My rating: 82/100
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Tagline: Pascal’s Pensées; edited, outlined, and explained
Key Points and Important Quotes:
- Pascal begins his apologetic with, and rests its argument on, one simple and undeniable fact: that we are unhappy.
- Man must not be allowed to believe that he is equal either to animals or to angels, nor to be unaware of either, but he must know both.
- Man does not know the place he should occupy. He has obviously gone astray; he has fallen from his true place and cannot find it again. He searches everywhere, anxiously but in vain, in the midst of impenetrable darkness. … We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us seeing it.
- If our condition were truly happy, we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it.
- I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.
- 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 foolish.
- We shall die alone. … We must act then as if we were alone.
- The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
- One must know when it is right to doubt, to affirm, to submit. Anyone who does otherwise does not understand the force of reason. Some men run counter to these three principles, either affirming that everything can be proved, because they know nothing about proof, or doubting everything, because they do not know went to submit, or always submitting, because they do not know when judgment is called for.
Our word “happiness” comes from the Old English “hap” (chance, luck, fortune: it “happens”). Thus happiness is not under our own control. Pascal means “Happiness” as a (1) state of real perfection (2) of soul (3) in a complete life, including eternity.
Psychology can make us feel good, but religion can make us be good.
Order. Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first  to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect.
Next  make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then  show that it is.
Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature.
Attractive because it promises true good.
Most apologetics tries to feed spinach to a reluctant baby who stubbornly closes his mouth. What you have to do is make the baby hungry.
Jesus Christ and St Paul possess the order of charity, not of the mind, for they wished to humble, not to teach.
By “teaching” here Pascal mean filling the mind with new ideas, and by “humbling” he means emptying it of old ones. St Thomas says that it is better to know a stone than to love a stone but better to love God than to know God.
If he exalts himself, I humble him.
If he humbles himself, I exalt him.
This is exactly what Jesus did.
Christ never spoke of being original! As he heard from his Father, so he spoke.
We find Jesus constantly responding to the other’s point of view rather than to his words; for example, Matthew 19:3-9, 16-22; 21:23-27; 22:15-46; John 8:2-11.
A common theme Pascal uses is Wretchedness and Greatness in man. He uses them in a similar fashion to Paul using the Flesh and the Spirit.
Pascal begins his apologetic with, and rests its argument on, one simple and undeniable fact: that we are unhappy.
Me – not only are we unhappy, but we are much unhappier than we think.
“Human beings can’t make one another really happy for long.” – C.S. Lewis
Tremendous disappointments in life have come from believing the opposite. Dictators or gurus, husbands or wives, friends or lovers, are treated like gods.
Men are so inevitably mad that not to be mad would be to give a mad twist to madness.
Therefore when we find a man who is not mad – Jesus, Socrates, Ghandi, the saints – we declare him so mad that he must be martyred.
It is dangerous to explain too clearly to man how like he is to the animals without pointing out his greatness. It is also dangerous to make too much of his greatness without his vileness. It is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both, but it is most valuable to represent both to him.
Man must not be allowed to believe that he is equal either to animals or to angels, nor to be unaware of either, but he must know both.
Man is.. only a thinking reed.
All outer wars are the workings of inner wars.
I fast therefore I am. It is a fact that wise men are not driven by their animal passions as a car is driven by a driver; but they control them. They are the drivers.
Animals “accept” death as natural, while man does not.
Let [man] both hate and love himself.
We are to despise our selves, because we have chosen not to fulfill our capacity for good; but we are not to despise our souls, which have that capacity.
If we seek the truth without realizing how far we are from it, we will be dogmatists. If we realize how far we are from it but do not seek it, we will be skeptics. If we both seek the truth and realize how far we are from it, we will be wise.
An addict cannot see truly and clearly and realistically; his mind is blinded by his passions.
That is the state in which men are today. They retain some feeble instinct from the happiness of their first nature, and are plunged into the wretchedness of their blindness and concupisecence, which has become their second nature.
