He insisted on clearing the table and again devoted himself to his game of patience: piecing together the map of Paris, the bits of which he’d stuffed into the pocket of his raincoat, folded up any old how.I helped him.Then he asked me, straight out, ‘What would you say was the true centre of Paris?’I was taken aback, wrong-footed. I thought this knowledge was part of a whole body of very rarefied and secret lore. Playing for time, I said, ‘The starting point of France’s roads . . . the brass plate on the parvis of Notre-Dame.’He gave me a withering look.‘Do you take for me a sap?’The centre of Paris, a spiral with four centres, each completely self-contained, independent of the other three. But you don’t reveal this to just anybody. I suppose - I hope - it was in complete good faith that Alexandre Arnoux mentioned the lamp behind the apse of St-Germain-l’Auxerrois. I wouldn’t have created that precedent. My turn now to let the children play with the lock.‘The centre, as you must be thinking of it, is the well of St-Julien-le-Pauvre. The Well of Truth as it’s been known since the eleventh century.’He was delighted. I’d delivered. He said, ‘You know, you and I could do great things together. It’s a pity I’m already beyond redemption, even at this very moment.’His unhibited display of brotherly affection was of childlike spontaneity. But he was still pursuing his line of thought: he dashed out to the nearby stationery shop and came back with a little basic pair of compasses made of tin.‘Look. The Vieux-Chene, the Well. The Well, the Arbre-a-Liege On either side of the Seine, adhering closely to the line he’d drawn, the age-old tavern signs were at pretty much the same distance from the magic well.‘Well, now, you see, it’s always been the case that whenever something bad happens at the Vieux-Chene, a month later — a lunar month, that is, just twenty-eight days — the same thing happens at old La Frite’s place, but less serious. A kind of repeat performance. An echoThen he listed and pointed out on the map, the most notable of those key sites whose power he or his friends had experienced.In conclusion he said, ‘I’m the biggest swindler there is, I’m prepared to be swindled myself, that’s fair enough. But not just anywhere. There are places where, if you lie, or think ill, it’s Paris you disrespect. And that upsets me. That’s when I lose my cool: I hit back. It’s as if that’s what I was there for.
Jacques Yonnet
If anyone attempted to rule the world by the gospel and to abolish all temporal law and sword on the plea that all are baptized and Christian and that, according to the gospel, there shall be among them no law or sword - or need for either - pray tell me, friend, what would he be doing? He would be loosing the ropes and chains of the savage wild beasts and letting them bite and mangle everyone, meanwhile insisting that they were harmless, tame and gentle creatures; but I would have the proof in my wounds. Just so would the wicked under the name of Christian abuse evangelical freedom, carry on their rascality and insist that they were Christians subject neither to law nor sword, as some are already raving and ranting.To such a one we must say: Certainly it is true that Christians, so far as they themselves are concerned, are subject neither to law nor sword and have need of neither. But take heed and first fill the world with real Christians before you attempt to rule it in a Christian and evangelical manner. This you will never accomplish; for the world and the masses are and always will be unchristian, even if they are all baptized and Christian in name. Christians are few and far between (as the saying is). Therefore, it is out of the question that there should be a common Christian government over the whole world, or indeed over a single country or any considerable body of people, for the wicked always outnumber the good. Hence, a man who would venture to govern an entire country or the world with the gospel would be like a shepherd who should put together in one fold wolves, lions, eagles and sheep and let them mingle freely with one another, saying, Help yourselves and be good and peaceful toward one another. The fold is open, there is plenty of food. You need have no fear of dogs and clubs. The sheep would doubtless keep the peace and allow themselves to be fed and governed peacefully, but they would not live long, nor would one beast survive another.For this reason one must carefully distinguish between these two governments. Both must be permitted to remain; the one to produce righteousness, the other to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds. Neither one is sufficient in the world without the other. No one can become righteous in the sight of God by means of the temporal government, without Christ's spiritual government. Christ's government does not extend over all men; rather, Christians are always a minority in the midst of non-Christians. Now where temporal government or law alone prevails, there sheer hypocrisy is inevitable, even though the commandments be God's very own. For without the Holy Spirit in the heart no one becomes truly righteous, no matter how fine the works he does. On the other hand, where the spiritual government alone prevails over land and people, there wickedness is given free rein and the door is open for all manner of rascality, for the world as a whole cannot receive or comprehend it.
Martin Luther