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Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.
Nature has perfection, in order to show that she is the image of God and defects, to show that she is only his image.
There are only three types of people; those who have found God and serve him; those who have not found God and seek him, and those who live not seeking, or finding him. The first are rational and happy; the second unhappy and rational, and the third foolish and unhappy.
Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is, but let us consider the two possibilities. If you gain, you gain all if you lose you lose nothing. Hesitate not, then, to wager that He is.
Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.
Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established that unless one loves the truth, he cannot know it.
If we let ourselves believe that man began with divine grace, that he forfeited this by sin, and that he can be redeemed only by divine grace through the crucified Christ, then we shall find peace of mind never granted to philosophers. He who cannot believe is cursed, for he reveals by his unbelief that God has not chosen to give him grace.
Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.
When I consider the small span of my life absorbed in the eternity of all time, or the small part of space which I can touch or see engulfed by the infinite immensity of spaces that I know not and that know me not, I am frightened and astonished to see myself here instead of there... now instead of then.
By a peculiar prerogative, not only each individual is making daily advances in the sciences, and may makes advances in morality, but all mankind together are making a continual progress in proportion as the universe grows older; so that the whole human race, during the course of so many ages, may be considered as one man, who never ceases to live and learn.
Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves.
For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.
Let us weigh the gain and the loss, in wagering that God is. Consider these alternatives: if you win, you win all, if you lose you lose nothing. Do not hesitate, then, to wager that he is.
Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature; but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapor, a drop of water is enough to kill him. But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. The universe knows nothing of this.
One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.
The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, indicates a strange inversion.
We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.
We think very little of time present; we anticipate the future, as being too slow, and with a view to hasten it onward, we recall the past to stay it as too swiftly gone. We are so thoughtless, that we thus wander through the hours which are not here, regardless only of the moment that is actually our own.
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