For lust is the source of all our actions, and humanity, etc. We must please
those who have humane and tender feelings. That epigram about two one-eyed
people is worthless, for it does not console them and only gives a point to
the author's glory. All that is only for the sake of the author is
worthless. Ambitiosa recident ornamenta.
42. To call a king "Prince" is pleasing, because it diminishes his rank.
43. Certain authors, speaking of their works, say: "My book," "My
commentary," "My history," etc. They resemble middle-class people who have a
house of their own and always have "My house" on their tongue. They would do
better to say: "Our book," "Our commentary," "Our history," etc., because
there is in them usually more of other people's than their own.
44. Do you wish people to believe good of you? Don't speak.
45. Languages are ciphers, wherein letters are not changed into letters, but
words into words, so that an unknown language is decipherable.
46. A maker of witticisms, a bad character.
47. There are some who speak well and write badly. For the place and the
audience warm them, and draw from their minds more than they think of
without that warmth.
48. When we find words repeated in a discourse and, in trying to correct
them, discover that they are so appropriate that we would spoil the
discourse, we must leave them alone. This is the test; and our attempt is
the work of envy, which is blind, and does not see that repetition is not in
this place a fault;
there are some who are not
sceptics; if all were so, they would be wrong.
375. I have passed a great part of my life believing that there was justice,
and in this I was not mistaken; for there is justice according as God has
willed to reveal it to us. But I did not take it so, and this is where I
made a mistake; for I believed that our justice was essentially just, and
that I had that whereby to know and judge of it. But I have so often found
my right judgement at fault, that at last I have come to distrust myself and
then others. I have seen changes in all nations and men, and thus, after
many changes of judgement regarding true justice, I have recognised that our
nature was but in continual change, and I have not changed since; and if I
changed, I would confirm my opinion.
The sceptic Arcesilaus, who became a dogmatist.
376. This sect derives more strength from its enemies than from its friends;
for the weakness of man is far more evident in those who know it not than in
those who know it.
377. Discourses on humility are a source of pride in the vain and of
humility in the humble. So those on scepticism cause believers to affirm.
Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, few doubtingly of
scepticism. We are only falsehood, duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal
and disguise ourselves from ourselves.
378. Scepticism.--Excess, like defect of intellect, is accused of madness.
Nothing is good but mediocrity. The majority has settled that and finds
fault with him who escapes it at whichever end. I will not oppose it. I
quite consent to put there, and refuse to be at the lower end, not because
it is low, but because it is an end; for I would likewise refuse to be
placed at the top. To leave the mean is to abandon humanity. The greatness
of the human soul consists in knowing how to preserve the mean. So far from
greatness consisting in leaving it, it consists in not leaving it.
died and gone to hell before you had seen it. Now undoubtedly it is, as
it was in the days of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary
manner laid at the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not
forth good fruit, may be hewn down and cast into the fire.
Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from
the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging
over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom:
"Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the
mountain, lest you be consumed."
o SECTION I: THOUGHTS ON MIND AND ON STYLE
o SECTION II: THE MISERY OF MAN WITHOUT GOD
o SECTION III: OF THE NECESSITY OF THE WAGER
o SECTION IV: OF THE MEANS OF BELIEF
o SECTION V: JUSTICE AND THE REASON OF EFFECTS
o SECTION VI: THE PHILOSOPHERS
o SECTION VII: MORALITY AND DOCTRINE
o SECTION VIII: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
o SECTION IX: PERPETUITY
o SECTION X: TYPOLOGY
o SECTION XI: THE PROPHECIES
o SECTION XII: PROOFS OF JESUS CHRIST
o SECTION XIII: THE MIRACLES
o SECTION XIV: APPENDIX: POLEMICAL FRAGMENTS
of death, they have been comforted with a
joyful and satisfying view, that the mercy and grace of God is
sufficient for them-that their sins, though never so great, shall be no
hindrance to their being accepted; that there is mercy enough in God for
the whole world, and the like-when they give no account of any
particular or distinct thought of Christ. But yet, when the account they
give is duly weighed, and they are a little interrogated about it, it
appears that the revelation of mercy in the gospel is the ground of
their encouragement and hope; and that it is indeed the mercy of God
through Christ that is discovered in them, and that it is depended on in
Him, and not in any wise moved by any thing in them.
Sometimes disconsolate souls have been revived, and brought to rest in
God, by a sweet sense of His grace and faithfulness, in some special
invitation or promise; in which nevertheless there is no particular
mention of Christ, nor is it accompanied with any distinct thought of
Him in their minds: