Section 13: The MiraclesBlaise Pascal (1623-1662) - The Penses
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“If I believe in God and life after death and you do not, and if there is no God, we both lose when we die. However, if there is a God, you still lose and I gain everything.”
803. The beginning. — Miracles enable us to judge of doctrine, and doctrine enables us to judge of miracles.
There are false miracles and true. There must be a distinction, in order to know them; otherwise they would be useless. Now they are not useless; on the contrary, they are fundamental. Now the rule which is given to us must be such that it does not destroy the proof which the true miracles give of the truth, which is the chief end of the miracles.
Moses has given two rules: that the prediction does not come to pass (Deut. 18.), and that they do not lead to idolatry (Deut. 13.); and Jesus Christ one.
If doctrine regulates miracles, miracles are useless for doctrine.
If miracles regulate…
Objection to the rule. — The distinction of the times. One rule during the time of Moses, another at present.
804. Miracle. — It is an effect, which exceeds the natural power of the means which are employed for it; and what is not a miracle is an effect, which does not exceed the natural power of the means which are employed for it. Thus, those who heal by invocation of the devil do not work a miracle; for that does not exceed the natural power of the devil. But…
805. The two fundamentals; one inward, the other outward; grace and miracles; both supernatural.
806. Miracles and truth are necessary, because it is necessary to convince the entire man, in body and soul.
807. In all times, either men have spoken of the true God, or the true God has spoken to men.
808. Jesus Christ has verified that He was the Messiah, never in verifying His doctrine by Scripture and the prophecies, but always by His miracles.
He proves by a miracle that He remits sins.
Rejoice not in your miracles, said Jesus Christ, but because your names are written in heaven.
If they believe not Moses, neither will they believe one risen from the dead.
Nicodemus recognises by His miracles that His teaching is of God. Scimus quia venisti a Deo magister; nemo enim potest haec signa facere quae tu facis nisi Deus fuerit cum eo. [John 3. 2. “We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”] He does not judge of the miracles by the teaching, but of the teach ing by the miracles.
The Jews had a doctrine of God as we have one of Jesus Christ, and confirmed by miracles. They were forbidden to believe every worker of miracles; and they were further commanded to have recourse to the chief priests and to rely on them.
And thus, in regard to their prophets, they had all those reasons which we have for refusing to believe the workers of miracles.
And yet they were very sinful in rejecting the prophets and Jesus Christ because of their miracles; and they would not have been culpable, if they had not seen the miracles. Nisi fecissem… peccatum non haberent. [John. 15. 24 “If I had not done… they had not had sin.”] Therefore all belief rests upon miracles.
Prophecy is not called miracle; as Saint John speaks of the first miracle in Cana and then of what Jesus Christ says to the woman of Samaria, when He reveals to her all her hidden life. Then He heals the centurion’s son; and Saint John calls this “the second miracle.”
809. The combinations of miracles.
810. The second miracle can suppose the first, but the first cannot suppose the second.
811. Had it not been for the miracles, there would have been no sin in not believing in Jesus Christ.
812. “I should not be a Christian, but for the miracles,” said Saint Augustine.
813. Miracles.- How I hate those who make men doubt of miracles! Montaigne speaks of them as he should in two places. In one, we see how careful he is; and yet, in the other, he believes and makes sport of unbelievers.
However it may be, the Church is without proofs if they are right.
814. Montaigne against miracles.
Montaigne for miracles.
815. It is not possible to have a reasonable belief against miracles.
816. Unbelievers the most credulous. They believe the miracles of Vespasian, in order not to believe those of Moses.
817. Title: How it happens that men believe so many liars, who say that they have seen miracles, and do not believe any of those who say that they have secrets to make men immortal, or restore youth to them.- Having considered how it happens that so great credence is given to so many impostors, who say they have remedies, often to the length of men putting their lives into their hands, it has appeared to me that the true cause is that there are true remedies. For it would not be possible that there should be so many false remedies and that so much faith should be placed in them, if there were none true. If there had never been any remedy for any in, and all ills had been incurable, it is impossible that men should have imagined that they could give remedies, and still more impossible that so many others should have believed those who boasted of having remedies; in the same way as did a man boast of preventing death, no one would believe him, because there is no example of this. But as there were a number of remedies found to be true by the very knowledge of the greatest men, the belief of men is thereby induced; and, this being known to be possible, it has been therefore concluded that it was. For people commonly reason thus: “A thing is possible, therefore it is”; because the thing cannot be denied generally, since there are particular effects which are true, the people, who cannot distinguish which among these particular effects are true, believe them all. In the same way, the reason why so many false effects are credited to the moon is that there are some true, as the tide.
It is the same with prophecies, miracles, divination by dreams, sorceries, etc.
For if there had been nothing true in all this, men would have believed nothing of them; and thus, instead of concluding that there are no true miracles because there are so many false, we must, on the contrary, say that there certainly are true miracles, since there are false, and that there are false miracles only because some are true. We must reason in the same way about religion; for it would not be possible that men should have imagined so many false religions, if there had not been a true one. The objection to this is that savages have a religion; but the answer is that they have heard the true spoken of, as appears by the Deluge, circumcision, the cross of Saint Andrew, etc.
818. Having considered how it comes that there are so many false miracles, false revelations, sorceries, etc., it has seemed to me that the true cause is that there are some true; for it would not be possible that there should be so many false miracles, if there were none true, nor so many false revelations, if there were none true, nor so many false religions, if there were not one true. For if there had never been all this, it is almost impossible that men should have imagined it, and still more impossible that so many others should have believed it. But as there have been very great things true, and as they have been believed by great men, this impression has been the cause that nearly everybody is rendered capable of believing also the false. And thus, instead of concluding that there are no true miracles, since there are so many false, it must be said, on the contrary, that there are true miracles, since there are so many false; and that there are false ones only because there are true; and that in the same way there are false religions because there is one true.- Objection to this: savages have a religion. But this is because they have heard the true spoken of, as appears by the cross of Saint Andrew, the Deluge, circumcision, etc. This arises from the fact that the human mind, finding itself inclined to that side by the truth, becomes thereby susceptible of all the falsehoods of this…
819. Jeremiah 23. 32. The miracles of the false prophets. In the Hebrew and Vatable they are the tricks.
Miracle does not always signify miracle. I Sam. 14. 15; miracle signifies fear, and is so in the Hebrew. The same evidently in Job 33. 7; and also Isaiah 21. 4; Jeremiah 44. 12. Portentum signifies simulacrum, Jeremiah 50. 38; and it is so in the Hebrew and Vatable. Isaiah 8. 18. Jesus Christ says that He and His will be in miracles. 820. If the devil favoured the doctrine which destroys him, he would be divided against himself, as Jesus Christ said. If God favoured the doctrine which destroys the Church, He would be divided against Himself. Omne regnum divisum. [Matt. 12. 25; Luke 11. 17. “Every kingdom divided against itself.”] For Jesus Christ wrought against the devil, and destroyed his power over the heart, of which exorcism is the symbolisation, in order to establish the kingdom of God. And thus He adds, Si in digito Dei… regnum Dei ad Vos. [Luke 11. 20. “If with the finger of God… the kingdom of God is come upon you.”]
821. There is a great difference between tempting and leading into error. God tempts, but He does not lead into error. To tempt is to afford opportunities, which impose no necessity; if men do not love God, they will do a certain thing. To lead into error is to place a man under the necessity of inferring and following out what is untrue.
822. Abraham and Gideon are above revelation. The Jews blinded themselves in judging of miracles by the Scripture. God has never abandoned His true worshippers.
I prefer to follow Jesus Christ than any other, because He has miracle, prophecy, doctrine, perpetuity, etc.
The Donatists. No miracle which obliges them to say it is the devil.
