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THE MISSION AND GREATNESS 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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THE MISSION AND GREATNESS OF JESUS CHRIST.
WE know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator all communion with God is taken away, by Jesus Christ we know God. All who have thought to know God, and to prove him without Jesus Christ, have had but feeble proofs. But for proof of Jesus Christ we have the prophecies, which are solid and palpable proofs. And these prophecies, accomplished and proved true by the event, mark the certainty of these truths, and consequently the divinity of Jesus Christ. In him then, and by him, we know God; apart from him, and without the Scripture, without original sin, without a necessary mediator, foretold and come, we could not absolutely prove God, nor teach sound doctrine and sound morality. But by Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ we prove God and teach morality and doctrine. Jesus Christ is then the true God of men.
But we know at the same time our misery, for this God is none other than he who repairs our misery. Thus we can only know God well by knowing our sins. Therefore those who have known God without knowing their misery, have not glorified him, but have glorified themselves. Quia non cognovitper sapientiam, placuit Deo per stultitiam prædicationis salvos facere.
Not only do we know God by Jesus Christ alone, but we know ourselves by Jesus Christ alone. We know life and death by Jesus Christ alone. Apart from Jesus Christ we know not what is our life, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves.
Thus without the Scripture, which has Jesus Christ alone for its object, we know nothing, and see only obscurity and confusion in the nature of God, and in our own nature.
Without Jesus Christ man must be plunged in vice and misery; with Jesus Christ man is free from vice and misery, in him is all our virtue and all our happiness. Apart from him is nought but vice and misery, error and darkness, death and despair.
Without Jesus Christ the world would not exist, for it could only be either destroyed, or a very hell.
It is not only impossible but useless to know God without Jesus Christ. They have not withdrawn from him, but drawn near; they have not abased themselves, but . . .
Quo quisque optimus est, pessimus, si hoc ipsum, quod sit optimus, ascribat sibi.
The Gospel only speaks of the virginity of the Virgin up to the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. All with reference to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, whom the two Testaments regard, the Old as its end, the New as its model, both as their centre.
Scepticism is the truth. For, after all, men before Jesus Christ did not know either where they were or if they were great or little. And those who said one or the other knew nothing about it, and guessed without reason and by chance, yet they always erred in excluding one or the other.
Quod ergo ignorantes quæritis , Religio annuntiat vobis.
If Epictetus had seen the way with certainty he would have said to men: “You follow a false road”; he shows that there is another, but he does not lead there; it is the way of willing what God wills; Jesus Christ alone leads thither, via, veritas.
Jesus Christ did nothing but teach men that they were lovers of themselves, that they were slaves, blind, sick, miserable, and sinners, that he would deliver them, enlighten, bless, and heal them, that this would be brought about by hatred of self, and by following him through poverty and the death of the cross.
An artizan who speaks of riches, a lawyer who speaks of war, or of kingship, etc., but the rich man rightly speaks of riches, a king speaks slightingly of a great gift he has just made, and God rightly speaks of God.
Isaiah xlii., xlviii., liv., lx., lxi. The last verse. I have foretold it long since, that they might know that it is I.
Man is not worthy of God, but he is not incapable of being rendered worthy.
It is unworthy of God to unite himself to miserable man, but it is not unworthy of God to raise him from his misery.
The infinite distance between body and mind is a figure of the infinitely more infinite distance between mind and charity, for this is supernatural.
All the splendour of greatness has no lustre for those who seek understanding.
The greatness of men of understanding is invisible to kings, to the rich, to conquerors, and to all the great according to the flesh.
The greatness of wisdom, which has no existence save in God, is invisible to the carnal and to men of understanding. These are three orders differing in kind.
Men of great genius have their empire, their glory, their grandeur, their victory, their lustre, and do not need worldly greatness, with which they have nothing to do. They are seen, not by the eye, but by the mind; and that is enough.
The saints have their empire, their glory, their victory, their lustre, and want no glory of the flesh or of the mind, with which they have nothing to do, for these add nothing to them, neither do they take away. They are seen of God and the angels, and not by the bodily eye, nor by the curious spirit; God suffices them.
Archimedes without worldly pomp would have had the same reverence. He fought no battles for the eye to gaze on, but he left his discoveries to all minds. O! how brilliant was he to the mind.
Jesus Christ, without riches, and without any exterior manifestation of science, is in his own order of holiness. He gave forth no scientific inventions to the world, he never reigned; but he was humble, patient, holy; holy before God, terrible to devils, without spot of sin. O! in what great pomp, and with what transcendent magnificence did he come to the eyes of the heart, which discern wisdom.
It would have been needless for Archimedes, though of princely birth , to have played the prince in his books on geometry.
It would have been needless to our Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of shining in his kingdom of holiness, to come as kings come; but he did come in the glory proper to his order.
