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JESUITS AND JANSENISTS. - 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 Church has always been assailed by contrary errors, but perhaps never at the same time, as now; and if she suffer more because of the multiplicity of errors, she receives this advantage from it, that they destroy each other.
She complains of both, but much the most of the Calvinists, because of the schism.
It is certain that many of the two opposite parties are deceived; they must be disabused.
Faith embraces many truths which seem contradictory. There is a time to laugh,and a time to weep, etc. Responde, ne respondeas, etc.
The source of this is the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ.
And also the two worlds. The creation of a new heaven and a new earth, a new life, a new death, all things double, and the same names remaining.
And finally the two natures which are in the righteous man, for they are the two worlds, and a member and image of Jesus Christ. And thus all the names suit them, righteous, sinners; dead though living, living though dead, elect, reprobate, etc.
There are then a great number of truths in faith and in morals, which seem contrary to each other, which yet all subsist together in a wonderful order.
The source of all heresies is the exclusion of some of these truths.
And the source of all the objections made by heretics against us is the ignorance of some of these truths.
And for the most part it happens that, unable to conceive the relation of two opposite truths, and believing that admission of one involves the exclusion of the other, they embrace the one and exclude the other, thinking that we on the other hand . . . Now exclusion is the cause of their heresy, and ignorance that we hold the other truth causes their objections.
1st example: Jesus Christ is God and man. The Arians, unable to reconcile these things which they believe incompatible, say that he is man, and so far they are Catholics. But they deny that he is God, and so far they are heretics. They assert that we deny his humanity, and so far they are ignorant.
2nd example, on the subject of the Holy Sacrament. We believe that the substance of bread being changed, and consubstantially that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is therein really present. That is one truth. Another is that this sacrament is also a figure of that of the cross and of glory, and a commemoration of the two. That is the Catholic faith, which comprehends these two truths which seem opposed.
The heresy of our day, not conceiving that this sacrament contains at one and the same time both the presence of Jesus Christ and a figure of his presence, that it is a sacrifice and a commemoration of a sacrifice, believes that neither of these truths can be admitted without, by this very reason, the exclusion of the other.
They adhere to this only point, that this sacrament is figurative, and so far they are not heretics. They think that we exclude this truth, hence it comes that they found so many objections on those passages of the Fathers which assert it. Lastly they deny the presence, and so far they are heretics.
3rd example. Indulgences.
Therefore the shortest way to hinder heresies is to teach all truths, and the surest means of refuting them is to declare them all. For what will the heretics say?
If the ancient Church was in error, the Church is fallen; if she is so now it is not the same thing, for she has always the superior maxim of tradition from the hand of the ancient Church; and thus this submission and conformity to the ancient Church prevails and corrects all. But the ancient Church did not postulate the future Church, and did not regard her, as we postulate and regard the ancient.
All err the more dangerously because they follow each a truth, their fault is not that they follow an error, but that they do not follow another truth.
That which hinders us in comparing what formerly took place in the Church with what we now see, is that we are wont to regard Saint Athanasius or Saint Theresa and others as crowned with glory, and acting in regard to us as gods. Now that time has cleared our vision we see that they are so. But when this great saint was persecuted he was a man called Athanasius, and Saint Theresa was a nun. “Elias was a man like ourselves and subject to the same passions as ourselves,” says Saint Peter, to disabuse Christians of that false notion that we must reject the examples of the saints as disproportioned to our state. They were saints, say we, they are not like us. What was the case then? Saint Athanasius was a man called Athanasius, accused of many crimes , condemned by such and such a council for such and such a crime. All the bishops assented to it, and at last the pope. What did they say to those who resisted his condemnation? That they were disturbing the peace, that they were creating a schism, etc.
Four kinds of persons: zeal without knowledge, knowledge without zeal, neither knowledge nor zeal, zeal and knowledge. The first three condemned him, the last absolved him, were excommunicated by the Church and yet saved the Church.
The three notes of Religion: perpetuity, a good life, miracles.
They destroy perpetuity by probability, good life by their morality, miracles in destroying either their truth or their consequence.
If we believe them, the Church has nothing to do with perpetuity, a holy life, or miracles.
Heretics deny them or deny the consequences; they do the same. But those must be devoid of sincerity who deny them, or again have lost their senses if they deny the consequences.
Perpetuity.—Is your character founded on Escobar ?
Perhaps you have reasons for not condemning them; it is enough that you approve of those I address to you on the subject.
Would the pope be dishonoured by gaining his light from God and tradition; and does it not dishonour him to to separate him from this sacred union and . . .
Tertullian: Nunquam Ecclesia reformabitur.
Heretics have always assailed these three notes which they have not.
Those wretches, who have obliged me to speak on the foundations of Religion.
Sinners purified without penitence, just men sanctified without charity, all Christians without the grace of Jesus Christ, God without power over the will of men, a predestination without mystery, a redemption without certainty.
Sinners without penitence, just men without charity, a God without power over the wills of men, a predestination without mystery.
Those who love the Church complain that they see morals corrupted, but laws at least exist. But these corrupt the laws. The model is spoiled.
There is a contradiction; for on the one side they say tradition must be followed, and would not dare disavow it, and on the other they will say whatever pleases them. The former will always be believed in, and indeed it would be going against them not to believe it.
Politics.—We have found two obstacles to the design of comforting men. The one the interior laws of the Gospel, the other the exterior laws of the State and of Religion.
