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PROSLOGION, OR AN ALLOCUTION CONCERNING THE EXISTENCE

OF GOD.

Preface.

Having, at the urgent solicitation of some of my brethren published a short treatise as an example of meditation in relation to the grounds of our faith, representing the solitary reasonings of one who is in search of what he is yet ignorant of; and reflecting that this treatise consisted of a connected chain of numerous arguments, I began to inquire whether it might not be possible to find a single argument, which, being complete in itself, would need the aid of no other for its confirmation, and which would alone suffice to prove that there is indeed a God, that he is the supreme good, that he is in need of nothing, but that all things else are in need of him in order to their existence and well-being-an argument, in fine, sufficient to prove all that we are accustomed to believe concerning the Divine Nature.

To this subject I repeatedly and carefully turned my attention; sometimes the object of my search seemed to be within my reach; at other times it utterly escaped the grasp of my mind; at length I resolved, in despair, to abandon the inquiry, fearing that I might be in search of something which it would be impossible to find. But when I endeavored to banish this thought entirely, lest, by occupying my mind in a fruitless search, it might detain me from other studies in which I might make some useful progress, then it began to press itself upon me the more, with a kind of importunity; and the more I resolved to defend myself against it the more importunate it became. Therefore on a certain day, while fatigued with violently resisting its importunity, and in the very conflict of my thoughts, that presented itself to me which I had despaired of finding; and the eagerness with which I embraced the idea was equalled only by the solicitude with which I had repelled it. Believing that what had interested me so much in the discovery, would, if committed to writing afford equal pleasure to the reader, I have composed upon this and other matters, the following treatise; in which I represent one as speaking who is endeavoring to raise his mind to the contemplation of God, and who seeks to understand what he believes. Although I regarded neither this, nor the treatise above mentioned, as deserving to be called a book, or to have the name of the author prefixed to it; yet it seemed improper to send them forth without some title, which might, in a degree, invite to a careful perusal of them, those into whose hands

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Exhortation to Contemplate God.

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they might fall. I therefore entitled the former Exemplum meditandi de ratione fidei, "An example of meditation concerning the grounds of faith;" and the latter, Fides quaerens intellectum, "Faith seeking understanding." But as copies of each had already been multipled, and that too with the above titles, many urged me to prefix to them my own name, and especially the Reverend Archbishop of Lyons, Hugo, the Apostolical Legate in Gaul, enjoined this upon me by his authoritative command. That this might be the more suitably done I have entitled the former MONOLOGIUM, that is, a Soliloque, and the latter PROSLOGION, that is, An Allocution.

PROSLOGION.

CHAPTER I. Exhortation to the contemplation of God. O, vain man! flee now, for a little while from thine accustomed occupations; hide thyself for a brief moment from thy tumultuous thoughts; cast aside thy cares; postpone thy toilsome engagements; devote thyself awhile to God; repose for a moment in Him; enter into the sanctuary of thy soul, exclude thence all else but God, and whatever may aid thee in finding him; then, within the closed doors of thy retirement inquire after thy God. Say now, O my whole heart! say now to thy God: I seek thy face; thy face O Lord do I seek. Therefore now, O Lord, my God, teach thou my heart where and how it may seek for thee; where and how it may find thee. If thou art not here, O Lord, where, while thou art absent, shall I find thee? But if thou art everywhere, why do I not see thee present? Truly thou dwellest in light inaccessible! But where is this inaccessible light, or how can I approach to light inaccessible? Who will lead me and conduct me into it, that I may behold thee there? And then by what signs, or under what form shall I seek thee? I have never seen thee, O Lord my God; I know not thy face. What shall this thine exile do,- O Lord, Thou most High, what shall he do, banished so far from thee? What shall thy servant do, cast far away from thy presence, and yet in anguish with love for thy perfections? He pants to see thee, but thy face is too far from him; he desires to approach unto thee, but thy habitation is inaccessible; he longs to find thee, but knows not thine abode. He attempts to seek thee, but knows not thy face. O Lord, thou art my Lord and my God, yet I have never seen thee. Thou hast created and redeemed me, and hast conferred upon me all my goods, but as yet I know thee not.

