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Extra resources for A Third Testament: A Modern Pilgrim Explores the Spiritual Wanderings of Augustine, Blake, Pascal, Tolstoy, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and Dostoevsky
Man is only a reed, the feeblest thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. It is not necessary for the entire universe to take up arms in order to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water, is sufficient to kill him. But if the universe crushes him, man would still be nobler than the thing which destroys him, because he knows that he is dying, and the universe which has him at its mercy is unaware of it. Thus did Pascal define man’s superiority to nature in his great work, the Pensées, more than three centuries ago.
He is meek, & he is mild; He became a little child. I a child, & thou a lamb, We are called by his name. Little Lamb, God bless thee! Little Lamb, God bless thee! And: The Sun does arise, And make happy the skies; The merry bells ring To welcome the Spring; The skylark and thrush, The birds of the bush, Sing louder around To the bell’s cheerful sound, While our sports shall be seen On the Echoing Green. ” Such moments, like childhood itself, could not last. ” When the stars threw down their spears, And water’d heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see?
First, a tiny cross at the top of the paper, followed by the date – “Year of Grace 1654, Monday, 23 November, Feast of St. ” Then the word “Fire,” signifying “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,” but not, he adds to rub in the point, “the God of the philosophers and scholars” – this, I am sure, with an eye on Descartes. Now come the triumphant words: “Certainty, certainty, emotion, joy, peace, God of Jesus Christ. Deum meum et Deum vestrum, Thy God shall be my God. ” Now, like the saints Paul and Augustine in similar circumstances, Pascal had a craving for solitude, which he found at Port Royal’s sister foundation, Port Royal des Champs.