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THE PROPHECIES. - Blaise Pascal, The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal 
The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal, translated from the text of M. Auguste Molinier by C. Kegan Paul (London: George Bell and Sons, 1901).
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THE prophecies are the strongest proofs of Jesus Christ. For these therefore God has made the most provision; since the event which has fulfilled them is a miracle existing from the birth of the Church to the end. Therefore God raised up prophets during sixteen hundred years, and during four hundred years afterwards he dispersed all these prophecies with all the Jews, who bore them into all regions of the world. Such was the preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ, whose Gospel exacting belief from every man made it necessary not only that there should be prophecies to inspire this belief, but that these prophecies should be spread throughout the whole world, so that the whole world should embrace it.
Prophecies.—If one man alone had made a book of predictions concerning Jesus Christ, both as to the time and the manner of his coming, and if Jesus Christ had come in agreement with these prophecies, the fact would have had infinite force.
But in this case there is much more. Here is a succession of men for the space of four thousand years, who without interruption or variation, follow one another in foretelling the same event. Here is a whole people announcing it, existing for four thousand years, to testify in a body their certainty, from which they cannot be diverted by all the threatenings and persecutions brought to bear against them; This is in a far greater degree important.
But it was not enough that the prophecies existed, they needed also distribution through all places, and preservation through all time. And in order that this agreement might not be taken as an effect of chance, it was necessary it should be foretold.
It is much more glorious for the Messiah that they should be spectators and even instruments of his glory, beyond the fact that God had preserved him.
Proof.—Prophecy with accomplishment.
That which preceded, and that which followed Jesus Christ.
The prophecies concerning the Messiah are mingled with some concerning other matters, so that neither the prophecies of the Messiah should be without proof, nor the special prophecies without fruit.
Non habemus regem nisi Cœsarem. Therefore Jesus Christ was the Messiah, because they had no longer any king but a stranger, and because they would have no other.
The eternal kingdom of the race of David, II. Chron., by all the prophecies, and with an oath. And it was not temporally accomplished. Jer. xxxiii. 20.
Zeph. iii. 9.—“I will give my words to the Gentiles, that all may serve me with one consent.”
Ezekiel xxxvii. 25.—“My servant David shall be their prince for ever.”
Exodus iv. 22.—“Israel is my first born.”
We might easily think that when the prophets foretold that the sceptre would not depart from Judah until the advent of the eternal king, 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 well knew that the temporal kingdom should cease, they said they would be without a king, and without a prince, and for a long time. Hosea iii. 4.
Prophecies.—That Jesus Christ will sit on the right hand till God has put his enemies under his feet.
Therefore he will not subject them himself.
The time of the first advent was foretold, the time of the second is not so, because the first was to be secret, the second must be glorious, and so manifest that even his enemies will recognise it. But as his first coming was to be obscure, and to be known only of those who searched the Scriptures . . .
The prophecies must be unintelligible to the wicked, Daniel xii. 10, Hosea xiv. 9, but intelligible to those who are well instructed.
The prophecies which represent him poor, represent him master of the nations—Is. lii. 16, etc. liii. Zech. ix. 9.
The prophecies which foretell the time foretell him only as master of the Gentiles and suffering, and not as in the clouds nor as judge. And those which represent him thus as judge and in glory do not specify the time.
Do you think that the prophecies cited in the Gospel were reported to make you believe? No, but to prevent your believing.
Prophecies.—The time was foretold by the state of the Jewish people, by the state of the heathen world, by the state of the temple, by the number of years.
It is daring to predict the same affair 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 coincide, and all this before the second temple was destroyed.
Prophecies.—The seventy weeks of Daniel are equivocal in the term of commencement, because of the terms of the prophecy, and in the term of conclusion because of the differences in the chronologists. But all this difference extends only to two hundred years.
We understand the prophecies only when we see the events occur, thus the proofs of retreat, discretion, silence, etc., are evidence only to those who know and believe them.
Joseph so interior in a law so exterior.
Exterior penances dispose to interior, as humiliations to humility. So the . . .
The more I examine them the more I find truths in them, both in those which preceded and those which followed, both the synagogue which was foretold, and the wretches who adhere to it, and who, being our enemies, are admirable witnesses of the truth of these prophecies, wherein their misery and even their blindness is foretold.
I find this sequence, our Religion wholly divine in its authority, in its duration, in its perpetuity, in its morality, in its conduct, its doctrine, and its effects.
