The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).

Then when it says, “God only gives it to the Soul,” the argument is of the susceptive, that is, of the subject whereon this Divine gift descends, which is indeed a Divine gift, according to the word of the Apostle:  “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above, proceeding from the Father of Light.”  It says then that God alone imparts this Grace to the Soul that He sees pure, within the Soul of that man whom He sees to be perfectly prepared and fit to receive in his own proper person this Divine action; for, according as the Philosopher says in the second chapter Of the Soul, things must be prepared for their agents and qualified to receive their acts; wherefore if the Soul is imperfectly prepared, it is not qualified to receive this blessed and Divine infusion, even as a precious stone, if it is badly cut or prepared, wherever it is imperfect, cannot receive the celestial virtue; even as that noble Guido Guinizzelli said, in a Song of his which begins:  “To gentle hearts Love ever will repair.”  It is possible for the Soul to be unqualified through some defect of temper, or perhaps through some sinister circumstances of the time in which the person lives, and into a Soul so unhappy as this the Divine radiance never shines.  And it may be said of such men as these, whose Souls are deprived of this Light, that they are as deep valleys turned towards the North, or rather subterranean caves wherein the light of the Sun never enters unless it be reflected from another part which has caught its rays.

Finally, it deduces, from that which has been previously said, that the Virtues are the fruit of Nobility, and that God places that Nobility in the Soul which has a good foundation.  For to some, that is, to those who have intellect, who are but few, it is evident that human Nobility is no other than the seed of Happiness

    That seed of Happiness
      Falls in the hearts of few,
    Planted by God within the Souls
      Spread to receive His dew;

that is to say, whose body is in every part perfectly prepared, ordered, or qualified.

For if the Virtues are the fruit of Nobility, and Happiness is pleasure or sweetness acquired through or by them, it is evident that this Nobility is the seed of Happiness, as has been said.  And if one considers well, this definition comprehends all the four arguments, that is to say, the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final:  material, inasmuch as it says, “to the Soul spread to receive,” which is the material and subject of Nobility; formal, inasmuch as it says, “That seed;” efficient, inasmuch as it says, “Planted by God within the Soul;” final, inasmuch as it says, “of Happiness,” Heaven’s blessing.  And thus is defined this our good gift, which descends into us in like manner from the Supreme and Spiritual Power, as virtue into a precious stone from a most noble celestial body.

CHAPTER XXI.

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