We are masters of the one set of laws, the others we have dealt with in this wise: Amplienda, restringenda, a majori ad minus.
Generals.—It is not enough for them to introduce such morals into our churches, templis inducere mores. Not only do they wish to be tolerated in the Church, but as though they had become the stronger, they would expel those who are not of them.
Mohatra. He who is astonished at this is no theologian.
Who would have told your generals that the time was so near when they would give laws to the Church universal, and would call the refusal of such disorders war, tot et tanta mala pacem.
They cannot have perpetuity, and they seek universality; therefore they make the whole Church corrupt, that they may be saints.
You abuse the credence which the people has in the Church, and make them believe untruth.
I suppose that men believe the miracles:
You corrupt Religion either in favour of your friends, or against your enemies. You dispose of all at your will.
So that if it be true on the one hand that some lax religious, and some corrupt casuists, who are not members of the hierarchy, are steeped in these corruptions, it is on the other hand certain that the true pastors of the Church, who are the true depositories of the divine word, have preserved it unchangeably against the efforts of those who have striven to ruin it.
And thus the faithful have no pretext to follow that laxity which is only offered them by the stranger hands of these casuists, instead of the sound doctrine which is presented to them by the fatherly hands of their own pastors. And the wicked and heretics have no reason to put forward these abuses as marks of the defective providence of God over his Church, since the Church having her true existence in the body of the hierarchy, it is so far from the present condition of things being a proof that God has abandoned her to corruption, that it has never so plainly appeared as at the present day that God visibly defends her from corruption.
For if some of these men, who by an extraordinary vocation have made profession of retirement from the world, and have adopted the religious dress, that they might live in a more perfect state than ordinary Christians, have fallen into disorders which horrify ordinary Christians, and have become among us what the false prophets were among the Jews; this is a private and personal matter, which we must indeed deplore, but from which we can conclude nothing against the care which God takes for his Church; since all these things are so clearly foretold, and it has been long since announced that temptations would arise on account of such persons, so that when we are well instructed we see therein rather the notes of the guidance of God than his forgetfulness in regard to us.
You are ignorant of the prophecies if you do not know that all this must needs happen, princes, prophets, pope, and even the priests. And yet the Church must abide. By the grace of God we are not so far gone. Woe to these priests. But we hope that God will of his mercy grant us that we be not among them.
2 Saint Peter ii. False prophets in the past the image of the future.
Is Est and non est received in faith as well as in miracles, and is it inseparable in the others? . . .
When Saint Xavier works miracles . . .
Saint Hilary.—These wretches who have obliged us to speak of miracles.
Unjust judges, make not your laws on the moment, judge by those which are established, and by yourselves.
To weaken your adversaries you disarni the whole Church.
If they say that our safety depends on God, they are heretics.
If they say they are under obedience to the pope, that is hypocrisy.
If they are ready to assent to all the articles, that is not enough.
If they say that no man should be killed for an apple, they assail the morality of Catholics.
If miracles are wrought among them, it is no mark of holiness, but rather a suspicion of heresy.
The hardness of the Jesuits therefore surpasses that of the Jews, since those refused to believe Jesus Christ innocent only because they doubted if his miracles were of God. But on the contrary, though the Jesuits cannot doubt that the Port Royal miracles were of God, they still continue to doubt the innocency of that house.
Men never commit evil so fully and so gaily as when they do so for conscience sake.
Experience shows us a vast difference between devoutness and goodness.
The two contrary reasons. We must begin with that; without that we understand nothing and all is heretical; in the same way we must even add at the close of each truth that the opposite truth is to be remembered.
If there was ever a time in which it were necessary to make profession of two contraries, it is when we are reproached for omitting one. Therefore the Jesuits and the Jansenists are wrong in concealing them, but the Jansenists most, for the Jesuits have better made profession of the two.
M. de Condran. There is, he says, no comparison between the union of the saints and that of the Holy Trinity. Jesus Christ says the opposite.
That we have treated them as kindly as is possible while keeping ourselves in the mean, between the love of truth and the duty of charity.
That piety does not consist in never opposing our brethren, it would be very easy, etc.
It is false piety to keep peace to the prejudice of the truth. It is also false zeal to keep truth and wound charity.
Neither have they complained.
Their maxims have their time and place.
He will be condemed indeed who is so by Escobar.
Their vanity tends to grow out of their errors.
Conformed to the fathers by their faults, and to the martyrs by their sufferings.
Moreover they do not disavow any of . . .
They had only to take the passage, and disavow it.
M. Bourseys. At least they cannot disavow that they are opposed to the condemnation.
I have re-read them since, for I had not known them . . .
The world must be blind indeed if it believe you.
If men knew themselves, God would heal and pardon. Ne convertantur,et sanem eos, et dimittantur eis peccata. Isaiah. Matt. xiii.
Truth is so obscure in these days, and falsehood so established, that unless we love the truth we shall be unable to know it.
As Jesus Christ remained unknown among men, so his truth remains among ordinary opinions without external difference. Thus the Eucharist among ordinary bread. All faith consists in Jesus Christ and in Adam, and all morals in lust and in grace.
“I have reserved me seven thousand.” I love the worshippers unknown to the world and even to the prophets.
To trust in forms is superstition, but to refuse to submit to forms is pride.
