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ing, gallantry, falsehood, profane- Jaques Rousseau, de Mademoiselle tiess, envy, malice, hatred, and all de l'Espinasse, de Madame da Defoncharitableness, without any pa- fant, &c.".39 tallel.
What a fine receipt for social Let 'not "this description of the happiness must that be, which is ** petites sociétés" of the Parisian composed of such ingredients ! philosophists, be deemed unjust. We cannot take leave of Pascal's We have freely allowed the talents argument for human corruption, that shone forth in that singular só- without adding, that his attachment ciety ; let us, in our turn, be allow to this argument seems to have made ed to deplore their extreme want of him somewhat undervalue otber geright feeling and principle. Their neral proofs of the truth of religion. character now stands recorded by This, indeed, is rather a curioos head themselves. The correspondence of of remark. In the introduction to various and very distinguished in that chapter of Pascal which condividuals of the body, or memoirs tains what has been called by some of their own writings, have been of of his commentators the argument Jate years much circulated, read, and of the wager, the best editions ‘es. streviewed. The world has been ad- hibit the two following para
mitted into the geeen-room, if we may graphis: s so say, of the company, and what · Parlons selon les lumières naturelles,
is the impression that results? We Sil y a un Dieu, il est infiniment incompréreally doubt not that the opera- hensible, puisque, n'ayant ni parties, si corps (in whose proceedings ihese bornes
, il n'a nul rapport à nous nous new, these most vew philosophers sommes donc incapables de connoîtré ni ce took so deep an interést), were the qu'il est, ni s'il est. Cela étant ainsi, qeti beiter philosophers of the two, thonghosera entreprendre de résoudre cette ques not the greater actors.
tier? Ce n'est pas nous, qui n'avons aucua styled itself, The Holy Philosophical rapport à lui.".
“Je n'entreprendrai pas ici de prouver Church; and the irony turns out to
par des raisons naturelles, vu l'existence have been far more exact than was de Dieu, ou la Trinité, ou l'immortalité de Intended'; for they appear to have lame, ni aucune des choses de cette nature, & been precisely as philosophical as non seulement parce que je ne me sentirois they were boly.
pas assez fort pour trouver dans la nature Should this be considered 'as a de quoi convaincre des athées endurcis, prejudiced opinion, let us refer to mais encore parce que cette condojssance, that of a highly ingenious, cultisans Jesus-Christ, est inutile et sterile :: vated, and elegant country woman
" It will be observed, that, in the of the persons in question. Il est former of these paragraphs, it seems remarquable" (says Madame de Ger. asserted that man is sincapable of lis) "que toutes les correspondances koowing whether God exists; and des philosophes modernes, mises au that, in the latter, the aunhor de
jour depuis leur mort; soient égale- clares that “he is not competent * ment scandaleuses, odieuses, et dés- to find in nature such arguments
honorantes pour eux. Fausseté, me as shall convince' the hardebed chanceté, duplicité, inconsequence, atheist." mauvaises meurs, ambition et vanité The enemies of Pascal, or of his démésurées, cabales, haine, basse doctrine, bare laid hold on these envie, animosité, injustice, extrava. 'expressions with avidity. A Jesuit gance, &c., toutes ces choses s'y has not scrupled to pronounce the
strouvent prouvées et dévoilées de-- writer himself an Atheist. The s leur propre main. Telles sont la commentators have sense enough correspondance de M. de la Harpe to laugh at this imputation ; yet
avee- le grand duc de Russie ; les they affect to regard their author Jettres de Voltaire, de d'Alembert, as a strange, inconsistent, vuaca de Madame de Châtelet, de Jean countable being. Voltaire is in
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nitely surprised that Pascal should and a sceptic. Pascal, indeed, apnot have felt himself competent to
pears olo have been fond of this prove the existence of a Deity dramatic form of writing. With (" assez fort
pour prouver l'existence this clue, if the reader will re-pede Dieu”), and Condorcet wonders Fuse the first of the two paragraphs, that he who could discover original he will find, that, thus far, at least, sin by the light of reason, should all is clear and consistent. The 'not, by the same light, discover the supposed objector begins the-diabeing of a God.
