"God: Conferences delivered at Notre Dame in Paris"
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THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
But if God has on his side nature, intelligence, conscience, and society, what remains there to pantheism? Where is it to find its basis? It seeks its basis in the obscurities of abstruse metaphysics; withdrawing from all realities, from every feeling and every want, in order to form a labyrinth from whence thought can find no exit. It loses itself the clue, and shut up in the subtle prison which it has made, takes refuge in the sneer of self-deceived pride, and calling to its help, from the corrupted depths of ages, the prying spirits of subtle doctrines, it hurls against God and mankind the anathema of scorn. God passes by without hearing, and mankind without answering. Let us do likewise, let us pass by also.
We have a threefold intuition of God: a negative intuition in nature; a direct intuition in the ideas of truth and justice; a practical intuition in human society. Nature, in manifesting characteristics to us incompatible with a being existing of itself, causes us to mount to its source, the ideas of truth and justice name God to us, without whom they would be nothing; human society, which cannot do without him, proves to us his existence by its need of him. But besides these continuous and inadmissible revelations, there are others which divine providence scatters from time to time on the road of nations. He strikes with his thunders and rends the veils, he gives so full and deep a consciousness of his presence, than none can be deceived, and causes a whole nation to utter from its inmost heart that unanimous and involuntary cry: It is the hand of God! We are witnessing one of those times when God unveils himself; but yesterday he passed through our gates and the whole world beheld him. Shall I then remain silent before him? Shall I hold upon my trembling lips the prayer of a man who, once in his life, has seen his God before him?
O God, who has just dealt these terrible blows, O God, the judge of kings and arbiter of the world, look down in mercy upon this old Frank nation, the elder son of thy right hand and of thy Church. Remember its past services, thy first blessings; renew with it that ancient alliance which made it thy people; touch its heart which was so full of thee, and which now again, in the flush of a victory wherein it spared nothing royal, yielded to thee the empire which it yields to none other. O God, just and holy, by the cross of thy Son which their hands bore from the profaned palace of kings to the spotless palace of thy spouse, watch over us, protect us, enlighten us, prove once more to the world that a people that respects thee is a people saved!
God: Conferences - Notre-Dame in Paris (1871)
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