Moving on, this from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,6:
(Isaiah 40, 41:14 and onward) Climb up to the top of a high mountain, you who evangelise, you who announce to Zion the good news of her salvation: raise up a powerful voice, you who announce to Jerusalem her happiness: raise your voice, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God who comes to your rescue: it is your God who comes with strength and with a dominant arm: he comes and with him his payback, and his work will not be lacking. Like a shepherd feeds his flock, and who himself carries the lambs who cannot hold themselves up: the Lord carries in this way. Who is he who has measured the immensity of the waters by his hand and who has weighed the heavens with his wrist, and with his hand all the mass of the earth? Who is he who has placed the mountains and the hills in a balance and with little effort that all the earth is used as a counterweight, hanging in equilibrium in the middle of the air? Who has helped the spirit of the Lord or who has served as his advisor and has shown him such great things which he must do? if it is necessary to offer sacrifices on account of his grandeur, neither Lebanon nor the earth will have enough wood for the burnt offerings: that is to say that the heart of man, although greater than all the universe and physical nature, does not have enough love, enough desire to sacrifice. The heart of man is lost when it wants to worship God. Do you know well the beginning of all things? Have you neither understood the foundations of the earth nor how God rests on his large tower and made it his seat or like his footstool? Raise your eyes and look who has created all these luminaries: who have made them march in order of battle, and calls each one by their name without missing one, in his power. Jacob, who defying you in this power, said in himself: my ways are hidden from the Lord, he doesn’t know where I am and my God does not pass judgement on me, to punish me or save me. Do you not know that the Lord is eternal, that he has marked out and created the limits of the earth? Without weakness, without work, without laziness, he acts without stop and his wisdom is impenetrable. He exercises his strength to him who is given out, his courage and virtue to him who is no more. The most robust youth will fall in weakness in spite of its vigour, but those who hope in the Lord will see their strength renewed day by day. When they think they are at their end, and can do no more, all at once they will take flight like an eagle: they will run and not tire: they will walk and be unable to tire. Thus walk, pious souls, walk: and when you believe you cannot do any more, redouble your ardour and your courage. I will pull you, says the Lord, from the ends of the earth. I will take you by the hand and I will make you come back from the end of the world. I have said to you: you are my servant, I chose you and have not rejected you. Do you fear anything, because I am with you: do not let yourselves grow weak, as I am your God. I have strengthened you, I have rescued you and the right hand of my just one, of my Christ, has been your support. All your enemies will be confused and will be as they are not: you will ask where they are will see them disappeared: your rebels to whom you delivered yourselves to continuous assaults will be like they never were: all their efforts will be in vain and like nothing: because I who am the Lord, I have taken you by the hand and I told you in the depths of your heart: do not fear, I have helped you. Jacob who was little and weak like a little worm, who could hardly drag himself: Israelites who are listless, beaten and ridiculed to the level of death, I have brought you back to life, I the Lord, by my all-powerful help and I am your redeemer, I the holy one of Israel. You will put your enemies to flight, you will be on top of them like a new chariot, armed with blades of iron: you will destroy their armies and fortresses: they will be lifted up like the mountains, you will reduce them to powder. You will push in front of your enemies like a dust storm does dust and you will rejoice in the Lord, and your heart, carried away from comfort, will triumph in the holy one of Israel.
It is not necessary to say that these things are miracles, extraordinary effects of the power of God. God only shows these tangible effects of this open power to convince us of what he has always done in secret. His arm is not less strong that he hides it, as when he declares: he is always and above all the all-powerful, the triumphant in Israel, as he calls himself, the invincible protector and always present to his friends.
Hear thus, Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says: I who have formed you, who have created you and who have pulled you from nothing each moment, who is your help from your mother’s womb: from the beginning of your life, in your greatest weakness and among the most impenetrable darkness. My servant whom I love: upright man whom I have chosen, I will send you from heaven my consolations: I will pour out abundant waters on he who is thirsty, I will overturn torrents on this dried ground: I will pour out my spirit on you, I will make you fertile in good works and I will bless these productions. Hear these words, desolate souls whom God seems to have left abandoned in his anger, but to whom his love is put to the test. You will live, it is I who promises, I who am the true and holy one, the faithful and all-powerful: I do all I want. The Lord has sworn and he has said: if this which I have thought does not arrive, if this which I resolve is not accomplished, I am not God: but I am God: I am the God of armies, the God which makes all which pleases him in the heaven and the earth. The Lord has pronounced and who can annul his judgement? The Lord has extended his hand and who can dodge the blows or deflect the impact?
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