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In Defense of Raymond Sebond

[Summary ?In the opening section of the essay, here given in its entirety, Montaigne explains how Raymond Sebond work on the truths of the Christian religion, as proved by the marvels of creation and the nature of man, came into his father hands. Montaigne notes that some Christians believe it impious to utilize appeals to reason to Bivirkninger bolster belief in truths which must be accepted on faith. In the course of his argument that man rational faculties may properly be used in support of religious faith, Montaigne assails the shallowness of the belief of Christians of his day. He points out the opportunistic nature of "4-chlorodehydromethyltestosterone Ireland" the teachings of both Catholic and Protestant parties in the bitter civil wars being fought in France, and deplores the absence of true Christianity which would be revealed through the gentle, noble, and virtuous lives of those who profess it. The denial of divine control of the universe is an unnatural attitude, and the atheist himself, faced with the imminence of death, tends to turn to superstition. Creation bears the marks of God greatness. Sebond arguments based on the revelation of God nature and his power are more forceful than any his opponents have been able to muster.]

Sebond book and Montaigne translation of it.

Knowledge is, in truth, a very useful and important accomplishment. Those who disdain it reveal clearly enough their stupidity; but I do not, however, set its worth at the extremely high value which some attribute to it, like Herillus the philosopher who believed that in it resided the sovereign good, and who considered that knowledge could make us wise and happy. I believe neither this, nor "büyüme hormonu eczane fiyatı" what others have said ?that learning is the mother of all virtue, and that all vice is the product of ignorance. If that is true, it is subject to a long interpretation. As for myself, I am fond of them, but I do not worship them.

Among such visitors was Pierre Bunel, a man of great reputation for learning in his time. Having stayed a few days at Montaigne as my father guest, with other men of his sort, he presented him, on leaving, a book entitled Natural Theology, or the Book of Creatures, by Master Raymond Sebond. And because the Italian and Spanish languages were familiar to my father, and because this book is written in a sort of jargon of Spanish with Latin endings, he hoped that with very little help my father might find it of value, and he recommended it to him as a very useful book, especially fitting for the particular time at which he gave it to him. It was the moment when the new ideas of Luther were beginning to gain a following and to shake in many places our long established belief.

Now a few days before his death my father, having by chance come across this book under a pile of other abandoned papers, instructed me to put it into French for him. That was a quite strange and new occupation for me; but being by chance at leisure at that moment, and not being able to refuse anything requested by the best father who ever was, I accomplished the task as best I could. This gave my father a special pleasure, and he left instructions that it be printed. This request was arried out after his death. Because many people find pleasure in reading it, and especially ladies to whom we must seek more particularly to be helpful, I have often found myself in a position to assist them in freeing their book from two principal objections which are made against it. Its purpose is bold and courageous, for it undertakes by human and natural arguments to bolster and defend against atheists all the articles of the Christian religion. In accomplishing this end, I find it so firm and so successful that I do not believe it is possible to do better in that argument, and I am of the opinion that none has equaled it. Thomas Aquinas and represented the quintessence of a writing of his, for really, he said, the mind of St. Thomas, full of an infinite erudition and admirable Comprar Levitra subtlety, was alone capable of such inventions.

Reason may bolster religious truths accepted by faith.

The first criticism that is made of his work is that Christians are wrong to seek to base on human reasoning their belief which is conceived only through faith and by a special inspiration of divine grace. In this objection Comprar Gh Jintropin it seems that there Primobolan Hgh Cycle is some zeal of piety, and for this reason we must with all the more gentleness and respect try to satisfy those who propose it. The task would better become a man versed in theology than me who am ignorant of it.

