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I dare say, there are very few captains of foot, who are not much better company than ever Descartes or Sir Isaac Newton were. I honor and respect such superior geniuses; but I desire to converse with people of this world, who bring into company their share, at least, of cheerfulness, good-breeding, and knowledge of mankind.

This duration he supports on a God who is unceasingly renewing the creative act, and who, being thus tangent to time and becoming, sustains them, communicates to them necessarily something of his absolute reality. When he places himself at this second point of view, Descartes speaks of movement, even spatial, as of an absolute.

Now of the three things in which Descartes believed, his own existence is demonstrated by the impossibility of thinking or feeling, without feeling his own existence; the other is demonstrated by the existence of a good God; the existence of a good God is demonstrated by nothing. It is believed. Hence belief in a good God is Descartes' foundation.

"It is not from the hands of the metaphysician," he said, "that atheism has received the weightiest strokes. The sublime meditations of Malebranche and Descartes were less calculated to shake materialism than a single observation of Malpighi's. If this dangerous hypothesis is tottering in our days, it is to experimental physics that such a result is due.

A language, in effect, is a potential philosophy. Platonism is the Greek language which discourses in Plato, unfolding its secular metaphors; scholasticism is the philosophy of the dead Latin of the Middle Ages wrestling with the popular tongues; the French language discourses in Descartes, the German in Kant and in Hegel, and the English in Hume and in Stuart Mill.

It is the land of Rabelais, of Descartes, of Balzac, of good books and good company, as well as good dinners and good houses. George Sand has somewhere a charming passage about the mildness, the convenient quality, of the physical conditions of central France "son climat souple et chaud, ses pluies abondantes et courtes."

We may perhaps hereafter have occasion to note how Descartes, having thus secured one firm foothold and solid resting-place, outwent the farthest stretch of Archimedean ambition by using it, not as a fulcrum from whence to move the world, but as a site for logical foundations whereon he might, if he had persevered, have raised the superstructure of an universe at once mental and material.

Could Spenser have kindled a poet in Cowley, Richardson a painter in Reynolds, and Descartes a metaphysician in Malebranche, if those master-minds, pointed out as having been such from accident, had not first received the indelible mint-stamp struck by the hand of Nature, and which, to give it a name, we may be allowed to call the predisposition of genius?

Even so all things were made by the word, and the word was in the beginning. Thought, reason that is, living language is an inheritance, and the solitary thinker of Aben Tofail, the Arab philosopher of Guadix, is as absurd as the ego of Descartes. The real and concrete truth, not the methodical and ideal, is: homo sum, ergo cogito. To feel oneself a man is more immediate than to think.

The revelations of this letter are very curious. The respectful desire of Descartes, already so distinguished, to make Pascal’s acquaintance, and to enter into conversation with him; his resentment of Roberval’s interference, and their earnest altercation, prolonged in the carriage after leaving Pascal’s house; the evidently serious character of Pascal’s maladies, and the watchful attention of his sister.

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