If you are united to God, it is by grace, and not by nature.
If you are humbled, it is by penitence, not by nature.
Thus wishing to appear openly to those who seek him with all their heart and hidden from those who shun him with all their heart, he has qualified our knowledge of him by giving signs which can be seen by those who seek him and not by those who do not.
We are “dispossessed kings”, or “disinherited princes”.
We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future…
The fact is that the present usually hurts. The present is never our end.
Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.
Me – We prefer the two unreal moments of time: past and future, over the one real moment of time, the present.
It is no longer fashionable to be honest enough to call the thing we lust after “power”. So we substitute a more exalted and idealistic-sounding word: “freedom”. But what do we mean by “freedom” but power, control over our own lives? Surely we do not mean what Scripture means, freedom from sin by faith and obedience.
War is the attempt to make one evil into zero evils, but it makes one evil into two evils.
A conservative is one enamored of existing evils; a liberal wants to replace them with new ones.
“Justice comes out of the barrel of a gun.” – Mao Tse-Dong
Right without might is helpless, might without right is tyrannical.
The atheist argues: “If there were a God, how could there be injustice?” To which Pascal replies: “If there is injustice, there must be true justice for it to be relative to and a defect of; and this true justice is not found on Earth or in man, therefore it must exist in Heaven and God.” Either there or nowhere; and if nowhere, then “everything is permissible”. But not everything is permissible. Therefore there must be a God.
There have always been two emphases in Christian philosophy: the Augustinian emphasis on the existential inadequacy and wretchedness of natural things like human reason, justice and philosophy; and the Thomistic emphasis on the essential adequacy and greatness of these things. The two emphases are opposites but complementary; they do not contradict but complete each other.
During the Great Darkness (universally misnamed the “Enlightenment”), reason narrowed from “wisdom” to “science”, from “understanding” to “calculation”, from exploring mysteries to solving problems.
Imagination makes little things (like a cross word or a kiss) big, and big things (like Heaven and Hell) small.
Descartes “Cartesian Circle”. To reason is to rely on reason, and to rely on reason is an act of faith, not of reason. Therefore reason presupposes faith.
If we had no idea of happiness, we would not feel unhappy.
Our instinct makes us feel that our happiness must be sought outside ourselves.
The worshipper of matter is closer to God than the worshiper of self.
Science no more proves that nature is not a mother but only matter than an X-ray proves that woman is not a mother but only a bag of bones.
Let us then realize our limitations. We are something and we are not everything.
Our intelligence occupies the same rank in the order of intellect as our body in the whole range of nature.
The way in which minds are attached to bodies is beyond man’s understanding, and yet this is what man is.
The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread.
The usual way of describing this change is to say that scientific knowledge of nature and technological control of it have progressed enormously; that man now has a radically greater knowledge of nature. this is exactly the opposite of the truth. Our knowledge of nature has shrunk. For nature now appears empty, purposeless, meaningless.
An “emptiness” word (space) has replaced a “fulness” word (heavens).
Man does not know the place he should occupy. He has obviously gone astray; he has fallen from his true place and cannot find it again. He searches everywhere, anxiously but in vain, in the midst of impenetrable darkness.
Imagine a number of men in chains, all under sentence of death. some of whom are each day butchered in the sight of the others; those remaining see their own condition in that of their fellows, and looking at each other with grief and despair await their turn. This is the image of the human condition.
We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us seeing it.
[Self] takes every care to hide its faults both from itself and others, and cannot bear to have them pointed out. or noticed.
The result is that anyone who has an interest in winning our affection avoids rendering us a service which he knows to be unwelcome; we are treated as we want to be treated; we hate the truth and it is kept from us; we desire to be flattered and we are flattered; we like being deceived and we are deceived.
Me – this is probably the reason (at least in part) why our historical biblical figures fell facedown when they experience God’s presence, we are so used to being deceived by others that the Truth shocks us.