The more we particularise God, Jesus Christ, the Church.
823. If there were no false miracles, there would be certainty. If there were no rule to judge of them, miracles would be useless and there would be no reason for believing.
Now there is, humanly speaking, no human certainty, but we have reason.
824. Either God has confounded the false miracles, or He has foretold them; and in both ways He has raised Himself above what is supernatural with respect to us, and has raised us to it.
825. Miracles serve not to convert, but to condemn. Part I-II (Q. 113, A. 10, Ad. 2.) [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.]
826. Reasons why we do not believe.
John xii. 37. Cum autem tanta signa fecisset, non credebant in eum, ut sermo Isayae impleretur… Excaecavit, [“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled… He hath blinded their eyes.”] etc.
Haec dixit Isaias, quando vidit gloriam ejus et locutus est de eo. [John 12. 41. “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”]
Judaei signa petunt et Graeci sapientiam quaerunt, nos autem Jesum crucifixum. [I Cor. 1. 22, 23. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified.”] (Sed plenum signis, sed plenum sapientia; vos autem Christum non crucifixum et religionem sine miraculis et sine sapientia.) [“But full of signs, full of wisdom; you the Jesuits, what you wish is a Christ not crucified, a religion without miracles and without wisdom.”]
What makes us not believe in the true miracles is want of love. John: Sed vos non creditis, quia non estis ex ovibus. [10. 26 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.”] What makes us believe the false is want of love. Thess. 2.
The foundation of religion. It is the miracles. What then? Does God speak against miracles, against the foundations of the faith which we have in Him?
If there is a God, faith in God must exist on earth. Now the miracles of Jesus Christ are not foretold by Antichrist, but the miracles of Antichrist are foretold by Jesus Christ. And so, if Jesus Christ were not the Messiah, He would have indeed led into error. When Jesus Christ foretold the miracles of Antichrist, did He think of destroying faith in His own miracles?
Moses foretold Jesus Christ and bade to follow Him. Jesus Christ foretold Antichrist and forbade to follow him.
It was impossible that in the time of Moses men should keep their faith for Antichrist, who was unknown to them. But it is quite easy, in the time of Antichrist, to believe in Jesus Christ, already known.
There is no reason for believing in Antichrist, which there is not for believing in Jesus Christ. But there are reasons for believing in Jesus Christ, which there are not for believing in the other.
827. Judges 13. 23: “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, He would not have shewed us all these things.”
Jeremiah. Hananiah, the false prophet, dies in seven months.II Macc. 3. The temple, ready for pillage, miraculously succoured.- II Macc. 15.
I Kings 17. The widow to Elijah, who had restored her son, “By this I know that thy words are true.”
I Kings 18. Elijah with the prophets of Baal.
In the dispute concerning the true God and the truth of religion, there has never happened any miracle on the side of error, and not of truth.
828. Opposition. — Abel, Cain; Moses, the Magicians; Elijah, the false prophets: Jeremiah, Hananiah; Micaiah, the false prophets; Jesus Christ, the Pharisees; Saint Paul, Bar-jesus; the Apostles, the Exorcists; Christians, unbelievers; Catholics, heretics; Elijah, Enoch, Antichrist.
829. Jesus Christ says that the Scriptures testify of Him. But He does not point out in what respect.
Even the prophecies could not prove Jesus Christ during His life; and so men would not have been culpable for not believing in Him before His death had the miracles not sufficed without doctrine. Now those who did not believe in Him, when He was still alive, were sinners, as He said himself, and without excuse. Therefore they must have had proof beyond doubt, which they resisted. Now, they had not the prophecies, but only the miracles. Therefore the latter suffice, when the doctrine is not inconsistent with them; and they ought to be believed.
John 7. 40. Dispute among the Jews as among the Christians of to-day. Some believed in Jesus Christ; others believed Him not, because of the prophecies which said that He should be born in Bethlehem. They should have considered more carefully whether He was not. For His miracles being convincing, they should have been quite sure of these supposed contradictions of His teaching to Scripture; and this obscurity did not excuse, but blinded them. Thus those who refuse to believe in the miracles in the present day on account of a supposed contradiction, which is unreal, are not excused.
