God and Man - Conferences Delivered at Notre Dame in Paris

Jean-Baptiste Henri-Dominique Lacordaire

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(If

God

and man

CON FERENCES DELIVERED AT

NOTRE DAME

IN PARIS,

REV. PERE LACORDAIRE. OF THE ORDEK OF FUIAR-PBEAf'HEBS

Tw»jsla.ted

feom the Feench,

^VITH

THE Author

s

Permissioh,

BY A TeKTIAKT of THE SAME OkDEE.

NEW YOKK: >

P O'

r.

H E A PUBLISHER, WARREN STREET.

45

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year Entered accoi-ain- to Art of Oougress, In the P.

lli tlic

1

1879,

Ur

OSHKA,

Olllce 01 t:ie Librariau of

Couyress at Washington.

TO

THE CHEVALIER TELLES JOKDAO, A TKIBUTK

(>w

ESTKKM

>N1) >\Kl''KCTiOX

FROM THF.

TRANSLATOR,

H. D. L.

ADD

»

St.

Luke,

The

viii.

8.

in-

14G fluence into the narrow vase of our heart, must incite

inspire

it,

manner

ful

it,

tlian

produce in

human

more power-

in a

it,

eloquence, the assimilation

of the inferior to the superior soul.

whence springs

the intercourse

all

and man, and man and God.

It is there

between God

If the eternal soul

does not really approach the created soul here below,

religion

tals

of

its

bat a dream over which

is

We

ought to weep.

temples, as over the portal of hell, JVJto-

ever enters here must leave hope hehind him.

the Spirit of as

God

that gives

man

the spirit of

it is

nothing more than a dead bod}'

in a

God being always

word

Once

and its

in

human

whatever form

it

may

it,

in the ruins

it

on the

to

tlie

only an echo disdained by hear

subsist,

and

it

lano-uaofe Derishes

time makes, and gives

still

liis

thousand

3'ears as

enounced

;

it

tomb. also

it is

first

Now exists

may go

aided

by

Whilst

furrow which

ear of generations

tliose

who its

think they

immortality

It is as fertile after

on the day when

inspires the

it

in him.

the divine word sows of the world.

spirit is

its

sent from him, wherever

Father who lives in

human

that gives life to

living,

It is

the divine word,

life to

Language separated from

language.

always.

we

should inscribe over the por-

same

faith,

it

a

Avas first

creates the

147

same works,

them

effaces

That

life

recognised

is

by

all

has a

that of

name

of the relations between

grace

—that

is

by

the same signs, and

its

own

life.

celebrated in the history

man and God

to say, the

unmerited

it is

;

called

the high-

gift,

intimate contact

And what gift indeed can be God himself placed in with the spirit of man This is

the marvel which

began with the world, and whose

of

est

all

gifts.

greater than the Spirit of

!

consummation by Christ the prophets announced from hour to hour. David said. Cast me not ntvay from

thy presence,

me}^

Solomon

except thou give

above!

'^

shall rest

and

said.

take not thy

And tvho shall Jmow

upon him;

And

the spirit

of tvisdom and of under-

flesh;

I will pour

of God,

of the Lord

the Spirit

and of

of knoivledge and of godliness}^

name

tlie

thy thoiiyht,

wisdom and send thy Holy Spirit from

Isaiah said.

standing^ the spirit of counsel spirit

Holy Spirit from

out

my

and your sons and your daughters

fortitude,

the

Joel said in Spirit upon all shall prophesy

your old men shall dream dreams, and your young

men

shall see visions}*

baptize

than

you

/, the

^^

Ps.

**

Wisd.

The precursor

tvith ivater; hut there shall

latchet

of whose shoes I '3

li. IT.

15

St.

Luke,

iii.

16.

/ indeed

come one mightier

am

not ivorthy

^vigd. xi.

" Joel

ix. 17.

said,

ii.

2.

28.

to

148 loose, lie shall baptize

And

ivith fire}"

you

what

to

speak; for

what

to

my

for

it

speak; for

the

Holy Spirit and

said,

Wlien they shall

ivitli

Jesus Christ

deliver

tip

you

sake, take no thought hoiv or

shall he given to

it

I

hour

that

not you that speak, hut the

is

Spirit of your Father that speaketh in also,

you in

you.^^

He

said

ask the Father, and he shall give you

ivill

may ahide with you for ever, whom the ivorld cannot receive,

another Paraclete, that he the Spirit

of

because

seeth

it

truth,

Mm

not,

nor knoiveth him; hut you

shall knoiv him, because he shall ahide with

shall he in you}^

of

Not

God and very God,

Son

that Jesus Christ, the

did not communicate to his

grace and truth whose fulness he

disciples the M^as

you and

but because, being the eternal Yv^ord, he was

;

especially charged with the solving of the word,

which

is

the

first

prophetic element, whilst the

effusion of grace, the second element of prophecy,

was reserved

in all its plenitude to the third person

Holy

Trinity, coeternally issued from the

of the

Father and the Son, the love, the last

and bond of

fruit

their

term of their divine fecundity, and

therefore charged with placing the final seal of to the

work

of

God

in time.

It

was

the two prophetic elements, the >«

St. Matt. X. 10, 20.

'•

St.

life

fitting also that

word and

John

grace,

xiv. 16, 17.

149

altlioiigli

inseparable from one another, should,

nevertheless, have

had a

mankind, warned by

tJie

distinct emission, so that

grandeur of that double

accession, should feel that

it

was not capable of

communicating with God, even by means of

his

word, without the perpetual and intimate assistance of the divine Spirit.

such

is

Paraclete announced visibly

Such was the

the sense of that great

upon the

by Jesus

day

and

object,

in

which

tlie

Christ descended

and taking from them the remains of weakness and obscurity which they ]iad still in

apostles,

them, made of them those

men

blood, after that of Christ, has founded

M'hose

upon

earth

the reign of truth.

There are but few among you who have not

known by

personal experience the reality of the

prophetic mystery.

You have

all

received the seeds

of that language, which resembles none other

;

all

you at some time or other, as children or 'cS young men have felt in your souls an unction that of

filled

them with

light,

and brought

to

you

in chaste

tears the taste for good, forgetfulness of the senses,

the peace and presence of God.

was its

said to you.

joy

;

no love

No man

On

that

will ever give

will ever bring

day

all

you back

you back

its

per-

iume, but the love which was then given to you,

150 and, wliichj being the divine goodness-

itself,

but for a regret and a desire from you

to love

May you draw

again.

tlie

you

from your heart that desire

by a second experience of become again and for ever the children and

and that grace,

waits

regret, and,

apostles of that

ceives!

word which alone never de-

MYSTERY AS THE OBJECT OF PROPHECY.

My

Lord,

— Gentlemen,

It results

from our

Conference, that the

last

thmgs revealed by God through prophecy surpass

power of our understanding, and are

the natural

beyond

therefore for us

above

all

comprehension.

all

demonstration and

Were they only un-

demonstrable, the mind might perhaps accept this condition, since, even in the natural order, there

are truths which strated,

history;

may

be attested but not demon-

such as the ancient events which form

and since man obtains credence

human

testimony in regard to to

understand

why

to divine things.

it

sliould

But there

the object of prophecy as undemonstrable, will not forgive.

show

it is

his

not easy

be refnsed in regard is this

difference, that

incomprehensible as well

is

and

Wliat

things,

to

!

this is

what rationalism

—says

rationalism

—you

prophecy as the light of the world, and

fortli

yet you yourselves confess that you do not com-

prehend cant

it

name

!

You

call

of mysteries

your dogmas by the ;

you seem

to

signifi-

make a

boast

152 of the obscurity that reigns in revelation.

After

reading your books you exclaim,

of the

riches of the

wisdom and of

the depth

knowledge of God

the

!

Hoiv incomprehensible are his judgments, and how ivaijs ! "

Now, how can

that

obscure,

unsearchable,

incompre-

unsearchaUe his mvterions,

is

be the light of the world

hensible in fine,



to say,

for every

renounce his reason

— mystery

us

that

useless

is

and absurd;

be seized

to

man is

^vlio

at the

useless, since

For

?

does not

same time

sense

its

which

not

is

absurd, since wherever the sense

;

escapes nothing rational remahis.

Such us,

is

and which requires from

We

nation. shall



the double difficulty wliich rises before

prove

I shall

are told that

It is certain,

wish to hide

its

and

it

a double expla-

mystery

They add

its utility.

prove

me

is

that

useless it is

absurd

reasonableness. it

would be a

gi'eat illusion to

speaking ro

God since we

otherwise,

it

to us,

than

connnunicate

we

are

;

and

should be able of ourselves

w^itli us.

placed on

;

Avould have no motive in

discover the truths about wdiich

]iim to

God

from you, that the word of

reveals to us tlungs which surpass our reason

were



tlie

'^Roiii.

xi.

Ihit

may please God is greater it

horizon of 33.

tlie infinite,

153

which and

is

us

tells

he sees what we do not

his essence,

what no one but himself can say

Why does he communicate

us

this to

see,

to us.

Being- un-

?

able or unwilling to give us evidence of the things

which he reveals

why

to us,

does he reveal them to

Where lies the utility of such communication I

us 1

In proving to you in a former Conference the necessity of the supernatural intercourse between

man and God, But

tion.

I

have already answered

I

did so metaphysically, and

permit

me we

Utility

is

will to-day leave

a matter of

now about

would perhaps I shall

suffice to

not do

a-s

they

to

be useful

are,

and is

so.

leave

I

It

it.

matters

do good,

it

To

define

them

them

;

your minds

in

from the vulgar idea that

starting

to

proves

the utility

put an end to the question

I ask

comprehensible do good to histor}^

will

the exact definition of those words

— understand or not understand. but

you

metaphysics aside.

of the incomprehensible, I maintain little

if

You deny

fact.

this ques-

perfectly,

man

:

?

Does the If

it

in-

does,

if

whatever reasoning

you may oppose

to that result will fall powerless.

In a question of

utility, the result

matters not whether

we

decides

all.

It

explain to oui'selves or do

not explain the benefit;

it

exists.

Is there

any

one here who has ever despised a benefit because

154 did not render account to himself of the procesa

lie

by

wliicli his

benefactor had served him

I renew, then,

my

I

question, I ask myself

and

Does the incomprehensible do good to man 1 There are some among you who think they

you

:

owe nothing

to this strange benefactor.

of reason, they think they are formed

Disciples

by them-

and that nothing but evidence has entered But even were into the structure of their minds. this true, a man is not man, and I speak of man. selves,

I speak of

you

all,

contemporaries of the nineteenth

century, connected

by your

fathers w^ith the ages

which have gone by; belonging altogether to a o-reat historical movement which has changed the face of the world, and prepared for each of

another destin}^

you

than that which the course of

ancient civilization would have formed for him.

This

is

man whom I interrogate, man who believes he has separa-

the real man, the

and not the

ideal

ted himself from the paternity of his times.

Now,

what has formed that real man 1 What has formed modern mankind! Is it not Christianity? And is there even one among you wdio would deny the superiority of the Christian

man

over those

who

have sprung from another generation! If you doubt of this, I would say to you ConJpare your:

155

selves witli

tlie

most

mens of mankind

and perfect

illustrious

speci-

world has produced

that the

you have occupied your place Certainly that was a great race whose

before and since therein.

country was Athens and legislators, in sages, in

by for

by

its arts,

many

ruins

lous

heroes

conquests, in politics

its

peace

Rome

memorable

by

it

for all the glory of the

But however marvel-

Which

of

to live

you would

Greek or the Roman

reading the most glorious things which feel,

its

and duties of a Christian man

sacrifice the rights

we

war

institutions, in

which of you would consent

again in that antiquity?

left to us,

in

draws us even now around

centuries,

history,

fertile in

and which, although extinguished

to give us lessons.

its

;

—a race

tliey

from their gods to their

!

On have

virtues,

were but infant peoples, and that the very excellence of their literature, so far from beino- a veil to their inferiority, is its striking and that they

immortal revelation.

two languages

The masterpieces

of those

will live to the latest posterity as

a testimony that habits of barbarism

may be joined

to an exquisite cultivation of the mind,

and great

feebleness of thought to marvellous science of style,

when but unknown by Therefore,

Christianity, it,

rose

born with the world

up before that ingenious

15G

and powerful society which had never known an equal upon earth, order to ruin

and

Rome

tian

man.

And

had but

it

to die in

of Greece

cannot hold his place before the Chris-

was the Christian man

wliat, then,

Rome 1

Athens and of speaking

;

tliat

—Athens, mistress

What

single thing,

in the science

in the art of fighting

did he bring, Gentlemen

which contained

all

He announced

incomprehensible.

Wliat

?

was more powerful than

Rome, mistress

and governing.

tlie

and

The man

its civilization.

did he bring with him

One

to speak

?

the rest

to the

world

that the Iniman race, defiled from the beginning,

received and transmitted with

blood the joint

its

responsibility of an inexpiable fault

one

in three persons,

had sent

to take our nature in the

by

womb

;

but that God,

Son upon earth

his

of a virgin, and,

a voluntary sacrifice, to redeem us from sin and

He announced

death.

accomplislied, that the

had appeared

flesh,

that

this

mystery was

Son of God, come

in Judaea, that

in the

he had taught

there,

and

cross,

buried in a sepulchre, he was raised again

that,

having been put

on the third day, assuring by over

sin,

death.

and by

to death

his death his

his resurrection his

upon a triumph

triumph over

Such was the Christian dogma, and such

157

was the principle of the civilization which has made you what you are, by overt) uo wing all the Either you must deny your antique society. also

superiority over the ideas and the things of paganism, or recognise the utility of the incomprehensible.

You may two is

suppose that Christianity includes

distinct elements

—the

one reasonable, which

by

the source of the good wrought

world

;

the other mysterious, which

it

in the

but an en-

is

by which exalted truths and holy virtues have by chance been covered. In fact, does not velope

If

the gospel naturally explain itself?

dogmas which alarm more of a sage who teaches

of miracles and

speaks

still

it

speaks

reason,

it

the people

simple and sublime morality, gentleness, modesty, patience, disinterestedness, justice,

includes of

all in

a single precept

God and man.

perfect,

and that which

— the

Must we wonder

sincere love

that a code so

emanated from a pure soul which main-

tained even to death the lessons he

had given,

should at length have produced in the

human

a salutary and memorable effect

1

It is

race

impossible

to read the Gospel without wishing at least to be

better;

and

number, has

this desire,

at length

become

that of a

great

been realised in some, who.

