer was
heard, and that there were only seventy weeks to wait, after which the
people would be freed from iniquity, sin would have an end, and the
Redeemer, the Holy of Holies, would bring eternal justice, not
legal, but eternal.
                          SECTION XI
                        THE PROPHECIES

    693. When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when
I regard the whole silent universe and man without light, left to
himself and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe,
without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what
will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I
become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a
dreadful desert island and should awake without knowing where he is
and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a
condition so wretched do not fall into despair. I see other persons
around me of a like nature. I ask them if they are better informed
than I am. They tell me that they are not. And thereupon these
wretched and lost beings, having looked around them and seen some
pleasing objects, have given and attached themselves to them. For my
own part, I have not been able to attach myself to them, and,
considering how strongly it appears that there is something else
than what I see, I have examined whether this God has not left some
sign of Himself.
    I see many contradictory religions, and consequently all false
save one. Each wants to be believed on its own authority, and
threatens unbelievers. I do not therefore believe them. Every one
can say this; every one can call himself a prophet.
  But I see that Christian religion wherein prophecies are
fulfilled; and that is what every one cannot do.
    694. And what crowns all this is prediction, so that it should not
be said that it is chance which has done it?
    Whosoever, having only a week to live, will not find out that it
is expedient to believe that all this is not a stroke of chance...
    Now, if the passions had no hold on us, a week and a hundred years
would amount to the same thing.
    695. Prophecies.- Great Pan is dead.
    696. Susceperunt verbum cum omni aviditate, scrutantes Scripturas,
si ita se haberent.*

    * Acts 17. 11. "They received the word with all readiness of mind,
and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

    697. Prodita lege. Impleta cerne. Implenda collige.*

    * "Read what has been announced. See what has been accomplished.
Meditate on what is to be done."

    698. We understand the prophecies only when we see the events
happen. Thus the proofs of retreat, discretion, silence, etc., are
proofs only to those who know and believe them.
    Joseph so internal in a law so external.
    Outward penances dispose to inward, as humiliations to humility.
Thus the...
    699. The synagogue has preceded the church; the Jews, the
Christians. The prophets have foretold the Christians; Saint John,
Jesus Christ.
    700. It is glorious to see with the eyes of faith the history of
Herod and of Caesar.
    701. The zeal of the Jews for their law and their temple
(Josephus, and Philo the Jew, Ad Caium). What other people had such
a zeal? It was necessary they should have it.
    Jesus Christ foretold as to the time and the state of the world.
The ruler taken from the thigh, and the fourth monarchy. How lucky
we are to see this light amidst this darkness!
    How fine it is to see, with the eyes of faith, Darius and Cyrus,
Alexander, the Romans, Pompey and Herod working, without knowing it,
for the glory of the Gospel!
    702. Zeal of the Jewish people for the law, especially after there
were no more prophets.
    703. While the prophets were for maintaining the law, the people
were indifferent. But, since there have been no more prophets, zeal
has succeeded them.
    704. The devil troubled the zeal of the Jews before Jesus
Christ, because he would have been their salvation, but not since.
    The Jewish people scorned by the Gentiles; the Christian people
    705. Proof.- Prophecies with their fulfilment; what has preceded
and what has followed Jesus Christ.
    706. The prophecies are the strongest proof of Jesus Christ. It is
for them also that God has made most provision; for the event which
has fulfilled them is a miracle existing since the birth of the Church
to the end. So God has raised up prophets during sixteen hundred
years, and, during four hundred years afterwards, He has scattered all
these prophecies among all the Jews, who carried them into all parts
of the world. Such was the preparation for the birth of Jesus
Christ, and, as His Gospel was to be believed by all the world, it was
not only necessary that there should be prophecies to make it
believed, but that these prophecies should exist throughout the
whole world, in order to make it embraced by the whole world.
    707. But it was not enough that the prophecies should exist. It
was necessary that they should be distributed throughout all places
and preserved throughout all times. And, in order that this
agreement might not be taken for an effect of chance, it was necessary
that this should be foretold.
    It is far more glorious for the Messiah that the Jews should be
the specators and even the instruments of His glory, besides that
God had reserved them.
    708. Prophecies.- The time foretold by the state of the Jewish
people, by the state of the heathen, by the state of the temple, by
the number of years.
    709. One must be bold to predict the same thing in so many ways.
It was necessary that the four idolatrous or pagan monarchies, the end
of the kingdom of Judah, and the seventy weeks, should happen at the
same time, and all this before the second temple was destroyed.
    710. Prophecies.- If one man alone had made a book of
predictions about Jesus Christ, as to the time and the manner, and
Jesus Christ had come in conformity to these prophecies, this fact
would have infinite weight.
    But there is much more here. Here is a succession of men during
four thousand years, who, consequently and without variation, come,
one after another, to foretell this same event. Here is a whole people
who announce it and who have existed for four thousand years, in order
to give corporate testimony of the assurances which they have and from
which they cannot be diverted by whatever threats and persecutions
people may make against them. This is far more important.
    711. Predictions of particular things.- They were strangers in
Egypt, without any private property, either in that country or
elsewhere. There was not the least appearance, either of the royalty
which had previously existed so long, or of that supreme council of
seventy judges which they called the Sanhedrin and which, having
been instituted by Moses, lasted to the time of Jesus Christ. All
these things were as far removed from their state at that time as they
could be, when Jacob, dying, and blessing his twelve children,
declared to them, that they would be proprietors of a great land,
and foretold in particular to the family of Judah, that the kings, who
would one day rule them, should be of his race; and that all his
brethren should be their subjects; and that even the Messiah, who
was to be the expectation of nations, should spring from him; and that
the kingship should not be taken away from Judah, nor the ruler and
law-giver of his descendants, till the expected Messiah should
arrive in his family.
    This same Jacob, disposing of this future land as though he had
been its ruler, gave a portion to Joseph more than to the others. "I
give you," said he, "one part more than to your brothers." And
blessing his two children, Ephraim and Manasseh, whom Joseph had
presented to him, the elder, Manasseh, on his right, and the young
Ephraim on his left, he put his arms crosswise, and placing his
right hand on the head of Ephraim, and his left on Manasseh, he
blessed them in this manner. And, upon Joseph's representing to him
that he was preferring the younger, he replied to him with admirable
resolution: "I know it well, my son; but Ephraim will increase more
than Manasseh." This has been indeed so true in the result that, being
alone almost as fruitful as the two entire lines which composed a
whole kingdom, they have been usually called by the name of Ephraim
    This same Joseph, when dying, bade his children carry his bones
with them when they should go into that land to which they only came
two hundred years afterwards.
    Moses, who wrote all these things so long before they happened,
himself assigned to each family portions of that land before they
entered it, as though he had been its ruler. In fact he declared
that God was to raise up from their nation and their race a prophet,
of whom he was the type; and he foretold them exactly all that was
to happen to them in the land which they were to enter after his
death, the victories which God would give them, their ingratitude
towards God, the punishments which they would receive for it, and
the rest of their adventures. He gave them judges who should make
the division. He prescribed the entire form of political government
which they should observe, the cities of refuge which they should
build, and...
    712. The prophecies about particular things are mingled with those
about the Messiah, so that the prophecies of the Messiah should not be
without proofs, nor the special prophecies without fruit.
    713. Perpetual captivity of the Jews.- Jer. 11. 11: "I will
bring evil upon Judah from which they shall not be able to escape."
    Types.- Is. 5: "The Lord had a vineyard, from which He looked
for grapes; and it brought forth only wild grapes. I will therefore
lay it waste, and destroy it; the earth shall only bring forth thorns,
and I will forbid the clouds from raining upon it. The vineyard of the
Lord is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant
plant. I looked that they should do justice, and they bring forth only
    Is. 8: "Sanctify the Lord with fear and trembling; let Him be your
only dread, and He shall be to you for a sanctuary, but for a stone of
stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a
gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and many among
them shall stumble against that stone, and fall, and be broken, and be
snared, and perish. Hide my words, and cover my law for my disciples.
    "I will then wait in patience upon the Lord that hideth and
concealeth Himself from the house of Jacob."
    Is. 29: "Be amazed and wonder, people of Israel; stagger and
stumble, and be drunken, but not with wine; stagger, but not with
strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep
sleep. He will close your eyes; He will cover your princes and your
prophets that have visions." (Daniel xii: "The wicked shall not
understand, but the wise shall understand." Hosea, the last chapter,
the last verse, after many temporal blessings, says: "Who is wise, and
he shall understand these things?" etc.) "And the visions of all the
prophets are become unto you as a sealed book, which men deliver to
one that is learned, and who can read; and he saith, I cannot read it,
for it is sealed. And when the book is delivered to them that are
not learned, they say, I am not learned.
    "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people with their lips
do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me,"- there is the
reason and the cause of it; for if they adored God in their hearts,
they would understand the prophecies,- "and their fear towards me is
taught by the precept of man. Therefore, behold, I will proceed to
do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a
wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and their
understanding shall be hid."
    Prophecies. Proofs of Divinity.- Is. 41: "Shew the things that are
to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: we will
incline our heart unto your words. Teach us the things that have
been at the beginning, and declare us things for to come.
    "By this we shall know that ye are gods. Yea, do good or do
evil, if you can. Let us then behold it and reason together. Behold,
ye are of nothing, and only an abomination, etc. Who," (among
contemporary writers), "hath declared from the beginning that we may
know of the things done from the beginning and origin? that we may
say, You are righteous. There is none that teacheth us, yea, there
is none that declareth the future."
    Is. 42: "I am the Lord, and my glory will I not give to another. I
have foretold the things which have come to pass, and things that
are to come do I declare. Sing unto God a new song in all the earth.
    "Bring forth the blind people that have eyes and see not, and
the deaf that have ears and hear not. Let all the nations be
gathered together. Who among them can declare this, and shew us former
things, and things to come? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that
they may be justified; or let them hear, and say, It is truth.
    "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have
chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He.
    "I have declared, and have saved, and I alone have done wonders
before your eyes: ye are my witnesses, said the Lord, that I am God.
    "For your sake I have brought down the forces of the
Babylonians. I am the Lord, your Holy One and Creator.
    "I have made a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters.
I am He that drowned and destroyed for ever the mighty enemies that
have resisted you.
    "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of
    "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall
ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers
in the desert.
    "This people have I formed for myself; I have established them
to shew forth my praise, etc.
    "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine
own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put in remembrance your
ingratitude: see thou, if thou mayest be justified. Thy first father
hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me."
    Is. 44.: "I am the first, and I am the last, saith the Lord. Let
him who will equal himself to me, declare the order of things since
I appointed the ancient people, and the things that are coming. Fear
ye not: have I not told you all these things? Ye are my witnesses."
    Prophecy of Cyrus.- Is. 45 .4: "For Jacob's sake, mine elect, I
have called thee by thy name."
    Is. 45. 21: "Come and let us reason together. Who hath declared
this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I,
the Lord?"
    Is. 46: "Remember the former things of old, and know there is none
like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient
times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall
stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
    Is. 42: "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new
things do I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them."
    Is. 48.3: "I have declared the former things from the beginning; I
did them suddenly; and they came to pass. Because I know that thou art
obstinate, that thy spirit is rebellious, and thy brow brass; I have
even declared it to thee before it came to pass: lest thou shouldst
say that it was the work of thy gods, and the effect of their
    "Thou hast seen all this; and will not ye declare it? I have
shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou
didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning;
I have kept them hidden from thee; lest thou shouldst say, Behold, I
knew them.
    "Yea, thou knewest not; yea, thou heardest not; yea, from that
time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou couldst
deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the
    Reprobation of the Jews and conversion of the Gentiles.- Is. 65:
"I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that
sought me not; I said, Behold me, behold me, behold me, unto a
nation that did not call upon my name.
    "I have spread out my hands all the day unto an unbelieving
people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own
thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually by the
sins they commit in my face; that sacrificeth to idols, etc.
    "These shall be scattered like smoke in the day of my wrath, etc.
    "Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers, will I
assemble together, and will recompense you for all according to your
    "Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and
one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing is in it and the promise
of fruit: for my servants' sake I will not destroy all Israel.
    "Thus I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob and out of Judah,
an inheritor of my mountains, and mine elect and my servants shall
inherit it, and my fertile and abundant plains; but I will destroy all
others, because you have forgotten your God to serve strange gods. I
called, and ye did not answer; I spake, and ye did not hear; and ye
did choose the thing which I forbade.
    "Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, my servants shall eat, but
ye shall be hungry; my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be
ashamed; my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry and
howl for vexation of spirit.
    "And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for
the Lord shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name,
that he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in
God, etc., because the former troubles are forgotten.
    "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former
things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
    "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create;
for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
    "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and joy in my people; and the
voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of
    "Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking,
I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion
shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent's
meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain."
    Is. 56. 3: "Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice:
for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
    "Blessed is the man that doeth this, that keepeth the Sabbath, and
keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
    "Neither let the strangers that have joined themselves to me, say,
God will separate me from His people. For thus saith the Lord: Whoever
will keep my Sabbath, and choose the things that please me, and take
hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house a
place and a name better than that of sons and of daughters: I will
give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off."
    Is. 59. 9: "Therefore for our iniquities is justice far from us:
we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk
in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind; we stumble at
noonday as in the night: we are in desolate places as dead men.
    "We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves; we look for
judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us."
    Is. 66. 18: "But I know their works and their thoughts; it shall
come that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall see my
    "And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that
escape of them unto the nations, to Africa, to Lydia, to Italy, to
Greece, and to the people that have not heard my fame, neither have
seen my glory. And they shall bring your brethren.
    Jer. 7. Reprobation of the Temple: "Go ye unto Shiloth, where I
set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the
wickedness of my people. And now, because ye have done all these
works, saith the Lord, I will do unto this house, wherein my name is
called upon, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to your
priests, as I have done to Shiloth." (For I have rejected it, and made
myself a temple elsewhere.)
    "And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all
your brethren, even the seed of Ephraim." (Rejected for ever.)
"Therefore pray not for this people."
    Jer. 7. 22: "What avails it you to add sacrifice to sacrifice? For
I spake not unto your fathers, when I brought them out of the land
of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this thing
commanded I them, saying, Obey and be faithful to my commandments, and
I will be your God, and ye shall be my people." (It was only after
they had sacrificed to the golden calf that I gave myself sacrifices
to turn into good an evil custom.)
    Jer. 7. 4: "Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the
Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these."
    714. The Jews witnesses for God. Is. 43. 9; 44. 8.
   Prophecies fulfilled.- I Kings 13. 2. I Kings 22. 16. Joshua 6. 26.
I Kings 16. 34. Deut. 23.
    Malachi i. 11. The sacrifice of the Jews rejected, and the
sacrifice of the heathen, (even out of Jerusalem,) and in all places.
    Moses, before dying, foretold the calling of the Gentiles, Deut.
32. 21. and the reprobation of the Jews.
    Moses foretold what would happen to each tribe.
    Prophecy.- "Your name shall be a curse unto mine elect, and I will
give them another name."
    "Make their heart fat," and how? by flattering their lust and
making them hope to satisfy it.
    715. Prophecy.- Amos and Zechariah. They have sold the just one,
and therefore will not be recalled. Jesus Christ betrayed.
    They shall no more remember Egypt. See Is. 43. 16, 17, 18, 19.
Jer. 23. 6, 7.
    Prophecy.- The Jews shall be scattered abroad. Is. 27. 6. A new
law, Jerem. 31. 32.
    Malachi. Grotius. The second temple glorious. Jesus Christ will
come. Haggai 2. 7, 8, 9, 10.
    The calling of the Gentiles. Joel 2. 28. Hosea 2. 24. Deut. 32.
21. Malachi 1. 11.
    716. Hosea 3.- Is. 42. 48. 44. 60. 61. last verse. "I foretold
it long since that they might know that it is I." Jaddus to Alexander.
    717. Prophecies.- The promise that David will always have
descendants. Jer. 13. 13.
    718. The eternal reign of the race of David, II Chron., by all the
prophecies, and with an oath. And it was not temporally fulfilled.
Jer. 23. 20.
    719. We might perhaps think that, when the prophets foretold
that the sceptre should not depart from Judah until the eternal King
came, they spoke to flatter the people and that their prophecy was
proved false by Herod. But to show that this was not their meaning and
that, on the contrary, they knew well that this temporal kingdom
should cease, they said that they would be without a king and
without a prince, and for a long time. Hosea 3. 4.
    720. Non habemus regem nisi Caesarem.* Therefore Jesus Christ
was the Messiah, since they had no longer any king but a stranger, and
would have no other.