Hosea i. 9. “Ye shall not be my people and I will not be your God,” when you are multiplied after the dispersion. “In the places where it was said: Ye are not my people, I will call them my people.”
Predictions.—That under the fourth monarchy, before the destruction of the second temple, before the dominion of the Jews was taken away, and in the seventieth week of Daniel, while the second temple was still standing, the Gentiles 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 came to pass that under the fourth monarchy, before the destruction of the second temple, etc., the Gentiles in crowds worshipped God and lived an angelic life. Maidens dedicated their virginity and their life to God, men gave up their pleasures, what Plato was only able to effect upon a few men, chosen and instructed to that end, a secret force, by the power of a few words, now wrought upon a hundred million ignorant men.
The rich left their wealth, children left the luxurious homes of their parents to go into the austerity of the desert, etc., according to Philo the Jew. All this was foretold long ages ago. For two thousand years no Gentile had worshipped the God of the Jews, and at the time foretold, the crowd of Gentiles worshipped this only God. The temples were destroyed, the very kings bowed themselves under the cross. All this was of the Spirit of God spread abroad upon the earth.
Holiness.—Effundam spiritum meum. —All nations had been in unbelief and lust; the whole world was now ablaze with love. Princes quitted their state, maidens suffered martyrdom. This power sprang from the advent of Messiah, this was the effect and these the tokens of his coming.
Predictions.—It was foretold that in the time of Messiah he would come and establish a new covenant, such as should make them forget the coming out from Egypt, Jer. xxiii. 5, Is. xliii, 16, that he would put his law not in externals, but in the heart, that Jesus Christ would put his fear, which had been only from without in the midst of the heart. Who does not see the Christian law in all this?
Prophecies.—That the Jews would reject Jesus Christ, and would themselves be rejected of God because the choice vine brought forth only wild grapes; that the chosen people should be disloyal, ungrateful, incredulous, populum non credentemet contradicentem; that God would strike them with blindness, and that in full mid-day they would grope like blind men; that his messenger should go before him.
“. . . . Then shall a man no more teach his neighbour, saying, There is the Lord, for God will make himself felt by 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 by outward proofs, but by a feeling interior and direct.
Prophecies.—Transfixerunt, Zech. xii. 10.
That there should come a deliverer to crush the demon’s head, and to free his people from their sins, ex omnibusiniquitatibus. That there should be a new and eternal covenant, and a new and eternal priesthood after the order of Melchisedek, that the Christ should be glorious, powerful, mighty, and yet so miserable that he would not be recognised, nor taken for what he is, but be rejected and slain, that his people which denied him should be no moro his people, that the idolaters would receive him and trust in him, that he would quit Zion to reign in the centre of idolatry, that the Jews should exist for ever, that he would spring from Judah, and at a time when there should be no longer a king.
That Jesus Christ would be small in his beginnings, and afterwards would increase. The little stone of Daniel.
That he would teach men the perfect way,
And never has there come before him nor after him any man who has taught anything divine approaching this.
That then idolatry would be overthrown, that the Messiah would cast down all idols, and would bring men into the worship of the true God.
That the idol temples would be overthrown, and that among all nations and in all places of the world men would offer to God a pure sacrifice, not of beasts.
That he would be king of the Jews and Gentiles. And we see this king of Jews and Gentiles oppressed by both, both equally conspiring his death, we see him bear rule over both, destroying the worship established by Moses in Jerusalem its centre, where he placed his earliest Church, as well as the worship of idols in Rome its centre, where he placed his chief Church.
No Gentile from Moses to Jesus Christ according to the Rabbis themselves. The crowd of the Gentiles after Jesus Christ believed in the books of Moses and observed their essence and spirit, casting away only what was useless.
Omnis Judæa regio,et Jerosolomitæ universi et baptisa-bantur.—Because of all the conditions of men who came there.
These stones can become the children of Abraham.
Is. i. 21. Change of good into evil and the vengeance of God.
Is. x. 1. Væ qui condunt leges iniquas.
Is xxvi. 20. Vade populus meus, intra in cubicula tua, claude ostia tua super te, abscondere modicum ad momentum, donec pertranseat indignatio.
Is. xxviii. 1. Væ coronæ superbiæ.
Miracles.—Is. xxxiii. 9. Luxit, et elanguit terra: confusus est Libanus, et obsorduit, etc.
