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PROOFS OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST. - 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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PROOFS OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
PERPETUITY.—Let it be considered that from the beginning of the world the expectation or the worship of the Messiah has subsisted without a break; that there have been men who said that God had revealed to them the future birth of a Redeemer who should save his people; that afterwards came Abraham saying he had had a revelation that the Messiah was to spring from him by a son who should be born; that Jacob declared that of his twelve sons the Messiah would spring from Judah; that Moses and the prophets then came to declare the time and the manner of his advent; that they said their law was only provisional till that of the Messiah, that it should last till then but the other should endure eternally; that thus either their law or that of the Messiah, of which it was the promise, would be always upon earth; that in fact it has always endured; that at last Jesus Christ has come with all the circumstances foretold. How wonderful is this!
The two most ancient books in the world are those of Moses and Job, the one a Jew, the other a gentile, both of whom regard Jesus Christ as their common centre and object: Moses in reporting the promises of God to Abraham, Jacob, etc., and his prophecies. And Job, Quis mihi det ut,etc. Scio enim quod redemptor meus vivit, etc.
I believe that Joshua was the first of God’s people who had this name, as Jesus Christ was the last of God’s people.
What man had ever so great renown? The whole Jewish people foretold him before his coming. The Gentile world worships him after his coming. The two worlds, Gentile and Jewish, regard him as their centre.
Yet what man ever had less enjoyment of his renown? Of thirty-three years he passed thirty in retirement. For three years he passed as an impostor, the priests and rulers rejected him, his friends and kinsmen despised him. At the end he died, betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, abandoned by all.
What part then had he in all this renown? Never man had more glory, never man more ignominy. All this renown was for our sakes, to enable us to recognise him, he took none of it for himself.
Office of Jesus Christ.—He alone was to produce a great people, elect, holy, and chosen, to lead it, to nourish it, to bring it into a place of rest and holiness, to make it holy to God, to make it the temple of God, to reconcile it to God, to save it from the wrath of God, to deliver it from the slavery of sin, which visibly reigns in man, to give laws to this people, to engrave these laws on their heart, to offer himself to God for them, to sacrifice himself for them, to be a victim without spot, himself the priest, needing to offer himself, his body and his blood, and yet to offer bread and wine to God . . .
After many persons had come before, at last came Jesus Christ, to say: “Here am I and this is the hour, that which the prophets had said was to come in the fulness of time. I tell you what my apostles will do. The Jews shall be cast out, Jerusalem shall be soon destroyed, and the Gentiles shall enter into the knowledge of God. My apostles shall do this after you have slain the heir of the vineyard.”
Then the Apostles said to the Jews, “You shall be accursed,” and to the Gentiles, “You shall enter into the knowledge of God;” and that came to pass. Celsus laughed at it.
Then Jesus Christ came to tell men that they had no enemies but themselves, that their passions cut them off from God, that he came to destroy these, and give them his grace to unite them all in an holy Church, that he came to call into this Church Gentiles and Jews, that he came to destroy the idols of the former and the superstition of the latter. To this all men are opposed, not only by the natural opposition of lust; but above all, the kings of the earth, as had been foretold, gathered together to destroy this religion in its infancy. Quare fremuerunt gentes . Reges terræ adversus Christum.
All that was great on earth was united together, the learned, the wise, the kings. The first wrote, the second condemned, the last slew. Yet notwithstanding all these oppositions, these men, so simple and so weak, resisted all these forces, subduing even the mighty the learned and the wise, and removed idolatry from all the earth. And all this was done by the power which had foretold it.
And prediction crowns all this, so that none may say that chance has done it all.
Whosoever having only a week to live, does not perceive that belief is the right side to take, and that all this is not a stroke of chance . . .
Now were we not slaves to passion, a week and a hundred years would seem one and the same thing.
The prophets foretold, and were not foretold. The saints were foretold, but were not foretellers. Jesus Christ was foretold and foreteller.
If I had never heard anything of the Messiah, yet after the admirable predictions of the course of the world which I see accomplished, I see that it is divine. And if I knew that these same books foretold a Messiah, I should be certain that he would come. And seeing that they place his time before the destruction of the second temple, I should say that he had come.
That which preceded, that which followed. All the Jews still exist, and are wanderers.
Why did not Jesus Christ come in a visible manner, instead of drawing proof from the prophecies which went before him?
And why did he cause himself to be foretold in figures?
