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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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6

COMING TO TERMS WITH GOD

‘Sur la Conversion du pécheur’ – ‘On the Conversion of the Sinner’ – was probably written toward the end of 1653 when, according to his sister Jacqueline, Pascal ‘had a great contempt for society and an almost unbearable distaste for the people in it.’ In this brief work Pascal views himself as a redeemed sinner. ‘The first thing that God inspires in a soul that He deigns to touch truly is an understanding and a perspective altogether extraordinary by which the soul considers itself and all things in an entirely new way.’

This ‘new light’ brings with it fear; what gave pleasure before only stirs up scruples. Confusion and disorder set in as one vanity after another, one solid object after another from the soul’s previous ...

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