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Les MisÚrables - The Absolute Goodness of Prayer

1. M. Myriel

2. M. Myriel becomes M. Welcome

3. A Hard Bishopric for a Good Bishop

4. Works corresponding to Words

5. Monseigneur Bienvenu made his Cassocks last too long

6. Who guarded his House for him

7. Cravatte

8. Philosophy after Drinking

9. The Brother as depicted by the Sister

10. The Bishop in the Presence of an Unknown Light

11. A Restriction

12. The Solitude of Monseigneur Welcome

13. What he believed

14. What he thought

15. The Evening of a Day of Walking

16. Prudence counselled to Wisdom

17. The Heroism of Passive Obedience

18. Details concerning the Cheese-Dairies of Pontarlier

19. Tranquillity

20. Jean Valjean

21. The Interior of Despair

22. Billows and Shadows

23. New Troubles

24. The Man aroused

25. What he does

26. The Bishop works

27. Little Gervais

28. The Year 1817

29. A Double Quartette

30. Four and Four

31. Tholomyes is so Merry that he sings a Spanish Ditty

32. At Bombardas

33. A Chapter in which they adore Each Other

34. The Wisdom of Tholomyes

35. The Death of a Horse

36. A Merry End to Mirth

37. One Mother meets Another Mother

38. First Sketch of Two Unprepossessing Figures

39. The Lark

40. The History of a Progress in Black Glass Trinkets

41. Madeleine

42. Sums deposited with Laffitte

43. M. Madeleine in Mourning

44. Vague Flashes on the Horizon

45. Father Fauchelevent

46. Fauchelevent becomes a Gardener in Paris

47. Madame Victurnien expends Thirty Francs on Morality

48. Madame Victurnien's Success

49. Result of the Success

50. Christus nos Liberavit

51. M. Bamatabois's Inactivity

52. The Solution of Some Questions connected with the Municipal Police

53. The Beginning of Repose

54. How Jean may become Champ

55. Sister Simplice

56. The Perspicacity of Master Scaufflaire

57. A Tempest in a Skull

58. Forms assumed by Suffering during Sleep

59. Hindrances

60. Sister Simplice put to the Proof

61. The Traveller on his Arrival takes Precautions for Departure

62. An Entrance by Favor

63. A Place where Convictions are in Process of Formation

64. The System of Denials

65. Champmathieu more and more Astonished

66. In what Mirror M. Madeleine contemplates his Hair

67. Fantine Happy

68. Javert Satisfied

69. Authority reasserts its Rights

70. A Suitable Tomb

71. What is met with on the Way from Nivelles

72. Hougomont

73. The Eighteenth of June, 1815

74. A

75. The Quid Obscurum of Battles

76. Four o'clock in the Afternoon

77. Napoleon in a Good Humor

78. The Emperor puts a Question to the Guide Lacoste

79. The Unexpected

80. The Plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean

81. A Bad Guide to Napoleon; a Good Guide to Bulow

82. The Guard

83. The Catastrophe

84. The Last Square

85. Cambronne

86. Quot Libras in Duce?

87. Is Waterloo to be considered Good?

88. A Recrudescence of Divine Right

89. The Battle-Field at Night

90. Number 24,601 becomes Number 9,430

91. In which the reader will peruse Two Verses which are of the Devil's Composition possibly

92. The Ankle-Chain must have undergone a Certain Preparatory Manipulation to be thus broken with a Blow from a Hammer

93. The Water Question at Montfermeil

94. Two Complete Portraits

95. Men must have Wine, and Horses must have Water

96. Entrance on the Scene of a Doll

97. The Little One All Alone

98. Which possibly proves Boulatruelle's Intelligence

99. Cosette Side by Side with the Stranger in the Dark

100. The Unpleasantness of receiving into One's House a Poor Man who may be a Rich Man

101. Thenardier at his Manoeuvres

102. He who seeks to better himself may render his Situation Worse

103. Number 9,430 reappears, and Cosette wins it in the Lottery

104. Master Gorbeau

105. A Nest for Owl and a Warbler

106. Two Misfortunes Make One Piece of Good Fortune

107. The Remarks of the Principal Tenant

108. A Five-Franc Piece Falls on the Ground and Produces a Tumult

109. The Zigzags of Strategy

110. It Is Lucky That the Pont D'Austerlitz Bears Carriages

111. To Wit, the Plan of Paris in 1727

112. The Gropings of Flight

113. Which Would be Impossible With Gas Lanterns

114. The Beginning of an Enigma

115. Continuation of the Enigma

116. The Enigma Becomes Doubly Mysterious

117. The Man with the Bell

118. Which Explains How Javert Got on the Scent

119. Number 62 Rue Petit-Picpus

120. The Obedience of Martin Verga

121. Austerities

122. Gayeties

123. Distractions

124. The Little Convent

125. Some Silhouettes of this Darkness

126. Post Corda Lapides

127. A Century under a Guimpe

128. Origin of the Perpetual Adoration

129. End of the Petit-Picpus

130. The Convent as an Abstract Idea

131. The Convent as an Historical Fact

132. On What Conditions One can respect the Past

133. The Convent from the Point of View of Principles

134. Prayer

135. The Absolute Goodness of Prayer

136. Precautions to be observed in Blame