The Pharisees said to the people, who believed in Him, because of His miracles: “This people who knoweth not the law are cursed. But have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? For we know that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Nicodemus answered: “Doth our law judge any man before it hear him, and specially such a man who works such miracles”?
830. The prophecies were ambiguous; they are no longer so.
831. The five propositions were ambiguous; they are no longer so.
832. Miracles are no longer necessary, because we have had them already. But when tradition is no longer minded; when the Pope alone is offered to us; when he has been imposed upon; and when the true source of truth, which is tradition, is thus excluded; and the Pope, who is its guardian, is biased; the truth is no longer free to appear. Then, as men speak no longer of truth, truth itself must speak to men. This is what happened in the time of Arius. (Miracles under Diocletian and under Arius.)
833. Miracle. — The people concluded this of themselves; but if the reason of it must be given to you…
It is unfortunate to be in exception to the rule. The same must be strict, and opposed to exception. But yet, as it is certain that there are exceptions to a rule, our judgment must though strict, be just.
834. John 6. 26: Non quia vidisti signum, sed quia saturati estis.[“Not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye… were filled.”]
Those who follow Jesus Christ because of His miracles honour His power in all the miracles which it produces. But those who, making profession to follow Him because of His miracles, follow Him in fact only because He comforts them and satisfies them with worldly blessings, discredit His miracles, when they are opposed to their own comforts.
John 9: Non est hic homo a Deo, quia sabbatum non custodit. Alii: Quomodo potest homo peccator haec signa facere? [“This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day. Others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?”]
Which is the most clear?
This house is not of God; for they do not there believe that the five propositions are in Jansenius. Others: This house is of God; for in it there are wrought strange miracles.
Which is the most clear?
Tu quid dicis? Dico quia propheta est. Nisi esset hic a Deo, non poterat facere quidquam. [John 9. 17, 33. “What sayest thou of him? He said, He is a prophet. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.”]
835. In the Old Testament, when they will turn you from God. In the New, when they will turn you from Jesus Christ. These are the occasions for excluding particular miracles from belief. No others need be excluded.
Does it, therefore, follow that they would have the right to exclude all the prophets who came to them? No; they would have sinned in not excluding those who denied God, and would have sinned in excluding those who did not deny God.
So soon, then, as we see a miracle, we must either assent to it or have striking proofs to the contrary. We must see if it denies a God, or Jesus Christ, or the Church.
836. There is a great difference between not being for Jesus Christ and saying so, and not being for Jesus Christ and pretending to be so. The one party can do miracles, not the others. For it is clear of the one party that they are opposed to the truth, but not of the others; and thus miracles are clearer.
837. That we must love one God only is a thing so evident that it does not require miracles to prove it.
838. Jesus Christ performed miracles, then the apostles, and the first saints in great number; because the prophecies not being yet accomplished, but in the process of being accomplished by them, the miracles alone bore witness to them. It was foretold that the Messiah should convert the nations. How could this prophecy be fulfilled without the conversion of the nations? And how could the nations be converted to the Messiah, if they did not see this final effect of the prophecies which prove Him? Therefore, till He had died, risen again, and converted the nations, all was not accomplished; and so miracles were needed during all this time. Now they are no longer needed against the Jews; for the accomplished prophecies constitute a lasting miracle.
839. “Though ye believe not Me, believe at least the works.” He refers them, as it were, to the strongest proof.
It had been told to the Jews, as well as to Christians, that they should not always believe the prophets; but yet the Pharisees and Scribes are greatly concerned about His miracles and try to show that they are false, or wrought by the devil. For they must needs be convinced, if they acknowledge that they are of God.
At the present day we are not troubled to make this distinction. Still it is very easy to do: those who deny neither God nor Jesus Christ do no miracles which are not certain. Nemo facit virtutem in nomine meo, et cito possit de me male loqui.[Mark 9. 39. Nemo est enim qui faciat. “There is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.”]
But we have not to draw this distinction. Here is a sacred relic. Here is a thorn from the crown of the Saviour of the world, over whom the prince of this world has no power, which works miracles by the peculiar power of the blood shed for us. Now God Himself chooses this house in order to display conspicuously therein His power.
These are not men who do miracles by an unknown and doubtful virtue, which makes a decision difficult for us. It is God Himself. It is the instrument of the Passion of His only Son, who, being in many places, chooses this, and makes men come from all quarters there to receive these miraculous alleviations in their weaknesses.
840. The Church has three kinds of enemies: the Jews, who have never been of her body; the heretics, who have withdrawn from it; and the evil Christians, who rend her from within.
These three kinds of different adversaries usually attack her in different ways. But here they attack her in one and the same way. As they are all without miracles, and as the Church has always had miracles against them, they have all had the same interest in evading them; and they all make use of this excuse, that doctrine must not be judged by miracles, but miracles by doctrine. There were two parties among those who heard Jesus Christ: those who followed His teaching on account of His miracles; others who said. There were two parties in the time of Calvin… There are now the Jesuits, etc.
841. Miracles furnish the test in matters of doubt, between Jews and heathens, Jews and Christians, Catholics and heretics, the slandered and slanderers, between the two crosses.But miracles would be useless to heretics; for the Church, authorised by miracles which have already obtained belief, tells us that they have not the true faith. There is no doubt that they are not in it, since the first miracles of the Church exclude belief of theirs. Thus there is miracle against miracle, both the first and greatest being on the side of the Church.
These nuns, astonished at what is said- that they are in the way of perdition; that their confessors are leading them to Geneva; that they suggest to them that Jesus Christ is not in the Eucharist, nor on the right hand of the Father- know that all this is false and, therefore, offer themselves to God in this state. Vide si via iniquitatis in me est.[Ps. 138.24. “And see if there be any wicked way in me.”] What happens thereupon? This place, which is said to be the temple of the devil, God makes His own temple. It is said that the children must be taken away from it. God heals them there. It is said that it is the arsenal of hell. God makes of it the sanctuary of His grace. Lastly, they are threatened with all the fury and vengeance of heaven; and God overwhelms them with favours. A man would need to have lost his senses to conclude from this that they are therefore in the way of perdition.
(We have without doubt the same signs as Saint Athanasius.)
842. Si tu es Christus, dic nobis. [Luke 22. 66. “Art thou the Christ? tell us.”]
Opera quae ego facio in nomine patris mei, haec testimonium perhibent de me. Sed vos non creditis quia non estis ex ovibus meis. Oves meae vocem meam audiunt. [John 5. 36. “The works which the father hath given me to finish… bear witness of me.” John 10. 26-27. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep… My sheep hear my voice.]
John 6. 30. Quod ergo tu facis signum ut videamus et credamus tibi? (Non dicunt: Quam doctrinam praedicas?) [“What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee. (They do not say: What doctrine do you preach?)”]
Nemo potest facere signa quae tu facis nisi Deus. [John 3. 2. “No man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”]
II Macc. 14. 15 Deus qui signis evidentibus suam portionem protegit. [“The Lord, making manifest his presence, upholdeth them that are his own portion.”]
Volumus signum videre de coelo, tentantes eum. [“And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven.”] Luke 11. 16.
Generatio prava signum quaerit; et non dabitur. [Matt. 12. 39. “An evil generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it.”]
Et ingemiscens ait: Quid generatio ista signum quaerit? [“And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, why doth this generation seek after a sign?”] (Mark 8. 12.) They asked a sign with an evil intention.
Et non poterat facere. [“Mark 6. 5. “And he could there do no mighty work.”] And yet he promises them the sign of Jonah, the great and wonderful miracle of his resurrection.
