Front Page Titles (by Subject) OF TYPES IN GENERAL AND OF THEIR LAWFULNESS. - The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal
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OF TYPES IN GENERAL AND OF THEIR LAWFULNESS. - 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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OF TYPES IN GENERAL AND OF THEIR LAWFULNESS.
PROOF of the two Testaments at once.—To prove both the Testaments at one stroke we need only see if the prophecies in one are accomplished in the other.
To examine the prophecies we must understand them.
For if we believe they have only one sense it is certain that Messiah has not come; but if they have two senses, it is certain that he has come in Jesus Christ.
The whole question then is to know if they have two senses . . .
That the Scripture has two senses, which Jesus Christ and his Apostles have given, the following are the proofs:
1. Proof by Scripture itself.
2. Proofs by the Rabbis. Moses Maimonides says that it has two faces, and that the prophets have prophesied Jesus Christ only.
3. Proofs by the Cabala.
4. Proofs by the mystical interpretation which the Rabbis themselves have given to the Scripture.
5. Proofs by the principles laid down by the Rabbis that there are two senses, that there are two advents of the Messiah; one in glory, and one in humiliation, according to their deserts; that the prophets have prophesied of Messiah only. The Law is not eternal, but must change when Messiah comes; that then they shall no more remember the Red Sea; that the Jews and the Gentiles shall be mingled.
It is as those among whom there is a certain secret language.
Those who do not understand it can see in it only a foolish sense.
Typical.—The figures of a sword, a shield.
To change the type, because of our weakness.
Types.—The prophets prophesied by figures of a girdle, a beard and burnt hair, etc.
Two errors: 1, to take all literally; 2, to take all spiritually.
The veil which is upon these books for the Jews is there also for bad Christians, and for all who do not hate themselves.
But those who truly hate themselves are in a disposition to understand the Scriptures and to know Jesus Christ.
Types.—To show that the Old Testament is only figurative, and that by temporal possessions the prophets understood others, this is the proof: 1, that this were unworthy of God; 2, that their discourses express very clearly the promise of temporal possessions, and that they say nevertheless that their discourses are obscure, and that their sense will not be understood. Whence it appears that this secret sense is 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 fulness of time. Jer. xxxiii.
The third proof is that their discourses are contradictory and destroy each other, so that if we think they did not mean by the words law and sacrifice aught else than those of Moses, there is a gross and obvious contradiction. Therefore they meant something else, occasionally contradicting themselves in the same chapter.
Now to understand the sense of an author . . .
A type brings with it absence and presence, pleasure and pain.
A cipher with a double sense, one clear, and in which it is said that the sense is hidden . . .
A portrait brings with it absence and presence, pleasure and pain. The reality excludes absence and pain.
Types.—To know if the law and the sacrifices are real or figurative, we must see if the prophets in speaking of these things limited their view and their thoughts to them, so that they saw only the old covenant; or if they saw in them somewhat else of which they were the semblance, for in a portrait we see the thing figured. For this we need only examine what they say.
When they speak of it as eternal, do they mean that same covenant which they elsewhere say will be changed; so of the sacrifices, etc.?
A cipher has two senses. If we intercept an important letter in which we see an obvious meaning, wherein it is nevertheless declared that the sense is veiled and obscure, that it is concealed, so that the letter might be read without discovering it, and understood without understanding, we can but think that here is a cipher with a double sense, and all the more if we find manifest contradictions in the literal sense. How greatly we ought to value those who interpret the cipher, and explain to us the hidden sense, especially if the principles they extract are wholly natural and clear. This is what Jesus Christ did, and the Apostles. They broke the seal, he rent the veil, and revealed the spirit. They have thereby taught us that man’s enemies are his passions; that the Redeemer is to be spiritual and his reign spiritual; that there are to be two advents, one in lowliness to abase the proud, the other in glory to exalt the humble; that Jesus Christ is God and man.
The prophets said clearly that Israel would be always the beloved of God, that the law would be eternal, they have said also that their meaning would not be understood, and that it was veiled.
Types.—When the word of God, which cannot lie, is false literally, it is true spiritually. Sede a dextris meis, is false literally, therefore it is true spiritually.
In these expressions God is spoken of after the manner of men, and this means only that the intention which men have in giving a seat at their right hand, God will also have. It is then a mark of the intention of God, not of his mode of carrying it out.
