(1651 – 1715)
When I am good, it is because you [God] make me so…. It is yourself that you love in me; you are the life of my soul as my soul is the life of my body; you are more intimately present to me than I am to myself; this I, to which I am so attached and which I have so ardently loved, ought to be strange to me in comparison with you….
I do all things but by your means; you cause me to do them; it is you who put them in me. These good works, which are your gifts, become my works; but they do not cease to be your gifts; and they cease to be good works if I look at them for a moment as emanating from myself, or if I forget that they are good only because they come from you.
God interposes himself as it were, between me and myself; he separates me from myself; he desires to be nearer to me by his pure love than I am to myself. He would have me look upon this “me” as a stranger; he would have me escape from its walls. What I am ought certainly to be less precious to me than he by whom I am....
You, then, (it is my delight to believe it!) are incessantly working within me; there you labour invisibly like a miner in the depths of the earth. You do everything and yet the world beholds you not, attributes nothing to you; and even I myself wandered everywhere vainly searching for you outside of myself; I ran over all the wonders of nature that I might form some conception of your greatness; I asked your creatures about you and not once thought of finding you in the depths of my heart where you had never ceased to dwell. No, O my God! it is not necessary to descend into the depths nor to pass beyond the seas; it is not necessary to ascend into the heavens to find you; you are nearer to us than we are to ourselves.