    * John 19. 15. "We have no king but Caesar."

    721. We have no king but Caesar.
    722. Daniel 2: "All thy soothsayers and wise men cannot shew
unto thee the secret which thou hast demanded. But there is a God in
heaven who can do so, and that hath revealed to thee in thy dream what
shall be in the latter days." (This dream must have caused him much
    "And it is not by my own wisdom that I have knowledge of this
secret, but by the revelation of this same God, that hath revealed
it to me, to make it manifest in thy presence.
    "Thy dream was then of this kind. Thou sawest a great image,
high and terrible, which stood before thee. His head was of gold,
his breast and arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thus thou
sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the
image upon his feet, that were of iron and of clay, and brake them
to pieces.
    "Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the
gold broken to pieces together, and the wind carried them away; but
this stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled
the whole earth. This is the dream, and now I will give thee the
interpretation thereof.
    "Thou who art the greatest of kings, and to whom God hath given
a power so vast that thou art renowned among all peoples, art the head
of gold which thou hast seen. But after thee shall arise another
kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which
shall bear rule over all the earth.
    "But the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, and even as
iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things, so shall this
empire break in pieces and bruise all.
    "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of clay and
part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it
of the strength of iron and of the weakness of clay.
    "But as iron cannot be firmly mixed with clay, so they who are
represented by the iron and by the clay, shall not cleave one to
another though united by marriage.
    "Now in the days of these kings shall God set up a kingdom,
which shall never be destroyed, nor ever be delivered up to other
people. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and
it shall stand for ever, according as thou sawest that the stone was
cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it fell from the
mountain, and brake in pieces the iron, the clay, the silver, and
the gold. God hath made known to thee what shall come to pass
hereafter. This dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
    "Then Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face towards the earth," etc.
    Daniel 8. 8. "Daniel having seen the combat of the ram and of
the he-goat, who vanquished him and ruled over the earth, whereof
the principal horn being broken four others came up toward the four
winds of heaven, and out of one of them came forth a little horn,
which waxed exceedingly great toward the south, and toward the east,
and toward the land of Israel, and it waxed great even to the host
of heaven; and it cast down some of the stars, and stamped upon
them, and at last overthrew the prince, and by him the daily sacrifice
was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
    "This is what Daniel saw. He sought the meaning of it, and a voice
cried in this manner, 'Gabriel, make this man to understand the
vision.' And Gabriel said:
    "The ram which thou sawest is the king of the Medes and
Persians, and the he-goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn
that is between his eyes is the first king of this monarchy.
    "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four
kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.
    "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when iniquities are come
to the full, there shall arise a king, insolent and strong, but not by
his own power, to whom all things shall succeed after his own will;
and he shall destroy the holy people, and through his policy also he
shall cause craft to prosper in his hand, and he shall destroy many.
He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall
perish miserably, and nevertheless by a violent hand."
    Daniel 9. 20. "Whilst I was praying with all my heart, and
confessing my sin and the sin of all my people, and prostrating myself
before my God, even Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the
beginning, came to me and touched me about the time of the evening
oblation, and he informed me and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth
to give thee the knowledge of things. At the beginning of thy
supplications I came to shew that which thou didst desire, for thou
are greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the
vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy
holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins,
and to abolish iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness; to
accomplish the vision and the prophecies, and to anoint the Most Holy.
(After which this people shall be no more thy people, nor this city
the holy city. The times of wrath shall be passed, and the years of
grace shall come for ever.)
    "Know therefore, and understand, that, from the going forth of the
commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the
Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks." (The
Hebrews were accustomed to divide numbers, and to place the small
first. Thus, 7 and 62 make 69. Of this 70 there will then remain the
70th, that is to say, the 7 last years of which he will speak next.)
    "The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in
troublous times. And after three score and two weeks," (which have
followed the first seven. Christ will then be killed after the
sixty-nine weeks, that is to say, in the last week), "the Christ shall
be cut off, and a people of the prince that shall come shall destroy
the city and the sanctuary, and overwhelm all, and the end of that war
shall accomplish the desolation."
    "Now one week," (which is the seventieth, which remains), "shall
confirm the covenant with many, and in the midst of the week," (that
is to say, the last three and a half years), "he shall cause the
sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation,
and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
    Daniel 11. "The angel said to Daniel: There shall stand up yet,"
(after Cyrus, under whom this still is), "three kings in Persia,"
(Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius); and the fourth who shall then come,"
(Xerxes) "shall be far richer than they all, and far stronger, and
shall stir up all his people against the Greeks.
    "But a mighty king shall stand up," (Alexander), "that shall
rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he
shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided in
four parts toward the four winds of heaven," (as he had said above, 7.
6; 8. 8), "but not his posterity; and his successors shall not equal
his power, for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others
besides these," (his four chief successors).
    "And the king of the south," (Ptolemy, son of Lagos, Egypt),
"shall be strong; but one of his princes shall be strong above him,
and his dominion shall be a great dominion," (Seleucus, King of Syria.
Appian says that he was the most powerful of Alexander's successors).
    "And in the end of years they shall join themselves together,
and the king's daughter of the south," (Berenice, daughter of
Ptolemy Philadelphus, son of the other Ptolemy), "shall come to the
king of the north," (to Antiochus Deus, King of Syria and of Asia, son
of Seleucus Lagidas), "to make peace between these princes.
    "But neither she nor her seed shall have a long authority; for she
and they that brought her, and her children, and her friends, shall be
delivered to death." (Berenice and her son were killed by Seleucus
    "But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up," (Ptolemy
Euergetes was the issue of the same father as Berenice), "which
shall come with a mighty army into the land of the king of the
north, where he shall put all under subjection, and he shall also
carry captive into Egypt their gods, their princes, their gold,
their silver, and all their precious spoils," (if he had not been
called into Egypt by domestic reasons, says Justin, he would have
entirely stripped Seleucus); "and he shall continue several years when
the king of the north can do nought against him.
    "And so he shall return into his kingdom. But his sons shall be
stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces," (Seleucus
Ceraunus, Antiochus the Great). "And their army shall come and
overthrow all; wherefore the king of the south shall be moved with
choler, and shall also form a great army, and fight him," (Ptolemy
Philopator against Antiochus the Great at Raphia), "and conquer; and
his troops shall become insolent, and his heart shall be lifted up,"
(this Ptolemy desecrated the temple; Josephus): "he shall cast down
many ten thousands, but he shall not be strengthened by it. For the
king of the north," (Antiochus the Great), "shall return with a
greater multitude than before, and in those times also a great
number of enemies shall stand up against the king of the south,"
(during the reign of the young Ptolemy Epiphanes); "also the apostates
and robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the
vision; but they shall fall." (Those who abandon their religion to
please Euergetes, when he will send his troops to Scopas; for
Antiochus will again take Scopas, and conquer them.) "And the king
of the north shall destroy the fenced cities, and the arms of the
south shall not withstand, and all shall yield to his will; he shall
stand in the land of Israel, and it shall yield to him. And thus he
shall think to make himself master of all the empire of Egypt,
(despising the youth of Epiphanes, says Justin). "And for that he
shall make alliance with him, and give his daughter" (Cleopatra, in
order that she may betray her husband. On which Appian says that,
doubting his ability to make himself master of Egypt by force, because
of the protection of the Romans, he wished to attempt it by
cunning). "He shall wish to corrupt her, but she shall not stand on
his side, neither be for him. Then he shall turn his face to other
designs, and shall think to make himself master of some isles, (that
is to say, seaports), "and shall take many," (as Appian says).
    "But a prince shall oppose, his conquests," (Scipio Africanus, who
stopped the progress of Antiochus the Great, because he offended the
Romans in the person of their allies), "and shall cause the reproach
offered by him to cease. He shall then return into his kingdom and
there perish, and be no more." (He was slain by his soldiers.)
    "And he who shall stand up in his estate," (Seleucus Philopator or
Soter, the son of Antiochus the Great), "shall be a tyrant, a raiser
of taxes in the glory of the kingdom," (which means the people),
"but within a few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger nor
in battle. And in his place shall stand up a vile person, unworthy
of the honour of the kingdom, but he shall come in cleverly by
flatteries. All armies shall bend before him; he shall conquer them,
and even the prince with whom he has made a covenant. For having
renewed the league with him, he shall work deceitfully, and enter with
a small people into his province, peaceably and without fear. He shall
take the fattest places, and shall do that which his fathers have
not done, and ravage on all sides. He shall forecast great devices
during his time."
    723. Prophecies.- The seventy weeks of Daniel are ambiguous as
regards the term of commencement, because of the terms of the
prophecy; and as regards the term of conclusion, because of the
differences among chronologists. But all this difference extends
only to two hundred years.
    724. Predictions.- That in the fourth monarchy, before the
destruction of the second temple, before the dominion of the Jews
was taken away, in the seventieth week of Daniel, during the
continuance of the second temple, the heathen should be instructed,
and brought to the knowledge of the God worshipped by the Jews; that
those who loved Him should be delivered from their enemies, and filled
with His fear and love.
    And it happened that in the fourth monarchy, before the
destruction of the second temple, etc., the heathen in great number
worshipped God, and led an angelic life. Maidens dedicated their
virginity and their life to God. Men renounced their pleasures. What
Plato could only make acceptable to a few men, specially chosen and
instructed, a secret influence imparted by the power of a few words,
to a hundred million ignorant men.
    The rich left their wealth. Children left the dainty homes of
their parents to go into the rough desert. (See Philo the Jew.) All
this was foretold a great while ago. For two thousand years no heathen
had worshipped the God of the Jews; and at the time foretold, a
great number of the heathen worshipped this only God. The temples were
destroyed. The very kings made submission to the cross. All this was
due to the Spirit of God, which was spread abroad upon the earth.
    No heathen, since Moses until Jesus Christ, believed according
to the very Rabbis. A great number of the heathen, after Jesus Christ,
believed in the books of Moses, kept them in substance and spirit, and
only rejected what was useless.
