Imatges de pÓgina

So when Beatrice called on him to tell Dante whether the light in which he was now blossoming like a rose would still be his after the Resurrection, and to explain how his risen body would be able to bear it, he expressed the greatest delight and eagerness in answering. Surely we may believe that Dante actually himself heard the Subtle Doctor discourse on this subject, so closely does his verse reproduce the teaching of Duns upon it which has come down to us.

'However long the festival of Paradise may last,' said the Luminary, so long shall our love clothe us with this robe of light. Always its brilliance shall keep pace with our ardour, and our ardour with the vision whose beauty matches with the grace bestowed on us far beyond our worth. When the glorious and holy body be once more put on, our person by reason of being more complete shall be the more acceptable to us. . . . And ever the vision will become more vivid, and the ardour kindled by it shall increase the more, and the ray which goeth forth from it shall shine more bright. . . . The glow of light which circles us all shall be overpowered in appearance by the risen body which now and still the earth o'ercovers. Nor shall the Light have power to cause us discomfort, for the organs of the body shall be strong to carry out whatever may delight us.' 1

Dante gives in these lines an exquisite résumé of the views of Duns Scotus on the resurrection of the body." But he was not content to give merely in words the meaning of the Master. He invites us, in the Paradiso, to see with our own eyes in what manner the saints in glory display the gifts which John attributes to them, both before and after they shall be rejoined to their bodies. To trace the doctrine first in the laboured Latin of the Franciscan, and then as it appears irradiated in dramatic form in Dante's upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth?' (R.V.) Duns, quoting this passage, says that Solomon is here speaking as an orator, in the person not of the wise but of the foolish. The chapter remained, however, a stumbling-block. Report. Par. iv d. 49.

1 Par. xiv 37-60.


verse, is to be transfixed with wonder at the sublimating, all-transfiguring genius at work on such hints.

What qualities, asks Duns, must our bodies possess that they may be conformed to our spirits in Paradise? First of all, they will possess the gift of agilitas, of free and swift motion. Dante draws the veil aside from the courts of the blest and reveals to us the holy saints of God delighting to execute in concert every exquisite manœuvre the mind of man can conceive. See how they flash through the pearly radiance of the Moon, appearing and disappearing like jewels of light; how they form into serried ranks; how they rise and fall in flocks like migrant birds; how they dart suddenly into the sacred emblem of the Cross; how they skim the surface of Heaven in the likeness of an Eagle; while the great Illuminati in this very sphere twine themselves into garlands and betray their new joy at the words of their great Leader by ever new evolutions.

Next, says Duns, the glorified body will possess the gift of claritas, effulgence which implies every degree of light and colour. Most enchantingly does Dante play upon this theme throughout the realm of Paradise, summoning vision after vision in which the Saints exhibit, as Duns had taught they must inevitably do, the most perfect colour of the individual complexion-distinguished one from another in infinite degrees of lucidity and glory.

'Subtiles,' also, they will be, interpenetrating the being of each other, without need of speech, and thus here and elsewhere we find the thoughts of Dante conveyed without apparent medium to those around him.

Lastly, said Duns, the body, like the spirit, will be impassibilis, indefatigable; or, to quote Dante's paraphrase of the word impassibilis in this very passage, 'The organs of the body will be strong to support whatever may delight the spirit.'

Duns Scotus told his enthralled students, and the modern Scotist scholar recognizes the idea as peculiar to himself, that the souls of the blest desire ardently the glorification of the body.1 And so, at the close of the long 1 Rep. Par. iv d. 49, q. 12 n. 8.


passage in which Dante presents the Unnamed Fifth Light, he brings all the Christian seers, Franciscan and Dominican with the rest, to join in fervent chorus of assent to the Master's words. So swiftly and ardently did the choirs on either hand cry out 'Amen' that 'I seemed,' says Dante, to be witness of their deep longing for their dead bodies- not only as I take it on their own account, but for the bodily presence of mothers and fathers and others dear to them when they took on them the likeness of eternal flames."