logue by challenging his Christian So it seems that Pascal, after all, antagonist to prove the existence of is not half believer enough to satisfy a Deity; and the second paragraph the modern philosophers! Pascal is the Christian's reply. not a Theist may be a sufficiently But theo an objection is made to wonderful sight; but what shall this second paragraph also, whick -We say to Voltaire teaching Pascal is confessedly spoken in the person theism? Even Condorcet cannot of Pascal himself. For here occurs belp smiling, on this occasion, at the expression to which Voltaire al the spectacle of his guide, philo- ludes, when he wonders that Pascal 'sopher, and friend” among the pro. should not have found himself able phets, “Il est beau," says be, not to prove the being of a Deity. The perceiving the biting keenpess of short answer to Voltaire is, that he the satire which his remark jm. would have done better to wonder plied, “ de voir dans cet article M. and mourn over his own powers of de Voltaire prendre contre Pascal misrepresentation or misconception, la defense de l'existence de Dieu.” For only compare what Pascal really To do Voltaire justice, however, he says, with what Voltaire makes him shews Pascal in this instance more -say. What does Pascal say: "I civility than usual. He even says, do not feel myself competent, by that his author's assertion of our arguments of a physical nature, to incapacity to know whether there prove the existence of is a God, could only arise from against a hardened atheist.”. So we “ an inadvertence in that great understand "Je pe me sentirois pas
assez fort pour trouver dans la naEven in more candid opinions ; ture de quoi convaincre des athées than those of Jesuits and philoso endurcis.” And what does Voltaire 'phers, the expressions of Pascal make him say? "1 do not feel may seem to require some expla- myself-competent to prove the ex
nation ; particularly that in the first istence of a God.”: The qualifying i of the two paragraphs referred to, clauses which confine the proposi
where it is said, “Man is incapable. tion to a particular class of arguof knowing whether God exists or ments, and to obstinate, unreasonnot."
able adversaries are left out, and And, happily, this first paragraph, one of the firmest believers, and in each and all of its parts, bas; re- deepest thinkers that ever lived, is ceived a conclusive explanation represented as deliberately declaring from the editor before use M. Re-, that he cannot prove the existence sinouard judges that the whole para- of a God! Is it possible to imagine 1 graph is supposed to proceed from a completer misreading. The reader the mouth of: at sceptical objectory will now perceive who was the
with whom Pascal memns to repre-, great man that fell into «an e sent himself as Arguing. Nothing / inadvertence” on this occasion. At 1. can be more inatural or-more en-g the same time it is some excuse for 2 firely satisfactory. It will be re. Voltaires that be might naturally
collected that the argument of The construe the expressions in the sea 3 Wages, which the paragraph incond of Pascal's two paragraphs by
question introduces, is altogether a those in the first, which certainly sort of dialogue between the author seem of a sceptical tendency; for
he did not observe that the first was ness; bat got a Deity offended by the spoken in the person of a supposed rebellion of his rational creatures, sceptical objector."