158

by

from age to age, liave adorned the world

The incomprehensible

virtues.

unimportant help

it

;

the fable that precedes or

is

God and mankind

entirely in the love of

it

lies

now

know by

to

revolution itself in

Gospel,

and man

how

did

it

;

it

not been has its

and

you is

difficult

proper experience,

you



proclaim

know

I

produce

it,

I

that

effect.

to love

this love for those

loved for four

is

most profound

its last, its

say, has caused

so

Bat

us.

it

God

—but

who had

How

thousand years?

drawn the human heart from the egotism of

it

passions, Is

virtues'?

mankind

?

and above it

because

Alas

!

if it

liave exercised just

tlie

j)liilosophers exercise tlieir

among

long despised upon earth, so

this love, so

The

;

the secret of the prodigious change which

has introduced and maintains

even

an

but

here

I grant that Christianity results

that clothes truth.

here

is

their

counsels.

all it

from the egotism of

has said, Love God, love

had

said but that,

power which

over us,

Men would

liave set

liave preserved his portrait

of civilized nations printing, they

;

so

it

would

many dead

who honour

of Jesus Cln-ist at the door of an

would

its

us with

up a

statue

academy they in the museums ;

and, since the invention of

would have written

guages of Europe that the Gospel

is

in all the lan-

a great book

;

159 but the poor would neither have

known

nor the sage, and the hearts of

would have con-

tinued

and

find

to

enjoyment

all

sensuality

selfish

in

book

the

pride.

Would you

learn

how Jesus

Christ has raised

man ?

US towards God, and inclined us towards

Leave the church of Notre Dame, and turn

Upon

left.

you

merit,

will read this inscription,

know

I

may

not

;

Hotel Dieu.

have disappeared from

but

subsists

it

in

the

of the people, and that

memory and language

is

Cross the threshold, mount the staircase,

enouo-h.

your eyes

raise

your

a building there, without architectural

Perhaps the inscription the stone.

to

will read,

to the

image above the door, you

L'Homme Dieu.

Advance

still

furtlier,

enter the cell of one of those voluntary servants

wlio devote their days to the infirmities of the poor.

You

are young, attractive, rich

beauty hand.

Dieu

comes from virtue

wliicli

Slie will !

she

;

answer you.

To

;

is

clotlied in

offer lier

your

me, L'Kpouse de

If these three incomprehensible words

of God, the

Man God,

the spouse of

tlie

House

Qod

—do not yet enlighten you, ask that soul why

slie

has quitted the hopes of the world to consume

lierself in this hospital,

not her

own

;

she will

amongst misery which tell

you

its

secret.

is

Of

160

whom would you sess the love

you

learn

it if

who

not of those

whose cause you seek ?

She

pos-

will tell

God, because God loved her

that she loves

even to death; that she loves mankind, because God,

in taking their nature

for them, has caused

God

If

ofoodness.

be sure there

is

them

upon him, and

to share in his adorable

not man,

is

dying-

if

he did not

die,

no spouse of God, or house of God

:

the virtue of the Christian comes from the incom-

The

prehensible, as the flower from the earth. iu comprehensible is the soul of the Christian

his

liaht, his streno^th,

that this

is

madness,

his if

undertaken to prove that serves you.

life,

you it

is

;

Say

his breath. I

will.

not

so,

it is

have not but

tliat it

For sixty years you have been endeav-

ouring to do without this madness, and to preserve the benefits of Christianity whilst repudiating

dogmas

:

it is

for

you

to

its

judge whether you have

succeeded.

Man

is

a divine animal, and the incomprehen-

Were

sible is his food.

fully Avithdrawn

this gift of

heaven ever

from him, you would behold a

spectacle which I cannot describe, because

never been beheld. as

it

Even paganism,

all

it

has

divested

was, included the confused remains of the

primordial incomprehensible, and these very re-

161

mains formed

greatness in certain nations, and

its

When Rome

in certain times. lip

had resolved

to set

the centre and foundation of her future power

upon a

solitary

time, a temple

she built there, at the same

liill,

and

camp, leaving- between the

a

two an empty space, which was, seat

upon which she held her

resting

From

as

it

were, the

place, with one

hand

upon her arms, and the other upon heaven. that place she

watched and g-overned the

world, deriving" therefrom

her courage, and the kings and

tlie

wisdom

when her

as invincible as

victors brought to her

spoils of nations,

they mounted

to that Capitol as tlie tutelary spot victories

had taken

where

their

their birth in the will of the

gods that dwelt there.

This religious character

and liberty of Rome.

lasted as long as the virtue

The sacred mysteries presided over

all

;

they were

borne even before the enemy, and those famous gen-

who had received from genius so many assurances erals,

trust to a battle without

fortune and from their of victory, dared not

having consulted, through

auguries, the impenetrable counsel of the gods of

the world and the country.

But when Cicero was

able to declare that he could not conceive

augurs could look

Rome

fell

at

how two

one another without laughing,

from the Capitol

to the Palatinate,

from

1G2 the temple of the gods to that of the Caesars soon, Tiberius, followed

by Nero, heaped

;

and,

the scorn

upon the living and dead of the Laugh as you please at the sacred

of his tyranny people-king.

chickens

but learn at least that when they were

;

no more, there were no more will find the

same

cause,

same

And you

Scipios.

spectacle, resulting

everywhere

from

tlie

in the history of the world.

Everywhei-e the decline of nations follows the decline of the incomprehensible,

devoured

all

and the earth has

who have no longer regarded

those

heaven save as the eye discovers

it

on the horizon.

I admire, then, the Egyptians, for

having placed It is the

the Sphinx at the entry of their temples.

old friend of man, and his natural herald to the

Despise

infinite.

from

it

human

to

much

as

it

as

you

will,

appeal

pure reason, to the sacred rights of the

intelligence

for

;

my

the Sphinx, as long as I see

part, I shall hold to

it

at the

door of vir-

tues that found and glories that have a posterity.

Yet you the

will

still

incomprehensible

change the question prove the give race.

say,

utilit}^

;

1

Why

the Sphinx?

Here, Gentlemen,

you

you no longer ask me

to

of the incomprehensible, but to

you the reason of

Now,

Why

I believe I

its

existence in the

have given you

human

this in the

163 Conference where I recently treated of the need of supernatural intercourse between

and

succeed perhaps in enlig-htening- you

I sliall

in refi'ard to

subject of certaint)'

it

tlie

we

by what

I

mankind

;

it

prehensible does good to that

whoever

about to say on the

reasonableness of the thiuifs wliose

possess without understanding- them.

useful to all

it

am

absurd can be useful, and above

Notliinii-

from

man and God,

it is

suffices that the

men

incom-

for us to conclude

Therefore,

essentially rational.

sa3^s of Christianity that it is the

tor of the world, says at the

all

benefac-

same time that the

incomprehensible, so far from contradicting reason, is

its

last

and most magnificent

I

effort.

feel,

nevertheless, that this proof, all-sufficient though it

may

feel of

be, does not

respond to the want which you

fathoming so grave a subject.

take a more direct path, and rational

I

will then

show you that

in every

thing there enters an incomprehensible

element, as in every incomprehensible thing there is

a rational element.

permitted to

you

It will

then be no lono-er

to think that reason

and mystery

mutually reject each other, since the one

is

never

without the other, as the shadow accompanies light in

nature, so

it is

also in the infinite depths

our intelligence combats truth.

where

IGl

I affirm in the first place that into

every rational

thing there enters an incomprehensible element. Nothing-

more within the comprehension of

is

reason than the bodies that people space, and especially the bodies that form the globe which

we

inhabit reason sees, touches, weighs, measures, ;

confronts, analyses them,

And

it wills.

bodies

They

makes of them whatever

yet what do

men

call that

subject to the investigations of reason

is

call it

a phenomenon

—that

A forcible

thing that appears.

that

a part of

if

something also

doubt

it

and sincere avowal, all the

unveils to

which science designates the body

much more

and which

is

day.

It calls

what

is

to the

under

action

it,

—that

something which

what, indeed,

is

When you

have proved

its

mode

which

know what .

a substance

And

weight, the

it

it

of aggregation of

exercises

is?

an ex-

phenomenon what night

that

;

itself,

by

formidable and despairing,

body

a

what appears. itself?

Do you

Consider that other expression

this ?

pression

body,

curiosity,

its

remains hidden.

still

"^

some-

to say,

is

which proves that reason does not see

and

which in

a

is

is

is

to say,

under

body

colour,

its

to

in its

parts, the

on other bodies, do you

Modern chemistry

and, before

alchemy, have doubtless endeavoured

to

pursue

16'5

substance to secret of

ceeded

its

and draw from

the suc-

degree almost prodigious, and which

by nature

has opened to us mysteries long hidden

Nevertheless the shadow

from our investigations. has

it

They have even

composition.

its

to a

last depths,

but retreated without disappearing, and the

place which

it

has yielded to light has not lessened

for us the abyss of the

bodies, forced

number

by

unknown.

We know

that

analysis, resolve into a certain

we call elements but we know not. Matter takes

of substances which

what the element

is

;

refuge therein as in a fortress, where pride of our experiments

it

braves the

and the dictation of our

will.

It is the

germ

same with the vegetable and animal

as with the universal element, but with a

circumstance which

it

is

Science

well to notice.

has power over the universal element, in the sense that

it

is

able to

make

properly so called

;

it

again constitute a

body

but when analysis has decom-

posed the germs of the animal and vegetable order, it is

powerless to recall the principle of

was contained

therein.

Under

only inanimate refuse remains. the mysterious dust from

its

life

which

instruments

It sees,

it

touches,

whence the mighty oak

of the forest, or the agile inhabitant of their hidden

16G

paths, should spring

Why

dead.

dead

but that dust

;

Whence

f

What

?

Life

is life I

being has dissapin a

is

remain there for ages, solitary and

becoming lost and without acting touch

and

it

disappears, as

life

henceforth

that the sepul-

is it

chre being broken, the living-

peared

is

germ

silent,

but

;

it

;

will

without

let analysis

jealous nature

if

determined to become more incomprehensible in proportion as

work became more

perfect.

man you will find too undeniable a proof of Man is a body, and he includes in his body

In tliis.

all

its

unknowns

the

of the material world, all the

But con-

things that are visible but unexplained. jointly with this

first

mystery, in the complex

he holds a second abyss

tissue of a sole personality,

more

than the

terrible

thought.

Man

erns himself, in the

thinks,

all

body, and

he

first

—the

wills,

all

it

to

crucible,

it

is

is

seen

never has

it

scientific anal3^sis.

to

attract

been able

any instrumental power.

affirms tiiat

he gov-

things which escape from the

Never has science been able its

is free,

things of whicli no trace

most ingenious researches of

into

he

abyss of his

The

thought

to subject spiritualist

not the fruit of the body, but of

another substance which he calls

spirit,

deprived of form, extent, colour, weight

and

whicli,

—of what-

167 ever

is

known

to us

by

the senses

— constitutes

a

reality of whicli nothing- visible could give us the

and most distant representation.

faintest

but

fore

now,

just

univei'sal

element

eyes, escaped in

investigation

vegetable germ,

lowest of beings

the

— althouo-h remaining"

little life



tlie

under our

essence from the efforts of our

its

a

;

There-

higher, in

the animal

and

retreated before our researches,

and did not even leave us the consolation of catching a glimpse of the source from whence springs foriD, it,

;

now behold

by any

although

spirit,

its

activity

which never, under any

image, has permitted us to approach

it

is

The

ourselves.

true, denies spirit,

materialist,

and maintains that thought

it

is

is

a

simple effect of the body attained to a certain state of perfection: bat learn

any more

not think at

all

is this

clearly

of

clearer

how

itself,

Do we

f

matter,

derives

organization the faculty of thinking

However

it

may

be,

we

think,

thereby

which does

in

a certain

?

and

in the per-

sonal m3^stery of our thoughts there arises another still

the

higher,

which we

principle

— God.

call the eternal, the infinite,

As nature

horizon of our physical vision,

God

is is

horizon of our intellectual vision.

the

natural

the necessary

We

open our eyelids without seeing the

cannot

indefinite

1G8 space wherein bodies move, and

our thought without

we cannot awaken

disclosino- the first cause that

contains in itself all the possible and

The

may

infidel

endeavour

nia}^

effect

by

refuse to

we have

but that despairing

lias

God

;

he

the

of being subsisting of itself: effort in

However, Gentlemen,

no way lessens the

which dwells

may

nnd, whatever thought

tliat

of

the visible world

to

the depths of the mystery

it.

name

confound the cause with the

transporting

idea which

the

it

the real.

all

I

in thought,

do, eternity

before

is

never address atheism;

forlorn hope of the last follies of the heart

too few representatives to render

speak to

in a great

it

number alone and therefore

me

tells it is

my

it

assembly of that

you

needful to

men

;

believe in

my

right as well as

oppose to your ambition to understand

your God,

duty to all,

the

incomprehensible light of his nature and of his

name.

What

intelligence placed

abyss can say, I have fathomed liow vast soever

it

may

the infinite

yourselves?

!

— and

it

What

!

soul,

be, does not halt, sad

pensive, before that short word,

confounds us

before this last

God

!

and

An atom

behold us in the presence of

Can you represent the infinite to Can you conceive a substance with-

out beginning in

its

duration

— without

limits in its

IG'J

being



filling all

with

its

presence and

action,

its

although concentrated in an invisible unity which

no place but

lias its

in itself?

course before I could even

contained in

however, such

is

this

supreme mystery

takes

all life

The day would run name all the mysteries

its

which,

in

;

birth with all light.

For,

we meet with darkness in from which we desire light. From

our condition,

the very things

earth to

spirit,

spheres of our

from

spirit to

speculation

God,

the three

in

and our

sparing as well as a prodigal hand

activity,

a

has wisely

mingled the shadow that blinds us with the splendour that enchants indignant at this

In vain will reason o otow adulterous wedlock it must us.

;

accept the incomprehensible as the shore that contains evidence in scepticism,

;

or,

renouncing

mind great enough ivliole

it^

an irrevocable adieu.

Scepticism, Gentlemen,

the

truth, address to

to

is

know

but the despair of a that

it

does not see

of anytliing, according to the expression

of Pascal, but too feeble to respect in mystery the inevitable limit imposed

upon the created

AVhilst the vulgar rationalist,

own

ideas,

thinks he

inebriated

comprehends

all

spirit.

by

his

that he

thinks, the sceptic, with as

much

pride and more

penetration,

weak

side

discerns

the

of

human

170

science,

and conceives a gloomy

Surveying with sive

his

melancholy regard the progres-

enchainment of things, and halting

—Do

remove him then

mind!

But matter

at

comprehend God But do I comprehend

he asks himself

my

distaste for truth.

!

I

away

No, at least

then

witli

God,

No

?

m^^self,

mind!

tlie

Doubtless, I see matter.

!

1

make experiments upon it and,yet, do I know what it is 1 Can I say that I comprehend it ! Away with Thus from one degree to another, from matter ;

!

one kind of despair to another, reason within

itself,

according to the energetic expression

of Saint Paul, and reality,

do

I

it

vanislies

upon the uncertain ruins of

What

exclaims with lamentable despair,

know, and what am

I ?

Doubt,

it

all

is

true,

does not often descend to that depth where nothing subsists in the is

mind but wherever ;

it

may

halt

it

the destroyer of the soul, and whether higher or

lower,

it

has but one and the same cause, which

the refusal to consent to

tlie

incomprehensible as

For

a necessity and an element of reason. part,

if

I

were

is

my

in this state, if I recognised the

sign of truth only in an absolute light, I declare to you, I should not believe in matter

than in

spirit

;

any more

any more

in spirit than in

God

should be to myself a painful enigma, a puff of

;

I

air

lamentation in a sepulchre, the

in the desert, a

plaything of an existence without principle or end

my

should advance in

I

days

;

the hazard of

at

each sun, between the sadness of yesterday and the

joy of to-morrow, expecting- nothing more from life,

nothing more from death.

God,

I

I

know

my

But,

thanks to

adore in evidence the shadow that limits that truth, the single

entire soul,

is

as great as the infinite,

the infinite, being only comprehensible to



tliat is to

say, to

and that its

And sible

know

without

equal

natural that I should

itself, it is

not see anything entirely, but in a measure cient to

it

and sacred object of

sufficing- to

suffi-

exhaust.

as in every rational thing an incomprehen-

element

is

found, in every incomprehensible

thing a rational element

is

also

found

—that

is

to

The idea, is all that the mind sees and the mind, seeing nothing but by its primitive light, which is reason, it follows that every idea, how say, the idea.

;

problematic soever

Now,

it

Christianity,

may

be,

is

a rational element.

whose dogmas we confess

be incomprehensible, bears evidently

dogma

the treasure of the idea

this, I will

that

it

give

speaks.

dogmatically

;

and,

in its

if

you but one proof of Christianity speaks,

for

eighteen

)ubt

namel}',

has spoken

it

centuries

very

you d it,

to

;

therefore

172

however incomprehensible dog-ma

an

is

dogma may

its

be, its

and consequently something

idea,

rational.

Does

this

reasoning astonish you, Gentlemen

1

Have you never reflected upon what it is to speak? To speak is to enchain words together, and words being only ideas living under an expression, to speak

Whoever speaks

to enchain ideas.

is

gives

proof that he sees something in his mind, and transmits to the

mind

part, of the light it

that listens to

by which he

is

of sounds falling into the ear, ;

it

an

?

and

if it

And, since

it

element

were

not,

it

I

false,

truth which

abused,

(•nil

is

which consents

to

it

is it

not a light,

Doubtless

it

is

would be impossible

and the

evidence of the

error,

and not into the

speaks,

speak and to be understood.

false

Were

But you ask me, does not the absurd

idea, a rational

that,

enlightened.

would be noise, and yet noise without

signification.

also speak

the whole, or

would be but a continuation

otherwise, language

intelligence

him

is

The absurd false

is

all

to

the

being only a

truth hidden in the

be enounced.

An

absolute

representing nothing to the mind, would

forth

no expression

be pure nothingness.

even in

eri-or,7

and

in the thought

The

;

glory of truth

it

would

is

to live

CO

the lansfuas-e to enlio^hten O

which

173

expresses

it,

becomes manifest

so that the absurd

So

to the eyes of the understanding.

far,

then,

from there being no idea or rational substance in the absurd that

all at

;

it is

found there

in so elevated

once exclaim, That

The absurd

is

a degree

common

not

sense.

the second revelation of the true,

is

more powerful perhaps than the direct revelation, and that is the reason why mathematics employ so often that form of reasoning

my

I return, then, to

speaks,

it

centuries

;

declaration

and, therefore,

—that

be,

to say

is

demon-

much

Christianity

:



however incomprelien-

its

dogma

something

perhaps you will say, but

rational ad ahsurdum as

called

has spoken dogmatically for eighteen

dogma may

sible its

is true,

is

ad ahsurdum.

stration

an idea

which

for since

;

necessarily

is

rational. it

tlie

is

absurd speaks

as the incomprehensible, Avhat hinders

from confounding the incomprehensible with

What

This

sometliing

hinders

it,

that the absurd

is

is

that the one

fails,

at the

evidence of the false and of is

not the other,

same

tlie

time, in the

true.

The

in-

something which reason does

not explain, nothing more. existence"?

itself?

the evidence of the false, whilst

the incomprehensible

comprehensible

is

it

Would you deny

Would you deny

tliat

its

particular state

174

human mind

of the

But

!

the mcomprehensible objects of science

;

I

I

have shown you that

follows

us

even into the

have presented

it

you

to

as

the necessary term of our highest light.

If the

incomprehensible became confounded in

nature

its

with the absurd, there would be no shadows, since the absurd

as clear as a demonstration.

is

then proved that the incomprehensible category of the if

you

like

human mind,

better,

it

It

being

a distinct

is

a separate condition,

where the understanding has

neither the evidence of the false nor the evidence

of the true, there remains this difficulty

understand not to

do against

is

that the incomprehensible

idea

all

On

this

is

Must

account I have said

:

dogma

;

comprehensible in Christianity

is

Your reply

its

an idea

to

that

;

is

it is

all

show you

rational vision

Christianity

is

?

in-

and, yet, dogmatic

an idea, since

the absurd

:

I

I

not the exclusion of

and, consequently, of

;

that to

What have

to see nothing.

this difficulty?

:

it

speaks.

speaks

also.

Yes, but it speaks with the character of the absurd



that

is

clearness, If,

to

say

—with

the absence of decisive

whether for the

false or the true.

however, the example of Christianity should

embarrass you, from the notion which you entertain that

its

doctrines

manifestly bears

may the

175 sign of

tlie

absurd, I shall withdraw

cussion into which

it

Do vou comprehend

God I

exists of himself,

dis-

does not necessarily enter,

it

and ask you. Do you comprehend infinite,

from a

who

eternity, the

a beinor

because he

is

beginning and without end

!

who

without

is,

Do yon comprehend

the union in one single person of two substances as

opposed

to

each other as body and

Do

spirit ?

you understand the action of body upon spirit, and of spirit upon body ? Assuredly no. These mysteries then which are so profound, so impenetrable

— do they,

or do they not, present

your understanding?

If

and you cannot reply in conclude therefrom, notwithstanding itself

its

that

any idea

you answer me, yes any other manner



the

incomprehensible,

obscurity, does not bear with

the exclusion of every rational element,

this is

what

tively,

it is

I

had

now

to

Now

to prove.

and

remark atten-

a question between

us only of

You

the general essence of the incomprehensible.

have said that the incomprehensible considered in itself,

in its

very nature,

following you step

you

that

it is

not

by

so,

is

step,

an absurdity

have had

and that

to

to

;

and,

I,

prove to

propose to

man

the contemplation of a mystery, so far from dis-

honouring

his

intelligence, is to elevate

him

to

176 regions whose natural and sublime guest

lie

Ls.

For, I have said, reason itself includes an incom-

prehensible element, and the incomprehensible in its

turn contains a rational element

;

evidence, in

mounting towards the higher pole of whicli

it is

the great road, meets obscurity there

and mystery,

in

to us a light

worthy of

is

things, to

descending from lieaven, bears proper name, whicli

its

revelation.

Hereby you

between the

see that the difference

natural and the supernatural order does not consist in first,

the idea that

whilst all

is

all

is

comprehensible in the

incomprehensible in

second, but

tlie

in this, that the truths of the latter are

not suscep-

tible of a direct demonstration, whilst the truths of tlie

former flow as a consequence from the lumin-

ous germ which

is

our reason. Thus God, although

inscrutable in his essence,

because tlie

because

it is

from any rational

At the very there

is

within us

in three distinct persons

lation,

is

dogma

a

of nature,

conclusions in regard to

very light which

God it

we draw

is

last,

is

a

;

him by

but the unity of

dogma

of reve-

impossible for us to deduce principle.

you

will

perhaps think that

more obscurity hi the supernatural incom-

prehensible than

ill

the natural incomprehensible.

177

Now,

can

1

Jesus Christ, followeth

me

the light

of

come a

I am

the light

Vifer^^

And

Paul

St.

to

"/ am

those other words, :

whoever helieveth in

that

'^'^

And

those of the

the Christians of Ephesus,

now

ivere heretofore darkness, hid

where

he that

;

walketh not in darkness, hut shall have

Lord ; walk

then as children of the

are ye light in

is

supernatural order, light,

compared

called darkness life,

Every-

light. ^^

in Scripture the natural order

the supernatural order,

It is

of the ivorld

not remain in darkness.

Apostle

the

^^

light into the ivorld

me may You

but repeat to you those words of

;

to

and the

the way, the truth.

because, however far and however high the

most pure reason

by imperfect finite

may

reach,

it

knows God only

notions derived from the spectacl

things, or from the contemplation of

Now, God

'

of

it.-.df

Whoever knows him not, knows nothing; whoever knows him imperfectly, knows imperfectly whoever knows but little of him, knows but little. And since reason approaches is all.

;

him but imperfectly, say that

it is

as

is

but a faint

too manifest,

dawn

it is

just to

of a bright day, an

enigmatical and painfld mirror of truth.

But if God, touched by our natural ignorance, brings to us a knowledge of himself; if he reveals to us what •»

St.

John

viii.

12.



St.

John

xii.

49.

^j

Ephes.

v. 8.

178

what he

lie is,

if

sees,

what he

feels,

what he

wills

he opens to us the depths of eternity, his action

upon

and plans of his Providence

time, the motives

;

then doubtless our inner vision will discern, but

with it

difficulty, the infinite lines of

will

remain under the

celestial

And

under created immensity.

his I

horizon as yet

Who

know more?

that he does not

such revelation

former state darkness, and his

who

will say

Avill

not call

new

state lierht

grant that the shadow increases with the

but that

the law of

is

man

Is there a

more abysses into nature

science and of

all

of science

in

who

upon a body, does not draw

much

the deeper as

If the finite vision, it is

1

light,

all lig-ht.

does not discover

proportion as he penetrates further

whose

Is there a sun

1

;

is

it

lio-ht, fallinor-

shadow from

a

it

so

rays are the more ardent?

its

on becoming revealed to our

itself,

becomes so much more the mysterious as

more

visible,

Accept,

what must

Gentlemen,

it

be with the

with a firm

infinite ?

mind,

that

condition of things, that necessity of the incomprehensible which pursues us everywhere. like

Israel,

March

on,

under the guidance of that column,

half cloud, half

fire,

ens and guides the

the only one that

human

in order to learn in

it

race.

still

Watch

the limits of

enlight-

the cloud,

your nature

179

watch the

light, in

order to learn there the great-

ness of your destin}^

Should the one

take comfort in the other; should the

you, turn to the East; and, in

fine,

afflict

West

you

trouble

lifting

your

eyes yet higher, wait in patience and faith for the

pure day which

is

promised to

us,

and which

will

dawn from eternity for every soul worthy to behold it;

for although the incomprehensible cannot

tlien disappear, since it

infinite

belongs to the nature of the

considered by the

vision of

God

in his

finite,

nevertheless the

very substance will impart to

him which will transform the the joy of ever knowing and never

us a possession of

mystery into

even

exhausting our knowledge.

THE HUMAN ACT CORRESPONDING TO PROPHECY.

My

Lord,

— Gentlemen,

Having- explained the nature of prophecy, and solved the difficulties relative to

now

cons^'der the act

taug-ht

as

hv

its

object,

we must

wliich man, prophetically

by God, corresponds

to that revelation

prophecy has no other object than

a supernatural intercourse between

:

f(>r

to establish

God and man,



God acts on his side it is man should necessary that respond to him by a ])ositive act. What is that act? What is the act by which man responds to God, inasmuch as God

it

is

not sufficient that

enliglitens

him

manifests to

prophetically

by means

liiin.

— that

is

to

say,

of language, truths

that surpass the

power of

ino-?

Gentlemen, could not be an act

Tliis act,

of knowledge, for tion,

and God,

he affirms believes.

in

rational understand-

knowledge supposes demonstraprophecy, does not demonstrate,

witli authority.

Faith

liis

is

the

He

affirms,

and man

answer which prophecy

_ J

181

solicits;

not blind

but faith based upon the

i^xith,

divine characters that surround and penetrate the

revealing testimony.

In our two last Conferences of the year 1836 a year already so distant from us

question

of Faith.

—I

treated the

comes before us again,

It

brought back by the inflexible enchainment of

and

things,

I shall reject

must now consider

it

it

so

much

the less as I

under a new aspect.

necessary then more especially to study day,

to

supposing

reply to two

you what

We

that

its

known,

was

nature I

;

will

and thereby explain

difficulties,

faith

nature

It

to

is.

are told, in the

first

place, that the act of

faith,

by which man corresponds with

word,

is

the divine

an act which has no parallel in the natural order, where all takes place bv way of knowledo-e

and demonstration this

head, there

is

;

and

that

therefore,

under

an anomaly which destroys the

— the natural and Although the necessity of a

synthesis between the two orders the

supernatural.

constant synthesis, or similitude, between the two orders is not clearly manifest, I shall nevertheless

prove that

We faith,

it

exists in the case in question.

are told, in the second place, that the act of

being irrational in

its

nature, since

it is

not

182

consequence of a demonstration,

tlie

able to produce

it

by

at will,

not

;

but that

is tlie

it

custom, certain inclinations of the

and that therefore

soul,

is

a simple application

of his intelligence and liberty fruit of chance,

man

it

cannot be an absolute

duty upon which our intercourse with God depends, I shall

of

prove, against this objection, that the act

ftiith is

being known

tion

refusal on

and one

and

a regular power of man, f.nd that, revela-

liis

tliat

part,

to

him, unbelief

a free

is

consequently a culpable refusal,

severs his relations with divine

lio-ht

love.

Let us begin with the

first

difficulty



that of

the synthesis between the natural and supernatural

orders in regard to faith.

You have already

seen that

is

it

not the pro-

phetic revelation alone that brings into our intelli-

gence the element of the incomprehensible itself

is

subjected thereto, and

merge on

i-ays

all

sides into

its

;

reason

most sensible

profound mysteries.

At the same time that nature displays its phenomena, that science demonstrates,

by

evidence, the

and the mind

:

f(^r,

hensible

in

may

satisfied

incomprehensible appears and

exacts from us an act of faith. faith

is

I

say an act of

what manner soever the incomprebe presented to

us,

even when a



18:

direct denionstration it

g-iven to us of its existence,

is

brings to our need of knowledge a limit wliich

supposes on our part

whose proper name fiiith

is

it

not

dogmas guaranteed by the word of God

it

is

a real faith given to the testimony of

nature upon realities which us,

Doubtless

faith.

is

of the same order as that which adheres to

revealed

but

submissive acceptation

tliat

it

does not explain to

and which are enveloped in shadows

inaccessi-

ble to all the efforts of our penetration. fore as the

There-

word of God makes unbelievers,

do nature and

Scepticism

science.

is

so also

no other

thing than a revolt of reason against obscurities

wherein

it

becomes

as soon as

lost

penetrate the depths of truth; science

as

well

as

religion

sectaries that humility

common

The

sense.

secret of his

which

and

requires is

true sage, initiated

weakness by

the universe, and

who

from

tlie

alone

He avows

wh\its

to

the

marvels wliich he

knows

that

to

a great part of

has interrogated, bends befoi-e him

all its forces.

wills

it

this is

lie

who

created

the secret of

knows

nothino-,

not in an absolute sense, like the sceptic, but in the sense which implies a voluntary abasement of

the mind of

man

before the Spirit of God, and

that voluntary abasement,

is

faith itself.

.184

In

fact,

knowledg-e, liowever imperfect

be, is not the general state of

may

it

mankind it is the very small number of men scattered here and there. The multitude, subjected to ;

privileg-e of a

labour which leaves them no leisure to cultivate their minds, are ignoi-ant of the demonstration of

the things which they employ, and of the rules

which they apply

to their lives.

Whether

en-or

or truth govern them, the}^ are governed

suasion and

They go

by authority

whither

—that

they

are

by peris to say, by faith. impelled by the

privileged battalion of the princes of the intelli-

gence, itself impelled

by an unknown ascendency

which has

in

its

source

revolutions

of the

no other law

cause,

of demonstration,

by

the

knowledge

anterior ages, and in the

accomplished events.

The

human mind have no

other

logical current of all

;

they never operate by

anv more than

ignorant of what he does and

immovable under

battles are

of the soldier.

fire,

The

why

wav

or"ained

soldier

he does

or marching towards

is

it;

the

enemy, he gives and receives death by orders whose principle he does not know, whose result is a mystery to the very last moment. perils

an invisible thought

and that

in

He

obeys in

which he has

faith is half of his streno-th.

faith,

An armv

185 that doubts

commands So

those great

new

to

army

a lost

defeat

command. of which fertile in

its

safety.

intelligence, with

tlie

the throng-

:

believes

tliat

and draws therefrom

lead nations

tliat

follow chiefs

who

they obey, believing that they

;

You have

j^roof of this in the histor}^

you form a part Sons of an epoch vicissitudes, you witness a social revolu-

which shakes Europe

How many capable

an army

movements of opinion

destinies

persuade them

tion

;

with the battles of

is

it

is

of

account of

in its

very foundations.

minds, think you, are there in Europe

an

rendering

A

it?

exact

and

scientific

party was formed, which for

sixty years directed opinion

and dispersed popu-

larity as a sovereign

party was supported

;

this

most of the seats of science and learning

b}'^

;

its

organs were a multitude of journals which bore ideas to the extremeties of the world

its

jects it,

were governments and laws

and

at lenofth

eternal empire it

still

it felt

by

reigned

;

;

it

its

free discussion.

to-day

own work, have

gathers around

ruins which

it

its

its

sub-

bent before

sure of havino- founded an

it

is

But yesterday

hardly defended.

Publicity, learning, science, liberty,

and

all

;

its

own strength

turned against

ruins for

its

it,

and

see,

protection, the

had caused, and which

it

proudly

18G called

tlie relics

been brought

How

of the past.

an end?

to

which established

it,

by

By

faith.

has this power

same power

the

A new

language

has risen up from the general lassitude of minds it

has boldlv anathematized the lang^uao-e whicli

preceded w^as

Lmg

and which, although so

it,

found feeble in persuasion and authority.

Doubtless there

is

a cause for

cause, but the multitude

discern

it.

The

who

and a

this,

are led

by

And never upon

ing their chiefs.

a single day.

loofical

do not

it

nniltitude chano^ed faith in chanofthis earth is the

language that persuades and commands

to

mastei-,

It perishes

upon the

be reproduced upon the

lips

lips of

silent for

of one but

another, and

should the people cease to understand

having

it,

no longer

either faith or knowledge, there

remain

them of the human

to

would

intelligence only

the faculty of deeper degradation.

But re-assure yourselves, whatever

is

needful to

mankind, happen what may, will not be wanting to

it.

men

Knowledge because

it

is

the light of a small

authority will outlive after it

among number

will be subject to eclipses

all its

catastrophes,

;

and

if,

having been the organ of the opinion which

enounced, you lose that authority, no matter

from what cause, learn that another

will take

up

187

the Sceptre as

falls

it

an interregnum of

from your hands, and that

faith

is

no more possible here

below than an interregnum of

How faith

should mankind

man

from

real interruption

life.

know

to

man

?

History

own

its

history

if

could be subject to any

on the horizon of posterity

is ;

not of

itself visible

as soon as the actors

and spectators of an age have passed away

to the

tomb, they disappear also to the generations that take their place, and the course of ages, following its

rapid flow, rejects them more and

more

to the

obscure solitude where deatli hides them.

What

has caused them to live again in spite of time

What is

it

that keeps the buried form of the ances-

tor standing erect before his

dants? living in

who

has

man tlie man dead, the testimony of the man seen passing from memory to memory to It

is

faith

him who has not stration,

most distant descen-

alone,

seen.

beyond human

the faith of the

Try whether any demonauthority, will bring before

your eyes Sesostris or Cyrus, Babylon or Memphis, or

any other vanished object of

antiquity.

The

instrument that follows the heavenly bodies in the

immeasurable heights of the firmament, can cover nothing in the narrow orbit of the

and the arithmetic that subjects

dis-

tomb numbers can

188 neither

sum

nor

range,

count,

Eternity alone sees them in

and

tlieir secrets,

up

tlieir

the

d^ad.

order and in

history, that pale

copy of

nity, presents a representation ot thuin to

man who

believes in man.

every

If 3^0 li do not believe

in this,

mankind

and

generations are nothing but a

its

eter-

loses all traces of itself for you, fall

of leaves

between two summers ignoring one another. If you do believe it, no longer blame religion because it

you

asks from

man know God by have

in

You have millions of

and

in a

faith, since

are to-day

men

it

is

very simple to

mankind has no other let

us look

times,

the

How

nations.

How many

at the

do we know one

have we seen of those

who breathe same earth, who live in

tread the

who form

life

now

upon earth a thousand

beings, our fellow-creatures, air, Avlio

^^ou

spread over four or five continents

hundred

another?

that faith which

itself.

seen the past,

We

present.

God

confess that

;

knowledge of

for

together,

and

in the

the

same

the

same

same labour,

body ? We have seen one or them at most, and even of that

of one single

two thousand of

how few could we name ? All the rest escapes us, save by relations which books and travellers bring to us tliat is to say, bv our number, so

limited,



faith in the recitals

which they bring

to us.

181)

Let us

further

o^o

;

us leave our absent con-

let

temporaries, and speak only of those us, if

whom we you

will,

meet

who

only of those

another



by

direct

am

And 1

1

powers giance,

and by a

yet,

I

so

What

!

shall

vainly

would

are you,

strain

clear view, the folds

come from them

me

to attract or to repulse

me

is it

faith

tlie

in order to penetrate at a

the gleams that

to give

know one

AVhat are your sentiments, and

my own ? of my mind

;

one place we see

knowledge, in which

what are

being"

in

should be easy for us to

it

have no part?

and what

are here in Notre

this great cathedral of

Assembled together

each other

and even,

in our public streets,

Dame, within the walls of Paris.

who live with

of your

suffice

only

instinctively, but m^t

the knowledge of your heart.

]\Ian is

a soul, and the soul ignores the soul until a word

spoken in the

ear, in the

or religion, has revealed

outpourings of friendship its

mystery and merited

" I believe you."

to hear the response,

the knot of our personal relations

a cherished mediator,

it

;

Faith

is

an untiring and

passes from friend to friend,

from husband to wife, from the child to the mother,

from the right that commands

obeys

;

and

in the

to the liberty that

most solemn acts of empires, as

the most tender eifusions of love,

man

in

expresses

190

by

himself full}' I

trust

in

because

these

j^ou."

it is

same words, "

him

it is

sells it is

He

enough.

believes or he

Better

would

it

is

be for

to lose all than to betray that faith, so low,

even among the

which it

given,

is

And upon those simple man risks his fortune, his

his family, his honour.

and

it

you

it.

words, " I trust you,"

believed,

sold,

whoever

so priceless that

incapable of holding

life,

never

It is

I believe

is

may

vilest actions, does the heart fall

Even

convicted of it.

falsehood, althouofh

not bear the character of a treasonable act

properly so called, but b}^ that alone that

it

does

not merit the confidence which an honest

man

owes

to

scorn,

and

the

word of another

in the

In

hast liedl

fact,

guilty of falsehood, his

because he merits no

what remains

But who would believe

all insult

those words.

when a man has been word exists no longer,

f^iith,

him of a

to

excites

days of chivalry our ancestors

considered as the highest of

Thou

—falsehood

and, having no word,

soul it.

I

Gentlemen, the most

material thing in the world, that which seems to

be entirely subjected to the laws of arithmetic,

money It

itself,

an object of

is

passes from

hand

fertile circulation

to

faith

hand,

only by the

it

among men.

multiplies in a

effect of credit,

and

191

every event

tliat

at

But

now

just

same time the value of money.

the

lessens

it

lessens confidence in the future

solicited the

upon the

the form and

hand

to take

it

faith of a scrap of

passed from one nation

under

;

paper

to another, ever3'where

accepted under that ideal form which gave to value far beyond that paper

—a

is

you

commerce

and seems

:

labour becomes

fails,

to

paralyse ?

Rome

sold

the

field

nibal encamped, because

people,

this

I

What

it.

have already

to believe in

moral resources are not equal to

virtue,

and suddenly

;

has been a withdrawal of

tliere

That nation has ceased

whilst

a

hidden, manufactories

powerful blow has it then received told

it

kind of universal failing holds society

suspense,

in

real quantity

money

falls,

stop their works,

scarce

its

it

its

faith.

itself;

perils

its

and

;

upon which Han-

Rome had

measuring

its

in his

faith

fate

by

its

corruption, has given itself over to the chastisement

of fear.

It

has hidden

its

gold, as the ancients, in

the catastrophes of their country, hid their gods.

Remove

fear,

and money, appearing again and

circulating, will stimulate labour, enterprise,

merce

— wealth,

daughter of I

in fine, which, as

you

see,

comis

a

faith.

have said enough to show that

faith plays

an

192

human

important part in the

as well as in

divine order, and that, therefore, there thesis,

However,

it

be unprofitable

will not

before leaving this part of our subject, to

ask the reason of this that faith

;

for, if

we have understood

necessary in the

is

man and God, we do Let us

not see clearly

why

which

absolute,

is

moveable, which

would wander ignorance

man and man.

is

—the one

immutable and

the pole of trutli

;

the other

Without

the pole of liberty.

at

hazard in the night of doubt and

without the second, being deprived of

;

own movement, they would be nothing

the obedient satellites of a fatal mechanism.

but

Tlieir

then at the same time a work of truth and

As

of liberty.

knowledge of

is

minds detached from any fixed point

first,

life is

it

learn, then, that the life of the intelligence

proceeds from two poles

their

between

rel;itions

necessary in the relations between

the

the anti-

but synthesis, between the two orders under

this head.

for us

no

is

faith.

8CIENTIA

;

a

work of

as a

work of

For

is

an object of

liberty,

it

is

as the ancients said,

— There

Now, nothing

it

truth,

is

is

know

Fluxi non est

no science of that which passes.

more

unstable,

unforseen than liberty, and this difficult to

an object

more is

rapid,

why

ourselves, all-present

it

more is

so

though we

193

may be

to

morrow ?

What

hearts.

To what

to-

my

will

temptation shall I be subject yield

!

?

I

perhaps suppose, but I cannot be absolutely

A

sure.

book which may

word which



my

feet

ing

may

I

may

I

receive, a leaf

know

may

ask

will with

me

to give

it.

I

am

sentiments

unlooked-for resolu-

you to

may

and noth-

all

my

the knowledge of

myself, and I do not even possess

ignorant of

I

carry beneath



not what, in fine

hands, a

which

hear, an insult

my

my

into

be capable of changing

You

tions.

fall

which the wind

and of inspiring

am

do

shall I

yield to them, or shall I not

Shall I

may

own

Wliere will the inconstancy of

me !

lead

our

I

it.

myself

myself an object of

ftiith

It is liberty,

Gentlemen, that brings into human

things the element of faith, and

makes

the only

it

means by which we reciprocally know ourselves. If we were not free, science would dispose of us as

a

it

disposes of

man

in the

tlie

rest of nature

same manner

earth, and, all the laws of

to numbers,

we

as

it

it

would weigh

weighs a

little

mankind being reduced

should require for our rulers only

an academy of mathematicians. final

;

dream of materialism

suaded that there

is

Such

is

also the

in regard to us.

nothing in

man

Init

Per-

organised

19^

matter,

seeks the supreme combination

it

keeping-

the

passions

an equilibrium, would

in

produce a purely

scientific

and virtue would

liold

Make

all

men

to

them

in

order wherein

so

the

many

crim.e

neither place nor name.

equals, for example,

make

equality;

wliicli,

by mathematical

figures of tliem

distribute

;

same measure the objects which and

flatter the senses

satisfy pride

;

what would

they need in order to be equally and supremely

happy?

Nothing,

bodies; but

if

doubtless,

by chance

if

they were but

a soul lives in them, and

in that soul the liberty of volition, be sure that

the heavens, the earth, and the sea, given in pasture to

each of them, would not satiate the reciprocal

jealously of their felicity.

passion to devour worlds

;

A moment and

if

suffices for

liberty

not the

is

infinite

by

This

wh}^ there are no mathematics of liberty,

is

substance,

and those who seek that child

whom

its

it

is

the infinite

by

desire.

equation in matter are like

Saint Augustine saw upon the

African shore endeavouring to empty the sea with a shell which

its

waves bad thro^yn up.

great calculators are the worst

government of man resistance

made

:

of

men

These for

the

they are amazed at the

against their genius, never sus-

pecting- that liberty is greater than

any empire,

195

anj

.stronger than

and that itself

Therefore,

we

beings, llie

commands

faith alone

an act of

it,

because faith

by

we are free we must say in

the same reason that

order what Jesus

Christ said

in

liigher order, Blessed are they that have not^seen,

That

yet have helieved.^^

that have stration

is

a

and

they

to say, blessed are

no need of demonstration, because demon-

is

attained only

secondary degree

by a few minds

in things of

whilst faith, altogether popular

;

and sublime, passes from the soul of soul of

is

liberty.

are beings of faith, and

natural

any abyss,

Caesar, deeper than

all to

the

in things which, taking their root in

all,

liberty, are the foundation of

human

life!

I repeat that fiiith is the correlative of liberty,

?s science

ask

is

why we

ouglit to believe, is to ask

From

are free.

I cannot

vrhicli

explain to in the

the correlative of necessity; and to

you

thence follows a consequence upon

be

and whicli

silent,

will

fitly

the important part which faith

fills

purely natural order.

Science relates to necessity

what

why we

is

immutable

intelligence to

in itself;

be learned,

order to be a believer. 22

St.

it

Faitli is

John xs.



that

is

to say, to

have

it

suffices

is

not the same in

to

an act of confidence,

20.

196

and consequently an poses as in

m

him who

inspires

the

it

it,

nor any of those

egotist,

Scripture energetically calls

unhelief,^^

were ever capable of

and that

give ourselves up to the

first

but

lips,

supposed to

To

the generous

or, at least,

faith excludes prudence,

unknown

children of

the

it.

whom

confide

is

none give themselves but the

to give oneself;

magnanimous,

It sup-

same uprightness and no ungrateful man,

him wlio grants

no imposter, no the

affair of the heart.

be

word

because,

is

it

—not

needful to

that falls from

prudence

after

another effort

satisfied,

necessary to draw from us that

that

difficult

is

is

still

word



believe.

Alexander, the

King

of Macedonia, was on the

He was

banks of the Cydnus.

there attacked

a malady which threatened to save his physician,

whom

lie

Persia,

by

and

tenderly loved, was to

prepare for him a decisive draugiit.

But, in the

known

hand, warned

evening, a

letter,

written

by

a

the invalid to beware of his friend as a traitor

Avho had sold his

On

the morrow,

life.

when

Alexander kept

the cup

was brought

he drew from his bed the accusing to his physician, took the cup, "~Eph.

ii.

2.

letter,

silence.

to him,

gave

and swallowed

it

its

197 All antiquity lias lauded

contents at a draught.

of Alexander, and his most celebrated vic-

this act

tories

— Granicus,

head with more

liis

—have not encircled Upon

admiration.

whom

celebrated writer,

what

Arbela

Issus,

this

name, asks

I shall not

there so worthy of admiration in this act

is

so highly vaunted

Alexander was the

for, in fine,

;

numerous army engaged

chief of a

in

an enemy's

country, the master of a rising kingdom, the

who was charged

of Grreece

and

designs

its

many

fate of so

exposing

poison

it

others

;

What

is

without defence to the chances of

whom

I

is

so



the peril of his life is

goes on to

say

Unhappy men, tell

is,

could you

you

that

that he believed in

1

What

Alexander it

fully, at

!'"

a magnificent explanation of the faith of

a noble heart, and

God.

after

be needful to

it if it

believed in virtue

faith,

!

worthy of admiration

This

have quoted,

there so worthy of admiration in that

action of Alexander

understand

vengeances

and what merit was there

having made these remarks, "

its

upon which depended the

life,

But the writer

?

with

man

he should, on every account,

;

liave respected his

in

a

it is

also the explanation of all

whether exercised towards

Whoever makes an

man

or towards

act of faith, whether he

198 kno\vs

or not, drinks the cup of Alexander; he

it

Relieves fitlhj, at the peril

that lineage of

of all

those, that

^wasted

of his

Abraham, who Jjelieve,'^'^

life ; is

entei-s into

becanse when he was old

but not in heart

in age,

he

called the father

obedient knife upon his only son,

—he

raised his

who was

all

his

love and his race, hoping against hope in that declaration which

And

if

had promised him a

there be a creature who, in opposition to

these great examples, has never

you may

soul an act of faith,

creature

work is

of having

For

of God.

drawn from



it is

virtues pass

the sacrifices

his

fearlessly accuse that

dishonoured in himself the

faith

is

not only a virtue

generous and an efficacious

to say, a

wards good all

posterity.

— that

effort to-

the sacred portico through which

— the

sanguinary prodrome where

commence and where

the victims

justly immolated return to the sanctuary of God.

There

is

no

act of devotedness,

no

act of love,

honourable or holy act which was not at act of faith,

and

this is the

reason

tures so often declare that b}' faith

and saved.

T^^e

Jews imagined

why man

first

no an

the Scripis

justified

that the principle

of salvation was the observance of the law in view of the recompenses of

God

2^Rom.

iv.

;

St. 11.

Paul unceasingly

199

works are powerless

that their

tells tlieni

by

are not vivified

they

if

It is one

a higher element.

God, he exclaims, that justifieth circumcision hj faith,

and uncircmncision through faith.^^ What are works, in fact if they are performed under the impulsion of a purely scientific view

A

?

simple calculation

of interest, or of good government of om^selves and

Men

others.

are just, sober, careful, industrious,

faithful keepers of their

word, because this

an

is

order whose exact observance produces more than it

costs

but place these well-regulated minds be-

;

cup of Alexander

fore the

which

a sacrifice

may



^that is to say,

be avoided without

before a virtue which has no visible reward

loss,

—you

then learn the void in the heart where faith

Avill

wanting.

I

do not even mean divine

vague, unnamed, indescribable

tliat tlie

before

basis of all that

1^1 ul

faith

is

great.

it is

impossible

to

when

Therefore,

God,''^

but

which

faith,

pronounced that sovereign sentence please

faith,

is

;

is

St.

Without

we may add

and men.

Thence comes the weakness of

Never has science thrown upon

present time. things a

more

ation than 2^

living

now nor

Rom.

society, in the

;

iii.

30.

and a more complete illuminhas the social '"

tie

Ueb.

ever been so xi. 6.

200

by

easy to burst in the hands of those wlio, turn

endeavour

turn,

because science order



is

not the principle of

only one of

it is

and where

to bind society tog-ether.

its

It is

luiman

tlie

glorious ornaments

oppresses instead of sustaining

it

it is

but

man

will learn too late that

faitli,

parricidal instrument of ruin wherein

tlie

in order to live a single

it is

necessary to believe

even were

da}?-,

it

not

necessary to believe in order to live eternally

Human

faith is the

divine faith

is

the

life

of the

and those two men forming maintains

human

divine faith, were

which

exists

faith as it

man

of the natural

life

as

man

supernaturalized,

l)ut

one, divine faith

human

supports

faith

but in proving the synthesis

between the two orders wdiose

distinct,

but harmonious, elements compose our destiny.

This

first difiiculty

solved, I

am urged

to notice

a considerable difference between the faith that

means of intercourse between men among themselves, and the fnitli that serves as a serves as a

means of intercourse with God. they say,

it is

easy to see

In the former,

when and

in

confidence should be given to purely

mony,

relating to things

what degree

Imman

testi-

and ideas not removed

from the sphere in which we are

;

in the latter,

the contrary", every thing surpasses our faculties

on



201 divine revelation well

man

believe in

man

is

How,

volnntarily and naturally, because

ourselves

and with

We

therein.

contained

mysteries

the

as

as

exterior signs,

in its

itself,

we

;

then, should

God

because

difficulty,

God by chance

believe in

we make

not ourselves

is

of that faith the

chosen

instrument of our relations with the invisible world Is it our fault if it does not subjugate our heart

You tell us then

us,

us

it is

a result of persuasion

Behold us

I

listen to

that

you

;

what

'I

persuade

your pulpit

at the foot of

;

we

you from persuading an apostrophe, which you

liinders

Just now, in

I

:

?

thought eloquent, you told us that lost its authority in the world,

when language

infallibly

it

found

which took possession of its vacant This is what happens to the teaching

a successor throne.

whose organ you are Is

it

ine-

needful to

;

but

condemn

impute

or pity us

may

be decried

darkness,

it

is

;

its

but

art

it

is

victim.

the cup from which

much

is

It is possible that

*?

to us

^

human teach teaching, if we stronger than

listen to sages rather than to

God, wherein men theoloo-ians

man

it

if

has been substituted for divine

are born in an age wherein

so

why

our generation

not the author of

Our

we drank

:

fathers prepared

they mixed with

and power that our

its

lips are

it

naturally

202 inebriated therewith, and that our birth and error

form but a single act

in

one and the same day.

Instead of condemning- us,

our help;

word

;

visible

him speak,

let

and

if

among

let

let

him give grace

be true that

it

God, then, come

up the whole human

then, raise

You have

real corpse.

to his

his Son, heretofore

did raise the dead, ah

us,

to

let hiin,

!

This

is

the

said that eloquence

is

the

race.

substitution of the soul that speaks for the soul that listens

:

be eloquent

let Grod, then,

much to ask of him And if he will not

if

he does not do

credulity remains onr natural

but exceptional,

it

because

we

it

too

for the salvation of the world



is

Is

!

why

state,

this



!

if in-

whilst faith

should he complain ?

are such as he has created us

Is

?

Grentlemen, your objection supposes that divine is

an accident of the human mind,

and already many

times, in the course of these

or religious faith

Conferences,

I

have proved

universal, perpetual, I

proved

it

to

to

you

and public

you again

this

that

state of

it

was ihe

mankind.

very year,

at

the

beginning of our quadragesimal reunion, and without returning" to that historical demonstration, I will limit

myself

have been

to

in the

one remark



it

is,

that there

world only two epochs where

incredulity has had

any hope of domination:

the

203

Augustan age and our own

Augustan age,

the

;

which saw the Roman RepubHc

and our

perish,

own, which has as yet produced only tempests

two epochs

in six

thousand years, both marked by

the sio-ns and the effects of dechne.

woukl prophecy your ruin was not ruin

at>e it

even

;

Not

in the

that I

Augustan

the unbeHef of the ancient

:

world was the happy forerunner of a new world,

So

the Christian world.

bark quivers and it

sinks,

into the abyss will

your

in 3'our history

and

it

it

its

haven, will admire

own

a

new proof

unbelief, so far from being a station of is

hardly a danger for

Your

towards heaven, and

to the

in

be with you.

but the wave that draws

lift

guided

posterity,

will

it.

that

mankind,

Ah-eady certain

fore-

sliado wings of the future justify this pi-esentiment,

and even

if

my

always remain

hope be not a proof

tliat

which we know followed

by

for you,

it

will

the only epoch of incredulity of integral

tlie

development was

the exaltation of Christianity

to say, of the greatest

—that

is

and most memorable expan-

sion of faith which has ever taken place in the

human

race.

This

suffices to give

conclude that divine or accident of our condition,

and

miind,

that

man

me

the right to

religious faith is

but

its

not an

general and true

believes in

God

as spon-

204 taneously as he believes in man. that he so believes without an

Nothing

without a struggle.

man

than to

live,

and vet

does not cause an}' slrug-cT-le

;

faith, in its

and since

Life

effort.

how much more

not a

is

and even

more natural

is

life

do not say

I

effort,

is

virtue

is

a labour and a

should faith be

a laborious

that

thinor-

effort,

of the passions which are opposed to

since

so,

very definition bears the idea of a

all

to

virtue,

because

its

reign over

requires

some care

the soul

Do

not wonder, then, that

be

to believe, as well as to

it

true,

just,

chaste,

honest man, and wonder even that so

human but

needed, faith being not only a virtue,

and the gate of

God.

You do

is

a divine

the virtues that lead to

not believe, and you conclude that

faith is impossible

my

for

;

you do not do what and

all

little

an

is

I conclude that

part,

necessary in order to believe,

I shall })rove this to

you

in a

few

A's^ords.

The first cause of unbelief is voluntary ignorance. Faith cannot be acquired any more. than knowledge

without a certain application of the mind.

soon as the mind does not apply it

ceases to be a power,

from which are

it

turns

mathematics

it is

away

for

itself, it is

As

inert,

in regard to the object

as if

it

a mind

were

not.

What

which has never

205

motion

extent,

and

man who

has

on the laws of number,

reflected

What

!

philosophy for a

is

never asked himself what are being,

same reason, what

is

the

f

And, by

faith for a soul

which has

and

absolute, the relative, cause

the

idea,

effect

never seriously thought on the necessary relations

between the

and God.

ci'eature

Gentlemen, be true

and

what

after

religion

is

studies

an error

you decided

to yourselves

what age

have you decided that

At the age of forty

1

No,

1

your age,

in the flower of

it

at

;

at the

and

moment when, passion made their joyous appearance

together on

the agitated surface of your being.

Simple and

rising from infancy, ]-easoning

up

subject

pious

time,

that

to

adorers

of the

you had interrogated nothing you lived upon a

thoughts of your mother, nothing, hiith as

contested

double puberty of sting to



pure as your heart.

But hardly had

man made known

your senses and your

its

that

living-

mind, than, witliout

giving yourselves time to ripen your power, impatient of the mysteries of nature,

shame

at believing

lost that other

shame which

of God, 3^ou were seized with at the is

the

same time divine

as

you

guardian

incapable of a virile

and the mysteries

act,

of

innocence.

you

As yet

nevertheless

pro-

20G

nounced sovereignly upon man and upon God you doubted, denied, apostatised, despised your fathers,

accused your masters,

traduced

before

your tribunal the virtues and the sufferings of ages

— made,

in fine, of

your soul a desert of pride

Then, that ruin accomplished, you chose for 3^our object one of the ambitions of

man

—the glory of

arms, letters, or of something less elevated, as the

may

case

be,

and

the effort o^

all

your

faculties is

employed towards the idolatry of your

You have

learned nothing more than to be one day

You have

the actual hero of vour dreams.

your days and nights

ficed

future.

that

to

image, reserving no hidden, no

sacri-

egotistical

unknown

part of

them, save only for that other egotism of man, sensuality.

And

never, during

and

that double

sad dream, has religion appeared to you other than as a futile recollection of

ness or hypocrisy of deio-ned to "ive to

and

if,

it

your early years, a weak-

humanity.

ple, 3'ou

not

an hour, a thouofht, a desire

perchance, attracted

you have passed

You have

by

a celebrated name,

the threshold of a

have done so

book or

a.

in the haughtiness of a

tem-

mind

which had judged and which did not intend

to

confidence of youth

in

change error

!

its

sentence.

security of souls

who have

as yet seen

207 nothing of lias

but

life

been not to

among you time

certainty;

dawn us

call

and encbantment ber

its

Ob

!

tbat bour of io-norance

at,

are not

in

tbe state of simple

brougbt back

and obscure presentiments of stand tbat 3^our unbelief

your repose, It is tins

triitb.

in

it

gift of

infancy

;

it

work

tbis

of

tbat brings

tbrows out

it

to

under-

of return and

man and main-

Faitb, doubtless,

entering into existance, but life

You

doul)t

ratification.

second work,

mankind.

you

your bonour and

for

examination, tbat founds faitb in tains

to

tbe result of a puerile

is

and tbat

needs a

it

bow good God

For, ab-eadv tbe oreater nuni-

!

lias

act of weakness,

!

its

is

also a

its

roots in tbe soul

it is

tbe tardy action

maturity.

Wlien man

man during a long series of years, when known his weakness and misery by ex-

has seen

he has

perience

which leaves him no more doubt, and

already the mighty form of death brings nearer to

him tbe

last of tbe prophecies,

then his look be-

comes naturally more profound. better the divine trace, because he

what man cannot

do,

him

discerns

knows

better

and the lassitude of present also a taste for thing's un-

tliinofs

creates for

seen.

Therefore a writer, whose

now remember,

He

has well said:

name I cannot "At twenty, men

208 believe religion to be false to suspect that tliat it

may be

may

it

true

;

at forty,

;

be true

at sixty,

;

at

tliey

begin

they desire

fift}^,

they no longer doubt

its truth."

Light advances step by step with

and death,

b}^

disabusing us of

pletes that continued revelation

we

heard fi'om the

whose

and woman are the vanguard of God is his

apostle and

first

The

our motlier.

lips of

martyr

com-

things,

all

;

life,

words infant

the full

man

you, young men, are

;

but deserters for a day from him. I

know

that voluntary ignorance does not of

phenomenon

self explain the painful

and that there are men versed

who do They

mind in

of

the pride

all,

knowledge

intoxicated

what

it

like

infatuation

itself,

which sees

Narcissus in limit as

capacity, presumes to treat with

equal and equal.

from a love of

truth,

may

the

Tlie

of

a

itself

lake,

an insult to

God

as

between

Such a man no longer studies but against

gathering clouds around

sand which

the most

is

of knowledge. that

is

with

knows,

Such

but I have met with them.

and which considering every its

faith.

are victims of a passion Avhich

obstinate of

pride

rare,

of unbelief,

in religious things

not attain to the happiness of

examples are

its

it,

it;

he rejoices in

in finding a grain of

be made a blaspliemy, and which

209 he

may

Does he watch

hurl against Heaven.

firmament,

but to draw forth from

it is

of the eternity of the world the bowels of the earth,

;

it is

it

tlie

the secret

does he descend into

but to seek for arms

against a great biblical fact, does he interrogate

Egypt

the necropolis of it is

or the ruins of Babylon,

but to endeavour to find there a voice that

denies something of the most ancient traditions.

His knowledge

but a stubborn duel between

is

himself and God.

Who

could remain true under the influence of

such a passion Faith,

we have

Who

?

said, is

would accept

judge

as a

it

an act of confidence

sup-

it

;

"i

poses the sincerity of an upright and a loving heart

Now,

men

the

whom

of

I

speak would not even

believe in mathematical demonstrations ject

if

their ob-

and end were the truths of the religious

order.

Like Jean Jacques, they would rather de-

clare themselves to

convinced. picture.

And

be mad than say they w^re

indeed

this is

not an imaginary

Consult the recollections of your

conscience.

Have you never

on discovering something that appeared to

Christian sign

you

?

hands on hearino-

to

felt

a

thrill

in history or in

own

of joy

nature

be stamped with an

anti-

Have you never clapped your .

it

said,

Here

is

an arg-ument

no

to

you

Ash, and

Jesus Clirist?

ng-ainst

and you

seek,

;

shall find

Such

he opened to you"''

is

The sun

arrivinof at faith.

height of the firmament,

if

;

the is

shall he given

it

knock,

and

shall

it

condition for

first

fixed in vain in the

his light

is

but a rea-

son for us to refuse to acknowledge his presence. In fine, a third cause of unbelief is the deprav-

nesses of our faith

is

not say that

I will

ity of morals.

all

the weak-

frail flesh, are obstacles to faith, since

the principle of chastity,

itself

and since

Jesus Christ pronounced against the Pharisees that divine saying, The tvomen whom, you

call lost shall

There

go into the kingdom of

God

form of vice which

humble, which knows

which despises

is

he/ore you'^

which beats

itself,

its

is

able to heal

as

he healed Magdalene.

other hand, there

which

raises

This vice

its

God

is

I

God On the

agreeable to God, but

it

it,

a

itself,

breast.

will not say that is

is

a vice poisoned witii pride,

head, which laughs and mocks. hates

;

is

it

obstacle to faith, because

an almost invincible

it is

the re-union of

two

kinds of perversity, which naturally exclude one another, and

whose meeting takes from the soul

the last resources of good. is

~

Pride alone of

so insupportable to God, that he prefers 2"

St. Matt. vii. 7.

^Sr.

itself

humble

Matt. xxi. 31.

'211

haughty

vice to

How,

virtue.

Now, nothing

gard proud vice!

must he

then,

they are to the most shameful

pi-actices,

vile inclinations

and the most

;

they appeal from

their honour, their probity, their genius,

name

slaves as

;

they plume themselves in the

pride of a pure conscience

with the

rare than

is less

that lamentable disposition of the heart

it

to

and cover

of amiable weaknesses the prostita-

They

tion of all the senses to voluptuousness.

employ

re-

half a century in perverting the ignorance

of youth and the beauty of virtue around them,

and

after haviufr-

souls,

whose ruin they do not e\en deign

spect in their

with

number of

driven to shame a

St.

memory,

instead of saying to

Peter, " Depart from

me

;

for

I am

Lord"^^ they complain of the

man,

which God has thrown upon

God

a s'lufid

little

his works,

re-

to

light

and im-

pute to him their misfortune of not knowing and serving him.

Do you

believe.

Gentlemen, that

miracles are due to such complainings, and

God

is

at fault for not

tliat

answering them otherwise

by silence and coldness ? Oh yes, the women whom you call lost will go into the kingdom, of God than

before you,

!

because nearly

all

of them have been vic-

tims before having been mercenaries, and because 29

St.

Lukev.

8.

212 from the depth of their abasement they sometimes raise

which

God

is

that plaintive and

more than remorse, hear them

will

begun

pride of vice

when,

in

God

good

virtue.

sigh

fainte.sr,

But he despises the

tlie

he

;

pride of knowledge, and

will

await them on the day

presence of the assembled universe, angels

will sing to

be not yet

he hears the

;

form for time.

to

pride of ignorance, tlie

if it

humble look

and he perfects every tear which

sincere,

tliat is

lias

God

towards

hymn

again the

God made man,

of

and on earth

in the Jiighest,

])eace to

Glory

men of

wilJ.^'^

Gentlemen,

I

shall not

conclude Avithout cast-

ing a thought upon the great

events

we

week whose

are about to celebrate.

of our salvation, and

it is

It

so now.

From

that cross

which the Church has just covered with a to hide

it

from

but to make

us,

apparent and more bitter to centuries justice

its

doleful

was the week

veil,

not

mourning more

us, for

nearly twenty

and love have appealed

to you.

Listen to them now, and do not disdain such great

patience in so

much

You,

liglit.

to

whom

age

gives warning of serious things, listen to the counsel of time,

which

God.

to

You,

for

you

joins to the voice of

whom youth 3"

St.

Luke

ii.

promises long hours 14.

213 of grace, listen to what

is

most touching- for you

in tlie cruel appeal of the Passion.

that after the arrest of the Saviour, disciples

lowino;

had

him

left

him, a

It is written

when

all

his

young man was seen

fol-

havincr a linen cloth cast about his

The guards

naked body.

seized

upon him

in order

to take him, but, casting off the linen cloth,

That young man was your-

from them naked. selves;

it

he fled

was the youth which should one day

spring from Christianity no longer dishonoured by hopeless vices, but subject to seductions and returns to good, preserving in evil the search after

good, incapable of jDersecating the just and follow-

ing him at a distance in the shadows of the world

with sympathetic presentiments.

on the eve of the Passion

;

Such were you

in that

young man,

your precursor, such are you now. You are naked,

you

are

sin,

and whilst here you

spotless

wrapped

word of

in the linen sheet of

truth,

death and

listen uncertain to the

perhaps Providence will

touch you with that blessed hand which has

and which seeks man. fly

from him

;

leave

Ah

!

I conjure

made

you not

to

him your linen garment by

giving him your hearts.

SACRAMENT.

My

Lord,

— Gentlemen,

Propliecy does not suffice for the supernatural

between man and God.

intercourse

enhghtens

tlie

intelhgence

Prophecy

by elevatmg

it

to ideas

Avhich the spectacle of tiuite things would not inspire

and

;

ill

only a part of man,

but the intellig-ence

is

order to be moved,

depends upon a faculty

Avhich rouses actions,

it

and

although

it

it

is

the mainsjoring of all our

is

subject in

its

turn to the

influence of the doctrines deposited in the under-

standing



I

mean the If

ot free activity.

will.

it

The

will is the principle

were to halt in the orbit of

nature whilst the intcdligence mounts higher, there

would be discord

in the tendencies of

our being,

and the work of divine comnuniion would not be accomplished.

It

is

needful that the will should

receive a supernatural impulsion at the

same time

as the intelliorence receives an illumination of the

same

order,

and that thus

advance together

to the

all

our faculties should

conquest and

full

possession

215 This

of the infinite.

which

is

wli}^

the Spirit of God, ^'

called the Spirit of truth

is

is

also called

the S^nrit ofpower/^ and Jesns Christ in promising-

announced

this Spirit to his apostles,

under that double form of

And

or virtue.

[)o\ver,

—the one

unquestionably, in the

includes

reign of divine justice, Christ, after

and

life,

having revealed

mystery of the Gospel and

his

attractive

Holy

the constant

love.

Jesus

xVs

having begun

after

Spirit Avhich

it

to his apostles the

them the work of regeneration,

by

produced.

is

an

also

not sufficient to found in

gift of the

them

which, although sufficient to aid the

grace, but will, is

grace

to

of light, the other

prophetic action, this double effusion Illuminative

it

fulfilled

was

to

it

by

in

the

confirm them

omnipotent power, so every soul already

prepared by the hearing of the word of God, should resort to sacrament in order to derive from

it

the

vivifying virtue which exalts the will, and establishes

it

in the plenitude of the rights

and functions

of the supernatural order.

What, then, to

is

sacrament!

showing you what

it

is

If

I

in the religious sense,

perhaps you would not understand sure that in considering 3>

St

John

xiv. 17.

it

limited myself

in a

me

but

;

I

am

higher manner ^'^Acts

i.

8.

21G

that

to say,

is

nature

— you

in its

metaphysical and absolute

be constrained

will

to respect

even you are not yet induced to practise again

I propose, then,

ment

this

What

is

I

ask

Sacra-

?

Sacrament thus considered than an instrument

which contains a



that

What

was.

discussion,

force

force

of prophecy, the

treating

is

truth?

an organism

idea of force it

impossible for us to reason about

know beforehand what

no other thing

to say,

is

The

force.

is

parent idea of sacrament, and

is.

is

the

consequently

is

we do not When we were it if

fundamental question

When

sacrament

the fundamental question

is,

is

under

What

is

I

It seems.

Gentlemen, easy

to ans\yer this ques-

we have been in the \yorld, moment of our life, we have performed,

for ever since

tion

;

and

at eacli

and we ness

it.

question, and

in an abstract and general sense,

if

it,

;

what

still

perform, only acts of force or weak-

and weakness is

itself is

bat a

foi-ce inferior to

required of the object to Avhich

you

walk,

a display of force

it.

If

it is

the display of another force

it is still

force.

it is

And

so

it is

;

with

actions, with all those that are

if

;

we apply if }0U sit,

you stand

all

up,

our outward

performed by the

217

The movements

organs of the body.

may

whatever they principle,

world and the senses

force.

Are you firm

force.

Are you

it

cast

grows

by an

Are you

Are you above the

It is force.

f

seductions of the

retain

depend upon the same

be,

and follow the same law.

bold in danger

force that

of the soul,

in

your resolutions

down by

less in you,

?