It may be that in setting this exquisite scene before us Dante had it in mind to sweep away the malicious rumour circulated by his enemies of John's premature burial and the horrible injuries inflicted on himself in his death agony. It is eminently after Dante's manner to cast out falsehood not by argument but by replacing it with some rare and unforgettable form of truth. Certainly none who read of the Saint's yearning to be reunited to his body would ever again associate him with the loathsome image imprinted on his memory by Dominican slander.

In the effort to unfold a hidden meaning in this difficult passage in the Paradiso, an attempt has been made to realize two personalities, that of the Schoolman and that of the poet. The lines which describe the Heaven of the Sun, even thus briefly and imperfectly interpreted, reveal a live John of Duns, not merely the idol of his disciples, the terror of the ignorant, but a beloved brother to his intimates, a man touched with the spirit of a new age. And, if assent be accorded to the identification of John, a new glimpse has perhaps been obtained into the working of Dante's mind. We get some closer perception of a great purpose, never for one moment relaxed, controlling the selection of each episode, admitting the introduction of no extraneous word, the purpose of revealing the truth about his own times and the men of his own generation, so unscrupulously perverted under the existing system of Papal terrorism. We watch him in his undying thirst for the freedom of the intellect, recording with a personal and generous devotion the triumphs of a Master whose close

fellowship he had enjoyed, whose words, stored for transmutation by stroke of genius to pure gold, still resounded in his ears. Thus, in the end, we perceive him pondering much during days spent in the leafy shades near Ravenna over the fate of John, enshrining him as an immortal with elaborate precautions of secrecy, through which his personality was yet meant to emerge for the initiate in all its radiance. Musing on such things, Dante may be heard avowing that among all the rich treasures of his mind that which came most readily at his call were the verses in which, himself tasting its joys in advance, he laboured to unfold the secrets of Paradise:

'Est mecum quam noscis ovis gratissima,' dixi,
'Ubera vix quae ferre potest, tam lactis abundans,
Rupe sub ingenti carptas modo ruminat herbas.
Nulli iuncta gregi, nullis assuetaque caulis,
Sponte venire solet, nunquam vi poscere mulctram.

1 Eclogue i 58-62.



Blaise Pascal: Pensées et Opuscules. Publiés avec une introduction, des notices, des notes et deux fac-similés

du manuscrit des Pensées.
Dixième édition revue.

Par M. LÉON BRUNSCHVICG. (Paris: Librairie Hachette et


'As luck would have it, Providence was on my side.' casual bon mot of the author of Erewhon comes near to expressing a fundamental conviction of the Saints of God. 'Non volentis neque currentis sed miserentis est Dei,' and so, We wish you good luck in the Name of the Lord.' It would be in the very spirit of Pascal to take it thus. For how am I to be certain of this God that hath mercy'? 'Il faut parier,' says he; 'cela n'est pas volontaire, vous êtes embarqué.' Whether we like it or no, life is in some sort a gamble: the greatest of all games.

If so it seemed to Pascal, as it certainly did, what is the secret of History? Where are the value and the interest to be found? Do they lie in the discovery of the rules for the very game's sake, in an increasingly accurate compilation of averages to be tabulated eventually in some handy Guide to Life? Is the game itself the final erid of life? There are philosophers and historians who would have us believe so. They are for ever engaged upon constructions and reconstructions of the world-process, up on the evaluation of cosmic tendencies, upon interpretation of the past and prediction of the future. The game as a whole is the abiding reality, for man so long as he can contrive to last, for God so far as He can be supposed to be. It is a game so exquisitely devised that the very cards, so to speak, passionately discuss the nature of the play, rejoice to find themselves in the trump suit, despair when they' are incontinently thrown away, are constrained to believe rightly or wrongly that they put themselves upon the table

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