    725. Prophecies.- The conversion of the Egyptians (Isaiah 19. 19);
an altar in Egypt to the true God.
    726. Prophecies.- In Egypt. Pugio Fidei, p. 659. Talmud. "It is
a tradition among us, that, when the Messiah shall come, the house
of God, destined for the dispensation of His Word, shall be full of
filth and impurity; and that the wisdom of the scribes shall be
corrupt and rotten. Those who shall be afraid to sin, shall be
rejected by the people, and treated as senseless fools."
    Is. xlix: "Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken, ye people,
from afar: The Lord hath called me by my name from the womb of my
mother; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and hath made my
words like a sharp sword, and said unto me, Thou art my servant in
whom I will be glorified. Then I said, Lord, have I laboured in
vain? have I spent my strength for nought? yet surely my judgment is
with Thee, O Lord, and my work with Thee. And now, saith the Lord,
that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob and
Israel again to Him, Thou shalt be glorious in my sight, and I will be
thy strength. It is a light thing that thou shouldst convert the
tribes of Jacob; I have raised thee up for a light to the Gentiles,
that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. Thus
saith the Lord to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation
abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Princes and kings shall worship
thee, because the Lord is faithful that hath chosen thee.
    "Again saith the Lord unto me, I have heard thee in the days of
salvation and of mercy, and I will preserve thee for a covenant of the
people, to cause to inherit the desolate nations, that thou mayest say
to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that are in darkness show
yourselves, and possess these abundant and fertile lands. They shall
not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun smite them;
for he that hath mercy upon them shall lead them, even by the
springs of waters shall he guide them, and make the mountains a way
before them. Behold, the peoples shall come from all parts, from the
east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Let the
heavens give glory to God; let the earth be joyful; for it hath
pleased the Lord to comfort His people, and He will have mercy upon
the poor who hope in Him.
    "Yet Zion dared to say: The Lord hath forsaken me, and hath
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? but if she forget, yet will not I
forget thee, O Sion. I will bear thee always between my hands, and thy
walls are continually before me. They that shall build thee are
come, and thy destroyers shall go forth of thee. Lift up thine eyes
round about, and behold; all these gather themselves together, and
come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee
with them all, as with an ornament. Thy waste and thy desolate places,
and the land of thy destruction shall even now be too narrow by reason
of the inhabitants, and the children thou shalt have after thy
barrenness shall say again in thy ears: The place is too strait for
me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thy
heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and
am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who brought up
these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? And the
Lord shall say to thee: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the
Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring
thy sons in their arms and in their bosoms. And kings shall be their
nursing fathers, and queens their nursing mothers; they shall bow down
to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of
thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not
be ashamed that wait for me. Shall the prey be taken from the
mighty? But even if the captives be taken away from the strong,
nothing shall hinder me from saving thy children, and from
destroying thy enemies; and all flesh shall know that I am the Lord,
thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
    "Thus saith the Lord: What is the bill of this divorcement,
wherewith I have put away the synagogue? and why have I delivered it
into the hand of your enemies? Is it not for your iniquities and for
your transgressions that I have put it away?
    "For I came, and no man received me; I called and there was none
to hear. Is my arm shortened, that I cannot redeem?
    "Therefore I will show the tokens of mine anger; I will clothe the
heavens with darkness, and make sackcloth their covering.
    "The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned that I should
know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. He hath
opened mine ear, and I have listened to Him as a master.
    "The Lord hath revealed His will, and I was not rebellious.
    "I gave my body to the smiters, and my cheeks to outrage; I hid
not my face from shame and spitting. But the Lord hath helped me;
therefore I have not been confounded.
    "He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? who will
be mine adversary, and accuse me of sin, God himself being my
    "All men shall pass away, and be consumed by time; let those
that fear God hearken to the voice of His servant; let him that
languisheth in darkness put his trust in the Lord. But as for you,
ye do but kindle the wrath of God upon you; ye walk in the light of
your fire and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have
of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
    "Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek
the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of
the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham, your father, and unto
Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, when childless, and
increased him. Behold, I have comforted Zion, and heaped upon her
blessings and consolations.
    "Hearken unto me, my people, and give ear unto me; for a law shall
proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of
the Gentiles."
    Amos viii. The prophet, having enumerated the sins of Israel, said
that God had sworn to take vengeance on them.
    He says this: "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the
Lord, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will
darken the earth in the clear day; and I will turn your feasts into
mourning, and all your songs into lamentation.
    "You all shall have sorrow and suffering, and I will make this
nation mourn as for an only son, and the end therefore as a bitter
day. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will send a
famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but
of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to
sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to
seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
    "In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for
thirst. They that have followed the idols of Samaria, and sworn by the
god of Dan, and followed the manner of Beersheba, shall fall, and
never rise up again."
    Amos 3. 2: "Ye only have I known of all the families of the
earth for my people."
    Daniel 12. 7. Having described all the extent of the reign of
the Messiah, he says: "All these things shall be finished, when the
scattering of the people of Israel shall be accomplished."
    Haggai 2. 4: "Ye who, comparing this second house with the glory
of the first, despise it, be strong, saith the Lord, be strong, O
Zerubbabel, and O Jesus, the high priest, be strong, all ye people
of the land, and work. For I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts;
according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of
Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you. Fear ye not. For thus saith
the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will shake the heavens,
and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land," (a way of speaking to
indicate a great and an extraordinary change); "and I will shake all
nations, and the desire of all the Gentiles shall come; and I will
fill this house with glory, saith the Lord.
    "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord,"
(that is to say, it is not by that that I wish to be honoured; as it
is said elsewhere: All the beasts of the field are mine, what
advantages me that they are offered me in sacrifice?). "The glory of
this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the
Lord of hosts; and in this place will I establish my house, saith
the Lord.
    "According to all that thou desiredst in Horeb in the day of the
assembly, saying, Let us not hear again the voice of the Lord, neither
let us see this fire any more, that we die not. And the Lord said unto
me, Their prayer is just. I will raise them up a prophet from among
their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth;
and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it
shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words
which he will speak in my name, I will require it of him.
    Genesis 49: "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise,
and thou shalt conquer thine enemies; thy father's children shall
bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my
son, thou art gone up, and art couched as a lion, and as a lioness
that shall be roused up.
    "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from
between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the
gathering of the people be."
    727. During the life of the Messiah. Aenigmatis. Ezek. l7.
    His forerunner. Malachi 3.
    He will be born an infant. Is. 9.
    He will be born in the village of Bethlehem. Micah 5. He will
appear chiefly in Jerusalem and will be a descendant of the family
of Judah and of David.
    He is to blind the learned and the wise, Is. 6. 8. 29. etc.; and
to preach the Gospel to the lowly, Is. 29; to open the eyes of the
blind, give health to the sick, and bring light to those that languish
in darkness. Is. 61.
    He is to show the perfect way, and be the teacher of the Gentiles.
Is. 55; 43. 1-7.
    The prophecies are to be unintelligible to the wicked, Dan. 12;
Hosea 14. 10; but they are to be intelligible to those who are well
    The prophecies, which represent Him as poor, represent Him as
master of the nations. Is. 52. 14, etc.; 53; Zech. 9. 9.
    The prophecies, which foretell the time, foretell Him only as
master of the nations and suffering, and not as in the clouds nor as
judge. And those, which represent Him thus as judge and in glory, do
not mention the time. When the Messiah is spoken of as great and
glorious, it is as the judge of the world, and not its Redeemer.
    He is to be the victim for the sins of the world. Is. 39. 53. etc.
    He is to be the precious corner-stone. Is. 28. 16.
    He is to be a stone of stumbling and offence. Is. viii.
Jerusalem is to dash against this stone.
    The builders are to reject this stone. Ps. 117. 22.
    God is to make this stone the chief corner-stone.
    And this stone is to grow into a huge mountain and fill the
whole earth. Dan. 2.
    So He is to be rejected, despised, betrayed (Ps. 108. 8), sold
(Zech. 11. 12), spit upon, buffeted, mocked, afflicted in
innumerable ways, given gall to drink (Ps. 68), pierced (Zech. 12),
His feet and His hands pierced, slain, and lots cast for His raiment.
    He will rise again (Ps. 15) the third day (Hosea 6. 3).
    He will ascend to heaven to sit on the right hand. Ps. 110.
    The kings will arm themselves against Him. Ps. 2.
    Being on the right hand of the Father, He will be victorious
over His enemies.
    The kings of the earth and all nations will worship Him. Is. lx.
    The Jews will continue as a nation. Jeremiah.
    They will wander, without kings, etc. (Hosea 3), without
prophets (Amos), looking for salvation and finding it not (Isaiah).
    Calling of the Gentiles by Jesus Christ. Is. 52. 15; 55. 5; 60.
etc. Ps. 81.
    Hosea 1. 9: "Ye are not my people, and I will not be your God,
when ye are multiplied after the dispersion. In the places where it
was said, Ye are not my people, I will call them my people."
    728. It was not lawful to sacrifice outside of Jerusalem, which
was the place that the Lord had chosen, nor even to eat the tithes
elsewhere. Deut. 12. 5, etc.; Deut. 14. 23, etc.; 15. 20; 16. 2, 7,
11, 15.
    Hosea foretold that they should be without a king, without a
prince, without a sacrifice, and without an idol; and this prophecy is
now fulfilled, as they cannot make a lawful sacrifice out of
    729. Predictions.- It was foretold that, in the time of the
Messiah, He should come to establish a new covenant, which should make
them forget the escape from Egypt (Jer. 23. 5; Is. 43. 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?
    730.... 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.
    731. Prophecies.- That Jesus Christ will sit on the right hand,
till God has subdued His enemies.
    Therefore He will not subdue them Himself.
    732. "... Then they shall teach no more every man his neighbour,
saying, Here is the Lord, for God shall make Himself known to all."
    "... Your sons shall prophesy." "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.
    733. 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.
    734.... 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.
    735. 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.* 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.
    736. Transfixerunt.*(2) Zech. 12. 10.