As peace in States has for its sole object the safe preservation of the property of the people, so the peace of the Church has for its sole object the safe preservation of truth, her property and the treasure where her heart is. And as to allow the enemy to enter into a State, and pillage without opposition, for fear of troubling repose, would be to work against the good of peace, because peace, being only just and useful for the security of property, it becomes unjust and harmful when it suffers property to be destroyed, while war in the defence of property becomes just and necessary. So in the Church, when truth is assailed by the enemies of faith, when men would tear it from the heart of the faithful, and cause error to reign there, to remain in peace is rather to betray than to serve the Church, to ruin rather than defend. And as it is plainly a crime to trouble peace where truth reigns, so is it also a crime to rest in peace when truth is destroyed. There is then a time when peace is just, and another when it is unjust. And it is written that there is a time for peace and a time for war, and it is the interest of truth to discern them. But there is not a time for truth and a time for error, and it is written, on the contrary, that the truth of God abideth for ever; and this is why Jesus Christ, who said that he came to bring peace, said also that he came to bring war. But he did not say that he came to bring both truth and falsehood. Truth is then the first rule and the ultimate end of things.
As the two principal interests of the Church are the preservation of the piety of the faithful and the conversion of heretics, we are overwhelmed with grief at the sight of factions now arising, to introduce those errors which more than any others may close for ever against heretics the entrance into our communion, and fatally corrupt those pious and catholic persons who remain to us. This enterprise, made at the present day so openly against those truths of Religion most important for salvation, fills us not only with displeasure, but also with fear and even terror, because, besides the feeling which every Christian must have of these disorders, we have further an obligation to remedy them, and to employ the authority which God has given, to cause that the peoples which he has committed to us, etc.
We must let heretics know, who gain advantage from the doctrine of the Jesuits, that it is not that of the Church . . . the doctrine of the Church, and that our divisions separate us not from the altar.
They hide themselves in the crowd, and call numbers to their aid.
In corrupting the bishops and the Sorbonne, if they have not had the advantage of making their judgment just, they have had that of making their judges unjust. And thus, when in future they are condemned, they will say ad hominem that they are unjust, and thus will refute their judgment. But that does no good. For as they cannot conclude that the Jansenists are rightly condemned because they are condemned, so they cannot conclude then that they themselves will be wrongly condemned because they will be so by corruptible judges. For their condemnation will be just, not because it will be given by judges always just, but by judges just in that particular, which will be shown by other proofs.
These are the effects of the sins of the peoples and of the Jesuits, great men have wished to be flattered, the Jesuits have wished to be loved by the great. They have all been worthy to be given up to the spirit of lying, the one party to deceive, the others to be deceived. They have been greedy, ambitious, pleasure loving: Coacervabunt tibi magistros.
The Jesuits have wished to unite God and the world, and have gained only the scorn of God and the world. For, on the side of conscience this is plain, and on the side of the world they are not good partisans. They have power, as I have often said, but that is in regard to other religious. They will have interest enough to get a chapel built, and to have a jubilee station, not to make appointments to bishoprics and government offices. The position of a monk in the world is a most foolish one, and that they hold by their own declaration.—Father Brisacier, the Benedictines.—Yet . . . you yield to those more powerful than yourselves, and oppress with all your little credit those who have less power for intrigue in the world than you.
Venice. —What advantage will you draw from it, except the princes’ need of it, and the horror the nations have had of it. If these had asked you and, in order to obtain it, had implored the assistance of all Christian princes, you might have boasted of this importunity. But not that during fifty years all the princes have exerted themselves for it in vain, and that it required such a pressing need to obtain it.
If by differing we condemned, you would be right. Uniformity without diversity is useless to others, diversity without uniformity is ruinous for us. The one injures us without; the other within.
We ought to hear both parties, and on this point I have been careful.
When we have heard only one party we are always on that side, but the adverse party makes us change, whereas in this case the Jesuit confirms us.
Not what they do, but what they say.
They cry out against me only. I am content. I know whom to blame for it.
Jesus Christ was a stone of stumbling.
Jesus Christ never condemned without a hearing. To Judas: Amice, ad quid venisti? To him who had not on the wedding garment, the same.
Unless they give up probability their good maxims are as little holy as the bad. For they are founded on human authority, and thus if they are more just they will be more reasonable, but not more holy, they take after the wild stock on which they are graffed.
If what I say serves not to enlighten you, it will aid the people.—If these hold their peace, the stones will cry out.
Silence is the greatest persecution; the saints never held their peace. It is true that a vocation is needed, it is not from the decrees of the Council that we must learn whether we are called, but from the compulsion to speak. Now after Rome has spoken, and we think that she has condemned the truth, and they have written it, and the books which have said the contrary are censured; we must cry so much the louder the more unjustly we are censured, and the more violently they try to stifle speech, until there come a pope who listens to both sides, and who consults antiquity to do justice.
So good popes will find the Church still in an uproar.
The Inquisition and the Society are the two scourges of the truth.
Why do you not accuse them of Arianism? For if they have said that Jesus Christ is God, perhaps it is not with a natural meaning, but as it is said: Dii estis.
If my Letters are condemned at Rome, what I condemn in them is condemned in heaven.
Ad tuum, Domine Jesu, tribunal appello.
You are yourselves corruptible.
I feared that I had written ill when I saw myself condemned, but the example of so many pious writings makes me believe the contrary. Good writing is no longer permitted, so corrupt or ignorant is the Inquisition.
