By CHRISTOPHER DERRICK
Pensees. Translated with Introduction (Harvill: 35s.). by Martin Turnell.
T would be a great thing to be able to write like Pascal, )wever little we may relish his iserable and near-Calvinistic itlook; and as those who know r. Turnell's work will expect. is new translation of the !nsees is luminous and clear, .cly to become and remain the finitive version for English aders.
The arrangement is unfamiliar. r. l'urnell worked from a new ench edition. in which the untless scraps of text had been arranged in something closer to seal's original order: now. more arty than before, we can see r shape and system of his apolos
r is a system that we can all study with profit. provided we some caution. Pascal starts off :h an assault on that arrogant er-confidence in man and this n wisdom and potential which or was until recently. the mark the distinctively modern out.1c. You still sometimes meet the id of man who seems to say, terously, that he is quite willing talk about God, provided that d will submit to a condescendcross-examination, and explain nself, and apologise for the uble He has caused, and become general a docile object of scien: scrutiny.
n such cases, you may find it d to put across the idea that ; approach is not only blaspheus but meaningless, stultifying whole enquiry at the outset; clear the ground initially from se obstacles, you will find "Job" useful text, and the Pensees ether.
And as the argument develops, you will find great value in Pascal's imaginative picture of sin and suffering as one thing, with God at the receiving end, not the originating end, pf its hurt.
But you cannot go along with Pascal too far, if only becausereason has its place. And the whole story of Jansenism -as told, for example, in Mgr. Knox's "Enthusiasm" -is full of topical warnings. Are you a dedicated Catholic intellectual, chafing (with a few other choice spirits for company) at the imperfection and slowness of the visible Church? Do you burn with high-minded impatience about a vernacular liturgy, a new look for the apostoIate, further pronouncements about the morality of mass murder?
you may be right: quite probably you are, though there is less cause for such impatience now than in seventeenth-century France. But to get good marks from God, you need to he not only right but loving and long-suffering too. Pascal was not a loving man, and there is something horrible at the centre of his Christianity: Aldous Huxley, a kindred spirit in some ways, was probably right in calling him a hater of life. His bones and those of the other Jansenists are there to warn us how easily one can die of thirst in the and deserts of cleverness and pride.
MOSAICS given by West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and stained glass given by the Austrian government have been blessed in the Cathedral of Hiroshima by Bishop Noguchi of Hiroshima.