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Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
holds that without the support of an alleged supernatural character and power, His work must have perished.  Everything, to succeed and be realised, must, we are told, be fortified with something of alloy.  We are reminded of the “loi fatale qui condamne l’idee a dechoir des qu’elle cherche a convertir les hommes.”  “Concevoir de bien, en efifet, ne suffit pas; il faut le faire reussir parmi les hommes.  Pour cela, des voies moins pures sont necessaires.”  If the Great Teacher had kept to the simplicity of His early lessons, He would have been greater, but “the truth would not have been promulgated.”  “He had to choose between these two alternatives, either renouncing his mission or becoming a ‘thaumaturge.’” The miracles “were a violence done to him by his age, a concession which was wrung from him by a passing necessity.”  And if we feel startled at such a view, we are reminded that we must not measure the sincerity of Orientals by our own rigid and critical idea of veracity; and that “such is the weakness of the human mind, that the best causes are not usually won but by bad reasons,” and that the greatest of discoverers and founders have only triumphed over their difficulties “by daily taking account of men’s weakness and by not always giving the true reasons of the truth.”

L’histoire est impossible si l’on n’admet hautement qu’il y a pour la sincerite plusieurs mesures.  Toutes les grandes choses se font par le peuple, or on ne conduit pas le peuple qu’en se pretant a ses idees.  Le philosophe, qui sachant cela, s’isole et se retranche dans sa noblesse, est hautement louable.  Mais celui qui prend l’humanite avec ses illusions et cherche a agir sur elle et avec elle, ne saurait etre blame.  Cesar savait fort bien qu’il n’etait pas fils de Venus; la France ne serait pas ce qu’elle est si l’on n’avait cru mille ans a la sainte ampoule de Reims.  Il nous est facile a nous autres, impuissants que nous sommes, d’appeler cela mensonge, et fiers de notre timide honnetete, de traiter avec dedain les heros qui out accepte dans d’autres conditions la lutte de la vie.  Quand nous aurons fait avec nos scrupules ce qu’ils firent avec leurs mensonges, nous aurons le droit d’etre pour eux severes.

Now let M. Renan or any one else realise what is involved, on his supposition, not merely, as he says, of “illusion or madness,” but of wilful deceit and falsehood, in the history of Lazarus, even according to his lame and hesitating attempt to soften it down and extenuate it; and then put side by side with it the terms in which M. Renan has summed up the moral greatness of Him of whom he writes:—­

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