It is better to obey God than men.
I have neither fear nor hope. Not so the bishops. Port Royal fears, and it is a bad policy to dissolve the commuity, for they will fear no longer and will inspire greater fear.
I fear not even your censures, . . . if they be not founded on those of tradition.
Do you censure all? What, even my respect?—No.—Say then, what it is, or you will do nothing, since you do not point out the evil, and why it is evil. And this is what they will have some trouble to do.
Unjust persecutors of those whom God visibly protects.
If they reproach you with your excesses they speak as do the heretics.
If they say that the grace of Jesus Christ separates us, they are heretics.
If miracles are wrought, it is the mark of their heresy.
They say, these are the people of God who thus speak.
My reverend father, all this was done in figures. Other religions perish, this one perishes not.
Miracles are more important than you think, they have served for the foundation, and will serve for the continuance of the Church till the coming of Antichrist, till the end.
The two witnesses.
In the Old Testament and the New, miracles are wrought in connection with types. Salvation or an useless thing, if not to show that we must submit to the creature.—Figure of the sacraments.
The synagogue was a figure and so it perished not, and it was only the figure and so it has perished. It was a figure which contained the truth, and so it subsisted till it contained the truth no longer.
The exaggerated notion which you have of the importance of your society has made you establish these horrible ways. It is very plain that it has made you follow the way of slander, since you blame in me as horrible the same impostures which you excuse in yourselves, because you regard me as a private person, and yourselves as imago.
It plainly appears that your praises are follies, by those which are crazy, as the privilege of the uncondemned.
Is this giving courage to your children to condemn them when they serve the Church?
It is an artifice of the devil to turn in another direction the arms with which these people used to combat heresies.
You are bad politicians.
The history of the man born blind.
What says Saint Paul? Does he constantly speak of the bearing of prophecies? No, but of his miracles.
What says Jesus Christ? Does he expound the bearing of the prophecies? No, his death had not fulfilled them; but he says, si non fecissem: believe the works.
Si non fecissem quæ alius non fecit.
These wretches who have obliged us to speak of miracles!
Abraham and Gideon confirmed faith by miracles.
There are two supernatural foundations of our wholly supernatural Religion, the one visible, the other invisible.
Miracles with grace, miracles without grace.
The synagogue, which has been treated with love as a figure of the Church, and with hatred because it was only the figure, has been restored, being about to fall when it was well with God, and thus a figure.
The miracles prove the power which God has over hearts by that which he exercises over the body.
The Church has never approved a miracle among heretics.
Miracles are a support of religion. They have been the test of Jews, of Christians, of saints, of innocents, and of true believers.
A miracle among schismatics is not much to be feared, for schism which is more evident than miracle, evidently marks their error; but when there is no schism, and error is in question, miracle is the test.
Judith. God speaks at length in their extreme oppression.
If because charity has grown cold the Church is left almost without true worshippers, miracles will raise them up.
This is one of the last effects of grace.
If only a miracle were wrought among the Jesuits!
When a miracle deceives the expectation of those in whose presence it occurs, and when there is a disproportion between the state of their faith and the instrument of the miracle it must lead them to change; but with you it is the opposite. There would be as much reason in saying that if the Eucharist raised a dead man one ought to turn Calvinist rather than remain a Catholic. But when he crowns the expectation, and those who have hoped that God would bless the remedies see themselves cured without remedies . . .
The wicked.—No sign was ever given on the part of the devil without a stronger sign on the part of God, at least unless it were foretold that this would be so.
These nuns, amazed at what is said, that they are in the way of perdition, that their confessors are leading them to Geneva and teach them Jesus Christ is not in the Eucharist, nor on the right hand of the Father, know all this to be false, and offer then themselves to God in that state. Vide si via iniquitatis in me est. What happens thereupon? The place, which is said to be the temple of the devil, God makes his own temple. It is said that the children must be taken away, God heals them there. It is said to be hell’s arsenal, God makes of it the sanctuary of his graces. Lastly, they are threatened with all the furies and all the vengeance of heaven, and God loads them with favours. Those must have lost their senses, who therefore believe them in the way of perdition.—We have, without doubt, the same tokens as Saint Athanasius.—
The five propositions were equivocal; they are so no longer.
With so many other signs of piety they have that of persecution also, which is the best mark of piety.
By showing the truth we gain belief for it, but by showing the injustice of ministers, we do not correct it. Conscience is made secure by a demonstration of falsehood; our purse is not made secure by the demonstration of injustice.
Miracles and truth are both needful, as we have to convince the whole man, body and soul alike.
It is good that their deeds should be unjust, for fear it should not appear that the Molinists have acted justly. Thus there is no need to spare them, they are worthy to commit them.
The Church, the Pope.—Unity, plurality. Considering the Church as unity, the pope its head, is as the whole; considered as plurality, the pope is only a part of it. The Fathers have considered the Church now in this way, now in that, and thus they have spoken in divers ways of the pope.
Saint Cyprian, sacerdos Dei.
But in establishing one of these two truths, they have not excluded the other.
Plurality which cannot be reduced to unity is confusion. Unity which depends not on plurality is tyranny.
There is scarce any where left but France in which it is allowable to say that a council is below the pope.
We may not judge of what the pope is by some words of the Fathers—as the Greeks said in a council, important rules—but by the acts of the Church and the Fathers, and by the canons.