Nunc consurgam, dicit Dominus: nunc exaltabor, nunc sublevabor.
Is. xl. 17. Omnes gentes quasi non sint.
Is. xli. 26. Quis annunciavit ab exordio ut sciamus: et a principio ut dicamus: Justus es?
Is. xliii. 13. Operabor, et quis avertet illud?
Jer. xi. 21. Non prophetabis in nomine Domini, et non morieris in manibus nostris.
Propterea hæc dicit Dominus.
Jer. xv. 2. Quod si dixerint ad te: Quo egrediemur? dices ad eos: Hæc dicit Dominus: Qui ad mortem, ad mortem: et qui ad gladium, ad gladium: et qui ad famem, ad famem: et qui ad captivitatem, ad captivitatem.
Jer. xvii. 9. Pravum est cor omnium, et inscrutabile: quis cognoscet illud? that is to say, who can know all its evil, for it is already known to be wicked. Ego Dominus scrutans cor, et probans renes.
Et dixerunt: Venite et cogitemus contra Jeremiam cogitationes, non enim peribit lex a sacerdote, neque sermo a propheta.
Jer. xvii. 17. Non sis tu mihi formidini, spes mea tu in die afflictionis.
Trust in exterior sacrifices.
Jer. vii. 14. Faciam domui huic, in qua invocatum est nomen meum, et in qua vos habetis fiduciam: et loco, quem dedi robis et patribus vestris, sicut feci Silo.
Exterior sacrifice is not the essential point.
Tu ergo noli orare pro populo hoc.
Jer. vii. 22. Quia non sum locutus cum patribus vestris, et non præcepi eis in die, qua eduxi eos de Terra Ægypti, de verbo holocautomatum, et victimarum.
Sed hoc verbum præcepi eis, dicens: Audite vocem meam, et ero vobis Deus, et vos eritis mihi populus: et ambulate in omni via, quam mandavi vobis, ut bene sit vobis. Et non audierunt.
Exterior sacrifice is not the essential point.
Jer. xi. 13. Secundum numerum enim civitatum tuarum erant dii tui Juda: et secundum numerum viarum Jerusalem posuisti aras confusionis. Tu ergo noli orare pro populo hoc.
A multitude of doctrines.
Is. xliv. 20. Neque dicet: Forte mendacium est in dextera mea.
Is. xliv. 21, etc. Memento horum Jacob, et Israel, quoniam servus meus es tu. Formavi te, servus meus es tu Israel, ne obliviscaris mei.
Delevi ut nubem iniquitates tuas, et quasi nebulam peccata tua: revertere ad me, quoniam redemi te.
xliv. 23, 24. Laudate cœli, quoniam misericordiam fecit Dominus: . . . , quoniam redemit Dominus Jacob et Israel gloriabitur. Hæc dicit Dominus redemptor tuus, et formator tuus ex utero: Ego sum Dominus, faciens omnia, extendens cœlos solus, stabiliens terram, et nullus mecum.
Is. liv. 8. In momento indignationis abscondi faciem meam parumper a te, et in misericordia sempiterna misertus sum tui: dixit redemptor tuus Dominus.
Is. lxiii. 12. Qui eduxit ad dexteram Moysen brachio majestatis suæ, qui scidit aquas ante eos, ut faceret sibi nomen sempiternum.
14. Sic adduxisti populum tuum ut faceres tibi nomen gloriæ.
Is. lxiii. 16. Tu enim pater noster, et Abraham nescivit nos, et Israel ignoravit nos.
Is. lxiii. 17. Quare . . . indurasti cor nostrum ne timeremus te?
Is. lxvi. 17. Qui sanctificabantur, et mundos se putabant . . . simul consumentur, dicit Dominus.
Jer. ii. 35. Et dixisti: Absque peccato et innocens ego sum: et propterea avertatur furor tuus a me.
Ecce ego judicio contendam tecum, eo quod dixeris: Non peccavi.
Jer. iv. 22. Sapientes sunt ut faciant mala, bene autem facere nescierunt.
Jer. iv. 23, 24. Aspexi terram, ec ecce vacua erat, et nihili: et cœlos, et non erat lux in eis.
Vidi montes, et ecce movebantur: et omnes colles conturbati sunt.
Intuitus sum, et non erat homo: et omne volatile cœli recessit. Aspexi, et ecce Carmelus desertus: et omnes urbes ejus destructæ sunt a facie Domini, et a facie iræ furoris ejus.
Hæc enim dicit Dominus: Deserta erit omnis terra, sed tamen consummationem non faciam.
Jer. v. 4. Ego autem dixi: Forsitan pauperes sunt et stulti, ignorantes viam Domini, judicium Dei sui.
Ibo ad optimates, et loquar eis: ipsi enim cognoverunt viam Domini: et ecce magis hi simul confregerunt jugum, ruperunt vincula. Idcirco percussit eos leo de silva, pardus vigilans super civitates eorum.
Jer. v. 29. Numquid super his non visitabo, dicit Dominus? aut super gentem hujuscemodi non ulciscetur anima mea?
Jer. v. 30. Stupor et mirabilia facta sunt in terra.
Jer. v. 31. Prophetæ prophetabant mendacium, et sacerdotes applaudebant manibus suis; et populus meus dilexit talia: quid igitur fiet in novissimo ejus?
Jer. vi. 16. Hæc dicit Dominus: State super vias, et videte, et interrogate de semitis antiquis, quæ sit via bona, et ambulate in ea: invenietis refrigerium animabus vestris. Et dixerunt: Non ambulabimus.
Et constituti super vos speculatores. Audite vocem tubæ Et dixerunt: Non audiemus.
Ideo audite Gentes, quanta ego faciam eis. Audi terra: Ecce ego adducam mala, etc.
Jer. xxiii. 15. A prophetis enim Hierusalem egressa est pollutio super omnem terram.
Jer. xxiii. 17. Dicunt his, qui blasphemant me: Locutusest Dominus, Pax erit vobis, et omni qui ambulat in pravitate cordis sui, dixerunt: Non veniet super vos malum.
The Jews witnesses for God. Is xliii. 9, xliv. 8.
Prophecies accomplished.—Malachi i. ii. The sacrifice of the Jews rejected, and the sacrifice of the Gentiles, even out of Jerusalem, and in all places.
— Moses before his death foretold the calling of the Gentiles, Deut. xxxii. 21, and the reprobation of the Jews.
Moses foretold what would happen to each tribe.
Prophecy—Amos and Zechariah. They sold the just one, and therefore were not recalled.
— Jesus Christ betrayed.
They shall no more remember Egypt. See Is. xliii. 16-19, Jerem. xxiii. 7.
The Jews shall be scattered abroad. Is. xxvii. 6. A new law. Jer. xxxi 31.
Malachi. Grotius. —The second temple glorious. Jesus Christ will come to it. Haggai ii. 7-10 . . . The calling of the Gentiles. Joel ii. 28. Hos. ii. 24. Deut. xxxii. 21. Mal. i. 11.
Moses first taught the Trinity, original sin, the Messiah.
David was a great witness.
A king, good, merciful, a fair soul, a fine mind, powerful. He prophesied, and his wonders came to pass. This is infinite.
He had only to say that he was the Messiah, had he been vain enough, for the prophecies are clearer about him than about Jesus Christ. The same with Saint John.
Special predictions.—They were strangers in Egypt without any private possessions, in that country or in any other, when Jacob dying and blessing his twelve children declared to them that they should possess a great land, and foretold in particular to the family of Judah that the kings who would one day govern them should be of his race, and that all his brethren should be subject to him.
This same Jacob disposing of the future land as though he were its master, gave a portion to Joseph more than to the others. “I give thee,” said he, “a portion more than to thy brethren.” 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 cross-wise, and placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim, and the left on Manasseh, he blessed them thus. And when Joseph represented to him that he was preferring the younger he answered him with admirable decision, “I know it well, my son, I know it, but Ephraim shall increase in a way quite other than Manasseh.” This has been in fact so true in the result that, being alone almost as abundant as the two entire lines which compose a whole kingdom, they have been usually called by the name of Ephraim alone.
This same Joseph when dying commanded his children to bear his bones with them into that land to which they did not come for two hundred years afterwards.
Moses, who wrote all these things so long before they happened, himself made for each family the partition of the land before they entered it, as though he had been master of it.
He gave them judges to divide it, he prescribed the entire political form of government which they should observe, the cities of refuge which they should build, and . . .
Daniel ii. “All thy sooth-sayers and wise men cannot show unto thee the secret which thou hast demanded.
