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macy with the abstract sciences. It scientious struggles after a greater might have been expected also, that abstraction of the affections' tban his love of physical philosophy seenis attainable for perhaps is would rather have inclined him to even allowable) in the present stage that class of arguments for the truth of our existence, assisted, we doubt of religion which are founded on not, by the wretched state of his the phenomena of visible nature. health, had the effect of rendering Quite otherwise. When he be- his manners somewhat cold and incomes a theological writer, he strikes different. Even this was an abate out a perfectly new track. He al- ment, merely of sociableness,-not ters his weapons as well as his war- of benevolence, which glowed in fare. The ardent votary of natural his heart with ever-increasing philosophy altogether forsakes the warmth till its last beat. His inmaterial world, to bury himself in tellectual faculties and acquirements the world of the human mind. The are better known' and appreciated. hard geometer adopts a style of ar. He was born a mathematician and gument, remarkable indeed for per- an analyst. In experimental philospicuity and conclusiveness, but still sophy, his sagacity was only equale more for pathos and fervour, - à led by a modesty and caution style addressed to the heart as well which formed a striking and amiaas the reason,-simple as truth, and ble contrast to the presumptuous impassioned as poetry.
hardihood of his contemporary, Des Some writers of the present day Cartes. Condorcet, indeed, appears bare represented' D'Alembert as to consider the rashness and dog. remarkable among all the men of matism of Des Cartes' as 'a more science that ever flourished, for an useful quality than the wariness of assemblage of opposite qualities; Pascal, or at least as having in fact for the uņion of the higher gifts produced more good. "Accidentally, of the mind with its lighter and there can be no doubt that the bold softer graces, -of profound and ori- contempt of Des Cartes for received ginal thinking 'with simplicity and opinions, and his confident reliance even playfulness of the contem- on himself, proved highly benefiplative habits of a student with a cial to the progress of science by taste for social enjoyment, -and of demolishing established errors and a severe and laborious inathematical making room for a sounder philofaculty with great warmth of feels sophy. But, if Condorcet intended ing and vigour of eloquence. We to represent ihis fortunate audacity would not grudge D'Alembert bis as in itself more respectable than due praise ; but it seems to us that that cautious and accurate examina Pascal would bave been a prefera- tion of evidence, and that distrust ble example. Were we called on of novelty which distinguished Pasto name a mental
cal, or even as, in ordinary times, combination, and a forma
a more serviceable and successful Where every god did seem ļo set his seal,
qualification for a philosopher, we
can only say that a professed disthis would have been among the ciple of the Newtonian philosopby foremost names in our catalogue. ought to have judged better. MaIt is 'not perhaps generally known thematical and physical science, of Pascal, though it amply appears however, formed but the smaller in the most authentic accounis of part of Pascal's glory. Having as bím, that his social qualities and tonished the world by bis philoso. colloquial powers were of a highly phical proficiency and discoveries, distinguished order. He was, as a while at the same time the intense companion, delightful, till towards application with which he studied the close of his life, when his con: absolutely ruined bis' bealth, ho, ir Cast. OBSERY. No. 155.
