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or any occupation for the mind, without companions, reflecting on himself at leisure, and it will be seen that a king without diversion is a man full of miseries. This is therefore carefully avoided, and there are always about the persons of kings a great number of people who watch to see that diversion succeeds to business, and look after their every hour of leisure to furnish them with pleasures and games, so that no vacancy may be left in life; that is, they are surrounded with persons who take wonderful pains that the king is never alone and able to think of self, knowing well that he will be miserable, king though he is, if he think of self.
In all this I am not speaking of Christian kings as Christians, but simply as kings.
Men busy themselves in pursuing a ball or a hare, and this is the pleasure even of kings.
Cæsar, as it seems to me, was too old to set about amusing himself with the conquest of the world. Such a pastime was good for Augustus or Alexander, who were still young men, and these are difficult to restrain, but Cæsar should have been more mature.
The weariness we experience in leaving occupations to which we are attached. A man lives with pleasure in his home, but if he sees a woman who charms him, or if he take pleasure in play for five or six days, he is miserable if he return to his former mode of life. Nothing is more
common than that.
Frivolity. It is plain that the frivolity of the world is so little known, that it is a strange and surprising thing to say it is foolish to seek for greatness, and this is great cause for wonder.
Whoso does not see the frivolity of the world is himself most frivolous. And indeed all see it save young people, who are engaged in turmoil, diversion, and the thought of the future. But take away their diversion and you will see
them consumed with weariness; then they feel their nothingness without knowing it. For it is indeed to be unhapp to be intolerably sad as soon as we are reduced to th thought of self, without any diversion.
THE GREATNESS AND LITTLENESS
REATNESS, Littleness.-The more light we have, the more greatness and the more baseness we discover in
The more cultivated .
They astonish ordinary men.
Christians. They astonish Philosophers.
Who then will be surprised to see that Religion only makes us know deeply what we already know in proportion to our light.
For Port Royal.
Greatness and Littleness.
Littleness being correlative to greatness, and greatness to littleness, some have inferred man's littleness all the more because they have taken his greatness as a proof of it, and others have inferred his greatness with all the more force, because they have inferred it from his littleness; all that the one party was able to say for his greatness having served only as an argument of his littleness to others, because we are low in proportion to the height from which we have fallen, and the contrary is equally true. So that the one party returns on the other in an endless circle, for it is certain that in measure as men possess light the more they discern both the greatness and the littleness of man. In a word, man knows he is little. He is then little because he is so; but he is truly great because he knows it.
Man knows not in what rank to place himself. evidently gone astray and fallen from his true place, unable to find it again. Disquieted and unsuccessful he seeks it everywhere in impenetrable darkness.
Though we see all the miseries which close upon us and take us by the throat, we have an irrepressible instinct which raises us.
The Greatness of Man.-We have so great an idea of the human soul that we cannot bear to be despised, or to lie under the disesteem of any soul, and all the happiness of men consists in that esteem.
The search after glory is the greatest vileness of man. Yet it is also the greatest mark of his excellence, for whatever riches he may have on earth, whatever health and advantage, he is not satisfied if he have not the esteem of men. He rates human reason so highly that whatever privileges he may have on earth, he is not content unless he stand well in the judgment of men. This is the finest position in the world, nothing can turn him from this desire, which is the most indelible quality of the human heart.
And those who most despise men, and place them on the level of the brutes, still wish to be admired and believed by men, and are in contradiction with themselves through their own feelings; their nature, which is stronger than all else, convincing them of the greatness of man more powerfully than reason convinces them of their vileness.
The vileness of man in that he submits himself to the brutes, and even worships them.
Instinct and reason, marks of two natures.
Description of man. Dependence, desire of independence, bodily needs.
Contradiction. To despise existence, to die for nothing, to hate our existence.
Man is neither angel nor brute, and the misfortune is that whoever would play the angel plays the brute.
If man is not made for God, why is he happy only in God?
If man is made for God, why is he so contrary to God?
Contraries. Man is naturally credulous and incredulous, timid and rash.
A corrupt nature.-Man does not act by reason, which constitutes his essence.
The nature of man is his whole nature, omne animal. There is nothing we cannot make natural, nothing natural we cannot lose.
The true nature being lost, all becomes natural. As the true good being lost, all becomes truly good.
Misery.-Solomon and Job best knew, and have best spoken of human misery; the former the most fortunate, the latter the most unfortunate of men; the one knowing by experience the vanity of pleasure, the other the reality of evil.
It is dangerous to prove to man too plainly how nearly he is on a level with the brutes without showing him his greatness; it is also dangerous to show him his greatness too clearly apart from his vileness. It is still more dangerous to leave him in ignorance of both. But it is of great advantage to show him both.
How comes it that we have so much patience with those who are maimed in body, and so little with those who are defective in mind? Because a cripple recognises that we have the true use of our legs, but the fool maintains that we are they whose understanding halts; were it not so we should feel pity and not anger.
Epictetus puts it yet more strongly: "How comes it that