S. Bonaventurae Bagnoregis

H. R. E. Cardinalis &

Doctor Ecclesiae Universalis

COLLATIONES
DE SEPTEM DONIS SPIRITUS SANCTI

COLLATIO VIII

DE DONO INTELLECTUS

St.. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church & Doctor of the Universal Church

CONFERENCES ON THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

CONFERENCE VIII

ON THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING

1. Benedicam Dominum, qui retribuit mihi intellectum 1. -- Audiens sapiens sapientior erit, et intelligens gubernacula possidebit 2. In secundo verbo ostendit Salomon, quod utile est audire verbum Dei; et ratio est, quia in auditu verbi Dei proficit et ille qui intelligit, et similiter ille qui non intelligit: ergo et sapientes et simplices ire debent ad audiendum verbum Dei. Quod sapientes proficiant audiendo verbum Dei, patet, quia dicit, quod audiens sapiens sapientiam sapientior erit. Item, quod proficiant simplices audiendo Verbum Dei, patet, quia dicitur in Psalmo: Declaratio sermonum tuorum illuminat et intellectum dat parvulis 3. Parvulus appellatur hic qui propter mediocritatem scientiae suae parvulus dicitur, sicut parvam animam dicitur habere qui pauca novit, et similiter magni intellectus dicitur qui multa novit. Parvulus etiam dicitur qui humiliter se habet, etsi multa noverit et sit multum intelligens. Unde in Evangelio dicitur: Abscondisti haec a sapientibus et prudentibus et revelasti ea parvulis 4, id est humilibus. -- Nihil enim tam obscurat intellectum in his quae Dei sunt sicut praesumptio. Omnes laudamus humilitatem et vituperamus praesumptionem. Pauci tamen inmunes sunt a praesumptione. Dicit Richardus de sancto Victore, quod "disputando contra superbiam homo frequenter superbit". Ecce, quod fortis deceptor decipit multos. Nullus potest illuminare corda hominum nisi ille qui novit conscientias hominum. In principio rogemus Deum etc.

1. I will bless the Lord, who has again granted me understanding 1. -- The wise (man) listening wiser shall be, and the one understanding shall possess rudders 2. In the second word Solomon shows, that it is useful to hear the word of God; and the reason is, that in hearing the word of God one makes progress [proficit], both he who understands, and similarly he who does not understand: therefore both the wise and the simple ought to go to hear the word of God. That the wise make progress by hearing the word of God, it is clear, because he says, that the wise (man) hearing wisdom wiser shall be. Likewise, that the simple make progress by hearing the Word of God, it is clear, because it is said in the Psalm: The declaration of Thy sermons illumines and gives understanding to little ones [parvulis] 3. The little one is addressed here who on account of the mediocrity of his knowledge is called a little one, as one is said to have a small soul [parvam animam], who knows [novit] few things, and similarly one is said (to be) of great understanding who knows many things. One is also called a little one who regards himself humbly, even if he knows many things and he be one understanding much. Whence in the Gospel it is said: You have hidden these away from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to little ones 4, that is to the humble. -- For nothing so obscures understanding in those which belong to God as presumption. We all praise humility and scold [vituperamus] presumption. Nevertheless few are immune from presumption. Richard of St. Victor says, that "by disputing against pride a man frequently is proud". Behold, that a strong deceiver deceives many. No one can illumine the hearts of men except Him who knows the consciences of men. In the beginning let us beg God . . ..

2. Benedicam Dominum, etc. Istud breve verbum est ipsius David per Spiritum sanctum explicantem nobis ipsum donum intellectus datum nobis a Spiritu sancto, et explicat ipsum nobis quantum ad suscipientis gratitudinem humilem et quantum ad dantis diffusionem liberalem. Suscipientis gratitudo humilis notatur cum dicit: Benedicam Dominum; dantis liberalis diffusio notatur, cum subdit: Qui tribuit mihi intellectum. Donum istud requirit, hominem esse gratum Deo, et facit, quod homo recognoscat se ipsum et donum et doni principium; et intelligendo doni principium recognoscat homo se ipsum, et sic gratias agat. Et tunc benedicit Deum et refundit pulcritudinem doni in ipsum auctorem doni et ipsum laudat et dantem non impugnat. -- Disponimus autem nos ad suscipiendum istud donum per tria: primo, per vitae sanctimoniam; secundo, per mansuetudinis tractabilitatem; et tertio, per intelligentiae captivationem, ut benedicamus auctorem istius doni.

