Pascal's Pensées eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about Pascal's Penses.

690

If one of two persons, who are telling silly stories, uses language with a double meaning, understood in his own circle, while the other uses it with only one meaning, any one not in the secret, who hears them both talk in this manner, will pass upon them the same judgment.  But if afterwards, in the rest of their conversation one says angelic things, and the other always dull commonplaces, he will judge that the one spoke in mysteries, and not the other; the one having sufficiently shown that he is incapable of such foolishness, and capable of being mysterious; and the other that he is incapable of mystery, and capable of foolishness.

The Old Testament is a cipher.

691

There are some that see clearly that man has no other enemy than lust, which turns him from God, and not God; and that he has no other good than God, and not a rich land.  Let those who believe that the good of man is in the flesh, and evil in what turns him away from sensual pleasures, [satiate] themselves with them, and [die] in them.  But let those who seek God with all their heart, who are only troubled at not seeing Him, who desire only to possess Him, and have as enemies only those who turn them away from Him, who are grieved at seeing themselves surrounded and overwhelmed with such enemies, take comfort.  I proclaim to them happy news.  There exists a Redeemer for them.  I shall show Him to them.  I shall show that there is a God for them.  I shall not show Him to others.  I shall make them see that a Messiah has been promised, who should deliver them from their enemies, and that One has come to free them from their iniquities, but not from their enemies.

When David foretold that the Messiah would deliver His people from their enemies, one can believe that in the flesh these would be the Egyptians; and then I cannot show that the prophecy was fulfilled.  But one can well believe also that the enemies would be their sins; for indeed the Egyptians were not their enemies, but their sins were so.  This word, enemies, is therefore ambiguous.  But if he says elsewhere, as he does, that He will deliver His people from their sins, as indeed do Isaiah and others, the ambiguity is removed, and the double meaning of enemies is reduced to the simple meaning of iniquities.  For if he had sins in his mind, he could well denote them as enemies; but if he thought of enemies, he could not designate them as iniquities.

Now Moses, David, and Isaiah used the same terms.  Who will say then that they have not the same meaning, and that David’s meaning, which is plainly iniquities when he spoke of enemies, was not the same as [that of] Moses when speaking of enemies?

Daniel (ix) prays for the deliverance of the people from the captivity of their enemies.  But he was thinking of sins, and, to show this, he says that Gabriel came to tell him that his prayer was heard, and that there were only seventy weeks to wait, after which the people would be freed from iniquity, sin would have an end, and the Redeemer, the Holy of Holies, would bring eternal justice, not legal, but eternal.

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Pascal's Pensées from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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