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The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

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

But here arises a doubt, which is not to be passed over without explanation.  It would be possible for any one to say:  Since Love is the effect of these Intelligences, to whom I speak, and that of the first Love might be the same as that of the new Love, why should their virtue destroy the one, and produce the other? since it ought to preserve the first, for the reason that each cause loves its effect, and ought to protect what it loves.  To this question one can easily reply, that the effect of those Spirits, as has been said, is Love:  and since they could not save it except in those who are subject to their revolution, they transfer it from that part which is beyond their power to that which is within reach, from the soul departed out of this life, into that which is yet living; as human nature transfers in the human form its preservation of the father to the son, because it cannot in this father preserve perpetually its effect:  I say effect in as far as soul and body are united, and not effect in as far as that soul, which is divided from the body, lasts for ever, in a nature more than human.  And thus is the question solved.

But since the immortality of the Soul is here touched upon, I will make a digression upon that; because to discourse of that will make a fit conclusion to the mention I have made of that living and blessed Beatrice, of whom I do not intend to speak further in this book.

For proposition I say that, amongst all the bestialities, that is the most foolish, the most vile, and most damnable which believes no other life to be after this life; wherefore, if we turn over all books, whether of philosophers or of the other wise writers, all agree in this, that in us there is some everlasting principle.  And this especially Aristotle seems to desire in that book on the Soul; this especially each stoic seems to desire; this Tullius seems to desire, especially in that book on Old Age.  This each of the Poets who have spoken according to the faith of the Gentiles seems to desire; this the law seems to desire, among Jews, Saracens, and Tartars, and all other people who live according to some civil law.  And if all these could be deceived, there would result an impossibility which even to describe would be horrible.  Each man is certain that human nature is the most perfect of all natures here below.  This no one denies:  and Aristotle affirms it when he says, in the twelfth book On Animals, that man is the most perfect of all the animals.  Therefore, since many who live are entirely mortal, as are the brute animals, and all may be, whilst they live, without that hope of the other life; if our hope should be in vain, our want would be greater than that of any other animal.  There have been many who have given this life for that:  and thus it would follow that the most perfect animal, man, would be the most imperfect, which is impossible; and that that part, namely, reason, which is his chief perfection, would be in him the cause of the chief

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