Pascal: The Emergence of Genius

By Emile Cailliet | Go to book overview

X
Not Peace, But a Sword

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

-- Matt. 10:34

Y ou, who are young, you should do something!"

At this direct appeal from Arnauld, the gentlemen of Port-Royal turned toward Blaise Pascal.

On the horizon of the sanctuary, on this January day, 1656, black clouds had gathered; the storm grumbled, threatening. From Rome, from the Court, from the Sorbonne, the news had been so bad that Arnauld, the head of the Jansenists, followed by his faithful lieutenant Nicole, had hastened to the sanctuary to hide; and to seek advice about the decisions to be made. The Jesuits had already obtained a condemnation of Arnauld in the Sorbonne by 124 votes to 71. There had been 15 abstentions. A second and final judgment was to be pronounced in which the whole Jansenist party ran the risk of falling under the blow of the verdict of heresy, in the person of their head. "Heresy, in the seventeenth century, meant every sort of legal and economic disability; it meant social outlawry, and a death illuminated by hell's fires."1


UNITING JUSTICE AND FORCE

The situation was certainly desperate.

Pressed to give an opinion in a circle in which popular excitement was at its height, Arnauld had drawn up a new statement of the facts. He had just finished reading it. In the painful silence which had followed, Arnauld had sought in vain for an approving look. Heads were lowered.

Arnauld had understood:

"I see that you find my statement poor and I think you are right."

It was then that he turned to Pascal in the appeal we just quoted.

____________________
1
Bishop M., Pascal: The Life of Genius, op. Cit., p. 219.

-187-

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Pascal: The Emergence of Genius
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Introduction to the Torchbook Edition 6
  • Preface to the Torchbook Edition 14
  • I - The Emergence of a Pilgrim 17
  • II - An Open Mind in the Making 39
  • III - The Jansenist Quickening 53
  • IV - The Physicist Confronting His Bible 67
  • V - The Source of Our Unhappiness 85
  • VI - Pascal's Hour of Agony 111
  • VII - Fire in the Night 131
  • VIII - Glimpse of a Sanctuary 149
  • IX - The New Vista 167
  • X - Not Peace, but a Sword 187
  • XI - The Champion 207
  • XII - The Sign in the Midst of Battle 223
  • XIII - The Dictates of Conscience 243
  • XIV - Fighting a New Inquisition 267
  • XV - A Lamp Unto My Feet 289
  • XVI - Running the Way of the Lord 311
  • XVII - Holy Anxiety 339
  • XVIII - Meditation on a Death Mask 361
  • Appendix to the Torchbook Edition: Recent Research 364
  • Index 375
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