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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
One of His Celebrated Pictures of General Society
By Jean-Baptiste Massillon (1663–1742)
 
        
Translation of Joel Foote Bingham
  
  Further on in this same discourse, where he feels called upon to defend himself from the charge of preaching on imaginary or at least exaggerated delusions of the world, he draws, as follows,—

WHAT is the world for the worldlings themselves who love it, who seem intoxicated with its pleasures, and who are not able to step from it? The world?—It is an everlasting servitude, where no one lives for himself, and where to be blest one must be able to kiss one’s fetters and love one’s slavery. The world?—It is a daily round of events which awaken in succession, in the hearts of its partisans, the most violent and the most gloomy passions, cruel hatreds, hateful perplexities, bitter fears, devouring jealousies, overwhelming griefs. The world?—It is a territory under a curse, where even its pleasures carry with them their thorns and their bitternesses; its sport tires by its furies and its caprices; its conversations annoy by the oppositions of its moods and the contrariety of its sentiments; its passions and criminal attachments have their disgusts, their derangements, their unpleasant brawls; its shows, hardly finding more in the spectators than souls grossly dissomte, and incapable of being awakened but by the most monstrous excesses of debauchery, become stale, while moving only those delicate passions which only show crime in the distance, and dress out traps for innocence. The world, in fine, is a place where hope, regarded as a passion so sweet, renders everybody unhappy; where those who have nothing to hope for, think themselves still more miserable; where all that pleases, pleases never for long; and where ennui is almost the sweetest destiny and the most supportable that one can expect in it.  1
  This, my brethren, is the world: and it is not the obscure world, which knows neither the great pleasures nor the charms of prosperity, of favor, and of wealth,—it is the world at its best; it is the world of the court; it is you yourselves who hear me, my brethren.  2
  This is the world; and it is not, in this aspect, one of those paintings from imagination of which the resemblance is nowhere to be found. I am painting the world only after your own hearts; that is, such as you know it and always feel it yourselves to be.  3
  There, notwithstanding, is the place where all sinners are seeking their felicity. There is their country. It is there that they wish they could eternize themselves. This is the world which they prefer to the eternal joys and to all the promises of faith.  4
 
 
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