The Well-Springs: Extracts

The following selections are taken from Stephen J. Brown’s translation of The Well-Springs, (also in O’Hara, translation of Julián Marías, The Philosophy of Père Gratry, 203-05).

The Well-Springs.  Part II, Chapter 1: “A Plan of Life,” 15-16 (O’Hara, 203-05).

“Therefore I ask of you, do you will to be good? Do you mean to be that man of good will for whom God longs? 

“Are you willing to devote your life to justice and truth? Are you willing to accomplish man’s true mission on earth? 

“Will you be generous, brave, disinterested? Would you be proud to become a servant of men, a worker for God? Would you be ready to follow out with unperturbable clearness of vision, with indomitable resoluteness, man’s end, God’s work?

“Whatever be your state of life or your age, your wealth or your poverty, your ignorance or your knowledge, you are capable, if you have a living heart, of conceiving the royal, the divine ambition of throwing into the scales of the world’s destiny your full weight of righteousness and of goodness.”

“. . . . It is wholly impossible for me to conceive how it is that out of all the multitudes of men who cover the face of the world there are none who have the notion of taking as the real and sole object of life—righteousness.”

“Today in Europe we are cruelly divided; divided by incurable ignorances and inextricable misunderstandings.

“Everything is denied . . . . Voices directly conflict with one another and, as it were, mutually quench each other. And already anger enters into the struggle and the thunderstorm is gathering; the sombre clouds of storm and wrath wrap us round and the light of reason and the serenity of righteousness are extinguished.

“But could we not agree on one point? Could we not all of us base ourselves on the evident principle of eternal morality, of infallible and universal religion?  To be kind to one another, to be just to one another? To have pity on the vast multitude that suffers and to be willing to wipe away so many tears? 

“. . . . Is not that morally evident and necessarily true? Would not that constitute an unshakeable basis, a starting point that is simple, solid, and universally accepted? ”