Nisi videritis, non creditis. [John 4. 48. “Except ye see… ye will not believe.”] He does not blame them for not believing unless there are miracles, but for not believing unless they are themselves spectators of them.
Antichrist in signis mendacibus, [9. “In signs and lying wonders.”] says Saint Paul, II Thess. 2.
Secundum operationem Satanae, in seductione iis qui pereunt eo quod charitatem veritatis non receperunt ut salvi fierent, ideo mittet illis Deus optationes erroris ut credant mendacio. [II Thess. 2. 9-11 “After the working of Satan… and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”]
As in the passage of Moses: Tentat enim vos Deus, utrum diligatis eum. [Deut. 13. 3. “for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord.”]
Ecce praedixi vobis: vos ergo videte. [Matt. 24. 25-26. “Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold.”]
843. Here is not the country of truth. She wanders unknown amongst men. God has covered her with a veil, which leaves her unrecognised by those who do not hear her voice. Room is opened for blasphemy, even against the truths that are at least very likely. If the truths of the Gospel are published, the contrary is published too, and the questions are obscured, so that the people cannot distinguish. And they ask, “What have you to make you believed rather than others? What sign do you give? You have only words, and so have we. If you had miracles, good and well.” That doctrine ought to be supported by miracles is a truth, which they misuse in order to revile doctrine. And if miracles happen, it is said that miracles are not enough without doctrine; and this is another truth, which they misuse in order to revile miracles.
Jesus Christ cured the man born blind and performed a number of miracles on the Sabbath day. In this way He blinded the Pharisees, who said that miracles must be judged by doctrine.
“We have Moses: but, as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.” It is wonderful that you know not whence He is, and yet He does such miracles.
Jesus Christ spoke neither against God, nor against Moses.
Antichrist and the false prophets, foretold by both Testaments, will speak openly against God and against Jesus Christ. Who is not hidden… God would not allow him, who would be a secret enemy, to do miracles openly.
In a public dispute where the two parties profess to be for God, for Jesus Christ, for the Church, miracles have never been on the side of the false Christians, and the other side has never been without a miracle.
“He hath a devil.” John 10. 21. And others said, “Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?”
The proofs which Jesus Christ and the apostles draw from Scripture are not conclusive; for they say only that Moses foretold that a prophet should come. But they do not thereby prove that this is He; and that is the whole question. These passages, therefore, serve only to show that they are not contrary to Scripture and that there appears no inconsistency, but not that there is agreement. Now this is enough, namely, exclusion of inconsistency, along with miracles.
There is a mutual duty between God and men. We must pardon Him this saying: Quid debui? [Is. 5. 4. Quis est quod debui ultra facere vineae meae, et non faci ei? “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?”] “Accuse me, ” said God in Isaiah.
“God must fulfil His promises,” etc.
Men owe it to God to accept the religion which He sends. God owes it to men not to lead them into error. Now, they would be led into error, if the workers of miracles announced a doctrine which should not appear evidently false to the light of common sense, and if a greater worker of miracles had not already wamed men not to believe them.
Thus, if there were divisions in the Church, and the Arians, for example, who declared themselves founded on Scripture just as the Catholics, had done miracles, and not the Catholics, men should have been led into error.
For, as a man, who announces to us the secrets of God, is not worthy to be believed on his private authority, and that is why the ungodly doubt him; so when a man, as a token of the communion which he has with God, raises the dead, foretells the future, removes the seas, heals the sick, there is none so wicked as not to bow to him, and the incredulity of Pharaoh and the Pharisees is the effect of a supernatural obduracy.
When, therefore, we see miracles and a doctrine not suspicious, both on one side, there is no difficulty. But when we see miracles and suspicious doctrine on the same side, we must then see which is the clearest. Jesus Christ was suspected.
Bar-jesus blinded. The power of God surpasses that of His enemies.The Jewish exorcists beaten by the devils, saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye”?
