Pascal's Pensées eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 370 pages of information about Pascal's Pensées.

The end of this discourse.—­Now, what harm will befall you in taking this side?  You will be faithful, honest, humble, grateful, generous, a sincere friend, truthful.  Certainly you will not have those poisonous pleasures, glory and luxury; but will you not have others?  I will tell you that you will thereby gain in this life, and that, at each step you take on this road, you will see so great certainty of gain, so much nothingness in what you risk, that you will at last recognise that you have wagered for something certain and infinite, for which you have given nothing.

“Ah!  This discourse transports me, charms me,” etc.

If this discourse pleases you and seems impressive, know that it is made by a man who has knelt, both before and after it, in prayer to that Being, infinite and without parts, before whom he lays all he has, for you also to lay before Him all you have for your own good and for His glory, that so strength may be given to lowliness.


If we must not act save on a certainty, we ought not to act on religion, for it is not certain.  But how many things we do on an uncertainty, sea voyages, battles!  I say then we must do nothing at all, for nothing is certain, and that there is more certainty in religion than there is as to whether we may see to-morrow; for it is not certain that we may see to-morrow, and it is certainly possible that we may not see it.  We cannot say as much about religion.  It is not certain that it is; but who will venture to say that it is certainly possible that it is not?  Now when we work for to-morrow, and so on an uncertainty, we act reasonably; for we ought to work for an uncertainty according to the doctrine of chance which was demonstrated above.

Saint Augustine has seen that we work for an uncertainty, on sea, in battle, etc.  But he has not seen the doctrine of chance which proves that we should do so.  Montaigne has seen that we are shocked at a fool, and that habit is all-powerful; but he has not seen the reason of this effect.

All these persons have seen the effects, but they have not seen the causes.  They are, in comparison with those who have discovered the causes, as those who have only eyes are in comparison with those who have intellect.  For the effects are perceptible by sense, and the causes are visible only to the intellect.  And although these effects are seen by the mind, this mind is, in comparison with the mind which sees the causes, as the bodily senses are in comparison with the intellect.


Rem viderunt, causam non viderunt.


According to the doctrine of chance, you ought to put yourself to the trouble of searching for the truth; for if you die without worshipping the True Cause, you are lost.—­“But,” say you, “if He had wished me to worship Him, He would have left me signs of His will.”—­He has done so; but you neglect them.  Seek them, therefore; it is well worth it.

Project Gutenberg
Pascal's Pensées from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook