This is what Scripture indicates when it says in so many places that those who seek God find him. It is not of a light like the sun at noonday that they thus speak. No one says that those who seek the sun at noonday, or water in the sea shall find them, and thus it follows that the evidence for God is not of that kind. Therefore it says to us elsewhere: Vere tu es Deus absconditus.

The metaphysical proofs of God are so apart from man's reason, and so complicated that they are but little striking, and if they are of use to any, it is only during the moment that the demonstration is before them, but an hour afterwards they fear they have been mistaken.

Quod curiositate cognoverint, superbia amiserunt.

Such is the outcome of the knowledge of God gained without Jesus Christ, for this is to communicate without a mediator with the God whom they have known without a mediator.

Instead of which those who have known God by a mediator know their own wretchedness.

Jesus Christ is the goal of all, and the centre to which all tends. Who knows him knows the reason of all things. Those who go astray only do so from failing to see one of these two things. It is then possible to know God without knowing our wretchedness, and to know our wretchedness without knowing God; but we cannot know Jesus Christ without knowing at the same time God and our wretchedness.

Therefore I do not here undertake to prove by natural reasons either the existence of God or the Trinity, or the immortality of the soul, nor anything of that sort, not only because I do not feel myself strong enough to find in nature proofs to convince hardened atheists, but also, because this knowledge without Jesus Christ is useless and barren. Though a man should be persuaded that the proportions of numbers are immaterial truths, eternal, and dependent on a first truth in whom they subsist, and who is called God, I should not consider him far advanced towards his, salvation.

The God of Christians is not a God who is simply the author of mathematical truths, or of the order of the elements, as is the god of the heathen and of Epicureans. Nor is he merely a God who providentially disposes the life and fortunes of men, to crown his worshippers with length of happy years. Such was the portion of the Jews. But the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Christians, is a God of love and consolation, a God who fills the souls and hearts of his own, a God who makes them feel their inward wretchedness, and his infinite mercy, who unites himself to their inmost spirit, filling it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, rendering them incapable of any end other than himself.

All who seek God apart from Jesus Christ, and who rest in nature, either find no light to satisfy them, or form for themselves a means of knowing God and serving him without a mediator. Thus they fall either into atheism, or into deism, two things which the Christian religion almost equally abhors.

The God of Christians is a God who makes the soul perceive that he is her only good, that her only rest is in him, her only joy in loving him; who makes her at the same time abhor the obstacles which withhold her from loving him with all her strength. Her two hindrances, selflove and lust, are insupportable to her. This God makes. her perceive that the root of self-love destroys her, and that he alone can heal.

The knowledge of God without that of our wretchedness creates pride. The knowledge of our wretchedness without that of God creates despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ is the middle way, because in him we find both God and our wretchedness.



ECOND Part. That men without faith cannot know the true good, nor justice.

All men seek happiness. To this there is no exception, what different means soever they employ, all tend to this goal. The reason that some men go to the wars and others avoid them is but the same desire attended in each with different views. Our will makes no steps but towards this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of him who hangs himself.

And yet after so many years, no one without faith has arrived at the point to which all eyes are turned. All complain, princes and subjects, nobles and commons, old and young, strong and weak, learned and ignorant, sound and sick, of all countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions.

A trial so long, so constant and so uniform, should surely convince us of our inability to arrive at good by our own strength, but example teaches us but little. No resemblance is so exact but that there is some slight difference, and hence we expect that our endeavour will not be foiled on this occasion as before. Thus while the present never satisfies, experience deceives us, and from misfortune to misfortune leads us on to death, eternal crown of


This desire, and this weakness cry aloud to us that there was once in man a true happiness, of which there now remains to him but the mark and the empty trace, which he vainly tries to fill from all that surrounds him, seeking

from things absent the succour he finds not in things present; and these are all inadequate, because this infinite. void can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God himself.

He only is our true good, and since we have left him, it is strange that there is nothing in nature which has not served to take his place; neither the stars, nor heaven, earth, the elements, plants, cabbages, leeks, animals, insects, calves, serpents, fever, pestilence, war, famine, vices, adultery, incest. And since he has lost the true good, all things can equally appear good to him, even his own destruction, though so contrary to God, to reason, and to the whole course of nature.

Some seek good in authority, others in research and knowledge, others in pleasure. Others, who indeed are nearer the truth, have considered it necessary that the universal good which all men desire should not consist in any of those particular matters which can only be possessed by one, and which if once shared, afflict their possessor more by the want of what he has not, than they gladden him by the joy of what he has. They have apprehended that the true good should be such as all may possess at once, without diminution, and without envy, and that which none can lose against his will. And their reason is that this desire being natural to man, since it exists necessarily in all, and that all must have it, they conclude from it . .

Infinite, nothing.-The soul of man is cast into the body, in which it finds number, time, dimension; it reasons thereon, and calls this nature or necessity, and cannot believe aught else.

Unity joined to infinity increases it not, any more than a foot measure added to infinite space. The finite is annihilated in presence of the infinite and becomes simply nought. Thus our intellect before God, thus our justice before the divine justice. There is not so great a disproportion between our justice and that of God, as between unity and infinity.

The justice of God must be as vast as his mercy, but

justice towards the reprobate is less vast, and should be less amazing than mercy towards the elect.

We know that there is an infinite, but are ignorant of its nature. As we know it to be false that numbers are finite, it must therefore be true that there is an infinity in number, but what this is we know not. It can neither be odd nor even, for the addition of an unit can make no change in the nature of number; yet it is a number, and every number is either odd or even, at least this is understood of every finite number.

Thus we may well know that there is a God, without knowing what he is.

We know then the existence and the nature of the finite, because we also are finite and have dimension.

We know the existence of the infinite, and are ignorant of its nature, because it has dimension like us, but not limits like us. But we know neither the existence nor the nature of God, because he has neither dimension nor limits.

But by faith we know his existence, by glory we shall know his nature. Now I have already shown that we can know well the existence of a thing without knowing its


Let us now speak according to the light of nature.

If there be a God, he is infinitely incomprehensible, since having neither parts nor limits he has no relation to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what he is or if he is. This being so, who will dare to undertake the solution of the question? Not we, who have no relation to him.

Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give a reason for their faith; those who profess a religion for which they cannot give a reason? They declare in putting it forth to the world that it is a foolishness, stultitiam, and then you complain that they do not prove it. Were they to prove it they would not keep their word, it is in lacking proof that they are not lacking in sense.— Yes, but although this excuses those who offer it as such, and takes away from them the blame of putting it forth without reason, it does not excuse those who receive it. Let us then examine this point, and say, "God is, or he is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can

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