The Banquet (Il Convito) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about The Banquet (Il Convito).
part, our essential being all depends.  All our other actions, as to feel or hear, to take food, and the rest, are through this one alone; and this is for itself, and not for others.  So that, if that be perfect, it is so perfect that the man, inasmuch as he is a man, sees each desire fulfilled, and thus he is happy.  And therefore it is said in the Book of Wisdom:  “Whoso casteth away Wisdom and Knowledge is unhappy,” that is to say, he suffers the privation of happiness.  From the habit of Wisdom it follows that a man learns to be happy and content, according to the opinion of the Philosopher.  One sees, then, how in the aspect of this Lady joys of Paradise appear, and therefore one reads in the Book of Wisdom quoted above, when speaking of her, “She is a shining whiteness of the Eternal Light; a Mirror without blemish, of the Majesty of God.”  Then when it says, “Things over which the intellect may stray,” I excuse myself, saying that I can say but little concerning these, on account of their overpowering influence.  Where it is to be known that in any way these things dazzle our intellect, inasmuch as they affirm certain things to be, which our intellect is unable to comprehend, that is, God and Eternity, and the first Matter which most certainly they do not see, and with all faith they believe to be.  And even what they are we cannot understand; and so, by not denying things, it is possible to draw near to some knowledge of them, but not otherwise.

Truly here it is possible to have some very strong doubt how it is that Wisdom can make the man completely happy without being able to show him certain things perfectly; since the natural desire for knowledge is in the man, and without fulfilment of the desire he cannot be fully happy.  To this it is possible to reply clearly, that the natural desire in each thing is in proportion to the possibility of reaching to the thing desired; otherwise it would pass into opposition to itself, which is impossible; and Nature would have worked in vain, which also is impossible.

It would pass into opposition, for, desiring its perfection, it would desire its imperfection, since he would desire always to desire, and never fulfil his desire.  And into this error the cursed miser falls, and does not perceive that he desires always to desire, going backwards to reach to an impossible amount.

Nature also would have worked in vain, since it would not be ordained to any end; and, in fact, human desire is proportioned in this life to that knowledge which it is possible to have here.  One cannot pass that point except through error, which is outside the natural intention.  And thus it is proportioned in the Angelic, and it is limited in Human Nature, and it finds its end in that Wisdom in proportion as the nature of each can apprehend it.

And this is the reason why the Saints have no envy amongst themselves, since each one attains the end of his desire, and the desire of each is in due proportion to the nature of his goodness.  Wherefore, since to know God and certain other things, as Eternity and the first Matter, is not possible to our Nature, naturally we have no desire for that knowledge, and hereby is this doubtful question solved.

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