    * Is. 65. 2. "Arebellious people, which walketh in a way that
was not good."
    *(2) "They have pierced."

    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.

    * Ps. 130. 8. "from all his iniquities."
                         SECTION XII
                    PROOFS OF JESUS CHRIST

    737. 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 is 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.* Dabitur liber scienti
literas... et dicet: Non possum legere.*(2) While the sceptre was
still in the hands of the first foreign usurper, there is the report
of the coming of Jesus Christ.

    * Deut. 28. 29. Et palpes in meridie. "And thou shalt grope at
    *(2) Is. 29. 11. Quem (librum) cum dederint scienti litteras et
respondebit: Non possum. "Which men deliver to one that is
learned... and he saith, I cannot."

    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.
    738. 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 prophecies.
    739. The prophets foretold, and were not foretold. The saints
again were foretold, but did not foretell. Jesus Christ both
foretold and was foretold.
    740. Jesus Christ, whom the two Testaments regard, the Old as
its hope, the New as its model, and both as their centre.
    741. 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, etc. Scio enim quod redemptor meus vivit, etc.*

    * Job 19. 23-25. "for I know that my redeemer liveth."

    742. 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
    743. Proofs Of Jesus Christ.
    Why was the book of Ruth preserved?
    Why the story of Tamar?
    744. "Pray that ye enter not into temptation." 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.*

    * Luke 22. 32, 61. "And when thou art converted, strengthen thy
brother." "And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter."

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

    The word, Galilee, which the 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.
    745. 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.
    746. 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.
    747. 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
    748. 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.
    749. "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
    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.
    750. 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.
    751. 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: Excaeca...*

    * Is. 6. 10. "Shut their eyes."

    752. 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.
    753. 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.
    754. Homo existens te Deum facit.*
    Scriptum est, Dii estis, et non potest solvi Scriptura.*(2)
    Haec infirmitas non est ad vitam et est ad mortem.*(3)
    Lazarus dormit, et deinde dixit: Lazarus mortuus est.*(4)

    * "The man who exists makes you God."
    *(2) "It is written: 'You are Gods' (Ps. 80. 6), and the Scripture
cannot be made naught of."
    *(3) "This weakness is not for life; it is for death."
    *(4) "John 11. 11 and 14. "'Lazarus sleeps,' and later it says:
'Lazarus is dead.'"

    755. The apparent discrepancy of the Gospels.
    756. 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?
    757. 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.
    758. 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 that time has been clearly foretold, and the manner in
    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.
    759. Either the Jews or the Christians must be wicked.
    760. 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, gladium tuum,
potentissime.* (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.

    * Ps. 44. 4. Gladio tuo- "Thy sword, O most mighty."

    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.
    761. 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 (Is. 60; Ps. 71).
    762. 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.
    763. The Jews, in testing if He were God, have shown that He was
    764. 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.
    765. 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
    766. 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
    Ingrediens mundum.*

    * Heb. 10. 5. "When he cometh into the world."

    "Stone upon stone."
    What preceded and what followed. All the Jews exist still and
are wanderers.
    767. 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.
    768. 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.
    769. 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.
    770. After many persons had gone before, Jesus Christ at last came
to say: "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.
    771. 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.
    772. Holiness.- Effundam spiritum meum.* 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 coming.

    * Joel. 2. 28. "I will pour out my spirit."

    773. Destruction of the Jews and heathen by Jesus Christ: Omnes
gentes venient et adorabunt eum.* Parum est ut,*(2) etc. Postula a
me.*(3) Adorabunt eum omnes reges.*(4) Testes iniqui.*(5) Dabit
maxillam percutienti.*(6) Dederunt fel in escam.*(7)

    * Ps. 21. 28. "All peoples shall come and worship him."
    *(2) Is. 49. 6. "It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my
servant," etc.
    *(3) Ps. 2. 8. "Ask of me."
    *(4) Ps. 71. 11. "All kings shall fall down before him."
    *(5) Ps. 34. 11. "Witnesses rise up."
    *(6) Lam. 3. 30. "He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him."
    *(7) Ps. 68. 22. Dederunt in escam meam fel. "They gave me also
gall for my meat."

    774. Jesus Christ for all, Moses for a nation.
    The Jews blessed in Abraham: "I will bless those that bless thee."
But: "All nations blessed in his seed." Parum est ut,* etc.
    Lumen ad revelationem gentium.*(2)
    Non fecit taliter omni nationi, said David, in speaking of the
Law. But, in speaking of Jesus Christ, we must say: Fecit taliter omni
nationi.*(3) 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.

    * Is. 49. 6. "It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my
servant," etc.
    *(2) Luke 2. 32. "A light to lighten the Gentiles."
    *(3) Ps. 167. 20. "He hath not dealt so with any nation."

    775. There is heresy in always explaining omnes by all, and heresy
is not explaining it sometimes by all. Bibite ex hoc omnes;* The
Huguenots are heretics in explaining it by all. In quo omnes
peccaverunt,*(2) 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 sides.

    * Matt. 26. 27. "Drink ye all of it."
    *(2) Rom. 5. 12. "for that all have sinned."

    776. Ne timeas pusillus grex.* Timore et tremore.*(2)- Quid
ergo? Ne timeas modo timeas. Fear not, provided you fear; but if you
fear not, then fear.
     Qui me recipit, non me recipit, sed eum qui me misit.*(3)
    Nemo scit, neque Filius.*(4)
    Nubes lucida obumbravit.*(5)

    * Luke 12. 32. "Fear not little flock."
    *(2) Phil. 2. 12. "With fear and trembling."
    *(3) Mark 9. 37. "Whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but
him that sent me."
    *(4) Mark 13. 32. "No one knows, neither the Son, but the Father."
    *(5) "Clouds shadowed over the light."

    Saint John was to turn the hearts of the fathers to the
children, and Jesus Christ to plant division. There is not
    777. 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.)
    778. Omnis Judaea regio, et Jerosolmymi universi, et
baptizabantur.* Because of all the conditions of men who came there.

    * Mark 1. 5. "All the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and
were all baptized of him."

    From these stones there can come children unto Abraham.
    779. If men knew themselves, God would heal and pardon them. Ne
convertantur et sanem eos, et dimittantur eis peccata.*
    780. Jesus Christ never condemned without hearing. To Judas:
Amice, ad guid venisti?*(2) To him that had not on the wedding
garment, the same.

    * Mark 4. 12. "Lest they should be converted, and their sins
should be forgiven them."
    *(2) Matt. 26. 50. "Friend, wherefore art thou come?"

    781. 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 is to favour despair, instead of turning them
from it to favour hope. For men thus accustom themselves in inward
virtues by outward customs.
    782. The victory over death. "What is a man advantaged if he
gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Whosoever will save his
soul, shall lose it."
    "I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil."
    "Lambs took not away the sins of the world, but I am the lamb
which taketh away the sins."
    "Moses hath not led you out of captivity, and made you truly
    783.... 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 terrae... adversus Christum.)*

    * Ps. 2. 1, 2. "Why do the heathen rage... and the rulers of the
earth... against the Lord."

    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.
    784. Jesus Christ would not have the testimony of devils, nor of
those who were not called, but of God and John the Baptist.
    785. 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.
    786. 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.
    787. On the fact that neither Josephus, nor Tacitus, nor other
historians have spoken of Jesus Christ.- So far is this from telling
against 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.
    788. "I have reserved me seven thousand." I love the worshippers
unknown to the world and to the very prophets.
    789. As Jesus Christ remained unknown among men, so His truth
remains among common opinions without external difference. Thus the
Eucharist among ordinary bread.
    790. 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.
    791. 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.
    792. 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
    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.
    793. 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, 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.
    794. 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?
    795. 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,* 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.

    * Is. 8. 14. "For a sanctuary and for a rock of offence."

    796. 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.
    797. 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.
    798. 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.
    799. 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.
    800. 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.
    801. 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.
    802. 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

    803. 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
    Moses has given two rules: that the prediction does not come to
pass (Deut. 18.), and that they do not lead to idolatry (Deut. 13.);
and Jesus Christ 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.
    804. 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...
    805. The two fundamentals; one inward, the other outward; grace
and miracles; both supernatural.
    806. Miracles and truth are necessary, because it is necessary
to convince the entire man, in body and soul.
    807. In all times, either men have spoken of the true God, or
the true God has spoken to men.
    808. 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.
    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 haec signa
facere quae tu facis nisi Deus fuerit cum eo.* He does not judge of
the miracles by the teaching, but of the teaching by the miracles.

    * John 3. 2. "We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for
no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

    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.* Therefore all belief rests upon miracles.

    * John. 15. 24 "If I had not done... they had not had sin."