God, to enable the Messiah to be recognised by the good and unrecognised by the wicked, caused him to be so foretold. If the manner of the Messiah had been clearly foretold, there had been no obscurity, even for the wicked. If the time had been obscurely foretold, there had been obscurity even for the good, for their goodness of heart would not have made them understand, for instance, that the closed mem means six hundred years. But the time has been foretold clearly and the manner in figures only.
By this means the wicked, mistaking the promised for material blessings, have gone astray, in spite of clear indications of the time, and the good have not gone astray; for the interpretation of the promised blessings depends on the heart, wont to call that good which it loves, but the interpretation of the promised time does not depend on the heart. Thus the clear prediction of the time, and the obscure intimation of the blessings, deceives only the wicked.
If Jesus Christ had come only for sanctification, the whole of Scripture and all things would tend to this end and it would be easy to convince unbelievers. If Jesus Christ had come only to blind, all his conduct would be confused, and we should have no means of convincing unbelievers. But as he came in sanctificationem et in scandalum, as says Isaiah, we cannot convince unbelievers, and they cannot convince us; but by that very fact we overcome them because we say that there is nothing in his conduct conclusive on one side or the other.
Jesus Christ has come to blind those who saw clearly, and to give sight to the blind; to heal the sick and let the sound perish; to call sinners to repentance and justification and leave the just in their sins; to fill the hungry with good things and to send the rich empty away.
We can have nothing but veneration for a man who clearly foretells events which take place, and who declares his design both to blind and to enlighten, and who mixes obscurities among the clear things which happen.
During the life of the Messiah.—Ænigmatis. —Ezek. xvii.—His forerunner. Malachi ii.
He will be born an infant. Is. ix. 6.
He will be born at Bethlehem. Micah v. He will appear chiefly in Jerusalem, and will spring from the family of Judah and of David.
He will blind the learned and the wise, Is. vi. 8, 29, and preach the Gospel to the poor and the lowly, will open the eyes of the blind, restore health to the sick, and bring light to those who languish in darkness. Is. lxi.
He must show the perfect way, and be the teacher of the Gentiles. Is. lv.
The prophecies must be unintelligible to the wicked, Dan. xii., Hos. xiv. 10, but intelligible to those who are well instructed.
He must be the precious corner stone. Is. xxviii. 16.
He must be the stone of stumbling and offence. Is. viii.
Jerusalem must dash against this stone.
The builders must reject this stone. Ps. cxvii. 22.
God will make of this stone the head of the corner.
And this stone will grow into a mountain, and fill the whole earth. Dan. ii.
Thus he must be rejected, disowned, betrayed, sold, Zach. xi. 12, spit upon, buffeted, mocked, afflicted in a thousand ways, be given gall to drink, Ps. lxviii., pierced, Zach. xii., his feet and his hands pierced, killed, and lots cast upon his vesture.
He must rise again, Ps. xv., the third day. Hos. vi. 3.
He must ascend to heaven to sit on the right hand. Ps. cx.
The kings will arm themselves against him. Ps. ii.
Being on the right hand of the Father, he will have victory over all his enemies.
The kings of the earth and all nations shall worship him. Is. lx.
The Jews will remain as a nation. Jeremiah.
They will be dispersed, without kings, etc., Hos. iii.; without prophets. Amos;
Waiting for salvation and finding it not. Isaiah.
The calling of the Gentiles by Jesus Christ. Is. lii., Ps. lxxi.
The Jews in slaying him that they might not receive the Messiah, stamped him with the final proof of his Messiahship.
And by continuance in denial, they made themselves unimpeachable witnesses; and in slaying him, and continuing to reject him, they have fulfilled the prophecies.
The word Galilee, which the Jewish rabble pronounced as if by chance, in their accusation of Jesus Christ before Pilate, gave Pilate a reason for sending Jesus Christ to Herod, so that the mystery was accomplished, that he should be judged by Jews and Gentiles. Chance was apparently the cause that the mystery was accomplished.
The conversion of the Gentiles was only reserved for the grace of the Messiah. The Jews so long opposed them without success; all that Solomon and the prophets had said was useless. Wise men like Plato and Socrates could not persuade them.
If this was so clearly foretold to the Jews, why did they not believe it, or why were they not exterminated for resisting what was so clear?
I answer first: it was foretold both that they would not believe what was so clear, and that they would not be exterminated. And nothing is more glorious to the Messiah, for it is not enough that there should be prophets, they must be kept above suspicion. Now, etc.
