Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/261

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249
PASCAL

earth. The Reformers, therefore, insisted upon the doctrine of justification by grace to cut up the system of sacerdotal power at the roots. The conversion of the heart, they said, was everything; the external conformity nothing; and the sacraments in general became mere commemorations—useful so far as stimulating the imagination, but not of themselves possessing any supernatural charm.

The Jansenists, accepting the same principle, stopped short at the critical point. Though they laid equal stress upon a change of heart, or 'conversion,' which has the same prominence with them as with the Calvinists or our English Methodists, they also held most strenuously that the sacraments were divinely appointed means of conversion. Thus they represented, as their antagonists said, a semi-Protestantism, which had illogically to combine a belief in the supernatural character of the sacramental system and the priesthood with an insistence upon the paramount importance of the change of heart. This indicates the line upon which Pascal came into internecine struggle with the Jesuits. The opening letters which touch upon certain problems about sufficient and efficacious grace show