"Cipher" mentioned in the Pensées de Blaise de Pascal

The Pensées by the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) is a posfthumously published collection of fragments Pascal wrote in defense of Christianity.

I recently learned that Pascal mentioned "cipher" in this work. For example, he says "The Old Testament is a cipher." As can be seen, the cipher as used by Pascal appears to refers to text whose "meaning is veiled and obscure."

Although Pascal's "cipher" may not be used in the cryplotogical sense, the following collects references to "cipher" in an English translation of Pascal's Pensées (Gutenberg).

45 Languages are ciphers, wherein letters are not changed into letters, but words into words, so that an unknown language is decipherable.
676 A type conveys absence and presence, pleasure and pain.
A cipher has a double meaning, one clear, and one in which it is said that the meaning is hidden.
677 ... A cipher has two meanings. When we find out an important letter in which we discover a clear meaning, and in which it is nevertheless said that the meaning is veiled and obscure, that it is hidden, so that we might read the letter without seeing it, and interpret it without understanding it, what must we think but that here is a cipher with a double meaning, and the more so if we find obvious contradictions in the literal meaning? The prophets have clearly said that Israel would be always loved by God, and that the law would be eternal; and they have said that their meaning would not be understood, and that it was veiled.
How greatly then ought we to value those who interpret the cipher, and teach us to understand the hidden meaning, especially if the principles which they educe are perfectly clear and natural! This is what Jesus Christ did, and the Apostles. They broke the seal; He rent the veil, and revealed the spirit. They have taught us through this that the enemies of man are his passions; that the Redeemer would be spiritual, and His reign spiritual; that there would be two advents, one in lowliness to humble the proud, the other in glory to exalt the humble; that Jesus Christ would be both God and man.
680 Typical. - The key of the cipher. Veri adoratores.(John iv, 23) - Ecce agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi. (John i, 29)
682 Types, - The letter kills. All happened in types. Here is the cipher which Saint Paul gives us. Christ must suffer. An humiliated God. Circumcision of the heart, true fasting, true sacrifice, a true temple. The prophets have shown that all these must be spiritual....
690 .... The Old Testament is a cipher.

©2021 S.Tomokiyo
First posted on 18 July 2021. Last modified on 18 July 2021.
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