This is why each rung of fortune’s ladder which brings us up in the world takes us further from the truth because people are more wary of offending those whose friendship is most useful and enmity most dangerous.
…telling the truth is useful to the hearer but harmful to those who tell it, because they incur such odium (dislike)
The greatest liar in the world is still outraged by being lied to.
We cannot conceive Adam’s state of glory, or the nature of his sin, or the way it has been transmitted to us.
Playing God is the world’s most competitive game. There can be at most one winner.
Buddha knows nothing of agape…he knows no way to separate the patient (individual ego) from the disease (egotism) and so counsels a kind of spiritual euthanasia: cure the disease by killing the patient.
Each man is everything to himself, for with his death everything is dead for him. That is why each of us thinks he is everything to everyone.
If our condition were truly happy, we should not need to divert ourselves from thinking about it.
Therefore the society of individual which has the most diversions and amusements is not the happiest but the unhappiest.
Diversion. If man were happy, the less he were diverted the happier he would be, like the saints and God. Yes: but is a man not happy who can find delight in diversion?
No: because it comes from somewhere else, from outside; so he is dependent, and always liable to be disturbed by a thousand and one accidents, which inevitably cause distress.
A man is a slave to whatever he cannot part with that is less than himself. – George Macdonald
The most effective diversion of all has always been the red crocodile of war. Nothing relieves boredom more effectively. War as a diversion to death!
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 philosophize 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 labor, 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 happiness…
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 foolish.
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.
[My note] Above regarding the pleasure of solitude: Arguably, we never really want solitude, but rather, diversion without the unpleasant distraction that the other fellow incessantly perturbs us with.
We must then, learn to be happy before the excitement, not because of it.
C.S. Lewis somewhere defines modern Progressivism as “the absurd notion that the chief business of life should be the progressive attainment of goods we do not yet have rather than the appreciation and enjoyment of goods we already have.
…I call this the “if-only syndrome“: If only I work hard enough to retire with a yacht, I’ll be happy; If only I get another wife, I’ll be happy; If only I win this tournament, I’ll be happy; and so on.
It is the world’s most universally failed experiment – and the world’s most universally repeated one. It is stupid, self deluding, wasteful and self-destructive. And we all do it, we all think it.
What does the gambler (symbolically all of us) want? Not just the winnings, and not just the playing, but the self-delusion that comes from the “if-only syndrome”; the false faith that winning would make him happy.
We never go after things in themselves, but the pursuit of things.
All fairy tales fail in the last line. No one can ever show how “they all lived happily ever after.” We can’t imagine a Heaven that is not boring; we can only believe in it.
We secretly love the very hassles we complain about.
Ninety percent of cosmologists are theists, nine percent of psychologists are.
The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is diversion.
… the doubter who does not seek is at the same time very unhappy and very wrong.
It is a monstrous thing to see one and the same heart at once so sensitive to minor things and so strangely insensitive to the greatest.
There are only two classes of persons who can be called 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.
Christianity can never be refuted by one who is indifferent, no matter how intelligent he is.
The distinction between believers and seeking unbelievers is only temporary; but the distinction between seeking unbelievers and unseeking unbelievers is eternal.
There are only two possibilities for the indifferent unbelievers, not three:
- He does not believe, and there is no life after death, only annihilation.
- He does not believe, and there is life after death, and he has lost it forever because he has refused God’s free offer during the only time he had; thus he is without God, and wretched, eternally.
- The third “possibility” is impossible: that he does not believe, and there is life after death, and he has found eternal life in Heaven forever even though he has not sought it or wanted it.
The prevailing view since Freud is the polar opposite: that there is nothing to feel guilty about except guilt, nothing to fear but fear itself. What wise-sounding foolishness, especially addressed to children playing near a cliff!
All reasonable (honest) men go to Heaven, for to be reasonable is to seek, and all seekers eventually find (Mt 7.8).