Unity and plurality: Duo aut tres in unum. It is an error to exclude one of the two, as the papists do who exclude plurality, or the Huguenots who exclude unity.
The pope is chief, who else is known of all, who else is recognised by all? Having power to insinuate himself into all the body, because he holds the leading shoot, which extends itself everywhere.
How easy to cause this to degenerate into tyranny? This is why Jesus Christ has laid down for them this precept: Vos autem non sic.
God works not miracles in the ordinary conduct of his Church. It would be a strange miracle, did infallibility reside in one, but that it should dwell in a multitude appears so natural that the ways of God are concealed under nature, as all his other works.
Men desire certainty, they like the pope to be infallible in faith, grave doctors to be infallible in morals, in order to have certainty.
The pope hates and fears men of science, who are not at once submissive to him.
Kings are masters of their own power, not so the popes,
Whenever the Jesuits take the pope unawares, they will make all Christendom perjured.
It is very easy to take the pope unawares, because of his occupations, and the trust which he has in the Jesuits, and the Jesuits are very capable of taking him unawares by means of calumny.
The five propositions condemned, yet no miracle, for truth was not attacked, but the Sorbonne and the bull.
It is impossible that those who love God with all their heart, should misunderstand the Church, which is so evident.
It is impossible that those who love not God should be convinced of the Church.
Let us look to the discourses on the 2nd, 4th, and 5th of the Jansenist. They are lofty and grave.
We would not make a friend of either.
The ear only is consulted because the heart is wanting.
Beauty of omission, of judgment.
The rule is that of honourable conduct.
Poet and not honourable man.
Canonical.—The heretical books in the early age of the Church serve to prove the canonical.
Heretics.—Ezekiel. All the heathens spake evil of Israel, and the Prophet did the same, yet the Israelites were so far from having the right to say to him, “You speak as the heathen,” that he made it his strongest point that the heathens said the same as he.
Those are feeble souls who know the truth, and uphold it only so far as their interest is concerned, but beyond that abandon it.
Annat. He makes the disciple without ignorance, and the master without presumption.
There is such great disproportion between the merit which he thinks he has and his stupidity, that it is hard to believe he mistakes himself so completely.
And will this one scorn the other?
Who should scorn? Yet he scorns not the other, but pities him.
Port Royal is surely as good as Voltigerod.
So far as your proceeding is just according to this bias, so far is it unjust on the side of Christian piety.
Montalte. —Lax opinions are so pleasing to men, that it is strange that theirs displease. It is because they have exceeded all bounds; and more, there many persons who see the truth, yet cannot attain to it; but there are few who do not know that the purity of religion is contrary to our corruptions. It is absurd to say that eternal reward is offered to the morals of Escobar.
But is it probable that probability gives certainty?—Difference between rest and security of conscience. Nothing but truth gives certainty. Nothing gives rest but a sincere search after truth.
Probability. They have oddly explained certainty, for after having established that all their ways are sure, they no longer call that sure which leads to heaven without danger of not arriving thereby, but that which leads there without danger of going out of the road.
Now probability is necessary for the other maxims, as for that of the friend and the slanderer.
A fructibus eorum, judge of their faith by their morals.
Probability is little without corrupt means, and means are nothing without probability.
There is pleasure in being able to do good, and in knowing how to do good, scire et posse. Grace and probability give this pleasure, for we can render our account to God in reliance upon their authors.
Everyone can impose it, none can take it away.
Probable.—If as bad reasons as these are probable, all would be so.
1. Reason. Dominus actuum conjugalium. Molina.
2. Reason. Non potest compensari.Lessius.
To oppose not with holy, but with abominable maxims.
They reason as those who prove that it is night at midday.
Bauny, the burner of barns.
. . . The Council of Trent for priests in mortal sin: quam primum . . .
Probable.—Let us see if we seek God sincerely, by the comparison of things we love.
It is probable that this meat will not poison me.
It is probable that I shall not lose my lawsuit if I do not bring it.
If it were true that grave authors and reasons would suffice, I say that they are neither grave nor reasonable. What! a husband may make profit of his wife according to Molina. Is the reason he gives reasonable, and the contrary one of Lessius reasonable also?
Would you dare thus to trifle with the edicts of the King, as by saying that to go for a walk in a field and wait for a man is not to fight a duel?
That the Church has indeed forbidden duelling, but not taking a walk?
And usury too, but not . . .
And simony, but not . . .
And vengeance, but not . . .
And unnatural crime, but not . . .
And quam primum, but not . . .
Take away probability, and you can no longer please the world, give probability, and you can no longer displease it.
Universal.—Morals and language are special but universal sciences.
Probability.—The zeal of the saints to seek the truth, was useless if the probable is certain.
The fear of the saints who have always followed the surest way.
Saint Theresa having always followed her confessor.
Probability.—They have some true principles, but they abuse them. Now the abuse of truth should be as much punished as the introduction of falsehood.
As if there were two hells, one for sins against charity, the other for sins against justice.
Men who do not keep their word, without faith, without honour, without truth, double hearted, double tongued, like the reproach once flung at that amphibious creature in the fable, who kept itself in a doubtful position between the fish and the birds.
It is of importance to kings and princes to be supposed pious, and therefore they must take you for their confessors.
