The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

That we may have more perfect knowledge of Human Goodness, as it is the original cause in us of all good that can be called Nobility, it is requisite to explain clearly in this especial chapter how this Goodness descends into us.

In the first place, it comes by the Natural way, and then by the Theological way, that is to say, the Divine and Spiritual.  In the first place, it is to be known that man is composed of Soul and body; but that Goodness or Nobility is of the Soul, as has been said, and is after the manner of seed from the Divine Virtue.  By different philosophers it has been differently argued concerning the difference in our Souls; for Avicenna and Algazel were of opinion that Souls of themselves and from their beginning were Noble or Base.  Plato and some others were of opinion that they proceeded by the stars, and were Noble more or less according to the nobility of the star.  Pythagoras was of opinion that all were of one nobility, not only human Souls, but with human Souls those of the brute animals and of the trees and the forms of minerals; and he said that all the difference in the bodies is form.  If each one were to defend his opinion, it might be that Truth would be seen to be in all.  But since on the surface they seem somewhat distant from the Truth, one must not proceed according to those opinions, but according to the opinion of Aristotle and of the Peripatetics.  And therefore I say that when the human seed falls into its receptacle, that is, into the matrix, it bears with it the virtue or power of the generative Soul, and the virtue or power of Heaven, and the virtue or power of the aliments united or bound together, that is the involution or complex nature of the seed.  It matures and prepares the material for the formative power or virtue which the generating Soul bestows; and the formative power or virtue prepares the organs for the celestial virtue or power, which produces, from the power of the seed, the Soul in life; which, as soon as produced, receives from the power of the Mover of the Heaven the passive intellect or mind, which potentially brings together in itself all the universal forms according as they are in its producer, and so much the less in proportion as it is farther removed from the first Intelligence.

Let no one marvel if I speak what seems difficult to understand; for to myself it seems a miracle how it is possible even to arrive at a conclusion concerning it, and to perceive it with the intellect.  It is not a thing to reveal in language, especially the language of the Vulgar Tongue; wherefore I will say, even as did the Apostle:  “Oh, great is the depth of the riches of Wisdom of God:  how incomprehensible are Thy judgments, and Thy ways past finding out!” And since the complex nature of the seed may be better and less good, and the disposition of the receiver of the seed may be better and less good, and the disposition of the dominant Heaven to this effect may be good and better and best, which

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