    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
    809. The combinations of miracles.
    810. The second miracle can suppose the first, but the first
cannot suppose the second.
    811. Had it not been for the miracles, there would have been no
sin in not believing in Jesus Christ.
    812. "I should not be a Christian, but for the miracles," said
Saint Augustine.
    813. Miracles.- How I hate those who make men doubt of miracles!
Montaigne 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.
    814. Montaigne against miracles.
    Montaigne for miracles.
    815. It is not possible to have a reasonable belief against
    816. Unbelievers the most credulous. They believe the miracles
of Vespasian, in order not to believe those of Moses.
    817. 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 in, 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.
    818. 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...
    819. Jeremiah 23. 32. The miracles of the false prophets. In the
Hebrew and Vatable they are the tricks.
    Miracle does not always signify miracle. I Sam. 14. 15; miracle
signifies fear, and is so in the Hebrew. The same evidently in Job 33.
7; and also Isaiah 21. 4; Jeremiah 44. 12. Portentum signifies
simulacrum, Jeremiah 50. 38; and it is so in the Hebrew and Vatable.
Isaiah 8. 18. Jesus Christ says that He and His will be in miracles.
    820. 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.* 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.*(2)

    * Matt. 12. 25; Luke 11. 17. "Every kingdom divided against
    *(2) Luke 11. 20. "If with the finger of God... the kingdom of God
is come upon you."

    821. 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.
    822. 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
    The more we particularise God, Jesus Christ, the Church.
    823. 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
    824. 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.
    825. Miracles serve not to convert, but to condemn. Part I-II
(Q. 113, A. 10, Ad. 2.)*

    * St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.

    826. Reasons why we do not believe.
    John xii. 37. Cum autem tanta signa fecisset, non credebant in
eum, ut sermo Isayae impleretur... Excaecavit,* etc.
    Haec dixit Isaias, quando vidit gloriam ejus et locutus est de
    Judaei signa petunt et Graeci sapientiam quaerunt, nos autem Jesum
crucifixum.*(3) (Sed plenum signis, sed plenum sapientia; vos autem
Christum non crucifixum et religionem sine miraculis et sine
    What makes us not believe in the true miracles is want of love.
John: Sed vos non creditis, quia non estis ex ovibus.*(5) What makes
us believe the false is want of love. Thess. 2.

    * "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they
believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be
fulfilled... He hath blinded their eyes."
    *(2) John 12. 41. "These things said Esaias, when he saw his
glory, and spake of him."
    *(3) I Cor. 1. 22, 23. "For the Jews require a sign, and the
Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified."
    *(4) "But full of signs, full of wisdom; you the Jesuits, what you
wish is a Christ not crucified, a religion without miracles and
without wisdom."
    *(5) 10. 26 "But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep."

    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
    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.
    827. Judges 13. 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.
    II Macc. 3. The temple, ready for pillage, miraculously
succoured.- II Macc. 15.
    I Kings 17. The widow to Elijah, who had restored her son, "By
this I know that thy words are true."
    I Kings 18. 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.
    828. Opposition.- Abel, Cain; Moses, the Magicians; Elijah, the
false prophets: Jeremiah, Hananiah; Micaiah, the false prophets; Jesus
Christ, the Pharisees; Saint Paul, Bar-jesus; the Apostles, the
Exorcists; Christians, unbelievers; Catholics, heretics; Elijah,
Enoch, Antichrist.
    829. 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 7. 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 in 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"?
    830. The prophecies were ambiguous; they are no longer so.
    831. The five propositions were ambiguous; they are no longer so.
    832. 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.)
    833. 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.
    834. John 6. 26: Non quia vidisti signum, sed quia saturati

    * "Not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye... were

    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 9: Non est hic homo a Deo, quia sabbatum non custodit.
Alii: Quomodo potest homo peccator haec signa facere?*

    * 16. "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the
Sabbath day. Others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such

    Which is the most clear?
    This house is not of God; for they do not there believe that the
five propositions are in Jansenius. Others: This house is of God;
for in it there are wrought strange miracles.
    Which is the most clear?
    Tu quid dicis? Dico quia propheta est. Nisi esset hic a Deo, non
poterat facere quidquam.*

    * John 9. 17, 33. "What sayest thou of him? He said, He is a
prophet. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing."

    835. In the Old Testament, when they will turn you from God. In
the New, when they will turn you from Jesus Christ. These are the
occasions for excluding particular miracles from belief. No others
need be excluded.
    Does it, therefore, follow that they would have the right to
exclude all the prophets who came to them? No; they would have
sinned in not excluding those who denied God, and would have sinned in
excluding those who did not deny God.
    So soon, then, as we see a miracle, we must either assent to it or
have striking proofs to the contrary. We must see if it denies a
God, or Jesus Christ, or the Church.
    836. There is a great difference between not being for Jesus
Christ and saying so, and not being for Jesus Christ and pretending to
be so. The one party can do miracles, not the others. For it is
clear of the one party that they are opposed to the truth, but not
of the others; and thus miracles are clearer.
    837. That we must love one God only is a thing so evident that
it does not require miracles to prove it.
    838. Jesus Christ performed miracles, then the apostles, and the
first saints in great number; because the prophecies not being yet
accomplished, but in the process of being accomplished by them, the
miracles alone bore witness to them. It was foretold that the
Messiah should convert the nations. How could this prophecy be
fulfilled without the conversion of the nations? And how could the
nations be converted to the Messiah, if they did not see this final
effect of the prophecies which prove Him? Therefore, till He had died,
risen again, and converted the nations, all was not accomplished;
and so miracles were needed during all this time. Now they are no
longer needed against the Jews; for the accomplished prophecies
constitute a lasting miracle.
    839. "Though ye believe not Me, believe at least the works." He
refers them, as it were, to the strongest proof.
    It had been told to the Jews, as well as to Christians, that
they should not always believe the prophets; but yet the Pharisees and
Scribes are greatly concerned about His miracles and try to show
that they are false, or wrought by the devil. For they must needs be
convinced, if they acknowledge that they are of God.
    At the present day we are not troubled to make this distinction.
Still it is very easy to do: those who deny neither God nor Jesus
Christ do no miracles which are not certain. Nemo facit virtutem in
nomine meo, et cito possit de me male loqui.*

    * Mark 9. 39. Nemo est enim qui faciat. "There is no man which
shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me."

    But we have not to draw this distinction. Here is a sacred
relic. Here is a thorn from the crown of the Saviour of the world,
over whom the prince of this world has no power, which works
miracles by the peculiar power of the blood shed for us. Now God
Himself chooses this house in order to display conspicuously therein
His power.
    These are not men who do miracles by an unknown and doubtful
virtue, which makes a decision difficult for us. It is God Himself. It
is the instrument of the Passion of His only Son, who, being in many
places, chooses this, and makes men come from all quarters there to
receive these miraculous alleviations in their weaknesses.
    840. The Church has three kinds of enemies: the Jews, who have
never been of her body; the heretics, who have withdrawn from it;
and the evil Christians, who rend her from within.
    These three kinds of different adversaries usually attack her in
different ways. But here they attack her in one and the same way. As
they are all without miracles, and as the Church has always had
miracles against them, they have all had the same interest in
evading them; and they all make use of this excuse, that doctrine must
not be judged by miracles, but miracles by doctrine. There were two
parties among those who heard Jesus Christ: those who followed His
teaching on account of His miracles; others who said. There were two
parties in the time of Calvin... There are now the Jesuits, etc.
    841. Miracles furnish the test in matters of doubt, between Jews
and heathens, Jews and Christians, Catholics and heretics, the
slandered and slanderers, between the two crosses.
    But miracles would be useless to heretics; for the Church,
authorised by miracles which have already obtained belief, tells us
that they have not the true faith. There is no doubt that they are not
in it, since the first miracles of the Church exclude belief of
theirs. Thus there is miracle against miracle, both the first and
greatest being on the side of the Church.
    These nuns, astonished at what is said- that they are in the way
of perdition; that their confessors are leading them to Geneva; that
they suggest to them that Jesus Christ is not in the Eucharist, nor on
the right hand of the Father- know that all this is false and,
therefore, offer themselves to God in this state. Vide si via
iniquitatis in me est.* What happens thereupon? This place, which is
said to be the temple of the devil, God makes His own temple. It is
said that the children must be taken away from it. God heals them
there. It is said that it is the arsenal of hell. God makes of it
the sanctuary of His grace. Lastly, they are threatened with all the
fury and vengeance of heaven; and God overwhelms them with favours.
A man would need to have lost his senses to conclude from this that
they are therefore in the way of perdition.
    (We have without doubt the same signs as Saint Athanasius.)
    842. Si tu es Christus, dic nobis.*(2)
    Opera quae ego facio in nomine patris mei, haec testimonium
perhibent de me. Sed vos non creditis quia non estis ex ovibus meis.
Oves meae vocem meam audiunt.*(3)
    John 6. 30. Quod ergo tu facis signum ut videamus et credamus
tibi? (Non dicunt: Quam doctrinam praedicas?)*(4)
    Nemo potest facere signa quae tu facis nisi Deus.*(5)
    II Macc. 14. 15 Deus qui signis evidentibus suam portionem
    Volumus signum videre de coelo, tentantes eum.*(7) Luke 11. 16.
    Generatio prava signum quaerit; et non dabitur.*(8)
    Et ingemiscens ait: Quid generatio ista signum quaerit?*(9)
(Mark 8. 12.) They asked a sign with an evil intention.
    Et non poterat facere.*(10) And yet he promises them the sign of
Jonah, the great and wonderful miracle of his resurrection.

    * Ps. 138.24. "And see if there be any wicked way in me."
    *(2) Luke 22. 66. "Art thou the Christ? tell us."
    *(3) John 5. 36. "The works which the father hath given me to
finish... bear witness of me." John 10. 26-27. "But ye believe not,
because ye are not of my sheep... My sheep hear my voice.
    *(4) "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe
thee. (They do not say: What doctrine do you preach?)"
    *(5) John 3. 2. "No man can do these miracles that thou doest,
except God be with him."
    *(6) "The Lord, making manifest his presence, upholdeth them
that are his own portion."
    *(7) "And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven."
    *(8) Matt. 12. 39. "An evil generation seeketh after a sign; and
there shall no sign be given to it."
    *(9) "And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, why doth this
generation seek after a sign?"
    *(10) "Mark 6. 5. "And he could there do no mighty work."

    Nisi videritis, non creditis.* He does not blame them for not
believing unless there are miracles, but for not believing unless they
are themselves spectators of them.
    Antichrist in signis mendacibus,*(2) says Saint Paul, II Thess. 2.
    Secundum operationem Satanae, in seductione iis qui pereunt eo
quod charitatem veritatis non receperunt ut salvi fierent, ideo mittet
illis Deus optationes erroris ut credant mendacio.*(3)
    As in the passage of Moses: Tentat enim vos Deus, utrum
diligatis eum.*(4)
    Ecce praedixi vobis: vos ergo videte.*(5)

    * John 4. 48. "Except ye see... ye will not believe."
    *(2) 9. "In signs and lying wonders."
    *(3) II Thess. 2. 9-11 "After the working of Satan... and with all
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And
for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should
believe a lie."
    *(4) Deut. 13. 3. "for the Lord your God proveth you, to know
whether ye love the Lord."
    *(5) Matt. 24. 25-26. "Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore
if they shall say unto you, Behold."