State super viaset interrogate de semitis antiquis, et ambulate in eis. Et dixerunt: Non ambulabimus, sed post cogitationem nostram ibimus. They have said to the nations: Come to us, we will follow the opinions of the new authors, reason shall be our guide, we will be as the other nations who follow each their natural light. Philosophers have . . .
All religions and sects in the world have had natural reason for a guide. Christians alone have been obliged to take their rules from without themselves, and to acquaint themselves with those which Jesus Christ left to men of old time to be transmitted to the faithful. This constraint is wearisome to these good fathers. They desire like the rest of the world to have liberty to follow their imaginations. In vain we cry to them, as the prophets to the Jews of old: “Enter into the Church, enquire of the ways which men of old have left to her, and follow those paths.” They have answered, as did the Jews, “We will not walk in them, but we will follow the thoughts of our hearts;” and they have said, “We will be as the nations round about us.”
Can it be any thing but the desire to please the world which makes you find things probable? Will you make us believe that it is truth, and that if duelling were not the fashion, you would find it probable they might fight, looking at the matter in itself?
The whole society of their casuists cannot give assurance to a conscience in error, and therefore it is important to choose safe guides.
Thus they will be doubly guilty, both in having followed ways which they should not follow, and in having hearkened to teachers to whom they should not hearken.
Casuists submit the decision to corrupt reason, and the choice of decisions to corrupt will, so that all that is corrupt in the nature of man may help to rule his conduct.
They allow lust free play, and restrict scruples, whereas they should do the exact contrary.
Must we slay in order that the wicked may cease to be? This is to make two wicked instead of one. Vince in bono malum. Saint Augustine.
The servant does not know what the master does, for the master tells him only the act and not the purpose; this is why he is so often slavishly obedient and often sins against the purpose. But Jesus Christ tells us the purpose.
And you destroy this purpose.
Art thou less a slave because thy master loves and caresses thee? Thou art indeed well off, slave. Thy master caresses thee, he will presently beat thee.
Those who wrote thus in Latin speak in French.
The evil having been done of putting these things in French, we ought to do the good of condemning them.
There is one only heresy, which is differently explained in the schools and in the world.
On confessions and absolutions without signs of regret. God looks at the heart alone, the Church looks at outward actions; God absolves as soon as he sees penitence in the heart, the Church when she sees it in works. God will make a Church pure within, which puts to confusion by its interior and perfect spiritual holiness the interior impiety of proud philosophers and Pharisees, and the Church will make an assembly of men whose external morals are so pure that they put to confusion heathen morals. If some are hypocrites, but so well disguised that she does not recognise their venom, she bears with them, for though they are not accepted of God, whom they cannot deceive, they are of men, whom they deceive. And thus she is not dishoured by their conduct which appears holy. But you will have it that the Church should judge neither of the heart, for that belongs to God alone, nor of works, because God looks at the heart alone; and so taking away from her all choice of men, you retain in the Church the most debauched and those who so greatly dishonour her, that the synagogues of the Jews and the sects of the philosophers would have cast them out as unworthy, and have abhorred them as impious.
God has not willed to absolve without the Church. As she has part in the offence he wills that she should have part in the pardon. He associates her with this power as kings their parliaments; but if she binds or looses without God, she is no more the Church, as in the case of parliament. For even if the king have pardoned a man, it is necessary that it should be ratified; but if the parliament ratifies without the king, or refuses to ratify on the order of the king, it is no more the parliament of the king, but a revolutionary body.
The Church teaches and God inspires, both infallibly. The operation of the Church serves only to prepare for grace or for condemnation. What it does suffices for condemnation, not for inspiration.
The Church has in vain established these words, anathema, heresies. They are used against herself.
It is not absolution only which remits sins by the Sacrament of Penance, but contrition, which is not a true contrition if it does not frequent the sacrament.
Thus, again, it is not the nuptial benediction which hinders sin in generation, but the desire of begetting children for God, which is no true desire except in marriage.
And as a contrite man without the sacrament is more disposed for absolution than an impenitent man with the sacrament, so the daughters of Lot, for instance, who had only the desire for children, were more pure without marriage than married persons without desire for children.
Casuists.—Much almsgiving, reasonable penance; even when we cannot assign what is just, we see plainly what is not. It is strange that casuists believe they can interpret this as they do.
People who accustom themselves to speak ill and to think ill.
Their great number, far from marking their perfection, marks the contrary.
The humility of one makes the pride of many.
They make a rule of the exception. If the ancient fathers gave absolution before penance; do this only as an exception. But of the exception you make a rule without exception, so that you will not even have it that the rule is exceptional.
Priest still who will, as under Jeroboam.
It is a horrible thing that they submit to us the discipline of the Church in our days as so excellent that it is made a crime to wish to change it. Formerly it was infallibly good, and it was found it might be changed without sin, and now, such as it is, we ought not to wish it changed!
It has indeed been allowed to change the custom of not making priests save with such great circumspection, that there were scarcely any who were worthy, yet we are not allowed to complain of the custom which makes so many who are unworthy.
Two sorts of people place things on the same level, as feasts and working days, Christians and priests, all sins among themselves, etc. Therefore the one set conclude that what is bad for priests is so for Christians, and the other that what is not bad for Christians is permissible for priests.
The Jansenists are like the heretics in the reformation of their morals, but you are like them in evil.
Superstition to believe propositions, etc.