and propitiated by the death of his But, though safe from his ene. Son. Iis use, therefore, consists ra. mies, we are not sure that Pascal is ther in awakening and assisting the equally secure, in this place, agaiost meditations of the pious, to whose the milder objections of his friends. mental attention this mysterious It will be observed that he speaks melody of nature comes blended rather slightingly than otberwise of with the clearer sounds of Revelawhat he calls des raisons naturelles, tion, than in attracting, alarming or
or arguments drawn from nature. convincing the sceptical. What he meant by arguments This seems to have been Pascal's drain from nature may be collect. manner of considering the subject; ed, though not with perfect preci- but we cannot entirely accede to sion, from the context, and from it. It is true, and a lamentable another chapter entitled “On ne truth, that the arguments which the connôit Dieu utilement que par Je- believer deduces from the works of sus Christ." He seems to have on- nature are often heard by infidels derstood by the expression all argu. with scorn. So are al bis other arments founded on the phenomena guments; but would that be a reaof material or physical nature, as son for using none at all? Da such distinct from the moral or mental a principle, Pascal's “ Thoughts** nature of map. Even where the would never have existed to excite arguments themselves were of a the derision of Voltaire and Cansubtle, metaphysical kiod, still, if dorcet. It surely cannot be said they concerned physical, not mo- that the particular argument in ral, nature, he called them des rai. question fails of effect oftener than sons natunelles. Therefore, he would all the other reasoning employed in base included in his idea, both that favour of truth and right principles. method of demonstration which pro. Is it not, on the contrary, certain ceeds on the marks of design in the that, in all ages, the admirable me. creation, and also such refined and chanism of the creation has imscholastic deductions as that of pressed men with an idea of a Dia the Cartesians : “ There is nu va. vine agency? Are not the invisible cuum,- therefore there is a God." things of God clearly seen, being
This latter class of proofs might understood by the things that a perhaps be discarded without much made? Or is that an “ uncertain loss. They seem to be dialectic sound" which has gone forth into sabuilties, often more remarkable all lands, and its words unto the for their ingenuity than their power ends of the world? So far, again, of producing conviction. But we as the argumept produces effeet, is would speak very differently of the not that effect of a most desirable argument from the marks of design kind? Has that man made no proin the creation ; and it does appear gress towards a belief in Revelation to us that Pascal under-rated its ef- who is deeply convinced of the eterfect and importance. He admitted gal power and Godhead of the Most
it to be valid, but did not consider High? Is wat he partly initiated it as of very geperal application. 'in a very important lesson of Chris. He kney anul felt that the works of tian practice, whom a prospect of creation. declare the glory of God;" the wonders of creation and provibut he was of opinion that, by the dence, 'the heavens, the moon, and ears of the obdurate worldling, this the stars, fills with a grateful and a silent utterance
can be perceived bút humiliating sense of the goodness faintly, and even if distinctly with lit- of God, and the insignificance and tle profit. It addresses man, but not unworthiness of man? Is not the fallen man. It proclaims a Deity suc" transition in some sense bátural, preme in power, wisdom, and good from a contemplation of that visible
nature which proclaims the Divine must proportionably compress what glory, to a reverence for that per- we have yet to offer..., fect law which converts the soul? It would have gratified us to.com Those who are acquainted with the sider and to vindicate our author's excellent writings of Derham, But- sargument, as it bas been called, of ler, and Paley, on natural theology, The Wager; or that by which brie will surely acquiesce in the implied shews that, according io theestaanswer to these questions; and we blished laws of probability, it is intrthink also that we have with us the finitely wiser in men to believe than Scriptures of Troth. .,
to disbelieve. The objects of belief Our readers, we are convinced, to which be primarily refers, are will got understand us as meaning the existence of a Providence, and to place natural religion on a level the certainty of a future state of with Revelation, nor within any retribution; but his reasoning in measurable distance of it, We fact applies to all, ibe essential arwould only do our. humble endea- ticles of the Christian faith. We vour to correct the inaccurate view have before shewn that the theology taken of this outwork of faith by of Pascal was very little tinctured so eminent à theological reasoner as by his geometrical and physiologiPascal. The subject is, however, cal pursuits. The instance before highly curious. Perhaps, the exact us is rather, an exception to that extent of natural theology, and the re- account. He had profoundly side lations between natural and revealed died and considerably improved the religion, bave never been suficiently doctrine of mathematical chances ; elucidated ;- not even by Paley, and he bere evidently carries the felicitously just as he is in the con- vaste imbibed from his speculations ception, and inimitably interesting on that subject into bis religious and masterly in the developement, reflections. The result, however, is of his argument. For ourselves, we most happy; and shews to what feel utterly unequal 10 so bigh a sacred uses the riches of secular theme, even had we space to enter learning, may be applied. The on it. There is one living writer, three philosophes, indeed, who haunt a countryman of our own, by our author (like the “ forma tricorwhose hand we should delight to poris umbræ" in Virgil's shades), see it treated ;---no second occurs to are not satisfied with his argument. us, who could bring to the iask an His antagonist, Fontenelle, allects exactly adequate combination of to conlute it at great length; his reasoning, information, philosophy, conimentator, Voltaire, pronounces refinement of fancy, eloquence, and it wtally beneath the dignity of piety. Could he who, in one or the subject-matter; and his eulogist, two published sermons, has given Condorcet, treats it as absolutely risuch fine and highly touching diculous. Yet, though to these sketches of the moral uses of The learned persons it was foolishness, ism, and of the essential lowness of we doubt not that a very different the philosophy of expediency, find judgment will be passed on it by Jeisure for some more extended dise every candid, reflecting, and wellcussions on similar subjects, Engu intentioned mind. land would no longer have reason. There is, at first sight, one diffin, to segret that she was not the native culty in the argument, even to the country of Pascal.