However, it is my opinion that in a matter so divine and lofty, so far exceeding human intelligence as is this truth concerning which it has pleased God to enlighten us, it is indeed necessary that he lend us still his aid, by an extraordinary and privileged favor, so that we may be able to conceive that truth and accept it within us. I do not believe that purely human means are at all capable of this; and if they were, so many rare and excellent souls, and so abundantly endowed with natural gifts, would not have failed in the centuries of antiquity to attain that knowledge. It is faith alone which embraces wholeheartedly and surely the high mysteries of our religion. But that does not mean that it is not a very fine and praiseworthy enterprise to utilize also in the service of our faith the natural and human instruments which God has given to us. One must not doubt that it is the most honorable use that we can make of them, and there is no undertaking or purpose more worthy of a Christian man than to aim by all his studies and thoughts to embellish, extend, and magnify the truth of his belief. We are not limited to serving God in spirit and soul; we owe him also, and we render to him, a bodily reverence; we employ our very limbs, and our movements, and external objects in honoring him. Similarly we must accompany our faith with all the reason that is in us, but always with this reservation that we do not consider that our faith depends upon our reason, nor that our efforts and reasonings can reach a supernatural and divine knowledge.

If that faith does not enter our being by an extraordinary infusion, if it enters it not merely by reasoning, but even by any human means, it is not there in its dignity and its splendor. And certainly I fear, however, that we possess faith only through such channels. . .

CHAPTER II: Man and the Lower Animals

[Summary In an effort to attack the validity of the arguments used against Sebond by freethinking critics, sure of the capacity of their reason to deal with all subjects, Montaigne seeks to show that man pride in his exalted position among the creatures of the universe is but a vain presumption. He presents man as a petty being lost in the infinity of creation. To demonstrate the falsity of human claims to superiority over other creatures, he compares at great length man to the lower animals. Montaigne aim is to demonstrate that man, for all his proud claims, is one with the other animals, of a status neither more abject nor more exalted than theirs. Put thus in his proper place, man can no longer boast of a privileged rank nor exult in the powers of his reason as a unique gift which permits him to understand all things.]

Man reason is a puny instrument.

Without realizing it, I have already touched somewhat on the second objection against Sebond to which I had Oral Steroids In Pregnancy intended to reply.

Some say that his arguments are weak, and unfitted to verify what he sets out to prove, and they undertake to upset them readily. One must strike at these critics a little more roughly, for they are more dangerous and more malicious than the first. Such persons have certain prejudices which destroy their appreciation of Sebond arguments. To it alone belong knowledge and wisdom; it alone can enjoy self esteem, and from it we borrow whatever we value and prize in ourselves. or the god allows none but himself to have lofty thoughts.?[Herodotus VII, 10]

Let us destroy this presumption, the first foundation of the tyranny of the evil spirit, or God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.?[I Peter V, 5] Intelligence is in all the gods, says Plato, and in very few men.

Now it is nonetheless great consolation to the Christian to see our mortal and perishable instruments so properly matched with our holy and divine faith that when he uses them upon matters of a mortal and perishable nature also, they prove no more uniformly or effectively appropriate. Let us see, then, whether man has in his power other arguments stronger than Sebond, or whether, indeed, he can arrive at any certitude by argument and reasoning. . . .

Chapter III: The Futility of Learning

[Summary Continuing his reply to the critics of Raymond Sebond by endeavoring to demonstrate the utter uselessness of all rational arguments, Montaigne asserts that the learning which the scholar painfully acquires is an empty and futile thing. It adds nothing to his health, his happiness, his well being. Ignorance, indeed, is more effective than philosophy in helping us attain the end of tranquility and peace of mind. Madness, he declares, is akin to the agitations of the keenest intellect. True wisdom doubtless lies, as Socrates taught, in the recognition of one's ignorance. Montaigne presents at length and defends the attitude of the Skeptic who regards all things but suspends his judgment. He then presents the infinite contradictions of philosophic doctrines, and raises the question of the good faith of philosophers. Have they been less concerned with the truth than with displaying the fertile brilliance of their imagination? Among the gross blunders in the works of even the most noted philosophers, every conceivable fancy and fantasy is to be found. Truth is not attained by the vain efforts of the reason. It is a gift of God, through grace. In conclusion, Montaigne warns that while indeed the critic of Raymond Sebond may be defeated by such a demonstration of the inadequacy of the reason and the futility of learning, this weapon must be reserved cautiously for use as a last resort, for it involves abandoning your own weapons to make your opponent lose his. Under all usual circumstances, in argumentation as in living, be moderate and avoid extremes.]