Thus when it is said “God has received the odour of your incense and will in return give you a fat land,” this means that the same intention which a man will have, who, pleased with your perfumes, will give you a fat land, God will have towards you, because you have had towards him the same intention as a man has for him to whom he offers a sweet savour. So iratus est, a jealous God, etc., for the things of God being inexpressible, they cannot be said otherwise. And the Church uses them still: Quia confortavit seras, etc.
Difference between dinner and supper.
In God the word differs not 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. Bern. ult. sermo in Missam.
Aug., de Civit. v. 10. This rule is general. God can do all, except those things which if he could do he would not be almighty, as dying, being deceived, lying, etc.
Many evangelists for the confirmation of the truth. Their differences are useful.
The Eucharist after the 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. Matt. xxiv. 36.
Jesus condemned by the Jews and the Gentiles.
The Jews and the Gentiles figured by the two sons.
Aug. de Civit. xx. 29.
The figures of the Gospel for the state of the sick soul are sick bodies, but because one body cannot be sufficiently sick to express it well, several are needed. Thus there are the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the paralytic, the dead Lazarus, the possessed; all this together is in the sick soul.
Isaiah, li. The Red Sea an image of the Redemption.
“Ut sciatis quod filius hominishabet potestatem remittendi peccata, tibi dico: Surge.”
God, willing to show that he was able to form a people holy with an invisible holiness, and to fill them with an eternal glory, made visible things. As nature is an image of grace, he has done in the excellences of nature what he would accomplish in those of grace, in order that men might judge that he could make the invisible since he made the visible so well.
Thus he saved this people from the deluge, he has raised them up from Abraham, redeemed them from their enemies, and caused them to enter into rest.
The object of God was not to save them from the deluge, and raise up a whole people to Abraham, only in order to bring them into a fat land.
And so grace itself is but the figure of glory, for it is not the ultimate end. It was symbolised by the law, and itself symbolises grace, but it is the figure of it, and the origin or cause.
The ordinary life of man is like that of the saints. They all seek their satisfaction, and differ only in the object wherein they place it: they call those their enemies who hinder them, etc. God then has shown the power which he has to give invisible possessions, by the power which he has shown over things visible.
And yet this covenant, made to blind some and enlighten others, marked in those very men whom it blinded the truth which should be recognised by others. For the visible possessions which they received from God were so great and so divine that it certainly appeared he was able to give them those which are invisible, as well as a Messiah.
For nature is an image of grace, and visible miracles are the image of the invisible. Ut sciatis, tibi dico: Surge.
Isaiah, li., says that Redemption will be as the passage of the Red Sea.
God then has shown by the deliverance from Egypt, and from the sea, by the defeat of the 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 at enmity with him is the type and the representation of the very Messiah whom they know not, etc.
He has then shown 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 man finds what he chiefly desires, temporal possessions or spiritual, God or the creatures; but with this difference, that those who therein seek the creatures find them, but attended by many contradictions, with a prohibition against loving them, with the injunction to worship God only, and to love him only, which is the same thing, and finally that the Messiah came not for them; whilst on the contrary those who therein seek God find him, without any contradiction, with the injunction to love him only, and that the Messiah came in the time foretold, to give them the possessions which they ask.
Thus the Jews had miracles and prophecies, of which they saw the accomplishment, and the teaching of their law was that they should love and worship God alone; it was also perpetual. Thus it had all the marks of the true religion, as indeed it was, but we must distinguish between the teaching of the Jews, and the teaching of the Jewish law. Now the teaching of the Jews was not true, although it had miracles and prophecy and perpetuity, because it had not this further point, the worship and love of God only.
The reason of types.
They had to deal with a carnal people, and to render them the depositary of a spiritual covenant.
To give faith in the Messiah it was necessary there should have been antecedent prophecies, in the charge of persons above suspicion, diligent, faithful, singularly zealous, and known to all the world.
That all this might be accomplished, 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 possessions which the people loved. And thus they have had an extraordinary zeal for their prophets, and, in sight of the whole world, have had charge of these books which foretell their Messiah, assuring all the nations that he should come, and in the manner foretold in their books, which they held open to all the world. But this people deceived by the poor and ignominious advent of the Messiah have been his most cruel enemies. So that they, who were of all nations in the world the least open to the suspicion of favouring us, the most scrupulous and most zealous that can be named for their law and their prophets, have kept the records incorrupt.
