The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
but rarely fall to the lot of the good, because, since much anxiety or anxious care is required therein, and the solicitude of the good is directed to greater things, the good man is rarely solicitous enough to seek them.  Wherefore it is evident that in each way these riches fall unjustly or inequitably; and therefore our Lord called them wicked or unrighteous when He said, “Make to yourselves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness,” inviting and encouraging men to be liberal with good gifts, which are the begetters of friends.  And what a beautiful exchange he makes who gives freely of these most imperfect things in order to have and to acquire perfect things, such as are the hearts of good and worthy men!  This exchange it is possible to make every day.  Certainly this is a new commerce, different from the others, which, thinking to win one man by generosity, has won thereby thousands and thousands.  Who lives not again in the heart of Alexander because of his royal beneficence?  Who lives not again in the good King of Castile, or Saladin, or the good Marquis of Monferrat, or the good Count of Toulouse, or Beltramo dal Bornio, or Galasso da Montefeltro, when mention is made of their noble acts of courtesy and liberality?  Certainly not only those who would do the same willingly, had they the power, but those even who would die before they would do it, bear love to the memory of these good men.


As has been said, it is possible to see the imperfection of riches not only in their indiscriminate advent, but also in their dangerous increase; and that in this we may perceive their defect more clearly, the text makes mention of it, saying of those riches, “However great the heap may be It brings no peace, but care;” they create more thirst and render increase more defective and insufficient.  And here it is requisite to know that defective things may fail in such a way that on the surface they appear complete, but, under pretext of perfection, the shortcoming is concealed.  But they may have those defects so entirely revealed that the imperfection is seen openly on the surface.  And those things which do not reveal their defects in the first place are the most dangerous, since very often it is not possible to be on guard against them; even as we see in the traitor who, before our face, shows himself friendly, so that he causes us to have faith in him, and under pretext of friendship, hides the defect of his hostility.  And in this way riches, in their increase, are dangerously imperfect, for, submitting to our eyes this that they promise, they bring just the contrary.  The treacherous gains always promise that, if collected up to a certain amount, they will make the collector full of every satisfaction; and with this promise they lead the Human Will into the vice of Avarice.  And, for this reason, Boethius calls them, in his book of Consolations, dangerous, saying, “Oh, alas! who was that first man who dug up the precious stones that wished to hide themselves, and who dug out the loads of gold once covered by the hills, dangerous treasures?”

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The Banquet (Il Convito) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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