137. Faith, Law

138. Which treats of the Manner of entering a Convent

139. Fauchelevent in the Presence of a Difficulty

140. Mother Innocente

141. In which Jean Valjean has quite the Air of having read Austin Castillejo

142. It is not Necessary to be Drunk in order to be Immortal

143. Between Four Planks

144. In which will be found the Origin of the Saying: Don't lose the Card

145. A Successful Interrogatory

146. Cloistered







CHAPTER VI

THE ABSOLUTE GOODNESS OF PRAYER


With regard to the modes of prayer, all are good, provided that they
are sincere. Turn your book upside down and be in the infinite.

There is, as we know, a philosophy which denies the infinite.
There is also a philosophy, pathologically classified, which denies
the sun; this philosophy is called blindness.

To erect a sense which we lack into a source of truth, is a fine
blind man's self-sufficiency.

The curious thing is the haughty, superior, and compassionate
airs which this groping philosophy assumes towards the philosophy
which beholds God. One fancies he hears a mole crying, "I pity
them with their sun!"

There are, as we know, powerful and illustrious atheists. At bottom,
led back to the truth by their very force, they are not absolutely sure
that they are atheists; it is with them only a question of definition,
and in any case, if they do not believe in God, being great minds,
they prove God.

We salute them as philosophers, while inexorably denouncing
their philosophy.

Let us go on.

The remarkable thing about it is, also, their facility in paying
themselves off with words. A metaphysical school of the North,
impregnated to some extent with fog, has fancied that it has worked
a revolution in human understanding by replacing the word Force
with the word Will.

To say: "the plant wills," instead of: "the plant grows":
this would be fecund in results, indeed, if we were to add:
"the universe wills." Why? Because it would come to this:
the plant wills, therefore it has an _I_; the universe wills,
therefore it has a God.

As for us, who, however, in contradistinction to this school,
reject nothing a priori, a will in the plant, accepted by this school,
appears to us more difficult to admit than a will in the universe
denied by it.

To deny the will of the infinite, that is to say, God, is impossible
on any other conditions than a denial of the infinite. We have
demonstrated this.

The negation of the infinite leads straight to nihilism.
Everything becomes "a mental conception."

With nihilism, no discussion is possible; for the nihilist logic
doubts the existence of its interlocutor, and is not quite sure
that it exists itself.

From its point of view, it is possible that it may be for itself,
only "a mental conception."

Only, it does not perceive that all which it has denied it admits
in the lump, simply by the utterance of the word, mind.

In short, no way is open to the thought by a philosophy which makes
all end in the monosyllable, No.

To No there is only one reply, Yes.

Nihilism has no point.

There is no such thing as nothingness. Zero does not exist.
Everything is something. Nothing is nothing.

Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread.

Even to see and to show does not suffice. Philosophy should be an energy;
it should have for effort and effect to ameliorate the condition
of man. Socrates should enter into Adam and produce Marcus Aurelius;
in other words, the man of wisdom should be made to emerge from
the man of felicity. Eden should be changed into a Lyceum.
Science should be a cordial. To enjoy,--what a sad aim, and what a
paltry ambition! The brute enjoys. To offer thought to the thirst
of men, to give them all as an elixir the notion of God, to make
conscience and science fraternize in them, to render them just by this
mysterious confrontation; such is the function of real philosophy.
Morality is a blossoming out of truths. Contemplation leads to action.
The absolute should be practicable. It is necessary that the ideal
should be breathable, drinkable, and eatable to the human mind.
It is the ideal which has the right to say: Take, this
is my body, this is my blood. Wisdom is a holy communion.
It is on this condition that it ceases to be a sterile love of
science and becomes the one and sovereign mode of human rallying,
and that philosophy herself is promoted to religion.

Philosophy should not be a corbel erected on mystery to gaze upon it
at its ease, without any other result than that of being convenient
to curiosity.

For our part, adjourning the development of our thought to
another occasion, we will confine ourselves to saying that we neither
understand man as a point of departure nor progress as an end,
without those two forces which are their two motors: faith and love.

Progress is the goal, the ideal is the type.

What is this ideal? It is God.

Ideal, absolute, perfection, infinity: identical words.




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