Our reason cannot know God nor understand creation.

And, if one did not view the matter thus, how should we explain such a great inconstancy, variety, and vanity of opinions as we see that these excellent and admirable minds have produced? For, to take one example, what is more vain that to seek to imagine God according to our analogies and conjectures, to subject him and the universe to rules of human measure and to our laws, and to use at the expense of the divinity this little fragment of reason which it has pleased him to bestow upon our nature? And, because we cannot extend our range of vision as far as his glorious abode, to have brought him down to our corruption and our miseries?

Of all the opinions of men of antiquity concerning religion, that one seems to me to have had the highest degree of probability and the best justification which recognized God as an incomprehensible power, source and preserver of all things, all goodness, all perfection, receiving and accepting the honor and reverence which human beings rendered him, no matter in what guise, name, and manner:

Pythagoras vaguely suggested the truth more closely, judging that the knowledge of this first cause and being of beings must be indefinite, without definition, without description; that it was nothing other than the extreme effort of our imagination toward perfection, each amplifying the idea according to his capacity. But if Numa undertook to make the worship of his people conform to this conception, to make it part of a purely intellectual religion, addressed to a vague, unknowable deity and without any material admixture, he was undertaking a useless thing; the human mind cannot remain floating in that vague infinity of shapeless thoughts; it must bring them together into a definite image made according to its own likeness. Divine majesty has thus let itself for us be somewhat circumscribed within corporal limits; its supernatural and celestial sacraments bear marks of our terrestrial condition; its worship is expressed through rites and words which appeal to the senses; for it is man who believes and who prays. I leave aside the other arguments which are used on this subject. But one can scarcely make me believe that the sight of our crucifixes and the depiction of that sorrowful torment, that the ceremonial ornaments and movements of our worship, that the voices matching the devotion of our thought, and that all this appeal to the senses, do not warm the soul of the populace with a religious passion of very useful effect.

It has always seemed to me that for a Christian it is highly improper and irreverent to speak as follows: God cannot die; God cannot contradict himself; God cannot do this or that. I do not think it is fitting to restrict thus the divine power beneath the laws of our speech. And we should present more reverently and more religiously the concept which these propositions offer us.

Our speech has its weaknesses and its faults, as all the rest. Most of the sources of the disorders in the world are grammatical. Our lawsuits are born only out of the debate concerning the interpretation of the laws; and most wars, out of the inability involved in not knowing how to express clearly the conventions and treaties of agreement of princes. How many quarrels, and what important ones, have been produced in the world by doubt concerning the meaning of this syllable: hoc! . . . I see the Pyrrhonian Oxandrolone Oral philosophers who cannot express their general conception in any manner of speaking, for they would need a new language. Ours is all formed of affirmative propositions, to which they are completely opposed. As a consequence, when they say: "I doubt," people immediately seize them by the throat to make them confess that at least they affirm and know that much, that they doubt. . . .

That notion is more adequately expressed in the form of a question: "What do I know?", as I bear it as a motto along with the image of a balance. . . .

When we say that the infinite number of centuries, both past and future, are to God only an instant; that his goodness, wisdom, power are one with his essence, our words declare it, but our intelligence does not understand it. And yet our presumption wishes to sift the divine through our sieve. And from that are born all the fanciful ideas and errors which this world has seized upon, bringing to its balance and weighing therein something so remote from its measure. "It is a marvel how far the arrogance of the human heart goes, encouraged by the slightest success." [Pliny, II, 23]