It is most unreasonable to be offended at the lowliness of Jesus Christ, as if this lowliness were in the same order as was the greatness which he came to display. Let us consider this greatness in his life, in his passion, in his obscurity, in his death, in the choice of his disciples, in their desertion of him, in the secrecy of his resurrection, and the rest, and it will seem so vast as to give no room for offence at a lowliness in another order.
But there are those who can only admire carnal as though there were no mental greatness, and others who only admire mental greatness, as though there were not infinitely greater heights in wisdom.
All bodies, the firmament, the stars, the earth and the kingdoms thereof, are not comparable to the lowest mind, for mind knows all these, and itself; the body nothing.
All bodies together and all minds together, and all they can effect, are not worth the least motion of charity. This is of an order infinitely more exalted.
From all bodies together, we cannot extract one little thought: this is impossible and in another order. From all bodies and minds it is impossible to produce a single motion of true charity, it is impossible, it is in another and a supernatural order.
The Jews, in testing if he were God, have shown that he was man.
The Church has had as much difficulty in showing that Jesus Christ was man, against those who denied it, as in showing that he was God. And the evidences were equally great.
Jesus Christ is a God to whom we draw near without pride, and before whom we abase ourselves without despair.
Jesus Christ for all, Moses for a people.
The Jews were blessed in Abraham. “I will bless those that bless thee .” But all nations are blessed in his seed.
Parum est ut, etc. Isaiah.
Lumen ad revelationem gentium.
Non fecit taliteromni nationi, said David in speaking of the Law. But in speaking of Jesus Christ it must be said: Fecit taliter omni nationi.
So it is the property of Jesus Christ to be universal; even the Church offers the sacrifice only for the faithful. Jesus Christ offered that of the cross for all.
The victory over death. What advantageth it a man that he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? He that will save his soul shall lose it.
I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil. Lambs took not away the sins of the world, but I am the lamb who take away sins. Moses gave you not that bread from heaven. Moses has not led you out of captivity, and made you truly free.
Types.—Jesus Christ opened their mind to understand the Scriptures.
There are two great revelations.
1. All things happened to them in figures. vere Israelitæ, vere liberi, true bread from heaven.
2. A God humbled to the cross. It was necessary that Christ should suffer and enter into glory, that he should conquer death by death. Two advents.
The types of the completeness of redemption, as that the sun gives light to all, denote only completeness, but they figuratively imply exclusions, as the Jews elected to the exclusion of the Gentiles denote exclusion.
Jesus Christ the Redeemer of all .—Yes, for he has offered, like a man who has ransomed all who willed to come to him. It is the misfortune of those who die on the way, but as far as he is concerned, he offers them redemption.—That holds good in the example, where he who ransoms and he who hinders from dying are two, but not in Jesus Christ, who does both one and the other.—No, for Jesus Christ in his quality of Redeemer, is not perhaps master of all, and thus so far as in him lies, he is the Redeemer of all.
Jesus Christ would not be slain without the forms of justice, for it is much more ignominious to die by justice than by an unjust sedition.
The elect will be ignorant of their virtues and the reprobate of the greatness of their crimes, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered or athirst?” etc.
Jesus Christ would none of the testimony of devils, nor of those who were not called, but of God and John the Baptist.
Jesus Christ says not that he is not of Nazareth, to leave the wicked in their blindness; nor that he is not the son of Joseph.
[P. 224, l. 22.]Quia non cognovit. The quotation is modified from 1 ad Cor. i 21, and with the important omission of the final word “credentes.”
[P. 225, l. 30.]Quod ergo ignorantes quæritis. Adapted from Act. Ap. xvii. 23. Quod ergo ignorantes colitis ego annuncio vobis.
[P. 226, l. 2.]via, veritas. John. xiv. 6.
[P. 226, l. 16.]Jaddus to Alexander. Jaddus was the Jewish High Priest, who on Alexander’s invasion of Syria refused to aid him. Thereupon Alexander marched on Jerusalem. Jaddus came out to meet him in processional pomp, when the conqueror prostrated himself at his feet, saying he had seen such a man in a dream, who had promised him the Empire of Asia.
[P. 227, l. 21.]Archimedes, though of princely birth. Plutarch says that Archimedes was of a family allied to that of Hiero, King of Syracuse.
[P. 228, l. 21.]I will bless those that bless thee. Gen. xii. 3. Benedicam benedicentibus tibi.
[P. 228, l. 23.]Parum est ut. Is. xlix. 6. Parem est ut sis mihi servus ad suscitandas tribus Jacob et faeces Israel convertendas. Ecce dedi te in lucem gentium.
[P. 228, l. 25.]Non fecit taliter. Ps. cxlvii. 20.
[P. 229, l. 16.]Jesus Christ the Redeemer of all. “Jesu Redemptor omnium” is the first verse of the Christmas Vesper Hymn.
[P. 229, l. 30.]Lord, when saw we thee an hungered? Matt. xxv. 34.