Miracles are for doctrine, and not doctrine for miracles.
If the miracles are true, shall we be able to persuade men of all doctrine? No; for this will not come to pass. Si angelus… [Gal. 1. 8. “But though an angel.”]
Rule: we must judge of doctrine by miracles; we must judge of miracles by doctrine. All this is true, but contains no contradiction.For we must distinguish the times.
How glad you are to know the general rules, thinking thereby to set up dissension and render all useless! We shall prevent you, my father; truth is one and constant.
It is impossible, from the duty of God to men, that a man, hiding his evil teaching, and only showing the good, saying that he conforms to God and the Church, should do miracles so as to instil insensibly a false and subtle doctrine. This cannot happen.
And still less that God, who knows the heart should perform miracles in favour of such a one.
844. The three marks of religion: perpetuity, a good life, miracles. They destroy perpetuity by their doctrine of probability; a good life by their morals, miracles by destroying either their truth or the conclusions to be drawn from them.
If we believe them, the Church will have nothing to do with perpetuity, holiness, and miracles. The heretics deny them, or deny the conclusions to be drawn from them; they do the same. But one would need to have no sincerity in order to deny them, or again to lose one’s senses in order to deny the conclusions to be drawn from them.
Nobody has ever suffered martyrdom for the miracles which he says he has seen; for the folly of men goes perhaps to the length of martyrdom, for those which the Turks believe by tradition, but not for those which they have seen.
845. The heretics have always attacked these three marks, which they have not.
846. First objection: “An angel from heaven. We must not judge of truth by miracles, but of miracles by truth. Therefore the miracles are useless.
Now they are of use, and they must not be in opposition to the truth. Therefore what Father Lingende has said that “God will not permit that a miracle may lead into error…”
When there shall be a controversy in the same Church, miracle will decide.
Second objection: “But Antichrist will do miracles.”
The magicians of Pharaoh did not entice to error. Thus we cannot say to Jesus respecting Antichrist, “You have led me into error.” For Antichrist will do them against Jesus Christ, and so they cannot lead into error. Either God will not permit false miracles, or He will procure greater.
Jesus Christ has existed since the beginning of the world: this is more impressive than all the miracles of Antichrist.
If in the same Church there should happen a miracle on the side of those in error, men would be led into error. Schism is visible; a miracle is visible. But schism is more a sign of error than a miracle is a sign of truth. Therefore a miracle cannot lead into error.
But, apart from schism, error is not so obvious as a miracle is obvious. Therefore a miracle could lead into error.
Ubi est Deus tuus? [Ps. 41. 4. “Where is thy God?”] Miracles show Him, and are a light.
847. One of the anthems for Vespers at Christmas: Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis corde.[Ps. 111. 4. “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.”]
848. If the compassion of God is so great that He instructs us to our benefit, even when He hides Himself, what light ought we not to expect from Him when He reveals Himself?
849. Will Est et non est.[“The yes and the no.”] be received in faith itself as well as in miracles? And if it is inseparable in the others…When Saint Xavier works miracles. Saint Hilary. “Ye wretches, who oblige us to speak of miracles.”
Unjust judges, make not your own laws on the moment; judge by those which are established, and by yourselves. Vae qui conditis leges iniquas.[Is. 10. 1. “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees.”]
Miracles endless, false.
In order to weaken your adversaries, you disarm the whole Church.
If they say that our salvation depends upon God, they are “heretics.” If they say that they are obedient to the Pope, that is “hypocrisy.” If they are ready to subscribe to all the articles, that is not enough. If they say that a man must not be killed for an apple, “they attack the morality of Catholics.” If miracles are done among them, it is not a sign of holiness, and is, on the contrary a symptom of heresy.
This way in which the Church has existed is that truth has been without dispute, or, if it has been contested, there has been the Pope, or, failing him, there has been the Church.