SHis thirty-third year, burst into no- mind bave been, of which the mere tice as the author of the Provincial sough and formless, sketches har Letters. This work was written produced such a performance !" without any model,' for indeed the Surely, here was a wonderful French had at that time no great constellation of excellencies, even writers whatsoever; but it has it. 'if, to so many talents and accomaself become a model to all succeed. plishments, that might singly have ing times. All competent judges, made other men famous, there had
of whatever sect or party, have not been added that one qualifica. vied together in its praises. Though tion, without which the bigbest of of a controversial nature, and en- authorities assures us that the com. ployed on metaphysical questions of mand of all mysteries and all knowgreat subtilty, it exhibits all the ledge could profit us nothing. graces of fine writing; and Vol- But we are losing sight of what taire" himself confesses that it at is more peculiarly our present task. once rivals the wit of Moliere and The argument from the nature of the "sublimity of Bossuet. Even man, powerfully and commandingly this work, however, thus bigh and as it is stated by Pascal, has not various in excellence, is not that perhaps, all the completeness to from which the reputation of its which he would have wrought it author has been principally derived. had his life been spared. A philoHis life was now hasting to a close. sopher himself, be has finely paintHe died at the age of thirty-nine, ed the agonies of the human underand the three or four last years of standing in its search after truth : his life were one succession of the and has given some striking sketches acutest sofferings. Yet this short of the general imperfection of hoand harassed interval "sufficed, not man knowledge. He has repreonly to exhibit him once more with sented also, with great force, the undiminished power in the field of moral contrarieties of the soul of mathematics, but to prodace an in- man;-the confused contest be
valuable, though 'unfinished, moriu- 'tween conscience and evil inclinament of his capacity in an entirely. tions; - the mixture of a moral new department. In the work sense with moral incapacity. Even which forms the more immediate on these points, bowever, had the subject of the present article, be åp- author lived to complete his design, peared, no longer as a controversial, he would probably have entered but as a 'contemplatite, moralist; into a far greater variety of detail. no longer as the advocate of a par- But the greatest defect seems to beticular body of Christians, but as long to that part of his argument the champion of Christianity itself. which is founded on the vanity of The merits of this work have com- human bappiness ; add, -as Voltaire pelled the admiralion of those most; has not failed, in his annotations, to inclined to ridicule its object and take advantage of thia imperfection, exaggerate its defects. It is pathe- me shall sperlaps be forgivea for tic, profound, and sublime, com- remarking on it rather more partiposed in the simplest style , yet: cularly. W X 23 abounding with examples of that'! The desire of happiness, says sage and serene eloquencé which' Pascalis the single motive of hubefits an ambassador of Heaven.' It man action 5 yet no man is happy. seems to us
the perfection of the From the earliest times, no man deliberative'style on a great subject." has attained that blessing, for which
Yet it is a mere collection of fraga alone erery man bas sigbed. All Prients, the casual product of short seek it, and all complain that their I jotervals of extreme pain; and, as "search has been fruitless , princes "M! Renouard excellently observes, a band sabjects; qables and commopers, " How extraordinary must that old and young, strong and weak,
learned and unlearned, healthy and rated exercise of imagination, from sick, of all countries and in all poetry and from music, from the ages." All have an inextioguisbable charms of raral retirement, from the idea of an unattainable good; all social and benevolent affections, commence with the same hopes, to and, above all, from the charities of end in the same disappointinent; domestic life. We are, indeed, faand, by this coutrast between that tally prone to abuse these gifts ; which they are fortnéd.to seek, and but the gifts themselves must not. that which they are doomed to find, therefore be slighted or undervailustrate at once the grandeur of lued. Amidst the signs of wrath their origin, and the depth of their and penal misery by which we are degradation
on all sides surrounded, these boun.' The dark view given of boman ties seem scațiered as memorials of life in this representation, though Him wbo does not willingly amict sadly just on the whole, yet seems even the unthankful and evil, wbo to require some little qualification. considers punishment as his strange There are indeed those who will re- i work, and who is pleased still to cognize the likeness'at once, and re- remember and to watch over a cognize it the sooner for its sombre world by which, he is insulted and colours. This gloomy portraitare forgotten. To omil, then, these needs not any softening, to please bright spots in a picture of the prethe 'serious, the pensive, or the dis- sent state of man, is surely a defect; appointed; the child of affliction, and, to some minds, would seom one or the victim of remorse ;-alt those, of no small magnitude. There are
in short, who have been taught by persons, of naturally amiable, or at 2 habit or circumstances to cast a so- least tranquil, dispositions ; of deco"ber eye on man and the world, -20 rous habits ; of no deep or large rechastise 'the gaiety and joyousness flection, and who experience a toof life by a recollection of its many lerably uninterrupted course of those ?" days of darkness, 10 visit the gentle, and (in themselves) innocent,
desert places of the earth, and muse enjoyments which we have men1. amidst the ruins of human happi- tioned. Such persons would be apt ness. To bosoms so prepared,
' the. to shrink from descriptions which "dark speech" of Pascal will ever exhibit the earthly condition of find a comparatively ready access. mankind as one unmitigated ex. But there are persons of a different panse of restlessness, disappointCast, who might complain a little ment, and woe. They would deof this strong painting, and perhaps clare that it was not so universally;
not wholly without reason. Not. : and, for a proof of their assertion, 5 withstanding the natural condition would plausibly, and in some de
of man is lost, depraved, and in gree, even justly, appeal to their a' serious view most unbappy, yet town case.' a merciful Providence has been Perhaps our great author might pleased to sarround him with many baye rendered his argument more blessings, not immediately growing level to characters of this class, if he out of the practice of religion, al had broken his general sketches of though doubtless intended to excite life a little more into detail, and, by him to it." We may truly say, that specifying particular cases, gradual
of this desert soit ly led his more narrow-minded read?""Wants not its bidden lustre ;-)!