“But there is a God in heaven, who can do so, and he has revealed in thy dream the things which shall be in the latter days.” This dream must have caused him great uneasiness.
“And it is not by my own wisdom that I have knowledge of this secret, but by the revelation of this same God who has discovered it to me, to make it manifest in thy presence.
“Thy dream was of this kind. Thou sawest a great image, high and terrible, which stood before thee. His head was of gold, his breast and his 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 a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet, that were of iron and 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 which smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream, and now I will give thee the interpretation.
“Thou who art the greatest of kings, and to whom God has given a power so extended that thou art renowned among all people, art the golden head of the image which thou hast seen.
“But after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another 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 this empire shall break in pieces and bruise.
“And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; and it shall be partly strong and partly broken.
“But as iron cannot be firmly mixed with clay, so they who are represented by the iron and by the clay, cannot cleave one to another though united by marriage.
“Now in the days of these kings will God raise up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, nor ever be delivered up to another 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. This is what God has revealed to thee of the things which must come in the fulness of time. This dream is true and the interpretation thereof is faithful. Then Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face towards the earth, etc.”
Daniel viii. “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 towards the four winds of heaven, and out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding 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 asked the explanation 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 with his strength.
“Now in the latter time of their kingdom when iniquities shall be grown up, there shall arise a king insolent and strong, but his power shall be not his own. To him all things shall succeed after his 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 ix. 20.
“As I was praying God with all my heart, and confessing my sin and the sin of all my people, and prostrating myself before 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 teach thee that thou mightest understand. At the beginning of thy prayer I came to show thee that which thou didst desire, for thou art 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 are 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 street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
The Hebrews were accustomed to divide numbers, and to place the smaller first, so that seven and sixty-two make sixty-nine. Of this seventy there will then rest the seventieth: that is to say the seven last years of which he will speak next, and after these sixty-two weeks which have followed the seven first, the Christ should be killed and a people would come with its prince, who should destroy the city, and the sanctuary, and overwhelm all, and the end of that war will accomplish the desolation. Christ shall be killed after the sixty-nine weeks, that is to say, in the last week.
“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 years and a half, 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 xi. The Angel said to Daniel:
“There shall stand up yet,”—after Cyrus, under whom all this still is,—“three kings in Persia,”—Cambyses, Smyrdis, Darius;—“and the fourth,”—Xerxes, who shall then come,—“shall be far richer than they all, and far stronger, and shall stir up all his people against the Greeks, and 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,”—see also vii. 6, viii. 8—“but not to his posterity, and his successors shall not equal his power, for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside these,”—his four principal successors.
“And the king—Ptolemy son of Lagos,—of the south,”—Egypt,—“shall be strong,—but one of his princes shall be strong above him,”—Seleucus king of Syria,—“and his dominion shall be a great dominion,” 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 make peace between these princes”—to Antiochus Deus, king of Syria and of Asia, son of Seleucus Lagidas.
“But neither she nor her seed shall have a long authority, for she and they that sent her and they that brought her, and her children and her friends, shall be delivered to death.”—Berenice and her son were killed by Seleucus Callinicus.
“But out of a branch of her roots”—Ptolemy Euergetes was the son of the same father as Berenice—“shall one stand up in his estate, who shall come with an army into the land of the king of the north, and shall put all under subjection, and carry captives into Egypt their gods, their princes, their gold, their silver, and all their precious spoils, and shall continue many years when the king of the North can do nought against him.”—If he had not been called into Egypt by domestic reasons, says Justin, he would have entirely ruined Seleucus.
“And thus he shall return into his kingdom, but his sons shall be stirred up and shall prepare an exceeding great multitude”—Seleucus Ceraunus, Antiochus the Great.
“And their army shall come and overthrow all, whereat the king of the South being moved with choler, shall come forth and fight with him and conquer,”—Ptolemy Philopator against Antiochus the Great at Raphia —“and his troops shall become insolent, and his heart shall be lifted up,”—this Ptolemy desecrated the temple—Josephus—“and 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,”—in the reign of the young Ptolemy Epiphanes—“and then a great number of enemies shall stand up against the king of the South, also the apostates and robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall perish”—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 armies 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 will think to render himself master of all the empire of Egypt,”—despising the youth of Epiphanes, says Justin.
“And for that he will make alliance with him and give kis daughter,”—Cleopatra, in order that she may betray her husband. On which Appian says that doubtful of being able to make himself master of Egypt by force, because of the protection of the Romans, he wished to attempt it by craft. “He would fain corrupt her, but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. After this shall he turn his face unto the isles,”—that is to say, the sea-ports,—“and shall take many,” as Appian relates.
“But a prince shall oppose his conquests and cause the reproach offered by him to cease,”—Scipio Africanus, who stopped the progress of Antiochus the Great because he offended the Romans in the person of their allies.—“He will return into his kingdom and perish and be no more.”—He was killed by his soldiers.
“And he who stands in his place shall be a tyrant, a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom,” that is the people, Seleucus Philopator or Soter, the son of Antiochus the Great—“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 by skilful flatteries.
“All armies shall bend before him, he will conquer them, and even the prince with whom he has made a league. For having renewed the league with him, he will deceive him, and come in with a few tribes into his province, calm and without fear. He will take the best places, and shall do that which his fathers have not done, and ravage on all sides. He will forecast devices, during his time.”
The zeal of the Jews for their law and their temple. Josephus and Philo the Jew ad Caium.
What other people has so great a zeal, but for them it was a necessity.
Jesus Christ foretold as to the time and the state of the world. The leader taken from the thigh, and the fourth monarchy.
How fortunate we are to have such light amid such darkness.
How grand it is to see by the eye of faith, Darius and Cyrus, Alexander, the Romans, Pompey and Herod working, though unconsciously, for the glory of the Gospel!
How grand to see by the eye of faith the histories of Herod, of Cæsar . . .
The reprobation of the Jews and conversion of the Gentiles.—Isaiah lxv. “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, 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 to 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 gather, and will requite you according to your works.
“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.
“So will I take a seed of Jacob and Judah to possess 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 follow strange gods. I have called you and you have not answered, I have spoken and you have not heard, and you have chosen the things 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 theearth 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 be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying . . .
“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 ox: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor kill in all my holy mountain.”
Is. lvi. “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, and the son of man that keepeth my salvation and holdeth his hand from doing any evil.
“Neither let the strangers, that have joined themselves to the Lord, say, God will separate me from his people. For thus saith the Lord: Whoso will keep my sabbaths, 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 of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off . . .
“Therefore is judgment 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 noon day 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.
Isaiah lxvi. 18. “But I know their works and their thoughts: I come that I may gather all nations and tongues, and they shall see my glory.
“And I will set a sign among them, and I will send of them that shall be saved unto the nations, to Africa, to Lydia, to Italy, to Greece, and to the people that have not heard my name, neither have seen my glory. And they shall bring your brethren.”
Jer. vii. Reprobation of the Temple.
“But go ye to Shiloh, 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, in which my name is called upon, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to your priests, as I have done to Shiloh.” 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, the whole seed of Ephraim.” Rejected absolutely.
“Therefore pray not thou for this people.”
Jer. vii. 21. 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 my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” For it was only after they had sacrificed to golden calves that I gave myself sacrifices to turn into good an evil custom. Jer. vii. 4. “Trust not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, are these.”
Proofs by the Jews.—Captivity of the Jews without restoration. Jeremiah xi. 11. “I will bring evil on Judah which they shall not be able to escape.”
Types.—Isaiah v. “The Lord had a vineyard from which he looked for grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. I will therefore uproot and destroy it, the earth shall produce nothing but thorns, and I will forbid the heaven . . .
“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 iniquities.”
Isaiah viii. “Sanctify the Lord with fear and trembling, and let him be your fear; but he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for 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 be taken, and perish. Hide my words and cover my law for my disciples.
“And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob.”
Isaiah xxix. “Be astonished, and wonder, O people of Israel; waver and stagger: be drunken, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath mingled for you the spirit of deep sleep. He will shut up your eyes: he will cover your prophets and princes that see 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 book that is sealed, 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 him that is not learned, he saith, 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, for they adore God in their heart, and understand the prophecies,—“and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.
“Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do among this people a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding . . .
Prophecies. Proof of divinity. Isaiah xli.
“Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: and we will incline our heart unto your words. Teach us the things that have been from the beginning and prophesy those that are to come.
“By this we shall know that ye are gods. Yea, do good, or do evil, if you can. Come now and let us reason together.
“Behold ye are of nothing, and an abomination, etc. Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth the future.”