850. The five propositions condemned, but no miracle; for the truth was not attacked. But the Sorbonne… but the bull…
It is impossible that those who love God with all their heart should fail to recognise the Church; so evident is she. It is impossible that those who do not love God should be convinced of the Church.
Miracles have such influence that it was necessary that God should warn men not to believe in them in opposition to Him, all clear as it is that there is a God. Without this they would have been able to disturb men.
And thus so far from these passages, Deut. 13, making against the authority of the miracles, nothing more indicates their influence. And the same in respect of Antichrist. “To seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”
851. The history of the man born blind.
What says Saint Paul? Does he continually speak of the evidence of the prophecies? No, but of his own miracle. What says Jesus Christ? Does He speak of the evidence of the prophecies? No; His death had not fulfilled them. But he says, Si non fecissem. [John 15. 24. “If he had not done.”] Believe the works.
Two supernatural foundations of our wholly supernatural religion; one visible, the other invisible; miracles with grace, miracles without grace.
The synagogue, which had been treated with love as a type of the Church, and with hatred, because it was only the type, has been restored, being on the point of falling when it was well with God, and thus a type.
Miracles prove the power which God has over hearts, by that which He exercises over bodies.
The Church has never approved a miracle among heretics.
Miracles a support of religion: they have been the test of Jews; they have been the test of Christians, saints, innocents, and true believers.
A miracle among schismatics is not so much to be feared; for schism, which is more obvious than a miracle, visibly indicates their error. But, when there is no schism and error is in question, miracle decides.
Si non fecissem quae alius non fecit. [John 15. 24 “If he had not done among them the works which none other man did.”] The wretches who have obliged us to speak of miracles.
Abraham and Gideon confirm faith by miracles.
Judith. God speaks at last in their greatest oppression.
If the cooling of love leaves the Church almost without believers, miracles will rouse them. This is one of the last effects of grace.
If one miracle were wrought among the Jesuits!
When a miracle disappoints the expectation of those in whose presence it happens, and there is a disproportion between the state of their faith and the instrument of the miracle, it ought- then to induce them to change. But with you it is otherwise. There would be as much reason in saying that, if the Eucharist raised a dead man, it would be necessary for one to turn a Calvinist rather than remain a Catholic. But when it crowns the expectation, and those, who hoped that God would bless the remedies, see themselves healed without remedies.
The ungodly.- No sign has ever happened on the part of the devil without a stronger sign on the part of God, or even without it having been foretold that such would happen.
852. Unjust persecutors of those whom God visibly protects. If they reproach you with your excesses, “they speak as the heretics.” If they say that the grace of Jesus Christ distinguishes us, “they are heretics.” If they do miracles, “it is the mark of their heresy.”
Ezekiel. They say: These are the people of God who speak thus.It is said, “Believe in the Church”; but it is not said, “Believe in miracles”; because the last is natural, and not the first. The one had need of a precept, not the other. Hezekiah.
The synagogue was only a type, and thus it did not perish; and it was only a type, and so it is decayed. It was a type which contained the truth, and thus it has lasted until it no longer contained the truth.
My reverend father, all this happened in types. Other religions perish; this one perishes not.
Miracles are more important than you think. They have served for the foundation, and will serve for the continuation of the Church till Antichrist, till the end.
The two witnesses.
In the Old Testament and the New, miracles are performed in connection with types. Salvation, or a useless thing, if not to show that we must submit to the Scriptures: type of the sacrament.
853. We must judge soberly of divine ordinances, my father. Saint Paul in the isle of Malta.
854. The hardness of the Jesuits, then, surpasses that of the Jews, since those refused to believe Jesus Christ innocent only because they doubted if His miracles were of God. Whereas the Jesuits, though unable to doubt that the miracles of Port-Royal are of God, do not cease to doubt still the innocence of that house.
855. I suppose that men believe miracles. You corrupt religion either in favour of your friends or against your enemies. You arrange it at your will.
856. On the miracle.- As God has made no family more happy, let it also be the case that He find none more thankful.