2. I will bless the Lord, etc.. That brief word belongs to David himself through the Holy Spirit explaining for us that gift of understanding given to us by the Holy Spirit, and he explains it for us as much as it regards the humble gratitude of the one taking it up and as much as regards the liberal diffusion of the One giving it. The humble gratitude of the one taking it up is noted when he says: I will bless the Lord; the liberal diffusion of the One giving it is noted, when he adds below: Who grants me understanding. That gift requires, that a man be grateful to God, and causes, that a man recognize himself and the gift and the Principle of the gift; and by understanding the Principle of the gift a man recognizes himself, and so gives thanks. And then he blesses God and pours back the beauty [pulcritudinem] of the gift upon the very Author of the gift and praises Him and does not impugn the Giver. -- Moreover we dispose ourselves to take up that gift through three things: first, through holiness of life [vitae sanctimoniam]; second, through the manageability of meekness [mansuetudinis tractabilitatem]; and third, through the capturing [captivationem] of the intelligence, that we may bless the Author of that gift.

3. Primo, dico, disponimus nos ad suscipiendum istud donum intellectus per vitae sanctimoniam; unde Isaias: Quem docebit scientiam, et quem intelligere faciet auditum? Ablactatos a lacte et avulsos ab uberibus 5. -- Lac significat dulcedinem delectationum carnalium, qua dulcedine pascuntur carnales et infantes, id est, qui sequuntur motus infantiles. Et quandiu homo coniunctus est istis consolationibus carnalibus, dicitur lactans et non est idoneus ad suscipiendum solidum cibum vitae et intellectus. Si volumus benedicere Deum et recipere istud donum, oportet, quod simus avulsi ab istis consolationibus et sequestremus nos a lacte concupiscentiarum. De Daniele et sociis eius, qui continentes erant, dicitur, quod dedit eis Deus scientiam et disciplinam in omni libro et sapientia 6. Delectatio circa tactum impugnat maxime istud donum, ebrietas ex parte anteriori et luxuria ex parte posteriori.

3. First, I say, we dispose ourselves to take up that gift of understanding through holiness of life; whence Isaiah: Whom will He teach knowledge, and whom will He make understand hearing? Those who have been weaned from milk and plucked from breasts 5. -- Milk signifies the sweetness of carnal delights, on which delight carnal men and infants feed, that is, those who follow infantile movements. And as long as a man has been joined to these carnal consolations, he is called a suckling-child [lactans] and he is not fit [idoneus] to take up the solid food of life and of understanding. If we want to bless God and receive that gift, it is proper, that we be plucked from those consolations and that we sequester ourselves form the milk of concupiscences. Of Daniel and his companions, who were continent, it is said, that God gave them knowledge and discipline in every book and in wisdom 6. Delectation over touch greatly impugns that gift, (as does) drunkenness before this [ex parte anteriori] and luxury afterwards [ex parte posterior].

4. Secundo disponitur homo ad recipiendum istud donum per mansuetudinis tractabilitatem. Unde in Ecclesiastico: Esto mansuetus ad audiendum verbum, ut intelligas 7. Consupiscentia obnubilat intellectum, et furor impedit intelligentiam, quia "impedit ira animum, ne possit cernere verum". -- Philosophus dicit, quod "quiescendo anima fit prudens et sciens". Quando aqua est quieta, tunc homo videt in ea bene faciem suam; sed quando est turbata, tunc nihil potest in ea videre. Ita, quando homo est in ira, tunc non videt veritatem. Contentiosi intelligentiam impediunt in se et in aliis. Iratus etiam pertinaciter defendit falsum. Unde Legislator mitissimus fuit. Dicit Isaias: Tantummodo sola vexatio intellectum dabit auditui 8. Homo tractabilis addiscit et fit mitis.

4. Second, a man is disposed to receive that gift through the manageability of meekness. Whence in Ecclesiasticus: Be meek to hear a word, so that you understand it 7. Concupiscence beclouds [obnubilat] the intellect, and rage [furor] impedes the intelligence, because "anger impedes the soul, so that it cannot determine (what is) true". -- The Philosopher says, that "by quieting the soul one becomes prudent and knowing [sciens]". When water is quiet, then a man sees his face well in it; but when it is disturbed, then one can see nothing in it. Thus, when a man is in anger, then he cannot see the truth. The contentious impede intelligence in themselves and in others. The enraged also pertinaciously defend (what is) false. Whence the Lawgiver was the most gentle. Isaiah says: Only shaking alone will give understanding to hearing 8. A manageable man learns more and becomes gentle.