Is. xliii. “I am the Lord: and my glory will I not give to another. I have foretold the former things which have come to pass, and declare those which are to come. Sing a new song to God 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 and their Gods 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 have shewed wonders in your eyes: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.
“For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles. I am the Lord, your sanctifier and creator.
“I have made a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; I am he that destroyed for ever the powerful enemies who have resisted you.
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
“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; they shall 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 me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.” Is. xliv. “I am the first and the last, saith the Lord. Whoso will equal himself to me, let him declare the order of things since I formed the first peoples, and the things which are to come. Fear ye not, have I not declared all these things, ye are my witnesses.”
Prophecy of Cyrus—“Because of Jacob whom I have chosen I have called the by thy name,” “Come and let us reason together. Who has declared this from ancient time, and foretold things to come? have not I, the Lord.”
Is. xlvi. “Remember the former things of old, and know that 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. xlii. 9. “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Is. xlviii. 3. “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and I shewed them; and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, that thy spirit is rebellious, and thy brow brass; I have even before it came to pass shewed it thee: lest thou shouldst say, that it was the work of thy gods and the effect of their commands.
“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; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.
Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened for I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.”
—Prophecies. In Egypt.—Pugio Fidei, 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, that the wisdom of the scribes shall be corrupt and rotten; that those who fear to sin shall be reproved by the people, and treated as fools and madmen.
“Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far: The Lord hath called me by my name even from the womb of my mother; he hath hid me in the shadow of his hand, he hath made my words like a sharp sword, and said: Thou art my servant, in whom I will be glorified. And I said, Lord, have I laboured in vain? have I spent my strength for nought? yet is my judgment with thee, O Lord, and my work before thee. When the Lord, who has formed me from from the womb of my mother to be wholly for himself, in order to bring Jacob and Israel again to him, said unto me: 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 will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. These are the things which the Lord hath said to him that humbleth his soul 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 the Lord said unto me: I have heard thee in the days of salvation and of mercy, and I have established thee for a covenant of the people, and to cause thee to inherit the desolate nations, that thou mayest say to those who are in chains: Go forth, and to those that are in darkness: Come into the light, and possess these abundant and fertile lands. They shall no more labour, nor hunger, nor thirst, neither shall the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of waters shall he guide them, and make the mountains plain 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 heaven give glory to God, let the earth rejoice, for it hath pleased the Lord to comfort his people, and he will have mercy on the poor who hope in him.
“Yet Sion hath dared to say: The Lord hath forsaken and hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb, but if she forget, yet will I not forget thee, O Sion. I will bear thee always between my hands, and thy walls shall be ever before me. Thy builders are come, thy destroyers shall go forth of thee. Lift up thy eyes round about, and see all these are gathered together, to come to thee: as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt be clothed with all these as with an ornament, thy deserts, and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction shall now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and the children of thy barrenness shall still say in thy ears: The place is too strait for me, make me room to dwell in. And thou shalt say in thy heart: Who hath begotten these? I was barren and brought not forth, led away, and captive: and who hath brought up these? I was destitute and alone: and these, where were they? And the Lord shall say: Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and will set up my standard to the people. And they shall bring thy children in their arms, and in their bosoms. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers: they shall worship thee with their face toward the earth, and they shall lick up the dust of thy feet. And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be confounded that wait for him. Shall the prey be taken from the strong and mighty? But even if the captivity be taken away from the strong: nothing can hinder me to judge those that have judged thee, and thy children I will save. 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 this divorcement, wherewith I have put away the synagogue, and why have I delivered it into the hands of your enemies; is it not for your iniquities and your transgressions that I have put it away?
“For I came, and no man would receive me, I called and none would hear. Is my arm shortened that I cannot save?
“Therefore will I show the tokens of my anger, I will clothe the heavens with darkness, and will make sackcloth their covering.
“The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary. He hath wakened my ear, and I have heard 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 has helped me, therefore I was not confounded.
“He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me, and accuse me of sin, since God himself is my protector?
“All men shall pass and be consumed by time, let those that fear the Lord hearken to the words of his servant, let him that languisheth in darkness put his trust in the Lord. But as for you, you do but set alight upon you the wrath of God, you walk upon the coals and among the flames you have kindled. This ye have of my hand, ye shall perish 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 when he was alone, and childless, and increased him. For the Lord has comforted Zion: and has heaped on 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 saith also: “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at mid-day, and I will make the earth dark in the day of light: And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation.