It

I

It is

grief or fear

and

if

you

did not

would slowly and painfully escape from you. is

It is

?

your impressions,

effort against

it

life

Life

but a tissue of actions which proceed from a

more

force

whose

seat

or less energetic, is

at the

more or less

imperfect,

same time the soul and the

body. If

from man you pass

to nations,

there no other spectacle. act of energy, they live

you

will find

Nations begin by an

upon a

principle which

formed them, and they expire from physical and moral exhaustion. their power, lasts

which

and

Their history

their

as as

lasts as

long as

as long as that force

collects all the others in its essence

and



name virtue. The universe, in its

in its

power

man and

which compose

turn, says the

nations. its

same thing

to

immense orbs obey two forces

All those

architecture

one of projection, which impels them in a right

218 line

them

the other of attraction, which calls

;

repose in a fixed centre

— and,

between

dividing-

these two contrary impulses, they describe

and

constant

g-lorious

to

tliat

curve which unceasing-lv

dispenses to us light, heat, time, space, and har-

mony. All

then force in heaven and upon earth,

is

because nature

all

employed

or

things and

may

it

all

meta-

and,

in

under the name of infinite,

immutable

flows, in each being,

pation, the

germ of activitv.

And

imperfectly define its effects.

onr

of it

without

Everv

from

partici-

Consequently nothing

known

thonght,

to you, less

its

is

only

essence the

itself

by

effort of concentration, or diffnsing

by means

of

a

movement

of

act of force reduces itself to this.

a

it is

I shall say, then, that in

us

to

can

I

by

energy of a being, holding existence

means of an

force,

precisely because force

3'et,

primary element

by

all

God, the

by measured

should be more familiar and more than force.

beyond

fine,

number, the most elevated specula-

encounters,

whence

be

solely in calculating forces,

abstract,

supreme, eternal,

than

of whatever

science,

pln'sical, others moral, matliematical,

plivsical

tion

and

action,

niay be, to whatever object

it

a}>plied, is

some

is

it

dilation.

Either

219 restrain ourselves within ourselves, in order to

we

concentrate our

and give

life,

highest possible sensation of life,

or

it,

order to communicate

in

ourselves the

to

we

others,

to

it

our

diffuse

and

we

accordinof to the degree of that double tension,

produce, to a greater or less degree, the incompre-

phenomenon which we

hensible

hand contracted

is

the

you

symbol of the

to refuse, is the

force of concentration

;

the hand open to consent,

symbol of the force of expansion

recall to

Tlie

call force.

and

;

the acts perpetually renewed

mind

man and

you

will

which form the

life

find nothino- in

them which does not conclude

that alternative

if

of

nature,

movement which our

in

heart unceas-

ingly manifests physically and morally.

The

force

He

eternity. indivisible,

of concentration

alone possesses

it,

height,

feels in

The

at its height, is creation.

He

ivlio

is

himself

infinite sensation of being, am?""

I am

its

who, in an unique,

and absolute moment,

and for ever the able to say,

at

and

is

force of expansion

alone possesses

it

wlio, sufficing to himself in the plenitude of exis-

tence,

is

able to call into

thing of his own, spirits,

worlds

life,

who and

—and

this

and unbounded space. ^^

wliat he will

always

Sach

Exodus

without losing any-

iii.

is

14.

in

God.



bodies,

untold ages

220

Now

God, in giving us being, has given us

force, Avithout wliicli

no being could comprehend

and he has given

itself,

element

it

to us in

double

its

— one by which we have dnration, another

which enables us which we tend which we tend

God and

multiply ourselves

to

;

one by

to the act of eternity, the other

But between

to the act of creation.

ourselves, under this relation, there

great and

capital

difference.

by

God

is

possesses

a

of

himself the force of concentration and expansion,

we have

whilst

it

onh" as a loan, by means of the

instruments which the divine providence has pre-

pared for

Tlierefore, living beings as }'ou are,

us.

you would make vain

aliment of your substance, and the of

you

you, like Ugolino, shut up

with your children at your feet crying

in a tower,

to

Were

your wants.

by the sole sole command

efforts to live

in all the tortures of inanition



— you men,

you fathers it would be impossible for you to draw forth from the most energetic action of your soul anything

but despair or resignation.

would be compelled

to fall

bodies of your children

same

cause.

would more hunger.

The

powei'less

who had

fallen

Doubtless the force or

less

retard

that

soul sustains the

You

upon the from the

of your

will

catastrophe of

body combating

221

against

been seen to

and death, and mart3rs

affliction

in

whom

the divine assistance seemed

dehght in braving tyrants, and

the genius of cruel inflictions

age of

by

in surpassing

patient cour-

tlie

But that exahation of

faith.

liave

virilit}', wliilst

being the triumph of virtue, does but lead gloriously to the tomb;

must succumb

it

material order, and bear witness that

possesses of itself the right or Life

is

no creature

power of immortality.-

something other than ourselves

means

in the

on condition of our maintaining

in us

it

—that

of the instruments to whicli

it

to say,

is

God

by by

has com-

municated force to retain and sustain our own. If nature did not bear us like a motlier in her

bosom,

nature

if

did

not,

with

inexhaustible

fecundity, prepare for us the milk of the plant and

the blood of the animal, our

We

be a dream. contained

subsist

in a visible

by

life

would not even

the invisible force

organism, and sacrament or

the instrument being no other thing,

clude that

we

subsist

by

we must

con-

the natural and daily use

of sacraments.

So

it is

in regard to the force of expansion.

you would

act

outwardly upon the being the

least capable of resisting,

by a simple

a'^,t

If

you cannot do

of the will.

so directly

In vain would you

222

command a grain of sand to move out of your way. God moves the universe without even speaking to

it

commands.

You

gone. If

as for you, an

;

call to

it,

and

it

It is silent,

you would remove

to the earth,

and

it,

cast

atom braves your

you command your

despises

it

to

your hand must bend even

from you the insolent dust

which scorned the desire and power of man. the bod}^

is

no longer

for

and add

it,

is

in proportion to the

requii-ed to

lift,

to its action

The

the foreign action of the lever.

must increase

body con-

maintain ^^our empire

suffices to

you must seek help

it

But

a limited instrument, a slight increase

of resistance, and the force which your tains,

be

orders.

lever itself

weight which

and with that material aid

on a fulcrum, 3^ou build your palaces,

resting

your temples, your tombs,

all

those

monuments

by your genius, but executed by your hands aided bv a mean orsfanism. You misfht conceived

even,

said

Archimedes, displace

by

with the lever, finding AA-eiaht,

for

it

a fulcrum

and the

Glory

to

because you

giving

it

the

worlds

sufficient length

capable

effort of its

yo'.i,

all

of bearing

and its

movement.

Gentlemen, but glory

know how

to

to you employ instruments

capable of raising even to heaven the ambition of

223 your works

Without

!

their lielp,

nothing of the firmament but the earth but

yoa would know appearance, of

its

surface, of liistorv but a vaofue

its

and limited remembrance, of yourselves but narrow

limit of

your whole

your

tlie

The instrument

faculties.

is

without as well as within, in the

force,

order of expansion as in the order of concentration.

But the instrument and sacrament

what

thing,

we

shall

save b}' sacrament

power,

liis

— that sacrament

be

wonder

is so,

and

Why,

to

sustain

his

it

?

I say

may not learn why it

and that you

or,

come

to us

at least,

why

it

and develop that which

is

us from

from a source

we only our own by the can

help of sometliiiig foreign to us, and whicli

is

con-

Why,

lowest regions of nature?

tained in the

his

to you.

does



life,

?

does our force come to

Why

inferior to us

it,

thereat, I desire to

show

then,

without!

is

nothing

is

sovereignity, his immoi'tality

having proved

left in

man

say, but that

this after

same

beiu"- tlie

Gentlemen?

Is

we possessed

the force of concentration and ex-

it

so difficult to understand?

pansion of ourselves, as that double force essence of

us

;

we

life,

we should have

life

in us

is

If

the

and by

should be to ourselves our subsistence and

our reason of being,

we should be God

;

or,

at

224 least,

not havino; conciousness of

insensible action

infuse

possessed in

to us,

life

and

silent

tlie

by which God would inwardly we should easily believe that we

of ourselves, and that, instead of rising

it

humble gratitude towards the author of

magnificent

we shonld

gift,

halt at ourselves

before our principle and our end.

would deceive

Our

it

us,

the idea that

we should adore

;

justif}^ its

in nature the rever-

God was

beration of our sovereign majesty. just

should

not distinct from

is

it

Ave

man, and by a pantheism which would obedience,

as

greatness

and nature being under our feet

only an observant and a passive slave,

draw from

that

too

he was too much a father to deliver us

made us

such easy risings of pride; he visible beings,

but

in

first

to

among

warning us of our dependence

towards him by the state of dependence in Avhich

we are towards the whole of creation. We command only on condition of obeying we live only by soliciting life we act only by the help of the ;

;

dust Avhich soils our soul greater than

mitted

it

feet.

God,

heaven and

in giving us a

earth, has not per-

of itself alone to vivify the glebe of the

body which

it

inhabits,

an action equal

and

to

communicate

to its volitions.

He

to

it

has placed

an intermediary between us and force;

he has

225 bidden

it

bosom of

in the

nature, under forms

wbicb we accept without understanding them, and the

employment of which necessarily but

humbles our

pride,

partially

because we have the glory of

discovering them, and because

we

we law by

believe that

make them your servitors by proving which we depend upon them. But

the

you

since

despise the supernatural sacrament, learn at least

You, the

the value of the natural sacrament.

kings of the w^orld

only

by

flesh,

—you can

sitting at a table,

only by eating

and devouring blood,

which you dispute with the beasts

herbs,

of the field

live

only by bearing within you an inex-

;

plicable transmutation of inanimate matter into the

glorious and living substance of man.

kings of the world, for limited

whom

earth

is

too

—you cannot lay two stones one upon

an-

other save subjects

is

this

the help of an instrumentation which

by

your genius

For what

a lever I

to a piece

A

lever

dead wood.

of is

a pole.

proud men, mathematicians, savants, found

this

!

artists,

Your thought conceived

was a pole placed across another pole

whom

Yes, to

temple in which I speak to you, you

require a pole

And

You, the

yet,

where

is

the

scholar in

it,

but

that built

it it.

philosophy

the idea of sacrament has not revolted?

126

Wliat young mind, exercising in mathematics bycalculating forces, has not laughed at the idea of

He who

sacrament?

j)erturbable faith,

who

instrumerits,

serves

daily employs

with im-

it

who advances surrounded by counts, weighs,

by instruments

measures,

ob-

—he who stands wondering

who never contemplates a the museums of science with-

before a machine, and

them

collection of

in



out a feeling of pride

same man, passing

he, that

before a church, cannot suppress a smile at the

thought that there are reasonable beings availing themselves of something which they

Ah

ments.

as

you

live

by them

sacraments as science has

before complaining of

this, it

just to learn

whether such

mode

for

of

life

thing which

Had God

;

we

is

it

despise

created

to time

ments known ments.

its

is

hard tlie

and

to

—religion has

sacraments, and,

would have been but not the universal

to live

by

the very

most.

man only

he would have given

ponding

sacra-

yes Gentlemen, the Christian lives

!

by sacraments its

call

for time

him only

space,

tlie

and space,

force corres-

and the only

instru-

to us would have been natural instru-

But such was not the vocation of man.

God having of goodness,

placed him in the world from willed to

communicate

to

:i

motive

him

his

227 perfection and Ins beatitude



at first

indirectl}^,

under a finite, representative, and enig-matical form, which constitutes tlie order of nature next directly, ;

by

a higher effusion of light and love, wliich should

prepare man, see

by means

and possess

of his free cooperation, to

fally the author of all good.

In

a word miglity and wonderful, but a word taken

from Scripture, and brought even to us by Christian tradition, the final



that

that,

is

end of man

his deification

is

without destro3nng our personality,

make us

partakers of the divine

nature.

This

in these

terms to the

and

Peter, servant

life

what the apostle

is

God

so intimate a union with

to say,

fjiithful

apostle

should

it

and the divine Peter Avrote

St.

of his times: Simon

of Jesus Christ,

them

to

that have obtained equal faith ivith us in the justice

our

God and Saviour Jesus

Christ

:

Grace

to

of

yon and

pence he accomplished in the hiowJedrje of God, and Christ Jesus our Lord,

us the most great

.

.

.

hj

whom

he hath given

and precious j^romises

:

that hy these

you may he made partakers of the divine nature?' St.

For

Paul writing tve

are

to

made partakers of Christ

hold the beginning of his substance

And '*

at

2 Ep.

every page of St. Pet.

i.

And

the Hebrews, said to them:

tlie

1, an.l foil.

frm

Gospel ^^

:

yet so if

we

unto the end.^'

eternal

life

Ueh.

J

iii.

4.



tliat

228 is

God

to say, the life of



is

promised to us as the

reward of our works performed in the

faith

fulfilment of the divine plan in regard to us.

the

life

Now,

of God, consisting- in an infinite force of

concentration,

which

double

is

eternity,

which

force of expansion, this

and

infinite force

communicated

in

an

infinite

creative charity,

which should be

us in

to

is

and

order that

it is

initially

we may

re-

spond, even here below, to the marvellous vocation of onmipotent goodness. cuss that vocation. if I

had not

I

I

have not now to

have already done

unimportant.

it is

Is there

dis-

so,

and

any

soul

who accepts time and space as his destiny ? Do we not all, believers and unbelievers, hold

here

the faith that space

is

not our measure, that

and that the present of a greater future

ought I even there

is

1

not our horizon, that time

we

pass

life is

we

Yes, save the atheist

to except

are

all

higher,

but the painful portico

him?

no man who does not

Therefore,

beyond and

—save

feel a

—and

the atheist,

germ of divinity.

able to die for our ideas and

our affections, for truth and justice, because, feeble as

we

are,

we

vivid an impression

is

feel

all

on certain occasions so

of the

God

obscure

who

is

within us, that death appears to us as a fiction,

and the duty of dying an immortality.

229

Ah

!

I

thank God, that in

our union with him, there as to the

bless

mode and

him

for this

;

Mussulmans,

dissent

is

the degree

I feel

I

!

mystery of

among us only

happy and

find one point in hope and

whoever we may be

this great

thank him, full

I

of joy to

in the infinite, where,

—ancients or moderns, pagans, unbelievers — we meet, and

heretics,

for once understand each other

Hail, promised

!

land of man, duration which will no longer be a

beginning and an end, incomprehensible substance

which

will bear us without increasing or lessening,

air, light,

heat, respiration of our soul



hail

!

