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Blaise Pascal (1623–1662).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Extract from a Letter to Madame Perier, upon the Projected Marriage of Mademoiselle Jacqueline Perier
 
 
1659.

  IN general, their advice was that you could in no way, t without mortally wounding charity and your conscience, and rendering yourself guilty of one of the greatest crimes, pledge a child of her age and innocence, and even of her piety, to the most perilous and lowest of the conditions of ! Christianity. That indeed, according to the world, the affair had no difficulty, and she was to conclude it without hesitation; but that according to God, she had less difficulty in it, and she was to reject it without hesitation, because the condition of an advantageous marriage is as desirable in the opinion of the world as it is vile and prejudicial in the sight of God. That not knowing to what she may be called, nor whether her temperament may not be so tranquil that she can support her virginity with piety, it were little to know the ; value of it to pledge her to lose this good so desirable to every one in himself, and so desirable to fathers and mothers for their children, since as they can no longer desire it for themselves, it is in them that they should strive to render to God what they have lost in general for other causes than for God.
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  Besides, that husbands, although rich and wise in the opinion of the world, are in truth complete pagans in the sight of God; so that the last words of these gentlemen are that to pledge a child to an ordinary man is a species of homicide and a deicide as it were in their own persons.  2
 

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