Blaise Pascal is, for me, probably the most captivating mind in scientific history — perhaps even in history altogether.
Pascal has a sharp intuition for the inclinations of man and the order of the created universe. He has a startlingly lucid grasp of God’s holiness and our depravity, and of the absolute imperative that is our dependence solely on the righteousness of Christ. He possesses a prodigious, perhaps even inspired, level of perception and synthesis at a young age.
I am beginning to read his famous Pensées. I have already read a decent portion of it in isolated quotes, which has made me all the more eager to read it in sequence, following his line of thought from start to finish. He is not easy on anything or anyone. He bluntly acknowledges his own vanity and pride. He doubts ruthlessly and questions endlessly. Yet, in the end, he raises his hands in childlike surrender to it all.
So much of what he says is exactly what I know to be true but could never express with such precision and eloquence. It is so rational, so poetic. It is beautiful. Aside from the words of God, it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. He lifts my mind closer to God than any extra-Biblical thinker ever has, and I pray that I am able to impart even a fraction of that kind of inspiration to others after me.
P.S. You can get the full text here, courtesy of Project Gutenberg.