Had the Jews been all converted by Jesus Christ, we should have none but doubtful witnesses, and had they been entirely destroyed we should have had no witnesses at all.
The Jews rejected him, but not all. The saints receive him, but not carnal men. Yet this is far from being against his glory, it is the last stroke which perfects it. The argument on their side, the only one which is found in the Talmud and the rabbinical writings, is that Jesus Christ has not subdued the nations sword in hand, gladium tuumpotentissime. Is this all they can allege? Jesus Christ has been slain, they say, he was subdued, he has not had dominion over the heathen by his power, he has not distributed the spoil among us, he does not give riches. Is this all they have to allege? This is the very point wherein he seems to me so lovable. I would none of such an one as they represent. It is plain that his life only hinders them from receiving him, by their refusal they become irreproachable witnesses, and what is more, they thereby fulfil the prophecies.
There are those who see clearly that man has no other enemy than lust, which turns him from God, and not God, and that there is no other good but God, not a fat land. Let those who believe that the good of man is in the flesh, and evil that which turns him away from sensual pleasures, besot themselves with him and die in them. But those who seek God with their whole heart, whose only ill is not to see him, whose only desire is to possess him, whose only enemies are those who would turn them from him, who are afflicted when they are surrounded and overwhelmed by such enemies, may take comfort, for I declare to them this joyful news: there is for them a Redeemer, whom I will show them; I will show them that there is for them a God, and I will not show him to others. I will show them that a Messiah has been promised, who will deliver them from their enemies, and that one has come to deliver them from their iniquities, not from their enemies.
It is a wonderful thing, and worthy of all attention, to see the Jewish nation existing so many years in constant misery, it being necessary as a proof of Jesus Christ, both that they should exist to be his witnesses, and should be miserable because they crucified him, and though to be miserable and to exist, are contradictory, this nation still exists in spite of its misery.
When Nebuchadnezzar carried away the people, for fear they should believe that the sceptre had departed from Judah, they were assured beforehand that they would be but a short time in captivity, and would be restored.
They were never without the comfort of their prophets, or the presence of their kings. But the second destruction is without promise of restoration, without prophets, without kings, without comfort, without hope, for the sceptre is taken away for ever.
Proofs of Jesus Christ.—To have been captive with the assurance of deliverance in seventy years was no true captivity. But now they are captives without hope.
God has promised them that even though he should disperse them to the ends of the earth, nevertheless if they were faithful to the law he would gather them together. They are now very faithful to it, yet remain oppressed.
Blindness of Scripture.—The Scripture, say the Jews, says that we know not whence Christ should come.
John vii. 27 and xii. 34.
The Scripture says that Christ abideth for ever, and he said that he should die. Therefore, says Saint John, they believed him not, though he had done so many miracles, that the word of Isaiah might be fulfilled: He hath blinded them , etc.
Contradictions.—The sceptre until Messiah come. Without king or prince.
The eternal law, changed.
The eternal covenant, a new covenant.
The good law, evil precepts, Ezekiel xx.
Apparent discord of the Evangelists.
Proofs of Jesus Christ.
Why the book of Ruth was preserved.
Why the story of Tamar.
The genealogy of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament is intermixed with so many that are useless, that it cannot be distinguished. If Moses had kept only the register of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, that had been too plain. If he had not marked that of Jesus Christ, it had not been plain enough. But after all, whoso looks closely sees that of Jesus Christ distinctly traced through Tamar, Ruth, etc.
Jesus Christ in an obscurity—as the world calls obscurity—so great, that the historians who wrote only the important matters of States hardly perceived him.
On the fact that neither Josephus, nor Tacitus, nor other historians, have spoken of Jesus Christ.—So far from this being any argument against, it is rather one for us. For it is certain that Jesus Christ has existed, that his religion has made a great noise, and that these people were not ignorant of it; thus it is plain that they designedly concealed it, or perhaps that they did speak of it, and what they said has been suppressed or altered.
When Augustus learnt that Herod’s own son was among the children under the age of two years whom he had commanded to be slain, he said that it was better to be Herod’s pig than his son. Macrob. Saturn. Lib. ii., c. 4.
Macrobius, on the Innocents slain by Herod.
Prophecies.—Great Pan is dead .
Herod believed to be the Messiah. He had taken away the sceptre of Judah, but he was not of Judah. This was held by a considerable sect.
Both Barcoseba and another received by the Jews. And the rumour which was everywhere in those times. Suetomus, Tacitus, Josephus.