5. Tertio disponitur homo ad donum intellectus digne suscipiendum per intelligentiae captivationem. Unde Isaias secundum translationem Septuaginta dicit: Nisi credideritis, non intelligetis 9. Et Augustinus dicit: "Nisi homo captivet intellectum suum et sequatur per fidem ea quae audit, non disponitur ad donum intellectus". Et Apostolus dicit: Captivantes intellectum in obsequium Christi 10. Qui secundum lucem intelligentiae suae vult sacram Scripturam indagare, cogitat errores falsissimos. In vita ista sumus parvuli, et "oportet addiscentem credere"; Deo enim oportet credere et maxime in sublimibus, quae transcendunt intelligentiam nostram. Primus Angelus erravit, quia praesumpsit de se. -- Concupiscibilis deordinata impedit istud donum; similiter et irascibilis, quando est deordinata; sed quando rationalis est deordinata, maxime impedit istud donum. Oportet igitur, quod captivemus intellectum nostrum si volumus suscipere istud donum. Furibundus est qui omnia despicit; non est dispositus ad suscipendum istud donum nec praesumptuosus. Oportet igitur, quod captivemus intellectum nostrum, quia qui plus credit scire frequenter minus scit. -- Per ista tria disponitur homo ad digne suscipiendum donum intellectus. Patet modo primum, scilicet suscipentis humilis gratitudo.

5. Third, a man is disposed to worthily take up the gift of understanding through a capturing of (his) intelligence. Whence Isaiah according to the Septuagint translation says: Unless you believe, you will not understand 9. And (St.) Augustine says: "Unless a man capture his intellect and follow by faith those things which he hears, he is not disposed to the gift of understanding". And the Apostle says: Taking captive the intellect into the submission of Christ 10. He who according to the light of his own intelligence wants to investigate [indagare] Sacred Scripture, thinks the most false errors. In this life of ours [ista] we are small, and "it is proper that the one learning more believe"; for it is proper to believe God and most of all [maxime] in sublime things, which transcend our intelligence. The first Angel erred, because he presumed of himself. -- The disordered [deordinata] concupiscible (appetite) impedes that gift; similarly also the irascible, when it is disordered; but when the rational (appetite) is disordered, it impedes that gift most of all. It is proper, therefore, that we capture our intellect if we want to take up that gift. Rage-bound [furibundus] is he who despises all things; he is not disposed to take up that gift nor (is) the presumptuous. Therefore it is proper, that we capture our intellect, because he who believes that he knows more, frequently knows less. -- Through these three things a man is disposed to worthily take up the gift of understanding. The first is now clear, that is, the humble gratitude of the one taking it up.

6. Sequitur liberalitas ex parte dantis, quae tangitur, cum dicit: Qui tribuit mihi intellectum 11. Deus det mihi aliquid dicere et tribuat mihi intellectum ad dicendum aliquid congruum de isto dono intellectus. -- Omnis radiositas intelligentiae ab illo fonte intelligentiae venit. Et licet multiformis sit radiositas intelligentiae, volo tamen ad praesens dicere de tribus, scilicet quod intellectus est regula circumspectionum moralium, ianua considerationum scientialium et clavis contemplationum caelestium; et iste est donum.

6. Liberality follows on the part of the One giving, which is touched upon, when he says: Who grants me understanding 11. May God give me something to say and grant understanding to me to say something appropriate [congruum] concerning this gift of understanding. -- Every radiation [radiositat] of the intelligence comes from that fount of intelligence. And though the radiation of the intelligence be multiform, I want nevertheless to say something at the present of three things, that is, that understanding is the rule of moral circumspections, the door of sciential [scientialium] considerations and the key of heavenly contemplations; and that is a gift.