“You shall have sorrow and suffering, and I will make the sorrow as the mourning of an only son, and the latter end thereof as a bitter day. Behold the days come, saith the Lord, and I will send forth a famine into the land: not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall move from sea to sea, and from the North to the East: they shall go about seeking the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
“In that day their fair virgins, and their young men shall faint for thirst. They that have followed the idols of Samaria, and sworn by the god of Dan; who have followed the worship of Beersheba; they shall fall, and shall rise no more.”
Amos iii. 2. “Of all nations of the earth, I have chosen you only to be my people.”
Daniel xii. 7. Daniel having described all the extent of Messiah’s reign, says, “All these things shall be done when the dispersion of my people shall be accomplished.”
Haggai ii. 3. “You who compare this second house with the glory of the first and despise it. Yet now take courage, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord, and take courage, O Jesus the high priest, and take courage, all ye people of the land, and cease not to work. The word that I covenanted with you when you came out of the land of Egypt stands yet: and my spirit shall be in the midst of you: Lose not hope. For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet one little while, and I will move the heaven and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land,”—a mode of speech to denote a great and extraordinary change. “And I will move all nations: and the desired of all nations 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 will be honoured, as it is said in another place. All the beasts of the field are mine, what good is it to me that they are offered me in sacrifice?—Greater shall be the glory of this latter house than that of the first, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place I will establish my house, saith the Lord.”
“According to all that you desired of the Lord God 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 I 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 shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Genesis xlix. “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise, and thou shalt vanquish thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah, lion’s whelp, thou art gone up to the prey, O my son, and and art couched as a lion, and as a lioness awakened.
“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.”
[P. 130, l. 13.]Non habemus regem nisi Cæsarem. Joh. xx. 15.
[P. 132, l. 12.]Eris palpans in meridie. Incorrectly quoted from Deut. xxviii. 29.
[P.132, l.13.]Dabitur liber. Incorrectly quoted from Is. xxix. 12.
[P. 133, l. 7.]Effundam spiritum meum. Is. xliv. 3.
[P. 133, l. 22.]populum non credentem. Is. lxv. 2.
[P. 133, l. 35.]ex omnibus iniquitatibus. Probably a remembrance of Is. xliv. 22. Delevi ut nubem iniquitates tuas.
[P. 134, l. 13.]The little stone. Dan. ii. 34.
[P. 134, l. 35.]Omnis Judæa regio. Incorrectly quoted from Matt. iii. 5.
[P. 135, l. 3.]These stones can become. Matt. iii. 9.
[P. 138, l. 17.]Grotius. The allusion is no doubt to his work, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, which appeared in 1662.
[P. 141, l. 11.]the king of the Medes and Persians is Darius Codomanus; the King of the Greeks, Alexander. The four kings are, Seleucus, King of Syria; Ptolemy, King of Egypt; Lysimachus, King of Thrace, and Cassander, King of Macedonia, after the battle of Ipsus, 301 bc
[P. 141, l. 18.]This paragraph refers to Antiochus Epiphanes, King of Syria, who died 164 bc See the account of his death, 1 Macc. c. 6.
[P. 143, l. 8.]And in the end of years. The marriage of Antiochus Theos with Berenice took place about 247 bc Berenice was assassinated by Seleucus Ceraunos soon afterwards, and the war between Ptolemy Euergetes and the King of Syria lasted during almost all the reign of the latter. Syria regained the ascendency only after the death of Ptolemy Euergetes in 222 bc
[P. 143, l. 36.]Raphia. The Battle of Raphia was gained by Ptolemy Philopator over Antiochus the Great, 217 bc
[P. 144, l. 8.]Euergetes, a mistake for Epiphanes.
[P. 145, l. 12.]The leader taken from the thigh. A literal translation of Gen. xlix. 10. Non auferetur sceptrum de Juda, et dux de femore ejus.
[P. 151, l. 11.]Pugio Fidei. The work so called, which Pascal first specifies in this place, is one of which he made great use in all his speculations on the fulfilment of Prophecy, and on the meaning of the Hebrew letters, etc. The book, of which the full title is Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos, was written in 1278 by Raymond Martin, a Catalonian monk. It remained almost unknown for four hundred years, and was first printed in 1651. It was, therefore, as it were, a new book when Pascal became acquainted with it. Under the name Mauri the author assails not the Koran nor Mahomet, but Arabic philosophy.