We are bored with God because our hearts do not hunger for God, seek God, love God.
Those who do not love truth excuse themselves on the grounds that it is disputed and that very many people deny it.
…it puts your salvation in the control of other people.
It is absurd of us to rely on the company of our fellows, as wreteched and helpless as we are; they will not help us; we shall die alone.
We must act then as if we were alone. If that were so, would we build superb houses, etc? We should unhesitatingly look for the truth. And, if we refuse, it shows that we have a higher regard for men’s esteem than for pursuing the truth.
To have no passion for truth, especially the truth about ourselves and our eternal destiny, even in the face of death, is the “strange disease” in no. 427.
“I know no thought that so wonderfully clarifies the mind as the thought that I shall hang tomorrow morning.” – Dr. Johnson
Unhappy atheists deserve pity. Happy atheists deserve scorn.
The end is more important that the means.
We love and care and worry about our job more than our salvation; about our second job (for example, being a good nurse or a good pilot) more than our first job (being a good human being).
…In the state in which I am, I know not what I am nor what I ought to do, I know neither my condition nor my duty.
If nature proved God clearly, we would not have to search for him with all our hearts.
So you can’t get God by trying, and you can’t get him by not trying. It’s an unsolvable puzzle, solvable only by God.
What a long way it is between knowing God and loving him!
The Stoics say: “Withdraw into yourself, that is where you will find peace” And that is not true.
Others say: “Go outside: look for happiness in some diversion.” And that is not true: we may fall sick.
Happiness is neither outside nor inside us: it is in God, both outside and inside us.
Vanity of science. Knowledge of physical science will not console me for ignorance of morality in time of affliction, but knowledge of morality will always console me for ignorance of physical science.
Society should prepare its members for death; if it cannot do that, it cannot prepare them for life.
It is pointless and absurd for a reason to demand proof of first principles from the heart before agreeing to except them as it would be absurd for the hard to demand an intuition of all the propositions demonstrated by reason before agreeing to except them.
We may mistake the dream for the reality, but we do not in fact mistake the reality for the dream.
Idols appear like the real God, but the real God never appears like an idol. All deception works one way.
The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing: we know this in countless ways.
Therefore our eternal destiny depends, not on our intelligence, but on our heart and will and love.
Those who are accustomed to judge by feeling intuition have no understanding of matters involving reason. For they want to go right into the bottom of things at a glance, and are not accustomed to look for the principles. The others, on the contrary, who are accustomed to reason from principles, have no understanding of matters involving feeling, because they look for principles and are unable to see things at a glance.
We can easily imagine, think of, contemplate and be attracted to the idea of giving our whole selves and lives over to God without actually doing it, and think we have done it because we have imagined it.
Submission. One must know when it is right to doubt, to affirm, to submit. Anyone who does otherwise does not understand the force of reason. Some men run counter to these three principles, either affirming that everything can be proved, because they know nothing about proof, or doubting everything, because they do not know went to submit, or always submitting, because they do not know when judgment is called for.
Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.
Reason is like dating, faith is like marrying. How blind and foolish to marry someone you never dated and don’t know!
Reason itself tells us that God transcends reason.
He gives exactly the right amount of light. If he gave less, even the righteous would be unable to find him, and their will would be thwarted. If he gave more, even the wicked would find him, against their will. Thus he respects and fulfills the will of all.
If he gave more light, the righteous would not learn humility, for they know to much. If he gave less light, the wicked would not be responsible for their wickedness, for they would know to little.
The very same word or deed of Christ in the Gospels frequently both comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.
The rationalist expect God to be like the light of the noon day sun. (He is, but not to us.) The skeptic expects God to be like the darkness of the night. (He is to the wicked, but not in himself.) according to Scripture, God is like the shadows or fogs of early morning before sunrise (to us, but not in himself).