ers to those comprehenive surveys of our nature bias the capacity of deriv- i which be is so powerful a master; ing pleasure from many innoxious above all, if he had more particularly
sourcesg—from the interchange of dwelt on the subject of death. This, 01 Jabout and rest, from the pursuit of indeed, is the best answer to every
useful knowledge, from the cultie: objection, and one that admits of no "vation of the arts, from the mode rejoinder, Grapt to the worldling en !!!
5 B 2
all that he can pretend of the hap- Thus it is, that for a confirmation of: piness of life; - let him adotn it the scriptural account, we need not with that upsunned beauty which resort to the various shapes of sufit wears in the hopes of youth orfering by which our mortal condio the dreams of poetry ;--- still must tion is oppressed, to the portentous he recollect that
forms that preside (as the poet ex. A perpetuity of bliss is bliss :
presses it), over the wounds and 6 Coald you, so rich in raptore, fear an end,
wrecks of nature, to the awfol mo.** That ghastly thought would drink up all nitions of ruined ambition or blasted your joy,
pride, of pain and calamity, despair And quite unparadisë thte realms of light. and death; but may consult the
Indeed, it appears to us that Pas- gentle virtues and blameless pleacal might have admitted the exis- 'sures of private and domestic life, tence of that quiet description of which will, with a more touching pleasures of which we have been voice, repeat to us the same sad speaking, not only without injury, history, but with positive advantage, to his
Besides the class of persons that argument. The argument says,
has been mentioned as not likely to that the present condition of man acquiesce in the gloomy descriptions exhibits relics of his lost estate in of Pascal, there is another of a less paradise ; and, perhaps, among respectable kind, who would, prothose relics, the pleasures in ques. bably, be still more dissentient. tion may not improperly be num
We allude to the thoughtless; the bered. It may be true of them all, dissipated; the men of pleasure; the wbat Cowper says of domestic hap- votaries of fashion; the deliberate, piness in particular, that they are
calculating, epicurean profligates
These, indeed, are bad subjects for The bliss
the lectures and persuasions of the of Paradise, wbich bas surviv'd the fall.
moralist, charm he never so wisely. For, surely, the various and multi Scarcely would they be persuaded, phed capacity for those sober, and, though one rose from the dead. To in their own nature, innocent én. say the trath, their very insensi. joyments, was a constituent part of bility (as Pascal observes of unbethe original perfection of man, as lievers in general) tends to establish the gratification of that capacity was the doctrines which they rejech . a part of his original felicity. The Their denial is itself an argumente: remains," therefore, both of the fa. Did we not behold such melancholy culty, and of the means of exercis- instances of infatuation of heart
, the ing it, may be considered as "shin- sensible proofs of human depravity ing fragments" of a better world; would appear less complete, as a as lingering beats glory that lazar-house would seem comparahas set. And, take these tively imperfect without a ward of blessings in connection with the maniacs. Yet, as Heaven - extends in perfections and inquietudes by its offers of mercy to all men, even which they are attended; the these insensale lovers of pleasure abuses of which they are suscep- are not to be despaired of, nor tible; and the mortality to which abandoned to their folly. It is they are subject; they seem to tell highly desirable, therefore, that us, in some sense, not only the Pascal had addressed some part of truth, but the whole truth. "They his reflections more peculiarly.to. intimate, though obscurely, the idea persons of this character, and, pero both of our elevation and our fall, haps, bad be survived to finish his Thus it is that the whole of our work, he would have left nobing, moral nature both what we sutter to be desired on the subject. His and what we enjoys-breathes a terrible eloquence was well-calcuconsistent and harmonious language lated to rouse these med, if any
thing could, from their delusion. He many persons might be inclined toi! would bave painted with a dreadful say, we must confess that it requir. fidelity, the fallacy of their joy, and ed a Voltaire to do the sentiment the wretchedness which they gild complete justice, and that " the over with smiles. He would have patriarch of the holy philosophical shewn them, that there is a perfect church" (as it pleased the jokers of and a horrible consistency between his own school to style him) has exsuch happiness as theirs, and the pressed himself with a gay étourderie harshest pictures of worldly misery, pre-eminently becoming his bighi with which the moralist can charge station. The note does indeed seem his canvas.
to us (in a certain sense), the very a What sort of answer the charac- best in the whole collection : it is so ters in question might be disposed natural, so characteristic, 'so exquito make to the argument of our sitely Parisian, as to be a perfect great author, (we mean, as that ar- curiosity. In the refutation of a gument now stands), there is no oc- profound philosophical essay on the casion to conjecture. One of them- unhappiness of man; in an argu. selyes, even a prophet of their oyn, ment to shew that the notion of that and one certainly whom they would nohappiness is an empty reverie, and very gladly have chosen for their the common complaint of it'a' mistaké spokesman, has saved us the trou. - or a pretence; that our mortal state ble. The following is the note of is a state of bliss, or at least of comVoltaire, on Pascals assertion that fort; that we are not born '1o' trouall men, young and old, the great ble as the sparks fly upwards; that and the little complain of being every man does not walk' in a vain unhappy. We omit only one clause, shew, nor disquiet himself in vain which ibe note ought never to have and that those who maintain the ! contained.
contrary of these propositions, are " Je sais qu'il est doux de se plaindre : quemad: in a demonstration, we saỹ, of de tout temps on a vanté le passé pour in- all this, who could possibly havez jurier le présent ; que chaque peuple a expected, that the OPERA, and A imaginé un âge d'or, d'innocence, de bonne GOOD SUPPER would appear conspi. santé, de repos et de plaisir, qui ne subsiste cuous in the foreground of the pic. plus. Cependant j'arrive de ma province à ture! The question is. Who shall Paris ; on in'introduit dans une très belle insure man against " the thousand calle où dodze cents persunnės écoutent ané natural shocks that flesh is heir to? musique délicieuse: après quoi toute cette And the answer given
is, Gretry and assemblée se divise en petites sociétés qui vont faire un très bon souper... Je vois Vestris, Madame du Deffant and her tous les beaux arts en honnear dans cette cook!” Not a syllable of the domessa ville, et les métiers les plus abjecis bien sé tic affections : even benevolence isi compenses; les infirmités très soulagées; les mentioned only for its effects on thes accidents prévenus, tout le monde y jouit objects of it, not for the reflected ou espère jouir, ou travaille pour jouir on blessingswhich it bestows on tbegiverzd jour, et ce dernier partage n'est pas le plus the laborious, and often painful, oC mauvais. Je dis alors à Pascal : Mon grand cupations of the vulgar, are spoken, homme, étes-vous fou? * Je ne nie pas que la terre n'ait été sou-'
of with the easy coolness of a philosos. vene inondée de malheurs et de crimes, et pher who passes by on the other side; nons to avons eu notre bonne part. Mais ---meanwhile, for the grand talismans certainement, lorsqae Pascal écrivoit, nous
of happiness, for the safeguard and d'etions pas si à plaindre. Nous ne sommes pillar of human, felicity, we are, pas non plus si misérables aujoturd'hui.
referred to large salles and little "Prenous toujours ceci puisque Dieu nous sociétés, to the circles frequented and
l'envoie, bé, bebar ] adurned (truly so) by the writer Nous n'aurons pas toujours lels passe,temps" himself; circles, distinguished for a
mixture of wit, genius, acquirera Although this note contains what, ments, frivolily, flattery, opera,dangos
Pp. 281, 282,