In fine, I was created that I might behold thee; but I have not yet attained to the end of my creation. O miserable lot of man, since he has lost that for which he was created! O hard and cruel misfortune! Alas! what has he lost and what has he found? What has departed and what remains? He has lost the blessedness for which he was created; he has found misery for which he was not created. That has departed, without which there is no happiness; that remains, which, in itself, is nought but misery. Then man was accustomed to eat the bread of angels, for which he now hungers; now he eats the bread of sorrows, of which he was then ignorant. Alas! the common affliction of man, the universal wailing of the sons of Adam! The father of our race was filled to satiety, we pine, from hunger; he abounded, we are in want; he possessed happiness, but miserably deserted it; we are destitute of happiness, and pitifully long for it; but alas! our desires are unsatisfied. Why, since he could easily have done it, did he not preserve for us that which we should so greatly need? Why did he thus exclude from us the light and surround us with darkness? Why has he deprived us of life and inflicted death? Miserable beings! Whence have we been expelled? Whither are we driven? From what heights have we been precipitated? Into what abyss are we plunged? From our native land into exile; from the presence of God into the darkness which now envelops us; from the sweets of immortality into the bitterness and horror of death.-Unhappy change!-from good so great to evil so enormous! O heavy loss! heavy grief! heavy all! But alas! wretch that I am, miserable son of Eve, estranged from God, at what did I aim? what have I accomplished? Whither did I direct my course? Where have I arrived? To what did I aspire? for what do I now sigh? I sought for good, but behold confusion and trouble! I attempted to go to God, but I only stumbled upon myself. In my retirement I sought for rest, but in the depths of my heart I found tribulation and anguish. I desired to laugh by reason of the joy of my mind, but I am compelled to roar by reason of the disquietude of my heart. I hoped for happiness, but behold! from this my sighs are multiplied. And thou, O Lord, how long? How long O Lord wilt thou forget us? How long wilt thou turn thy face from us? When wilt thou have respect unto us and hear us? When wilt thou enlighten our eyes and show us thy face? When wilt thou restore thyself unto us? Have respect unto us, O Lord hear us, enlighten us, show thyself to us. Restore thyself unto us, that it may be well with us; it is so ill with us without thee. Have pity upon our toils

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God truly Exists.

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and our efforts after thee; we can do nothing without thee. Invite us; aid us. I beseech thee, O Lord, let me not despair in my longing; but let me be refreshed by hope. My heart is embittered in its own desolation; assuage thou its sorrows by thy consolations. O Lord, oppressed with hunger I have commenced to seek thee; let me not cease till I am filled from thy bounty; famished, I have approached unto thee; let me not depart unfed; poor, I have come to thy riches; miserable, to thy compassion; let me not return empty and despised. And if, before I partake of this divine food, I long for it; grant, after my desires are excited that I may have sufficient to satisfy them. O Lord I am bowed down and can look only towards the earth; raise thou me, that I may look upwards. Mine iniquities have gone over my head; they cover me over, and as a heavy burden they bear me down. Set me free; deliver me from mine iniquities, lest their pit shall close upon me its mouth. Let me behold thy light, whether from the depth or from the distance. Teach me to seek thee; and while I seek show thyself to me; because, unless thou teach, I cannot seek thee; unless thou show thyself, I cannot find thee; let me seek thee by desiring thee; let me desire thee by seeking thee. Let me find thee by loving thee; let me love thee in finding thee. I confess, O Lord, and render thee thanks that thou hast created in me this thine image, that I may be mindfnl of thee, that I may contemplate and love thee; but it is so injured by contact with vice, so darkened by the vapor of sin, that it cannot attain to that for which it was created, unless thou wilt renew and reform it. I attempt not to penetrate to thy height, for with this my feeble intelligence can bear no comparison; but I desire, in some degree, to understand thy truth which my heart believes and loves. For I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; but I believe in order that I may understand, for I believe for this reason that unless I believe I cannot understand.

CHAPTER II. That God truly exists, although the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.

Therefore, O Lord, thou who dost impart understanding to faith, grant, so far as thou seest this knowledge would be expedient for me, that I may know that thou art as we believe, and that thou art this which we believe. And, indeed, we believe that thou art something, than which nothing greater can be conceived. Shall we, therefore, conclude that there is no such Being, merely because the fool

1 Ne desperem susperando; sed resperem sperando.

hath said in his heart, there is no God? But surely even this same fool, when he hears me announce that there is something than which nothing greater can be conceived, understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his conception, even if he does not know that it exists. For, it is one thing for an object to be in the conception, and another to know that it exists. For, when the painter conceives, beforehand, the picture which he is about to sketch, he has it, indeed, in his conception; but he knows that it does not yet exist, for he has not as yet executed it. But, after he has painted, he not only has in his conception what he has just produced, but he knows that it exists. Even the fool, therefore, is convinced that there exists in his conception, something than which nothing greater can be conceived; because, when he hears this mentioned, he understands it, or forms an idea of it, and whatever is understood, is in the intelligence. And surely that, than which a greater cannot be conceived, cannot exist in the intelligence alone. For, let it be supposed that it exists only in the intelligence; then something greater can be conceived; for it can be conceived to exist in reality also, which is greater. If, therefore, that than which a greater cannot be conceived, exists in the conception or intelligence alone, then that very thing, than which a greater cannot be conceived, is something than which a greater can be conceived, which is impossible. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt, both in the intelligence and in reality, something than which a greater cannot be conceived.

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CHAPTER III. That God cannot be conceived not to exist. Indeed, so truly does this exist, that it cannot be conceived not to exist. For it is possible to conceive of the existence of something which cannot be conceived not to exist; and this is greater than that which can be conceived not to exist. Wherefore, if that, than which a greater cannot be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, then this something, than which a greater cannot be conceived, is something than which a greater can be conceived; which is a contradiction. So truly, therefore, does something exist, than which a greater cannot be conceived, that it is impossible to conceive this not to exist. And this art thou, O Lord our God! So truly, therefore, dost thou exist, O Lord my God, that thou canst not be conceived not to exist. For this there is the highest reason. For, if any mind could conceive of anything better than thou art, then the creature could ascend above the Creator, and become His judge; which is supremely absurd. Everything else, indeed, which exists besides thee, can be

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