Therefore the rationalist thinks we can find God by reason alone, without the heart, with a passionate and loving seeking. The skeptic does not think we can find God by any kind of seeking, so he gives up. So needed the rationalist nor the skeptic seeks God, for opposite reasons; and therefore neither finds him.
But the Christian believes (because he has been told, by gods word) two things: that only those who seek God find him, and that all those who seek God find him. The first eliminates rationalism, the second eliminate skepticism.
God, who alone knows hearts, knows who seeks him and who does not.
There is enough light for those who desire only to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.
If the manner of the Messiah had been clearly foretold, there would have been no obscurity even for the wicked.
There are some who see clearly that man has no other enemy but concupiscence, which turns him away from God, and not human enemies, no other good but God, and not a rich land.
But those who seek God with all their hearts, whose only pain is to be deprived of the side of him, he’s only desire is to possess him, whose only enemies are those who turn away from him, Who grieve at finding themselves surrounded and dominated by such enemies, let them take heart, for I bring them glad tidings. There is one who will set them free…
If we interpret scripture’s promises in a worldly way, with the worldly heart, we will find them false.
2 errors: 1. To take everything literally, 2. To take everything spiritually.
Miracles convert only the mind, by force of evidence. Even then, the hardened heart, determined not to believe, can overrule the mind, as it did with the Pharisees.
If a man boasted that he could prevent death, no one would believe him, because there is no example of that happening.
Men could not possibly have imagined so many false religions unless there were a true one.
There is no denying it; one must admit that there is something astonishing about Christianity. “It is because you were born in it,” they will say. Far from it; I stiffen myself against it for that very reason, for fear of being corrupted by prejudice. But, though I was born in it, I cannot help finding it astonishing.
Knowing God without knowing our own wretchedness makes for pride.
Knowing our own wretchedness without knowing God makes for despair.
Knowing Jesus Christ strikes the balance because he shows us both God and our own wretchedness.
Christ shows us both our greatness (thus destroying our despair) and our wretchedness (thus destroying our pride) together.
Some, fully realizing how real his excellence is, have taken for cowardice and ingratitude men’s natural feelings of abasement; while others, fully realizing how real this abasement is, have treated with haughty ridicule the feelings of greatness which are just as natural to man.
Who cannot see from all this that man is lost, that he has fallen from his place, that he anxiously seeks it, and cannot find it again? And who then is to direct him there? The greatest men have failed.
It is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness as to know his own wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can cure him.
Whoever knows him knows the reason for everything.
Man must not see nothing at all, nor must TC enough to think that he possesses God, but he must see enough to know that he has lost him.
“God created man in his image and man has been returning the compliment ever since.”
Buddha said: “look not to me, look to my dharma (doctrine)”; Christ said: “come unto me… I am the Way, the truth and the life.”
The finite is annihilated in the presence of the infinite and becomes pure nothingness. So it is with our mind before God.
Who then will condemn Christians for being unable to give rational grounds for their belief. They declare that it is folly, stultitiam, and expanding into the world, and then you complain that they do not prove it.
True faith is not a wager but a relationship. But I can begin with a wager, just as a marriage can begin with a blind date.
“I should soon have given up a life of pleasure,” they say, “if I had faith.”but I tell you: “you would soon have faith if you gave up a life of pleasure.”
The Christian’s hope of possessing an infinite good is mingled with actual enjoyment. Christians hope for holiness, and to be freed from unrighteousness, and some part of this is already theirs.
Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair.
The slightest movement affect the whole of nature; one stone can alter the whole see. Likewise, in the realm of grace, the slightest action affects everything because of its consequences; therefore everything matters.
Here is a great principle of solidarity, spiritual and mystical and universal. Every sin harms everyone in the body, and every act of love and obedience to the head helps every organ in the body.
Everything matters. There are no “victimless crime”. Every sin against Christ harms his body and every member in it.
In the garden. Jesus is alone on earth, not merely with no one to feel and share his agony, but with no one even to know of it. Heaven and he are the only ones to know.