7. Primo incipiam ab illo qui est regula circumspectionum moralium. Oportet enim, te esse morigeratum, si vis habere istud donum intellectus. Psalmus: Intellectum dabo tibi et instruam te in via hac, qua gradieris; firmabo super te oculos meos. Nolite fieri sicut equus et mulus, quibus non est intellectus 12. Dominus promittit nobis istum intellectum et ostendit nobis, qualiter debemus ipsum recipere. -- Firmabo, inquit, super te oculos meos. Divina complacentia acceptat quod facimus approbando in praesenti et remunerando in futuro. Si vis regulari secundum istam regulam, caveas tibi, ut non sis bestialis, sed regularis: non dirigaris secundum impetum sensus, sed secundum iudicium rationis; non secundum phantasmata bestialia, sed secundum iudicia intellectualia. Aliter accidet tibi quod accidit Adae, qui, comtempta regula veritatis, secutus est instinctum mulieris, et mulier secuta est instinctum serpentis. Psalmus: Homo, cum in honore esset, non intellexit; comparatus est iumentis insipientibus et similis factus est illis 13. Factus est homo brutalis et subiectus passionibus.

7. First, I will begin from that which is the rule of moral circumspections. For it is proper, that you have complied (with it), if you want to have that gift of understanding. The Psalm: I shall give you understanding and I will instruct you in this way, in which you shall step; I shall make My eyes firm upon you. Do not become as horse and mule, who do not have an intellect 12. The Lord promises us that understanding and shows us, in what manner we ought to receive it. -- I will make, he says, My eyes firm upon you. The Divine Pleasure [complacentia] accepts what we do by approving (it) in the present and by remunerating (us) in the future. If you want to be regulated according to that rule, beware of yourself, that you be not bestial, but regular: to be directed not according to the impulse [impetum] of sense, but according to the judgment of reason; nor according to bestial fantasies, but according to intellectual judgments. Otherwise there will happen to you what happened to Adam, who, having contemned the rule of truth, followed the instinct of the woman, and the woman followed the instinct of the serpent. The Psalm: A man, when he is in honor, has not understood; he has been compared to the foolish beasts of burden and became similar to them 13. Man became brutal and subject to (his) passions.

8. Iste intellectus prudentialis est, quo instruitur homo secundum dictamen divinae legis ad cognoscendum, quid evitandum, quia omne malum; quid exsequendum, quia omne bonum; et quid exspectandum, quia summum bonum. -- Primo, dico, intellectus prudentialis docet, quid evitandum, quia omne malum. Unde dicit Sapiens: Si sapientiam invocaveris et inclinaveris cor tuum prudentiae et quaesieris eam quasi pecuniam et sicut thesauros effoderis illam; tunc intelliges timorem Domini et scientiam Dei invenies 14. Qui intellectum istum vult habere, debet ipsum quaerere cum desiderio cordis et studiositate operis; et quid tunc invenies? Certe timorem Domini et scientiam Dei. Quod omnis homo, qui vult dirigi in bonum, debet timere Deum, ut vitet omne malum; dicit Psalmus: Sanctum, inquit, et terribile nomen eius; initium sapientiae timor Domini; intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum. Ecce, timor Domini sapientia, et recedere a malo prudentia 15, dicit Sapiens. -- Igitur intellectus prudentialis docet primo, quid evitandum, quia omne malum.

8. That understanding is prudential, by which a man is instructed according to the dictate of divine law to become acquainted with, what is to be avoided, that is [quia], every evil; what is to be followed to the grave [exsequendum], that is, every good; and what is to be expected, that is, the Most High Good. -- First, I say, prudential understanding teaches, what is to be avoided, that is, every evil. Whence the Wiseman says: If you invoke wisdom and incline your heart to prudence and seek her as if money and dig her up as treasures; then you shall understand the fear of the Lord and shall find knowledge of God 14. He who wants to have that understanding, ought to seek it with the desire of (his) heart and the studiousness of work; and what then shall he find? Certainly the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God. That every man, who wants to be directed to good, ought to fear God, so that he may avoid every evil; the Psalm says: Holy, he says, and terrible His Name; the beginning of wisdom the fear of the Lord; good the understanding of all who have it [facientibus eum]. Behold, the fear of the Lord (is) wisdom, and to recede from evil, prudence 15, says the Wiseman. Therefore prudential understanding teaches first, what is to be avoided, that is, every evil.

9. Secundo docet, quid exsequendum, quia omne bonum secundum viam interioris cogitatus et exterioris operationis. Scribitur in Iosue: Non declines a lege; sequitur: ut intelligas cuncta, quae agis 16. Sapientia callidi est inteliigere viam suam, et imprudentia stultorum errans 17. It is written: If understanding is yours, respond to your neighbor; if not, let your hand be upon your mouth 18. And in the Book of Wisdom: The Holy Spirit of discipline flees falsehood and bears Himself away from thoughts which are without understanding 19. For God wills, that we do all things rationally. And blessed Ambrose says, that we ought to do nothing nor speak of that, of which we cannot render an account. -- That is the second part of moral understanding. Solomon says: There is a season for every business and an opportunity 20.

