The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 298 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
varies in the constellations, which are continually transformed; it befalls that from the human seed and from these virtues or powers the Soul is produced more or less pure; and according to its purity there descends into it the virtue or power of the possible or passive intellect, as it is called, and as it has been spoken of.  And if it happen that through the purity of the receptive Soul the intellectual power is indeed separate and absolute, free from all corporeal shadow, the Divine Goodness multiplies in it, as in a thing sufficient to receive that good gift; and then it multiplies in the Soul of this intelligent being, according as it can receive it; and this is that seed of Happiness of which we speak at present.  And this is in harmony with the opinion of Tullius in that book on Old Age when, speaking personally of Cato, he says:  “For this reason a celestial spirit descended into us from the highest habitation, having come into a place which is adverse to the Divine Nature and to Eternity.”  And in such a Soul as this there is its own individual power, and the intellectual power, and the Divine power; that is to say, that influence which has been mentioned.  Therefore it is written in the book On Causes:  “Each Noble Soul has three operations, that is to say, the animal, the intellectual, and the Divine.”  And there are some men who hold such opinions that they say, if all the preceding powers were to unite in the production of a Soul in their best disposition, arrangement, order, that into that Soul would descend so much of the Deity that it would be as it were another God Incarnate; and this is almost all that it is possible to say concerning the Natural way.

By the Theological way it is possible to say that, when the Supreme Deity, that is, God, sees His creature prepared to receive His good gift, so freely He imparts it to His creature in proportion as it is prepared or qualified to receive it.  And because these gifts proceed from ineffable Love, and the Divine Love is appropriate to the Holy Spirit, therefore it is that they are called the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which, even as the Prophet Isaiah distinguishes them, are seven, namely, Wisdom, Intelligence, Counsel, Courage, Knowledge, Pity, and the Fear of God.  O, good green blades, and good and wonderful the seed!

And O, admirable and benign Sower of the seed, who dost only wait for human nature to prepare the ground for Thee wherein to sow!  O, blessed are those who till the land to fit it to receive such seed!

Here it is to be known that the first noble shoot which germinates from this seed that it may be fruitful, is the desire or appetite of the mind, which in Greek is called “hormen;” and if this is not well cultivated and held upright by good habits, the seed is of little worth, and it would be better if it had not been sown.

And therefore St. Augustine urges, and Aristotle also in the second book of Ethics, that man should accustom himself to do good, and to bridle in his passions, in order that this shoot which has been mentioned may grow strong through good habits, and be confirmed in its uprightness, so that it may fructify, and from its fruit may issue the sweetness of Human Happiness.

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