    843. Here is not the country of truth. She wanders unknown amongst
men. God has covered her with a veil, which leaves her unrecognised by
those who do not hear her voice. Room is opened for blasphemy, even
against the truths that are at least very likely. If the truths of the
Gospel are published, the contrary is published too, and the questions
are obscured, so that the people cannot distinguish. And they ask,
"What have you to make you believed rather than others? What sign do
you give? You have only words, and so have we. If you had miracles,
good and well." That doctrine ought to be supported by miracles is a
truth, which they misuse in order to revile doctrine. And if
miracles happen, it is said that miracles are not enough without
doctrine; and this is another truth, which they misuse in order to
revile miracles.
    Jesus Christ cured the man born blind and performed a number of
miracles on the Sabbath day. In this way He blinded the Pharisees, who
said that miracles must be judged by doctrine.
    "We have Moses: but, as for this fellow, we know not from whence
he is." It is wonderful that you know not whence He is, and yet He
does such miracles.
    Jesus Christ spoke neither against God, nor against Moses.
    Antichrist and the false prophets, foretold by both Testaments,
will speak openly against God and against Jesus Christ. Who is not
hidden... God would not allow him, who would be a secret enemy, to
do miracles openly.
    In a public dispute where the two parties profess to be for God,
for Jesus Christ, for the Church, miracles have never been on the side
of the false Christians, and the other side has never been without a
    "He hath a devil." John 10. 21. And others said, "Can a devil open
the eyes of the blind?"
    The proofs which Jesus Christ and the apostles draw from Scripture
are not conclusive; for they say only that Moses foretold that a
prophet should come. But they do not thereby prove that this is He;
and that is the whole question. These passages, therefore, serve
only to show that they are not contrary to Scripture and that there
appears no inconsistency, but not that there is agreement. Now this is
enough, namely, exclusion of inconsistency, along with miracles.
    There is a mutual duty between God and men. We must pardon Him
this saying: Quid debui?* "Accuse me, " said God in Isaiah.

    * Is. 5. 4. Quis est quod debui ultra facere vineae meae, et non
faci ei? "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have
not done in it?"

    "God must fulfil His promises," etc.
    Men owe it to God to accept the religion which He sends. God
owes it to men not to lead them into error. Now, they would be led
into error, if the workers of miracles announced a doctrine which
should not appear evidently false to the light of common sense, and if
a greater worker of miracles had not already wamed men not to
believe them.
    Thus, if there were divisions in the Church, and the Arians, for
example, who declared themselves founded on Scripture just as the
Catholics, had done miracles, and not the Catholics, men should have
been led into error.
    For, as a man, who announces to us the secrets of God, is not
worthy to be believed on his private authority, and that is why the
ungodly doubt him; so when a man, as a token of the communion which he
has with God, raises the dead, foretells the future, removes the seas,
heals the sick, there is none so wicked as not to bow to him, and
the incredulity of Pharaoh and the Pharisees is the effect of a
supernatural obduracy.
    When, therefore, we see miracles and a doctrine not suspicious,
both on one side, there is no difficulty. But when we see miracles and
suspicious doctrine on the same side, we must then see which is the
clearest. Jesus Christ was suspected.
    Bar-jesus blinded. The power of God surpasses that of His enemies.
    The Jewish exorcists beaten by the devils, saying, "Jesus I
know, and Paul I know; but who are ye"?
    Miracles are for doctrine, and not doctrine for miracles.
    If the miracles are true, shall we be able to persuade men of
all doctrine? No; for this will not come to pass. Si angelus...*

    * Gal. 1. 8. "But though an angel."

    Rule: we must judge of doctrine by miracles; we must judge of
miracles by doctrine. All this is true, but contains no contradiction.
    For we must distinguish the times.
    How glad you are to know the general rules, thinking thereby to
set up dissension and render all useless! We shall prevent you, my
father; truth is one and constant.
    It is impossible, from the duty of God to men, that a man,
hiding his evil teaching, and only showing the good, saying that he
conforms to God and the Church, should do miracles so as to instil
insensibly a false and subtle doctrine. This cannot happen.
    And still less that God, who knows the heart should perform
miracles in favour of such a one.
    844. The three marks of religion: perpetuity, a good life,
miracles. They destroy perpetuity by their doctrine of probability;
a good life by their morals, miracles by destroying either their truth
or the conclusions to be drawn from them.
    If we believe them, the Church will have nothing to do with
perpetuity, holiness, and miracles. The heretics deny them, or deny
the conclusions to be drawn from them; they do the same. But one would
need to have no sincerity in order to deny them, or again to lose
one's senses in order to deny the conclusions to be drawn from them.
    Nobody has ever suffered martyrdom for the miracles which he
says he has seen; for the folly of men goes perhaps to the length of
martyrdom, for those which the Turks believe by tradition, but not for
those which they have seen.
    845. The heretics have always attacked these three marks, which
they have not.
    846. First objection: "An angel from heaven. We must not judge
of truth by miracles, but of miracles by truth. Therefore the miracles
are useless.
    Now they are of use, and they must not be in opposition to the
truth. Therefore what Father Lingende has said that "God will not
permit that a miracle may lead into error..."
    When there shall be a controversy in the same Church, miracle will
    Second objection: "But Antichrist will do miracles."
    The magicians of Pharaoh did not entice to error. Thus we cannot
say to Jesus respecting Antichrist, "You have led me into error."
For Antichrist will do them against Jesus Christ, and so they cannot
lead into error. Either God will not permit false miracles, or He will
procure greater.
    Jesus Christ has existed since the beginning of the world: this is
more impressive than all the miracles of Antichrist.
    If in the same Church there should happen a miracle on the side of
those in error, men would be led into error. Schism is visible; a
miracle is visible. But schism is more a sign of error than a
miracle is a sign of truth. Therefore a miracle cannot lead into
    But, apart from schism, error is not so obvious as a miracle is
obvious. Therefore a miracle could lead into error.
    Ubi est Deus tuus?* Miracles show Him, and are a light.
    847. One of the anthems for Vespers at Christmas: Exortum est in
tenebris lumen rectis corde.*(2)

    * Ps. 41. 4. "Where is thy God?"
    *(2) Ps. 111. 4. "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the

    848. If the compassion of God is so great that He instructs us
to our benefit, even when He hides Himself, what light ought we not to
expect from Him when He reveals Himself?
    849. Will Est et non est.* be received in faith itself as well
as in miracles? And if it is inseparable in the others...

    * "The yes and the no."

    When Saint Xavier works miracles. Saint Hilary. "Ye wretches,
who oblige us to speak of miracles."
    Unjust judges, make not your own laws on the moment; judge by
those which are established, and by yourselves. Vae qui conditis leges

    * Is. 10. 1. "Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees."

    Miracles endless, false.
    In order to weaken your adversaries, you disarm the whole Church.
    If they say that our salvation depends upon God, they are
"heretics." If they say that they are obedient to the Pope, that is
"hypocrisy." If they are ready to subscribe to all the articles,
that is not enough. If they say that a man must not be killed for an
apple, "they attack the morality of Catholics." If miracles are done
among them, it is not a sign of holiness, and is, on the contrary a
symptom of heresy.
   This way in which the Church has existed is that truth has been
without dispute, or, if it has been contested, there has been the
Pope, or, failing him, there has been the Church.
    850. The five propositions condemned, but no miracle; for the
truth was not attacked. But the Sorbonne... but the bull...
    It is impossible that those who love God with all their heart
should fail to recognise the Church; so evident is she. It is
impossible that those who do not love God should be convinced of the
    Miracles have such influence that it was necessary that God should
warn men not to believe in them in opposition to Him, all clear as
it is that there is a God. Without this they would have been able to
disturb men.
    And thus so far from these passages, Deut. 13, making against
the authority of the miracles, nothing more indicates their influence.
And the same in respect of Antichrist. "To seduce, if it were
possible, even the elect."
    851. The history of the man born blind.
    What says Saint Paul? Does he continually speak of the evidence of
the prophecies? No, but of his own miracle. What says Jesus Christ?
Does He speak of the evidence of the prophecies? No; His death had not
fulfilled them. But he says, Si non fecissem.* Believe the works.

    * John 15. 24. "If he had not done."

    Two supernatural foundations of our wholly supernatural
religion; one visible, the other invisible; miracles with grace,
miracles without grace.
    The synagogue, which had been treated with love as a type of the
Church, and with hatred, because it was only the type, has been
restored, being on the point of falling when it was well with God, and
thus a type.
    Miracles prove the power which God has over hearts, by that
which He exercises over bodies.
    The Church has never approved a miracle among heretics.
    Miracles a support of religion: they have been the test of Jews;
they have been the test of Christians, saints, innocents, and true
    A miracle among schismatics is not so much to be feared; for
schism, which is more obvious than a miracle, visibly indicates
their error. But, when there is no schism and error is in question,
miracle decides.
    Si non fecissem quae alius non fecit.* The wretches who have
obliged us to speak of miracles.

    * John 15. 24 "If he had not done among them the works which
none other man did."

    Abraham and Gideon confirm faith by miracles.
    Judith. God speaks at last in their greatest oppression.
    If the cooling of love leaves the Church almost without believers,
miracles will rouse them. This is one of the last effects of grace.
    If one miracle were wrought among the Jesuits!
    When a miracle disappoints the expectation of those in whose
presence it happens, and there is a disproportion between the state of
their faith and the instrument of the miracle, it ought- then to
induce them to change. But with you it is otherwise. There would be as
much reason in saying that, if the Eucharist raised a dead man, it
would be necessary for one to turn a Calvinist rather than remain a
Catholic. But when it crowns the expectation, and those, who hoped
that God would bless the remedies, see themselves healed without
    The ungodly.- No sign has ever happened on the part of the devil
without a stronger sign on the part of God, or even without it
having been foretold that such would happen.
    852. Unjust persecutors of those whom God visibly protects. If
they reproach you with your excesses, "they speak as the heretics." If
they say that the grace of Jesus Christ distinguishes us, "they are
heretics." If they do miracles, "it is the mark of their heresy."
    Ezekiel. They say: These are the people of God who speak thus.
    It is said, "Believe in the Church"; but it is not said,
"Believe in miracles"; because the last is natural, and not the first.
The one had need of a precept, not the other. Hezekiah.
    The synagogue was only a type, and thus it did not perish; and
it was only a type, and so it is decayed. It was a type which
contained the truth, and thus it has lasted until it no longer
contained the truth.
    My reverend father, all this happened in types. Other religions
perish; this one perishes not.
    Miracles are more important than you think. They have served for
the foundation, and will serve for the continuation of the Church till
Antichrist, till the end.
    The two witnesses.
    In the Old Testament and the New, miracles are performed in
connection with types. Salvation, or a useless thing, if not to show
that we must submit to the Scriptures: type of the sacrament.
    853. We must judge soberly of divine ordinances, my father.
Saint Paul in the isle of Malta.
    854. The hardness of the Jesuits, then, surpasses that of the
Jews, since those refused to believe Jesus Christ innocent only
because they doubted if His miracles were of God. Whereas the Jesuits,
though unable to doubt that the miracles of Port-Royal are of God,
do not cease to doubt still the innocence of that house.
    855. I suppose that men believe miracles. You corrupt religion
either in favour of your friends or against your enemies. You
arrange it at your will.
    856. On the miracle.- As God has made no family more happy, let it
also be the case that He find none more thankful.
                         SECTION XIV

    857. Clearness, obscurity.- There would be too great darkness,
if truth had not visible signs. This is a wonderful one, that it has
always been preserved in one Church and one visible assembly of men.
There would be too great clearness, if there were only one opinion
in this Church. But in order to recognise what is true, one has only
to look at what has always existed; for it is certain that truth has
always existed, and that nothing false has always existed.
    858. The history of the Church ought properly to be called the
history of truth.
    859. There is a pleasure in being in a ship beaten about by a
storm, when we are sure that it will not founder. The persecutions
which harass the Church are of this nature.
    860. In addition to so many other signs of piety, they are also
persecuted, which is the best sign of piety.
    861. The Church is in an excellent state when it is sustained by
God only.
    862. The Church has always been attacked by opposite errors, but
perhaps never at the same time, as now. And if she suffer more because
of the multiplicity of errors, she derives this advantage from it,
that they destroy each other.
    She complains of both, but far more of the Calvinists, because
of the schism.
    It is certain that many of the two opposite sects are deceived.
They must be disillusioned.
    Faith embraces many truths which seem to contradict each other.
There is a time to laugh, and time to weep, etc. Responde. Ne
respondeas,* etc.