We

do not

all

understand thee in the same manner, we

do not

all

possess the same certainty of thee, but

we

all possess,

even in the despair of suicide, thy

inexplicable augury

:

and

if

thou

art, if

thy dawn

seen from so far deceives not the heart of man,

what canst thou be but God ?

What

other land,

what other heaven, what other ocean but God, could bring to our weary minds a better vision

than the vision of the present? below, for

all

our aliment us,

he

still

like those

;

of us,

God

even when

is

Yes, even here

our perspective, he

we have

is

driven him from

dwells in us plaintive and consoling,

unknown winds which

pass in the even-

ing over the desolate summit of the high mountains.

230 and gently l)ious

hand of the

God

is

some

agitate

traveller has never touched.

onr future, or

shall fall into his

union with God

ism.

I

or

life,

the one or the other.

tion, or the

solitary j^lant Avhicli the

is

we have no future we we shall fall into death ;

Immortality without intimate

the abstract

dream of

adulterous dream of infinite material-

do not believe that your hope has

low, and consequently

you must

plunged into

his

bosom

the vocation of

as

we

fallen so

eternally enjoy

God if you are not to perish eternally. To enjoy God, to be in God and is

beatifica-

with God,

are in nature, such

man, and that vocation cannot

have been given without a corresponding force to

As

to prepare us, in this world, for our final state.

beings destined to a transformation in the

we

treasures for us to maintain our terrestial

necessarily pours out also his life,

or-erms

As nature pours out

of that divine change.

his

infinite,

should somewliere derive the efficacious

own

life,

its

God

to elevate us to

and, according to the general law of the

communication of

forces,

supernatural energy

is

it is

by an instrument

presented

to,

that

and incorpor-

ates itself in, us.

Jesus Christ, havinoc sat down bv a well in the land of Samarin, saw a

woman come

there

who

231

began

draw up water, and

to

me

Woman,

give

woman

said to

ask of me

to

drink.

to

him

drink,

am

Then

.

.

How

:

ivlio

.

me

to

lier

the Samaritan

woman

a Samaritan

of God, and tvho he

to

dost thou, being a Jew,

Jesus answered and said to her: If the gift

said

lie

f

thou didst

is that saith to thee

:

.

.

.

know Give

drink, thou ])erhaps tvouldst have asked of him,

have given thee living water.'

That

of the obscurities of man, and

who

and he

ivould

w^oman,

full

represents so well to us the poverty of our reasonings, replied

nothing wherein tvhence

then

her interlocuter:

to

draw, and the

to

thou

hast

living

of this ivater shall

of

in

I

the ivater that

ever

;

thirst ivill

which

him a

hut he that shall drink

him

shall not thirst for

well of ivater springing

Such

is

him

a passing into

life,

;

but the

first

because

it

is



in tlie

contained in a

communicates only

the second gives a

eternity,

with God.

hecome

into life ever-

the sacrament of grace

in the other the force

sensible element

up

shall

the difference between the sacra-

ment of nature and one and

not

been

liad

Whosoever drinketh

hut the water that I will give

lasting.^'^

lip

give

:

from

;

Jesus,

ivater f

lier:

again

thou hast

deep

ivell is

wearying of showing mercy, twice rejected, replied to

Sir,

life

that springs

nourishes the sou]

232 Nourishes

you

sion,

We

tlie

soul with

God

and what

will say,

reality can

can conceive that a body

by another body,

What an

!

may be

since both are of the

and are composed of parts which itely divided

such as the stance

still

God ? body

how

but

;

yet

it

sjjirit

transport to the spiritual

animal

is

life.

or inferiority

be indefin-

not nourished like a

human

the tradition of those bold

possess

same nature

may

can a simple substance,

not in vain that

is

nourished

simple, such as the essence of

Doubtless a ;

signify?

be nourished by another sub-

soul,

more

it

expres-

life

tong-ues

and

figures,

the operations of

tlie

Being, in whatever rank of honour

God may have

established

it,

lives

only by the forces received from without, and the

eminent act by which these forces,

Now

ment

is

it

receives

and assimilates

the very act of receiving nourish-

the

spirit

receives

and assimilates

forces as well as bodies, consequently

nourishment; sustain effusion,

it

and

if

are given to

it is

it

receives

the forces which vivify or it

of

God by an immediate

eloquently and truly said to nourish

However, the expression

itself

with God.

little

importance, provided that the thing

God, in the supernatural sacramei to the soul a force of expansion

t,

is

of

exists.

communicates

which bears

it

233 directly towards himself,

which attaches

tion if

you

and a force of concentra-

intimately to himself, and

it

weary of expressions borrowed from

are

the physical sciences, I will say to

guage of

St.

Paul

you

in the lan-

Charitas Dei diffusa est in

:

COEDIBUS NOSTRIS PER SpIRITUM SANCTUM QUI DATUS

The char ity of God

EST NOBIS hearts hy the ity,

that

is

Holy Ghost who

to say love,

is

is

poured forth in our

given

to us.^^

Char-

which does not come from

and blood but from the beauty of God pre-

flesh

sented to the soul

by

faith

—charity

is

force

tliat

of expansion and concentration which unites us

By

supernaturally to God.

above the senses and above

selves

ments which the

world

visible

we

all

raise our-

the enchant-

offers to us;

by

having once seen the divine personality

charity,

in the figure of Christ,

ure,

charity,

more peace, more

any created

thing,

and

we

find therein

joy,

more

more

pleas-

delight than in

as the patriarchs

under the

nuptial tent forgot the death of their mother,

we

forget ourselves and lose ourselves in that super-

human

love.

him with

all

We

pass into God, and embracing

our strength in an inexplicable cer-

tainty of possessing him,

of his

life

in

abandoning ^'

we draw from him to

Kom.

him

V. 5.

all

our own,

a part

234

Who

among- you, having- been h:>ved and sup-

posing

we

that

are able to

understand what I mean? not

known

pours out

itself

AYho among- you

movement

that

and

Even inanimate

of the

celestial

creatures possess

instinctive

its

and unite by secret

move

us in

consummated

God

tlie

all its

that,

degrees in

is

beatification.

order, they should be

a form so humble, so selves, as sacrament.

their principle

little

;

but you religious

to us

under

in relation with

them-

In the natural sacrament or

the cause and the

effect.

body, the

is

relation can

or

communicated

instrument, say you, there

effect

forces, or that

supernatural

the

mystery

in the

Perhaps you do not deny these

what

I

bodies are but the sensible revelation of

of initial and

wonder

whicli

lieart,

and those famous laws which lead

the forces which

love in

lias

finds itself again in another

secret; they seek each other, affinities,

love God, does not

is

proportion between

I take a lever, I

natural

like

its

move

cause

:

a

but

be discovered between a few

drops of water poured upon the head of a man, and his transformation in

God by

charity

?

The objection supposes that in the natural sacrament there is proportion between the cause and the

effect:

I

deny

it.

I

now

maintain

that

235

between the lever and the body moved by it, there exists no more relation than between the water which baptizes and the soul which

What, indeed,

that water.

already said

a lever?

is

another piece of dead wood, which serves fulcrum.

This definition

is

not

Now,

organism, where

the force that will

Not

weight?

in the least

is it

it

more

as the

AVhere, then, since

it

if



the force

is

needs

to

is

it

is

the

greater.

not in the lever,

needs to be moved

;

it

is

by my

moves the lever by

I ask you,

there between the

body

It is

much

so

it

not

will

arm

the

to say, in a faculty of the soul, in the

Now,

mind.

?

com-

will did not

be moved by the arm

in the will whicli

tliat

my

weig-lit

my arm did and my arm

obstacle of the weight

in the arm, since it is

if

move and strengthen

mand

to

still

it

the

lift

The

degree.

not give an impulsion to the lever,

would remain

but

there, in this inert

would remain eternally motionless

itself

as a

it

scientific,

cannot be contested. lies

have

I

wood placed upon

a piece of dead

it is

by

purified

is

what natural

relation

is

mind and the movement of a

?

Tlie lever alone could do nothing,

could do nothing; capable, dead

:

my arm

alone

they Avere both inactive,

an order of

my

will weighing-

in-

upon

236

my

arm, has weighed upon the lever, which in

an

turn, Jias given

And you

body.

that the effect

For

my

part, I

effect material,

find that simple

say that the cause

sa}'

as the cause spiritual, the

is

and that therefore

you fondly assume,

Avhich

the

to

And you

!

same natm-e

of the

is

impulsion

irresistible

its

proportion

tlie

as foreign to the

is

physical instrument as to the religious instrument.

But there will it

moved

is

something more.

moved

the arm, which

true,

the lever

;

my yet

can do nothing without the co-operation of the

lever and the arm.

may it

It is

be,

If

my

had not these instruments

would have endeavoui'ed

cate a

however

will,

movement.

The

nevertheless, the force can

is

in

and

first

cause inert in

come from

cause depends in itself.

communi-

my

means of an instrument which has living

its

Withdraw

it

at its service,

in vain to

force

active

only by

it it

and,

will,

not

action

tlie

;

upon

a

the lever, with-

draw the piece of dead wood resting upon another piece of dead wood, let the will Spirit

miracle

would waste

it

refuse

itself in

its

help to the

poM^erless desires.

needs matter, as matter needs is

recipi'ocal

—the

effect

will,

spirit

:

the

becomes cause, and

the cause becomes effect.

You have

not,

however,

yet exhausted that

237 strang-e complication of mysteries.

upon

will acts

to double

length,

its

whilst the

If,

the instrument, the instrument were force at the

its

same moment

becomes doubled, without the soul making any other

and so on

effort,

power of

indefinitely,

even to the

raising worlds, according to the boast of

The instrument which

Archimedes.

principle of force multiplies

it

is

not the

without measure

:

receives the initiative of the mind, and gives back

it

to

it

exchange an increase wliich exhausts

in

Do you

calculation.

understand

Do you

this"?

understand that force, springing from the passes

into

is

will,

a pole, and there increases simply

What

because the pole increases in length. tion

all

rela-

there between the immobility of the soul

and the progress of force

—between

a principle

which remains at the same point, and a consequence unceasingly developed inert

the aid of something

and dead ?

I leave

you now

water of baptism a

by

little

;

free to declaim

ask, as often as

matter applied to the

him from earth

to

God.

many

me

myself on

to distrust

ignorant about

it;

please,

brow of a man

If I

prepared too

you

against the

know not,

how

raises

nature has

reprisals against science for

I

this head.

But

comprehend that

I

am

not

force

is

238 essentially spiritual, that

tent will of Gocl, as in

from thence

it

it

according- to fixed laws,

Spirit breaths Avhere

to rise

word.

and that

not more

it

creature in

movement and life, and in a measure whence it

universal order results.

it is

omnipo-

principle,

descends upon every

order to communicate to

that

resides in the

its first

I

comprehend that the and how

wills,

difficult for

it

wills,

and

to cause a saint

it

from a drop of water than a world from a

comprehend

I

that

under that action of the

divine will, dust seeks dust, the plant rises from its

germ, the animal devours and assimilates

prey

body upon

the soul, the planet

and that the

entire universe, in

responds

by a

force to every

and asks help from even erty

in the liberty is

his

anism

:

which

upon the

hand is

libert}" tlie

liberty, a

it

planet,

most lowlv atoms, that touches

all in

it,

things,

all

rejects him, for that lib-

work, and he maintains

of the evil which

Without

its

God

it.

its

upon the body, the

to itself, the soul acts

engenders

in

it

at the

spite

peril

of him.

world wonld be but a mech-

supreme power, gives

being which possesses

it

to

it

in the

self-possession, govern-

ment, responsibility, a real intercourse with

God

an intercourse of whicli Prophecy and Sacrament are but the proof

and the means.

Prophecy reveals

239

man

to the free

direct trutli in regard

and inspires him with liis

faitli

drawn from

raising"

God,

Sacrament ponrs into

;

soul the fermentation

imag-e

to

of charity,

whicli

no

would be capable of up and maintaining- therein. The one and creation

however feeble they may be

the other,

in appear-

ance, form the foundation of the divine

bosom of mankind, and

in the

life

for sixty centuries tliey

have there resisted the unanimous conjuration of All has been tried against them,

created forces.

but

all in vain.

To

the demonstrations of science,

the brilliant dreams of genius, the sword of poten-

judi^ments of the magistracy, the revolts

tates, the

of opinion, the children of

faitli

replied in these short phrases to us

!

God

has blessed us

firm upori these

!

:

and

cliaritv liave

— God

has spoken

Death has found them

two anchors, and

their blood has

The

been but another propliecy and sacrament. world mocked at the word and at water

added fluid

their blood,

and proved

to the

air

is

put in motion

enters into

it, it

What

it

Water

will is

;

becomes eloquence,

become when God

man

penetrates

Lan-

but when the soul justice, truth.

enters into itf

h3^drogen mixed with oxygen

the genius of

they

world that a

shed was not so insignificant a thing.

guage

;

it, it

:

but when

becomes

A^apour,

240 commerce, power,

celerity, it

become when God touches

who has remained

What

civilization. it,

Glory

Gentleman, I have yet to show you

how

phetic and sacramental grace, truth

and charity were given

our race

me for by this

an-ests

year

means

how

We

a year.

to the ancestor of all

having learned the whole plan of

God, having scrutinized granted to him

by

the

now

resume them next

will

and immediately

question,

pro-

supernatural

but the order of our Conferences

:

God,

to

so great in such feeble

will

man

after,

in regard to

which were

gifts

the intermediary of nature, and

the highest and most direct gifts which he has

received

from

grace,

we

will

before

halt

that

splendid masterpiece of divine goodness, no longer to study that divine

We

acts.

goodness in

man

shall see

destiny of

lose

all,

all

his

master to bless

in his heart the pious

common

destiny.

own

all

and

;

—master

in fine,

terrible

to

conducting

drama of our

There, under the virgin shades

TherD, in the ignorance of

his

you rendezvous.

evil,

we shall sons, who too

youthful glory of God,

and we,

its

destiny and of

descendants

of the primative Eden, I give

father;

but in

struggling with liberty

a depositary in liberty of his the

its gifts

and

in the all-

find

our

first

fully prejudice

241 the possible issue of so

by our misfortunes innocence in so

much felicity,

our works, and

may

to bring

let

remembrance, fewer

we, in another year, be able

faults

to repair

it

I

remorse than

than virtues, a soul

capable of understanding the

worthy

us each return to

this place less of

back into

much

fall

of man,

and