Therefore the prophecies have a hidden and spiritual sense, which this people hated, under the carnal sense which they loved. Had the spiritual sense been disclosed, it being such as they were unable to love, or even to bear, they would not have been zealous to preserve their books and their ceremonies; and if they had loved these spiritual promises, and had preserved them incorrupt till Messiah came, their witness would have had no force, because they had been his friends. Therefore it was well that the spiritual sense should be concealed; but on the other hand, had the sense been so hidden as not to be at all apparent, it could not have served as a proof of the Messiah. What then was done? In a crowd of passages the spiritual was concealed under the temporal sense, and has been clearly revealed in a few; again, the time and the state of the world were so clearly foretold that the sun is not so evident. And in some passages this spiritual sense is so clearly expressed that no less a blindness than that which the flesh imposes on the spirit when enslaved, can keep us from discerning it.
See then what God has done. This sense is concealed under another in an infinite number of passages, in some, though rarely, it is revealed, yet so that the passages in which it is concealed are equivocal, and can suit both senses, while those in which it is disclosed are unequivocal, and can agree with the spiritual sense alone.
So that this cannot lead us into error, and could only be misunderstood by so carnal a people.
For when possessions are promised in abundance, what could hinder them from understanding the true possessions, save their covetousness, which limited the sense to the good things of this world? But those whose only good was in God referred the sense to him alone. For there are two qualities which divide the will of man, covetousness and charity. Not that covetousness cannot coexist with faith in God, nor charity with worldly possessions, but covetousness uses God, and enjoys the world, while the opposite is the case with charity.
Now the end we pursue gives names to things. All which hinders the attainment of this end, is said to be at enmity with us. Thus the creatures, however good, are the enemies of the just, when they turn them aside from God, and God himself is the enemy of those whose greed he opposes.
Hence the word enemy being interpreted according to the end proposed, the just understood by it their passions, and the carnal understood the Babylonians, so that the term is 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, xiv. 9, says excellently: “Where is the wise, and he shall understand these things. The just shall know them, for the ways of God are right, but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
So that those who rejected and crucified Jesus Christ, being offended at him, are the same people who bear the books which witness of him, and which say that he will be rejected and a stumbling stone, so that their refusal has given an additional mark that it is he, and he has been proved both by the just Jews who received him, and the unjust Jews who rejected him, both of whom were foretold.
One of the main reasons why the prophets put a veil on the spiritual possessions which they promised under the figure of temporal possessions is, that they had to do with a carnal people whom they must make the keepers of the spiritual covenant.
Jesus Christ, prefigured by Joseph, the beloved of his father, sent by his father to visit 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; all which had not been brought about but for the plot for his destruction, their sale and rejection of him.
In prison Joseph innocent between two criminals; Jesus Christ on the cross between two thieves. Joseph foretold deliverance to the one, and death to the other, from the same omens. Jesus Christ saves the elect, and condemns the reprobate after the same crimes. Joseph foretold only, Jesus Christ acts. Joseph asked of him who is saved to be mindful of him when he has come into his glory, and he whom Jesus Christ saved asked that he would remember him when he came into his Kingdom.
Types.—Saviour, father, sacrificer, sacrifice, food, king, wise, lawgiver, afflicted, poor, having to create a people, which he must lead and nourish, and bring into the land.
The Eucharist.—Comedes panem tuum . Panem nostrum.
Inimici Dei terram lingent. —The sinners lick the dust, that is to say, love earthly pleasures.
The Old Testament contained the types of future joy, and the New contains the means of attaining it.
The types were of joy, the means of penitence, and nevertheless the Paschal Lamb was eaten with bitter herbs, cum amaritudinibus.
Singularis sum egodonec transeam. Jesus Christ before his death was almost the only martyr.
To speak against too greatly figurative expressions.
There are some types clear and demonstrative, but others which seem far-fetched, and which bring proof only to those already persuaded. These may seem like the sayings of the Apocalyptics. But the difference is that these have none which are not doubtful, so that nothing is so unjust as to pretend that theirs are as well founded as some of ours, for they have none so demonstrative as some of ours. There is no comparison possible. We have no right to compare and confound things because they agree in one point, while they are so different in another. What is clear in things divine forces us to revere what is obscure.
I do not say that the mem is a mystery.
We may not attribute to the Scripture the sense which it has not revealed to us that it contains. Thus, to say that the closed mem of Isaiah means six hundred, has not been revealed. It might be said that the final tsadé and the he deficientes signify mysteries. But we are not allowed to say so, and still less to say this is the way of the philosopher’s stone . But we say that the literal sense is not the true sense, because the prophets said so themselves.
It is said that “This generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled.” On that I will say that after that generation will come another generation, and so in constant succession.
The Second Book of Chronicles speaks of Solomon and the King as if they were two different persons. I say that they were two.
Against those who misuse passages of Scripture, and who are puffed up when they find one which seems to favour their error.
The chapter for Vespers, on Passion Sunday, the prayer for the King.
Explanation of these words: “He that is not with me is against me.” And these others: “He that is not against you is with you.” A person who says: I am neither for nor against; we ought to answer him . . . One of the Antiphons for Vespers at Christmas: Exortum est in tenebris lumenrectis corde.
[P. 160, l. 9.]Ut soiatis quod filius hominis. Marc. ii. 10-11. The words of Jesus to the paralytic.
[P. 163, l. 26.]Signa legem in electis meis. Is. viii. 16, where the Vulgate has discipulis.
[P. 164, l. 25.]Fascination. i.e., Fascinatio nugacitatis, see p. 100, l. 28. The blindness produced by the love of temporal possessions, or as the A. V. translates it, “the bewitching of naughtiness.”
[P. 164, l. 25.]Somnum suum. Ps. lxxvi. 5.
[P. 164, l. 25.]Figura hujus mundi. 1 ad Cor. vii. 31. Et qui utuntur hoc mundo, tanquam non utantur: præterit enim figura hujus mundi.
[P. 164, l. 26.]Comedes panem tuum. Deut. viii. 9. Panem nostrum. Luc. xi. 3.
[P. 164, l. 27.]Inimici Dei terram lingent. Ps. lxxii. 8. The Psalm is of Solomon, Inimici ejus terram lingent.
[P. 164, l. 32.]cum amaritudinibus. Ex. xii. 8, where the Vulgate has cum lactucis agrestibus.
[P. 164, l. 34.]Singularis sum ego. Ps. cxli. 10, where the true reading is “singulariter.”
[P. 165, l. 8.]We have no right. The following is the explanation of this and the next two paragraphs: In Is. ix. 6, a prophecy which the Rabbis apply to Messiah, and Christian interpreters to Jesus, are the words: Parvulus enim natus est nobis . . . multiplicabatur ejus imperium. In the Hebrew words representing this latter clause, the closed mem, a letter ordinarily employed only at the end of a word, occurs where an open mem should be used. From this orthographic mistake the Rabbis have concluded that Messiah would be born of a virgin, ex virgine clausa. Moreover, as the closed mem in Hebrew writing means six hundred, the Rabbis supposed that Messiah was to come six hundred years after Isaiah. The final tsade has the same value as the closed mem.
[P. 165, l. 18.]the way of the philosopher’s stone, no doubt the way of finding the philosopher’s stone. The dreams of the alchemists on this subject were early mingled with those of the Rabbis on the Messiah. Nor had the Cabbala lost all credit in Pascal’s days. In 1629 Robert Fludd, in Latin de Fluctibus, an Englishman, educated at Oxford, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians, published at Frankfort his Medicina Catholica. In this, sect. 1. pt. ii. b. 1. ch. i. he speaks of sicknesses and healing as both sent from God by angelic intermediaries, and that all angelic natures are summed up in the great angel Mittatron, whom the Scriptures call Wisdom. In a further passage he says that in him whom the Cabalists call Mittatron others recognize Messiah, and quotes the passage of Isaiah in which occurs the closed mem.
[P. 165, l. 21.]Apocalyptics. Interpreters of the Apocalypse.
[P. 165, l. 21.]Preadamites. Those who hold that Adam was the progenitor of the Jews only, and not of the whole human race.
[P. 165, l. 21.]Millenarians. The believers in the reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years.
[P. 166, l. 5.]Exortum est lumen. Ps. cxii. 4. But the word corde does not appear in the Vulgate.