If Saint Augustine came at this day, and was as little authorised as his defenders, he would do nothing. God governs his Church well, in that he sent him before with authority.
Grace is needed to make a man into a saint, and if any man doubt this he knows not what is a saint, nor what is a man.
The motions of grace, hardness of heart, external circumstances.
Grace will ever be in the world, and nature also, so that grace is in some sort natural. Thus there will be always Pelagians, always Catholics, always strife.
Because the first birth constitutes the one, and the grace of regeneration the other.
It will be one of the confusions of the damned to see themselves condemned by their own reason, by which they have thought to condemn the Christian religion.
When it is said that Jesus Christ died not for all, you take advantage of a defect inherent in men who immediately apply this exception to themselves, which is to favour despair instead of turning men from it to favour hope. For so we accustom ourselves to interior virtues by exterior customs.
There is heresy in always explaining omnes by ‘all,’ and heresy in not explaining it sometimes by ‘all.’ Bibite ex hoc omnes, the Huguenots are heretics in explaining it by ‘all.’ In quo omnes peccaverunt, the Huguenots are heretics in excepting the children of the faithful. We must then follow the fathers and tradition to know when to do so, since there is heresy to be feared on one side or the other.
A point of form.—When Saint Peter and the apostles consulted about the abolition of circumcision, when it was a question of acting in contradiction to the law of God, they did not consult the prophets, but considered simply the reception of the Holy Spirit in the persons uncircumcised. They judged it more certain that God approved those whom he filled with his Spirit, than it was that the law must be observed.
They knew that the end of the Law was none other than the Holy Spirit, and thus as men certainly had this without circumcision, circumcision was not needful.
But to preserve pre-eminence to himself he gives prayer to whom he pleases.
Why God has established prayer.
1. To communicate to his creatures the dignity of causality.
2. To teach us from whom our virtue comes.
3. To make us deserve other virtues by work.
Objection. But we believe that prayer comes from ourselves.
This is absurd, for since before we have faith, we cannot have virtues, how should we have faith? Is there a greater distance between infidelity and faith than between faith and virtue?
Merit. This word is ambiguous.
Meruit habere Redemptorem.
Meruit tam sacra membra tangere.
Digna tam sacra membra tangere.
Non sum dignus, qui manducat indignus.
Dignus est accipere.
God is only bound according to his promises.
He has promised to do justice to prayer, he has never promised prayer only to the children of promise.
Si does not mark indifference. Malachi, Isaiah.
Isaiah. Si volumus, etc.
In quacumque die.
Ne timeas, pusillus grex.Timore et tremore.—Quid ergo? Ne timeas, modo timeas.
Fear not, provided you fear, but if you fear not, then fear.
Qui me recipit,non me recipit, sed eum qui me misit.
Saint John was to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and Jesus Christ was to sow division. In this there is no contradiction.
The effects in communi and in particulari. The semi-Pelagians err in saying of in communi what is true only in particulari, and the Calvinists in saying in particulari what is true in communi. So it seems to me.
Saint Augustine has said expressly that power would be taken away from the righteous. But it is by chance that he said it, for it might have been that the chance of saying it did not occur. But his principles make us see that when the occasion for it presented itself, it was impossible he should not say so, or that he should say anything to the contrary. It is then rather that he was forced to say it, when the occasion offered itself, than that he said it, the occasion having offered itself, the one being of necessity, the other of chance. But the two are all that we could ask.
The end. Are we certain? Is this principle certain? Let us examine.
The testimony of a man’s self is naught. Saint Thomas.
The image alone of all these mysteries has been openly showed to the Jews and by Saint John the forerunner, and then the other mysteries, to mark that in each man as in the world at large this order must be observed.
It is, in technical language, wholly the body of Jesus Christ, but it cannot be said to be the whole body of Jesus Christ.
The union of two things without change cannot enable us to say that one becomes the other.
Thus the soul is united to the body, the fire to the fuel, without change.
But change is necessary to make the form of the one become the form of the other.
Thus the union of the Word to man.
Because my body without my soul would not make the body of a man, then my soul united to any matter whatsoever would make my body.
It distinguishes for me the necessary condition with a sufficient condition, the union is necessary, but not sufficient.
The left arm is not the right.
Impenetrability is a property of matter.
Identity of number in regard to the same time requires the identity of matter.
Thus if God united my soul to a body in China, the same body, idem numero would be in China.
The same river which runs there is idem numero as that which runs at the same time in China.
[P. 273.]Jesuits and Jansenists. A collection of fragments on these subjects, which perhaps might be considered rather as an appendix to, or notes for the Provincial Letters, than a part of the Thoughts, properly so called. But they form part of the autograph MS.
[P. 273, l. 11.]There is a time to laugh. Eccles. iii. 4.
[P. 275, l. 16.]Elias was a man like ourselves. Quoted by memory as from St. Peter, but really from St. James, v. 17.
[P. 275, l. 22.]accused of many crimes. Athanasius was accused of rape, of murder, and of sacrilege. He was condemned by the Councils of Tyre, ad 335, of Arles, ad 353, and of Milan ad 355. Pope Liberius, after having long refused to ratify the condemnation, was said to have finally done so ad 357. But this is disputed by recent authorities. For Athanasius we are of course here to read Jansenius and Arnauld; for St. Theresa, la mère Angélique or la mère Agnès; for Liberius, Clement IX.