fair inquirer.“, And that is, that is We have now been so long des apparently supposes belief or una tained on
a particular branch of belief to be in our own power. If Pascal's reasoning, (a branch, how- belief, it may be said, is ihe uncou ever, of such importance and inter troulable impression of preponde rest as might have justified a still, rating arguments on the mind, toi. more copious discussion) that we what end these caleulations of the CURIST, Ouery. No. 155.
profit or loss on believing? Why Whatever becomes of his cause or talk of interest to those who are the his wits, be never loses his cou, victims of reason? This question, rage. however, Pascal completely meets,
Of Pascal'scommentators it appears by observing (in substance) that, to us that we have now said enough, though belief is not directly in our and we bid them farewell without power, attention is so; and by so- any regret, But before we close lemnly asserting his conviction that this arıicle, we would anticipate a no man will remain an unbeliever, question that may occur to some who pays to the subject of religion readers, and wbich seems of sufithat serious, humble, continued, and cient moment to deserve an answer. dispassionate attention which it de- It is, whether the tenets of Pascal serves. After this, no inan certainly be pot mixed with such partial imwho does not chuse to pay the sub- purities, and his reasoning impaired ject-such attentiou, has any right to by such occasional weakness, as may urge against Pascal the impossibi- justly incur, exception or censore lity of believing. No man can do even from the sincerest disciples of $o, who cannot begin with declar. revealed religion. ing, “I have strictly and conscien- In a measure, we are of opinion Liously followed your directions; I that this is really the case. have altended to the subject in the carried the scriptural principle of manner you recommended; and I self-denial to excess, and she strong am as great an unbeliever as ever." opinions which he evidently and An opponent who will not say this, indeed professedly holds on the says nothing to the purpose, and is subject, and the painful austerities in effect silenced.
which he is well known to have Yet the philosophers are not si- practised, have afforded, but too lenced, though they say not this, ready a handle to the unfeeling and por any thing like it. Condorcet stupid ridicule of worldly men. Coolly observes, that a man who is Surely, the temperate table, moconvinced that nothing definite can derate habits, and affectioaate be known respecting a Deity, may cheerfulness, of a Fenelon, have in very laudably renain in a state of them something far more accordant scepticisin. It is lamentable to ob- with the spirit of primitive Cbristserve such an understanding as that ianity than all this self-maceration of Condorcet reposing in such a and voluntary misery. As, in this sophism. Would he not have done isistance, our excellent author seemas well to attend to the previous ques. 10 have erred on a point of ethical tion, namely, What righi a man economy, so there are others in has to be convinced of the necessity which his doctrines and his lauof ignorance, who will not take the guage appear not a little questionproper means of obtaining know-able. He was inclined to mysjedge? The author of the essay as. ticism; and this tendency somecribed to Fontenelle adopts a some- times leads him to represent faith what-different course, and indeed rather as superseding the use of a course different, as we suspect, reason than as simply occupying a from all examples on record. This distinct province of which reason philosopher would have us delihe must trace the boundary. We may rately believe that, even according farther remark, that on the topic of to the most rigid rules of probabj. miracles, Pascal is, unsatisfactory, Jity, a sceplic may act with perfect and will be peculiarly so to an wisdon in rejecting the Christian English reader who has traversed religion altogether. Surely, lan- the same ground of inquiry under guage does not furnish a more ap- such masters as Locke, Buller, and propriate term for a modern free- Paley. No mind, especially, which thinker than that of an esprit fort. ix familiar with the accurate and