    * Prov. 26. 4-5. "Answer... Answer not."

    The source of this is the union of the two natures in Jesus
Christ; and also the two worlds (the creation of a new heaven and a
new earth; a new life and a new death; all things double, and the same
names remaining); and finally the two natures that are in the
righteous (for they are the two worlds, and a member and image of
Jesus Christ. And thus all the names suit them: righteous, yet
sinners; dead, yet living; living, yet dead; elect, yet outcast,
    There are then a great number of truths, both of faith and of
morality, which seem contradictory and which all hold good together in
a wonderful system. The source of all heresies is the exclusion of
some of these truths; and the source of all the objections which the
heretics make against us is the ignorance of some of our truths. And
it generally happens that, unable to conceive the connection of two
opposite truths, and believing that the admission of one involves
the exclusion of the other, they adhere to the one, exclude the other,
and think of us as opposed to them. Now exclusion is the cause of
their heresy; and ignorance that we hold the other truth causes
their objections.
    1st example: Jesus Christ is God and man. The Arians, unable to
reconcile these things, which they believe incompatible, say that He
is man; in this they are Catholics. But they deny that He is God; in
this they are heretics. They allege that we deny His humanity; in this
they are ignorant.
    2nd example: On the subject of the Holy Sacrament. We believe
that, the substance of the bread being changed, and being
consubstantial with that of the body of our Lord, Jesus Christ is
therein really present. That is one truth. Another is that this
Sacrament is also a type of the cross and of glory, and a
commemoration of the two. That is the Catholic faith, which
comprehends these two truths which seem opposed.
    The heresy of to-day, not conceiving that this Sacrament
contains at the same time both the presence of Jesus Christ and a type
of Him, and that it is a sacrifice and a commemoration of a sacrifice,
believes that neither of these truths can be admitted without
excluding the other for this reason.
    They fasten to this point alone, that this Sacrament is typical;
and in this they are not heretics. They think that we exclude this
truth; hence it comes that they raise so many objections to us out
of the passages of the Fathers which assert it. Finally, they deny the
presence; and in this they are heretics.
    3rd example: Indulgences.
    The shortest way, therefore, to prevent heresies is to instruct in
all truths; and the surest way to refute them is to declare them
all. For what will the heretics say?
    In order to know whether an opinion is a Father's...
    863. All err the more dangerously, as they each follow a truth.
Their fault is not in following a falsehood, but in not following
another truth.
    864. Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so
established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
    865. If there is ever a time in which we must make profession of
two opposite truths, it is when we are reproached for omitting one.
Therefore the Jesuits and Jansenists are wrong in concealing them, but
the Jansenists more so, for the Jesuits have better made profession of
the two.
    866. Two kinds of people make things equal to one another, as
feasts to working days, Christians to priests, all things among
them, etc. And hence the one party conclude that what is then bad
for priests is also so for Christians, and the other that what is
not bad for Christians is lawful for priests.
    867. If the ancient Church was in error, the Church is fallen.
If she should be in error to-day, it is not the same thing; for she
has always the superior maxim of tradition from the hand of the
ancient Church; and so this submission and this conformity to the
ancient Church prevail and correct all. But the ancient Church did not
assume the future Church and did not consider her, as we assume and
consider the ancient.
    868. That which hinders us in comparing what formerly occurred
in the Church with what we see there now is that we generally look
upon Saint Athanasius, Saint Theresa, and the rest, as crowned with
glory and acting towards us as gods. Now that time has cleared up
things, it does so appear. But at the time when he was persecuted,
this great saint was a man called Athanasius; and Saint Theresa was
a nun. "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are," says
Saint James, to disabuse Christians of that false idea which makes
us reject the example of the saints as disproportioned to our state.
"They were saints," say we, "they are not like us." What then actually
happened? Saint Athanasius was a man called Athanasius, accused of
many crimes, condemned by such and such a council for such and such
a crime. All the bishops assented to it, and finally the Pope. What
said they to those who opposed this? That they disturbed the peace,
that they created schism, etc.
    Zeal, light. Four kinds of persons: zeal without knowledge;
knowledge without zeal; neither knowledge nor zeal; both zeal and
knowledge. The first three condemned him. The last acquitted him, were
excommunicated by the Church and yet saved the Church.
    869. If Saint Augustine came at the present time and was as little
authorised as his defenders, he would accomplish nothing. God
directs His Church well, by having sent him before with authority.
    870. God has not wanted to absolve without the Church. As she
has part in the offence, He desires her to have part in the pardon. He
associates her with this power, as kings their parliaments. But if she
absolves or binds without God, she is no longer the Church. For, as in
the case of parliament, even if the king have pardoned a man, it
must be ratified; but if parliament ratifies without the king, or
refuses to ratify on the order of the king, it is no longer the
parliament of the king, but a rebellious assembly.
    871. The Church, the Pope. Unity, plurality.- Considering the
Church as a unity, the Pope, who is its head, is as the whole.
Considering it as a plurality, the Pope is only a part of it. The
Fathers have considered the Church now in the one way, now in the
other. And thus they have spoken differently of the Pope. (Saint
Cyprian: Sacerdos Dei.)* But in establishing one of these truths, they
have not excluded the other. Plurality which is not reduced to unity
is confusion; unity which does not depend on plurality is tyranny.
There is scarcely any other country than France in which it is
permissible to say that the Council is above the Pope.

    * Epistle 63. "Priest of the Lord."

    872. The Pope is head. Who else is known of all? Who else is
recognised by all, having power to insinuate himself into all the
body, because he holds the principal shoot, which insinuates itself
everywhere? How easy it was to make this degenerate into tyranny! That
is why Christ has laid down for them this precept: Vos autem non sic.*

    * Luke 22. 26. "But ye shall not be so."

    873. The Pope hates and fears the learned, who do not submit to
him at will.
    874. We must not judge of what the Pope is by some words of the
Fathers- as the Greeks said in a council, important rules- but by
the acts of the Church and the Fathers, and by the canons.
    Duo* aut tres.*(2) In unum. Unity and plurality. It is an error to
exclude one of the two, as the papists do who exclude plurality, or
the Huguenots who exclude unity.

    * John 10. 30. "I and my father are one."
    *(2) John 5. 7. "And these three agree in one.

    875. Would the Pope be dishonoured by having his knowledge from
God and tradition; and is it not dishonouring him to separate him from
this holy union?
    876. God does not perform miracles in the ordinary conduct of
His Church. It would be a strange miracle if infallibility existed
in one man. But it appears so natural for it to reside in a multitude,
since the conduct of God is hidden under nature, as in all His other
    877. Kings dispose of their own power; but the Popes cannot
dispose of theirs.
    878. Summum jus, summa injuria.*

    * "The strictest law is the greatest injustice." Terrence, Heauton
Timorumenus, iv. 5. 47; and Cicero, De officiis, i. 10.

    The majority is the best way, because it is visible and has
strength to make itself obeyed. Yet it is the opinion of the least
    If men could have done it, they would have placed might in the
hands of justice. But as might does not allow itself to be managed
as men want, because it is a palpable quality, whereas justice is a
spiritual quality of which men dispose as they please, they have
placed justice in the hands of might. And thus that is called just
which men are forced to obey.
    Hence comes the right of the sword, for the sword gives a true
right. Otherwise we should see violence on one side and justice on the
other (end of the twelfth Provincial Letter). Hence comes the
injustice of the Fronde, which raises its alleged justice against
power. It is not the same in the Church, for there is a true justice
and no violence.
    879. Injustice.- Jurisdiction is not given for the sake of the
judge, but for that of the litigant. It is dangerous to tell this to
the people. But the people have too much faith in you; it will not
harm them and may serve you. It should, therefore, be made known.
Pasce oves meas, not tuas.* You owe me pasturage.

    * John 21. 17 "Feed my sheep." Not "yours."

    880. Men like certainty. They like the Pope to be infallible in
faith, and grave doctors to be infallible in morals, so as to have
    881. The Church teaches, and God inspires, both infallibly. The
work of the Church is of use only as a preparation for grace or
condemnation. What it does is enough for condemnation, not for
    882. Every time the Jesuits may impose upon the Pope, they will
make all Christendom perjured.
    The Pope is very easily imposed upon, because of his
occupations, and the confidence which he has in the Jesuits; and the
Jesuits are very capable of imposing upon him by means of calumny.
    883. The wretches who have obliged me to speak of the basis of
    884. Sinners purified without penitence; the righteous justified
without love; all Christians without the grace of Jesus Christ; God
without power over the will of men; a predestination without
mystery; a redemption without certitude!
    885. Any one is made a priest, who wants to be so, as under
    It is a horrible thing that they propound to us the discipline
of the Church of to-day as so good that it is made a crime to desire
to change it. Formerly it was infallibly good, and it was thought that
it could be changed without sin; and now, such as it is, we cannot
wish it changed! It has indeed been permitted to change the custom
of not making priests without such great circumspection that there
were hardly any who were worthy; and it is not allowed to complain
of the custom which makes so many who are unworthy!
    886. Heretics.- Ezekiel. All the heathen, and also the Prophet,
spoke evil of Israel. But the Israelites were so far from having the
right to say to him, "You speak like the heathen," that he is most
forcible upon this, that the heathen say the same as he.
    887. The Jansenists are like the heretics in the reformation of
morality; but you are like them in evil.
    888. You are ignorant of the prophecies, if you do not know that
all this must happen; princes, prophets, Pope, and even the priests.
And yet the Church is to abide. By the grace of God we have not come
to that. Woe to these priests! But we hope that God will bestow His
mercy upon us that we shall not be of them.
    Saint Peter, Epistle ii: false prophets in the past, the image
of future ones.
    889.... So that if it is true, on the one hand, that some lax
monks and some corrupt casuists, who are not members of the hierarchy,
are steeped in these corruptions, it is, on the other hand, certain
that the true pastors of the Church, who are the true guardians of the
Divine Word, have preserved it unchangeably against the efforts of
those who have attempted to destroy it.
    And thus true believers have no pretext to follow that laxity,
which is only offered to them by the strange hands of these
casuists, instead of the sound doctrine which is presented to them
by the fatherly hands of their own pastors. And the ungodly and
heretics have no ground for publishing these abuses as evidence of
imperfection in the providence of God over His Church; since, the
Church consisting properly in the body of the hierarchy, we are so far
from being able to conclude from the present state of matters that God
has abandoned her to corruption, that it has never been more
apparent than at the present time that God visibly protects her from
    For if some of these men, who, by an extraordinary vocation,
have made profession of withdrawing from the world and adopting the
monks' dress, in order to live in a more perfect state than ordinary
Christians, have fallen into excesses which horrify ordinary
Christians, and have become to us what the false prophets were among
the Jews; this is a private and personal misfortune, which must indeed
be deplored, but from which nothing can be inferred against the care
which God takes of His Church; since all these things are so clearly
foretold, and it has been so long since announced that these
temptations would arise from people of this kind; so that when we
are well instructed, we see in this rather evidence of the care of God
than of His forgetfulness in regard to us.
    890. Tertullian: Nunquam Ecclesia reformabitur.*

    * "The Church will never be reformed."