[P. 276, l. 7.]Antonio Escobar y Mendoza. The Spanish Jesuit whose system of morals was so severely handled by Pascal in the Provincial Letters. He is among those whose names have given rise to a word: “escobarderie” is a synonym for equivocation.
[P. 276, l. 16.]Molina, Louis, a Spanish Jesuit, born 1535, died 1601. The Jansenists accused his Commentary on the Summa of Saint Thomas Aquinas of favouring a lax morality.
[P. 277, l. 13.]Moluitra. “The contract Mohatra, by which a man buys cloth at a dear rate and on credit, to re-sell it at once to the same person cheaply for ready money.” Eighth Provincial.
[P. 278, l. 33.]Est and non est “Distinguo” applied in matters of faith.
[P. 278, l. 38.]Væ qui conditis leges iniquas. Is. x. 1. But the Vulgate reads Væ qui condunt.
[P. 279, l. 34.]M. de Condran. No doubt Charles de Condren, 1588-1641, doctor of the Sorbonne, and second General of the French Oratory, a society of priests founded by Cardinal de Bérulle at Paris in 1611.
[P. 280, l. 18.]Sanct ficavi prælium. Mic. iii. 5.
[P. 280, l. 24.]Ne convertantur. Is. vi. 10.
[P. 282, l. 34.]Coacervabunt tibi magistros. 2 ad Tim. iv. 3, where the Vulgate has “sibi.”
[P. 283, l. 7.]not to make appointments to bishoprics. But a few years after this Fathers La Chaise and Le Tellier, as Confessors to the King, had this power in their hands.
[P. 283, l. 10.]Father Brisacier, born 1603, a Jesuit, and a warm opponent of Jansenism. He wrote Le Jansénisme confondu, and several minor works. He is constantly quoted in the Provincial Letters.
[P. 283, l. 14.]Venice. The Jesuits had just returned to Venice in 1657, having been expelled thence in 1606.
[P. 284, l. 1.]Amice, ad quid venisti. Matt. xxvi. 50.
[P. 284, l. 3.]probability, or, technically, probabilism. Probabilism teaches that it is permissible to act on an opinion which is less probable than the opinion opposed to it so long as there is a solid ground for regarding it as probable in itself. Thus, if out of three moral theologians of recognized authority, two give it as their opinion that a certain course of conduct is unlawful, while the third asserts it to be lawful, probabilism permits the adoption in practice of the third opinion in opposition to the other two. A confessor would therefore have no right to forbid it under pain of sin.
[P. 284, l. 27.]Dii estis. Ps. lxxxii. 6.
[P. 284, l. 28.]If my Letters are condemned at Rome. The Provincial Letters were condemned at Rome, Sept. 6, 1657.
[P. 285, l. 35.]imago. An allusion to the famous panegyric on the Jesuits called, “Imago primi sæculi.” See Fifth Provincial.
[P. 286, l. 12.]Si non fecissem quæ alius non fecit. Joh. xv. 24.
[P. 287, l. 12.]These nuns. The nuns of Port Royal were called upon to sign the Formula which declared that the Five Propositions were in Jansenius.
[P. 287, l. 16.]Vide si via iniquitatis in me est. Ps. cxxxix. 24.
[P. 287, l. 27.]they are so no longer, i.e. since the miracle.
[P. 288, l. 31.]Vos autem non sic. Luc. xxii. 26.
[P. 290, l. 8.]Annat, 1590-1670, a Jesuit priest, Provincial of the Order, and Confessor to Louis XIV., 1654-1670. He wrote the well-known book, Le Rabat-joie des Jansénists, 1666, and to him were addressed Pascal’s Seventeenth and Eighteenth Provincials.
[P. 290, l. 19.]Montalte. Louis de Montalte was the pseudonym adopted by Pascal as the writer of the Provincial Letters.
[P. 291, l. 5.]A fructibus eorum. Matt. vii. 16.
[P. 291, l. 17.]Lessius, Leonard, a Jesuit born at Brecht, near Antwerp, 1554, died 1623, a pupil of Suarez. He was censured by the Faculty of Louvain in 1584. He wrote, among others, a treatise, De licito usu æquivocationum et mentalium restrictionum.
[P. 291, l. 21.]Bauny. Pascal in his Eighth Provincial quotes an opinion of Father Bauny on the question of restitution to be made by one who has caused the burning of his neighbour’s barn.
[P. 291, l. 23.]quam primum. A reference to the rule that if a priest personally disqualified from saying Mass on account of any mortal sin is yet obliged to do so for the sake of his parishioners, it is sufficient that he make an act of contrition, and as soon as possible “quam primum” seek the Sacrament of Penance.
[P. 292, l. 30.]State super vias. A partial quotation from Jer. vi. 16.
[P. 293, l. 32.]Vince in bono malum. Ad Rom. xii. 21.
[P. 297, l. 18.]Bibite ex hoc omnes. Matt. xxvi. 27.
[P. 297, l. 20.]In quo omnes peccaverunt. Ad Rom. v. 12.
[P. 298, l. 27.]Ne timeas, pusillus grex. Luc. xii. 32.
[P. 298, l. 31.]Qui me recipit. Matt. x. 40.
[P. 298, l. 32.]Nemo scit neque Filius. Luc. x. 22.
[P. 298, l. 33.]Nubes lucida obumbravit. Matt. xvii. v.