In what sort should Messiah come, seeing that by him the sceptre should be eternally in Judah, and at his coming the sceptre should depart from Judah?
To the end that seeing they should not see, and understanding they should not understand, nothing could be better done.
Curse of the Greeks against those who count periods of time.
Proofs of Jesus Christ.—Jesus Christ said great things so simply that he seems not to have considered them, and yet so tersely that it is clear he had considered them. This clearness joined with simplicity is wonderful.
Who taught the evangelists the qualities of an entirely heroic soul, that they should paint it so perfectly in Jesus Christ? Why did they describe him weak in his agony? Did they not know how to paint a steadfast death? No doubt they did, for the same Saint Luke paints the death of Saint Stephen as braver than that of Jesus Christ.
They describe him therefore as capable of fear before the need of dying came, and then wholly strong.
But when they represent him as so afflicted, it is when he afflicts himself, and when men afflict him, then is he wholly strong.
The style of the Gospel is wonderful in many ways, and in this among others, that it contains no invectives against the executioners and enemies of Jesus Christ. The historians do not rail against Judas, Pilate, nor any of the Jews.
If this modesty of the evangelical writers had been simulated, as well as many other traits of a beautiful character, and they had only simulated it to attract observation, even if they had not dared to draw attention to it themselves, they would not have failed to procure friends, who would have remarked on it to their advantage. But as they acted thus without dissimulation, and from perfectly disinterested motives, they pointed it out to no one, and I believe that many points of this kind have never been noticed till now, which is an evidence of how dispassionately all was done.
The apostles were either deceived or deceivers. Both hypotheses are difficult; for it is not possible to mistake a man raised from the dead . . .
While Jesus Christ was with them, his presence might sustain them, but after that, what gave them force to act if he did not appear to them?
Proof of Jesus Christ.—The supposition that the apostles were deceivers is thoroughly absurd. Suppose we follow it out, and imagine these twelve men assembled after the death of Jesus Christ, making a plot to say that he was risen again. By this they attack all earthly powers. The heart of man is strangely inclined to fickleness and change, swayed by promises and by wealth. Had one of these men contradicted themselves under these temptations, nay more, had they done so in prison, in torture and in death, they were lost. Let that be followed out.
Atheists.—What reason have they to say it is not possible to rise again? Which is the more difficult, to be born or to rise again; that that which has never been should be, or that what has been should be again? Is it more difficult to come into being than to return to it? Habit causes the one to seem easy to us, the want of habit causes the other to seem impossible. The popular way of judging.
Why should not a virgin bear a child? does not a hen lay eggs without a cock? What distinguishes these outwardly from others? and who has told us that the hen may not form the germ as well as the cock?
What have they to say against the resurrection, or against the child-bearing of the Virgin? which is the more difficult; to produce a man or an animal, or to reproduce it? And if they had never seen any species of animal, could they guess that they were not produced without connection with each other?
How I hate these follies of not believing in the Eucharist, etc. . . . If the Gospel be true, if Jesus Christ be God, what difficulty is there?
It is impiety not to believe in the Eucharist on the ground that we do not see it.
[P. 212, l. 23.]Quis mihi det ut. Job, xix. 23-25.
[P. 214, l. 12.]Quare fremuerunt gentes. Ps. ii. 1, 2.
[P. 215, l. 1.]Ingrediens mundum. Probably a recollection of the meaning, but not the words, of Heb. i. 6.
[P. 215, l. 2.]Stone upon stone. Mark, xiii. 2.
[P. 215, l. 32.]in sanctificationem et in scandalum, a partial quotation of Isaiah, viii. 14.
[P. 216, l. 9.]Ænigmatis. The word nowhere appears, but the allusion is no doubt to 1 ad Cor. xiii. 12. Videmus nunc per speculum in ænigmate, tunc autem facie ad faciem.
[P. 218, l, 10.]gladium tuum. Ps. xlv. 3. Accingere gladio tuo super femur tuum, potentissime.
[P. 219, l. 30.]He hath blinded them. Is. vi. 10.
[P. 220, l. 28.]Great Pan is dead. Plutarch De Oraculis.
[P. 220, l. 32.]Barcoseba, or Barcochebas, a Jewish impostor who claimed to be the Messiah. ad 135.
[P. 221, l. 9.]Curse of the Greeks, no doubt against those Heretics who tried to discover the exact date of the end of the world.