238. What do you then promise me, in addition to certain troubles, but ten
years of self-love (for ten years is the chance), to try hard to please
239. Objection.--Those who hope for salvation are so far happy; but they
have as a counterpoise the fear of hell.
Reply.--Who has most reason to fear hell: he who is in ignorance whether
there is a hell, and who is certain of damnation if there is; or he who
certainly believes there is a hell and hopes to be saved if there is?
240. "I would soon have renounced pleasure," say they, "had I faith." For my
part I tell you, "You would soon have faith, if you renounced pleasure."
Now, it is for you to begin. If I could, I would give you faith. I cannot do
so, nor therefore test the truth of what you say. But you can well renounce
pleasure and test whether what I say is true.
241. Order.--I would have far more fear of being mistaken, and of finding
that the Christian religion was true, than of not being mistaken in
believing it true.
SECTION IV: OF THE MEANS OF BELIEF
242. Preface to the second part.--To speak of those who have treated of this
I admire the boldness with which these persons undertake to speak of God. In
addressing their argument to infidels, their first chapter is to prove
Divinity from the works of nature. I should not be astonished at their
enterprise, if they were addressing their argument to the faithful; for it
is certain that those who have the living faith in their hearts see at once
that all existence is none other than the work of the God whom they adore.
But for those in whom this light is extinguished, and in wh