    891. Heretics, who take advantage of the doctrine of the
Jesuits, must be made to know that it is not that of the Church, and
that our divisions do not separate us from the altar.
    892. If in differing we condemned, you would be right.
Uniformity without diversity is useless to others; diversity without
uniformity is ruinous for us. The one is harmful outwardly; the
other inwardly.
    893. By showing the truth, we cause it to be believed; but by
showing the injustice of ministers, we do not correct it. Our mind
is assured by a proof of falsehood; our purse is not made secure by
proof of injustice.
    894. Those who love the Church lament to see the corruption of
morals; but laws at least exist. But these corrupt the laws. The model
is damaged.
    895. Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they
do it from religious conviction.
    896. It is in vain that the Church has established these words,
anathemas, heresies, etc. They are used against her.
    897. The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth, for the master
tells him only the act and not the intention. And this is why he often
obeys slavishly, and defeats the intention. But Jesus Christ has
told us the object. And you defeat that object.
    898. They cannot have perpetuity, and they seek universality;
and therefore they make the whole Church corrupt, that they may be
    899. Against those who misuse passages of Scripture, and who pride
themselves in finding one which seems to favour their error.- The
chapter for Vespers, Passion Sunday, the prayer for the king.
    Explanation of these words: "He that is not with me is against
me." And of these others: "He that is not against you is for you." A
person who says: "I am neither for nor against"; we ought to reply
to him...
    900. He who will give the meaning of Scripture, and does not
take it from Scripture, is an enemy of Scripture. (St. Augustine, Of
Christian Doctrine.)
    901. Humilibus dat gratiam;* an ideo non dedit humilitatem?*(2)
    Sui eum non receperunt; quotquot autem non receperunt,*(3) an
non erant sui?*(4)

    * Jas. 4. 6. "God giveth grace unto the humble."
    *(2) "But did he not give them humility?"
    *(3) John 1. 11-12. "The world knew him not; and his own
received him not."
    *(4) "And were they not his?"

    902. "It must indeed be," says Feuillant, "that this is not so
certain; for controversy indicates uncertainty (Saint Athanasius,
Saint Chrysostom, morals, unbelievers)."
    The Jesuits have not made the truth uncertain, but they have
made their own ungodliness certain.
    Contradiction has always been permitted, in order to blind the
wicked; for all that offends truth or love is evil. This is the true
    903. All religions and sects in the world have had natural
reason for a guide. Christians alone have been constrained to take
their rules from without themselves, and to acquaint themselves with
those which Jesus Christ bequeathed to men of old to be handed down to
true believers. This constraint wearies these good Fathers. They
desire, like other people, to have liberty to follow their own
imaginations. It is in vain that we cry to them, as the prophets
said to the Jews of old: "Enter into the Church; acquaint yourselves
with the precepts which the men of old left to her, and follow those
paths." They have answered like the Jews: "We will not walk in them;
but we will follow the thoughts of our hearts"; and they have said,
"We will be as the other nations."
    904. They make a rule of exception.
    Have the men of old given absolution before penance? Do this as
exceptional. But of the exception you make a rule without exception,
so that you do not even want the rule to be exceptional.
    905. On confessions and absolutions without signs of regret.
    God regards only the inward; the Church judges only by the
outward. God absolves as soon as He sees penitence in the heart; the
Church when she sees it in works. God will make a Church pure
within, which confounds, by its inward and entirely spiritual
holiness, the inward impiety of proud sages and Pharisees; and the
Church will make an assembly of men whose external manners are so pure
as to confound the manners of the heathen. If there are hypocrites
among them, but so well disguised that she does not discover their
venom, she tolerates them; for, though they are not accepted of God,
whom they cannot deceive, they are of men, whom they do deceive. And
thus she is not dishonoured by their conduct, which appears holy.
But you want the Church to judge neither of the inward, because that
belongs to God alone, nor of the outward, because God dwells only upon
the inward; and thus, taking away from her all choice of men, you
retain in the Church the most dissolute and those who dishonour her so
greatly that the synagogues of the Jews and sects of philosophers
would have banished them as unworthy and have abhorred them as
    906. The easiest conditions to live in according to the world
are the most difficult to live in according to God, and vice versa.
Nothing is so difficult according to the world as the religious
life; nothing is easier than to live it according to God. Nothing is
easier, according to the world, than to live in high office and
great wealth; nothing is more difficult than to live in them according
to God, and without acquiring an interest in them and a liking for
    907. The casuists submit the decision to the corrupt reason, and
the choice of decisions to the corrupt will, in order that all that is
corrupt in the nature of man may contribute to his conduct.
    908. But is it probable that probability gives assurance?
    Difference between rest and security of conscience. Nothing
gives certainty but truth; nothing gives rest but the sincere search
for truth.
    909. The whole society itself of their casuists cannot give
assurance to a conscience in error, and that is why it is important to
choose good guides.
    Thus they will be doubly culpable, both in having followed ways
which they should not have followed, and in having listened to
teachers to whom they should not have listened.
    910. Can it be anything but compliance with the world which
makes you find things probable? Will you make us believe that it is
truth and that, if duelling were not the fashion, you would find it
probable that they might fight, considering the matter in itself.?
    911. Must we kill to prevent there being any wicked? This is to
make both parties wicked instead of one. Vince in bono malum.*
(Saint Augustine.)

    * Rom. 12. 2 "But overcome evil with good."

    912. Universal.- Ethics and language are special, but universal
    913. Probability.- Each one can employ it; no one can take it
    914. They allow lust to act, and check scruples; whereas they
should do the contrary.
    915. Montalte.- Lax opinions please men so much, that it is
strange that theirs displease. It is because they have exceeded all
bounds. Again, there are many people who see the truth, and who cannot
attain to it; but there are few who do not know that the purity of
religion is opposed to our corruptions. It is absurd to say that an
eternal recompense is offered to the morality of Escobar.
    916. Probability.- They have some true principles; but they misuse
them. Now, the abuse of truth ought to be as much punished as the
introduction of falsehood.
    As if there were two hells, one for sins against love, the other
for those against justice!
    917. Probability.- The earnestness of the saints in seeking the
truth was useless, if the probable is trustworthy. The fear of the
saints who have always followed the surest way. (Saint Theresa
having always followed her confessor.)
    918. Take away probability, and you can no longer please the
world; give probability, and you can no longer displease it.
    919. These are the effects of the sins of the peoples and of the
Jesuits. The great have wished to be flattered. The Jesuits have
wished to be loved by the great. They have all been worthy to be
abandoned to the spirit of lying, the one party to deceive, the others
to be deceived. They have been avaricious, ambitious, voluptuous.
Coacervabunt tibi magistros.* Worthy disciples of such masters, they
have sought flatterers, and have found them.

    * II Tim. 4. 3. "Shall they heap to themselves teachers."

    920. If they do not renounce their doctrine of probability,
their good maxims are as little holy as the bad, for they are
founded on human authority; and thus, if they are more just, they will
be more reasonable, but not more holy. They take after the wild stem
on which they are grafted.
    If what I say does not serve to enlighten you, it will be of use
to the people.
    If these are silent, the stones will speak.
    Silence is the greatest persecution; the saints were never silent.
It is true that a call is necessary; but it is not from the decrees of
the Council that we must learn whether we are called, it is from the
necessity of speaking. Now, after Rome has spoken, and we think that
she has condemned the truth, and that they have written it, and
after the books which have said the contrary are censured; we must cry
out so much the louder, the more unjustly we are censured, and the
more violently they would stifle speech, until there come a Pope who
hears both parties, and who consults antiquity to do justice. So the
good Popes will find the Church still in outcry.
    The Inquisition and the Society are the two scourges of the truth.
    Why do you not accuse them of Arianism? For, though they have said
that Jesus Christ is God, perhaps they mean by it not the natural
interpretation, but, as it is said, Dii estis.*
    If my Letters are condemned at Rome, that which I condemn in
them is condemned in heaven. Ad tuum, Domine Jesu, tribunal

    * Ps. 81. 6. "Ye are gods."
    *(2) "To your tribunal, Lord Jesus, I call."
    You yourselves are corruptible.
    I feared that I had written ill, seeing myself condemned; but
the example of so many pious writings makes me believe the contrary.
It is no longer allowable to write well, so corrupt or ignorant is the
    "It is better to obey God than men."
    I fear nothing; I hope for nothing. It is not so with the bishops.
Port-Royal fears, and it is bad policy to disperse them; for they will
fear no longer and will cause greater fear. I do not even fear your
like censures, if they are not founded on those of tradition. Do you
censure all? What! Even my respect? No. Say then what, or you will
do nothing, if you do not point out the evil, and why it is evil.
And this is what they will have great difficulty in doing.
    Probability.- They have given a ridiculous explanation of
certitude; for, after having established that all their ways are sure,
they have no longer called that sure which leads to heaven without
danger of not arriving there by it, but that which leads there without
danger of going out of that road.
    921.... The saints indulge in subtleties in order to think
themselves criminals and impeach their better actions. And these
indulge in subtleties in order to excuse the most wicked.
    The heathen sages erected a structure equally fine outside, but
upon a bad foundation; and the devil deceived men by this apparent
resemblance based upon the most different foundation.
    Man never had so good a cause as I; and others have never
furnished so good a capture as you...
    The more they point out weakness in my person, the more they
authorise my cause.
    You say that I am a heretic. Is that lawful? And if you do not
fear that men do justice, do you not fear that God does justice?
    You will feel the force of the truth, and you will yield to it...
    There is something supernatural in such a blindness. Digna
necessitas.* Mentiris impudentissime.*(2)
    Doctrina sua noscetur vir...*(3)

    * Wisd. of Sol. 19. 4. "Doom which they deserved."
    *(2) "Most impudent Liars." See Provincial Letter xvi.
    *(3) Prov. 12. 8. "A man shall be commended according to his

    False piety, a double sin.
    I am alone against thirty thousand. No. Protect you, the court;
protect, you, deception; let me protect the truth. It is all my
strength. If I lose it, I am undone. I shall not lack accusations, and
persecutions. But I possess the truth, and we shall see who will
take it away.
    I do not need to defend religion, but you do not need to defend
error and injustice. Let God, out of His compassion, having no
regard to the evil which is in me, and having regard to the good which
is in you, grant us all grace that truth may not be overcome in my
hands, and that falsehood...
    922. Probable.- Let us see if we seek God sincerely, by comparison
of the things which we love. It is probable that this food will not
poison me. It is probable that I shall not lose my action by not
prosecuting it...
    923. It is not absolution only which remits sins by the
sacrament of penance, but contrition, which is not real if it does not
seek the sacrament.
    924. People who do not keep their word, without faith, without
honour, without truth, deceitful in heart, deceitful in speech; for
which that amphibious animal in fable was once reproached, which
held itself in a doubtful position between the fish and the birds...
    It is important to kings and princes to be considered pious;
therefore they must confess themselves to you.

                              THE END