9. Second, it teaches, what is to be followed to the grave, that is, every good according to the way of interior thinking and of exterior acting. It is written in Joshua: Do not turn from the Law; there follows: so that you may understand all the other things, which you do 16. The wisdom of the cunning is to understand their own way, and the imprudent of the stupid, erring 17. It is written: If understanding is yours, respond to your neighbor; if not, let your hand be upon your mouth 18. And in the Book of Wisdom: The Holy Spirit of discipline flees falsehood and bears Himself away from thoughts which are without understanding 19. For God wills, that we do all things rationally. And blessed Ambrose says, that we ought to do nothing nor speak of that, of which we cannot render an account. -- That is the second part of moral understanding. Solomon says: There is a season for every business and an opportunity 20.

10. Tertio instruit intellectus prudentialis, quid exspectandum, quia summum bonum. Unde in Proverbiis: Gemma gratissima exspectatio postulantis; quocumque se vertit, prudenter intelligit 21. In omnibus, quae dirigunt intelligentiam nostram in agendis et in vitandis, debet homo uti consilio finis. Oportet enim, quod homo aliquid exspectet in eo quod agit. Si intendis temporale commodum, vilem mercedem exspectas. Grata, immo gratissima gemma est bonum aeternum. Unde in Baruch: Disce, ubi sit prudentia, ubi sit virtus, ubi sit intellectus, ut scias simul, ubi sit longiturnitas vitae et victus, ubi sit lumen oculorum et pax 22. -- Dicit: ut scias, ubi sit longiturnitas vitae et victus et lumen oculorum et pax. Et ubi est? Certe, longitudo dierum in dextera eius 23; et Psalmus dicit: Apud te est fons vitae 24 etc. Si lumen oculorum habetis, prudenter agetis.

10. Third, prudential understanding instructs (us), what it to be expected, that is, the Most High Good. Whence in Proverbs: A most free [gratissima] gem (is) the expectation of the one asking; to whatever he turns himself, he understands prudently 21. In all things, which direct our intelligence in acting and avoiding, a man ought to take [uti] counsel from its end [finis]. For it is proper, that a man expect something in that which he does. If you intend a temporal convenience, you expect a vile wage. A free, nay a most free gem is the eternal Good. Whence in Baruch: Learn, where prudence is, where virtue is, where understanding is, so that you may know at the same time, where there is eternal length [longiturnitas] of life and food, where there is light for the eyes and peace 22. -- He says: so that you may know, where there is eternal length of life and food, light for the eyes and peace. And where is that? Certainly, the length of days (is) in His right hand 23; and the Psalm says: In Thy house [apud te] is the fount of life 24 etc.. If you have light for your eyes, you act prudently.

11. Hic est intellectus prudentialis triplex, et qui non habet istum intellectum rectificari non potest. Unde scribitur: Gens absque consilio est et sine prudentia: utinam saperent et intelligerent ac novissima providerent 25. Tangit tres partes intelligentiae, scilicet memoriam praeteritorum, intelligentiam praesentium et circunspectionem futurorum. -- Intellectus iste est regula circumspectionum moralium cum desiderio cordis et prosecutione operis, ut homo consideret, quid sit vitandum, quid agendum, et quid exspectandum. Deus enim dat istum intellectum, et est donum Dei. Unde Psalmus: Intellectum tibi dabo et instruam te in via hac, qua gradieris 26.

11. Here there is a threefold prudential understanding, and he who does not have that understanding cannot be rectified. Whence it is written: A nation [gens] without counsel is also without prudence: so that they do not taste nor understand nor foresee the last things [novissima] 25. He touches upon the three parts of intelligence, that is the memory of past things, the intelligence of present things and the circumspection of future things. -- That understanding is the rule of moral circumspections together with the desire of the heart and the prosecution of work, so that a man may consider, what is to be avoided, what is to be done, and what is to be expected. For God gives that understanding, and it is a gift of God. Whence the Psalm: I shall give you understanding and shall instruct you in this way, in which you shall step 26.

12. Alius est intellectus, qui est iuanua considerationum scientialium, de quo dicitur in Ecclesiastico: In thesauris sapientiae intellectus 27 etc.; hoc est dicere, quod thesauri absconditi scientiae vel consistunt in cognitione causarum altissimarum, vel conclusionum, vel principiorum. Et oportet fodere per studium veritatis, ut homo ad istum thesaurum perveniat. -- Iste intellectus, qui est iuanua considerationum scientialium, partim est a dictamine naturae, id est a lumine interiori; partim ex frequentia experientiae, sicut a lumine exteriori; et partim ex illustratione lucis aeternae, sicut a lumine superiori.

12. Another is the understanding, which is the door of sciential considerations, of which there is said in Ecclesiasticus: In the treasures of wisdom (is) understanding 27 etc.; this is to say, that the treasures of knowledge (have) been hidden away and/or that they consist in becoming acquainted with [in cognitione] the highest causes, and/or conclusions, and/or principles. And it is proper to dig by the study of truth, so that a man may arrive at that treasure. -- That understanding, which is the door of sciential considerations, is partly form the dictate of nature, that is from interior light; partly from the frequency of experience, as from an exterior light; and partly from the brightening of eternal Light, as from a superior light.

13. Quod sit partim ex dictamine naturae, patet in Ecclesiastico, ubi dicitur: Deus de terra creavit hominem, scilicet quantum ad corpus, et secundum imaginem suam fecit illum 28, scilicet quantum ad animam. Sequitur: Creavit ex ipso adiutorium simile sibi; consilium et linguam et oculos et aures et cor dedit illis excogitandi, et disciplina intellectus replevit illos 29. Dat intelligere, quod anima humana tres habet operationes, secundum quod est eius potentia et operatio. "Omnis anima nobilis tres habet operationes", quibus se convertit super corpus suum, super se et ad divina. Aliquando convertit se super corpus: habet linguam ad loquendum, aures ad audiendum, etc.; aliquando convertit se super se; aliquando ad intelligendum et cognoscendum Deum. -- Et hoc est secundum triplicem considerationem animae; consideratur enim anima ut forma et perfectio corporis, ut hoc aliquid et ut imago. -- Quod autem iste intellectus sit partim a dictamine naturae, patet in Adam, quia omnibus rebus nomina imposuit. Sed quod Deus eum replevit disciplina intellectus, istud fuit privilegium eius; unde non est in nobis. Anima autem nostra habet supra se quoddam lumen naturae signatum, per quod habilis est ad cognoscenda prima principia, sed illud solum non sufficit, quia, secundum Philosophum, "principia cognoscimus, in quantum terminos cognoscimus". Quando enim scio, quid totum, quid pars; statim scio, quod "omne totum maius est sua parte".

13. What is partly from the dictate of nature, is clear in Ecclesiasticus, where it is said: God created man from the earth, that is, as much as regards the body, and according to His image He made him 28, that is, as much as regards the soul. There follows: He created out of him a helper similar to himself; counsel and tongue and eyes and ears and heart did He give them for thinking things out [excogitandi], and with the discipline of understanding He filled them full. 29. He gives one to understand, that the human soul has three acts, according to which it has power and act. "Every noble soul has three acts", by which it turns itself completely upon its body, upon itself, and towards divine things. Sometimes it turns itself completely upon its body: it has a tongue for speaking, ears for hearing, etc.; sometimes it turns itself completely upon itself; sometimes towards understanding and becoming acquainted with God. -- And this is according to the threefold consideration of the soul; for the soul is considered as the form and perfection of the body, as this something [hoc aliquid] and as image. -- Moreover that that understanding is partly from the dictate of nature, is clear in Adam, because he imposed names on all things. But that God filled him full with the discipline of understanding, that was his privilege; wherefore it is not in us. Moreover our soul has stamped [signatum] upon it a certain light of nature, through which one is capable [habilis] to become acquainted with the first principles, but that alone does not suffice, because, according to the Philosopher, "we are acquainted with principles, inasmuch as we are acquainted with their terms". For when I know, what the whole is, what the part is; I immediately know, that "every whole is greater that its part".

14. Secundo dico, quod partim est a frequentia experientiae: in Ecclesiastico: Vis in multis expertus cognoscit multa 30. Philosophus: "Ex multis sensibus fit una memoria; ex multis memoriis fit una experientia; ex multis experientiis fit unum universale, quod est principium artis et scientiae".

14. Second, I say, that partly it is from the frequency of experience: in Ecclesiasticus: An expert in many strengths is acquainted with many things 30. The Philosopher: "Out of many sensations [sensibus] there is made one memory; out of many memories there is made one experience; out of many experiences there is made one universal, which is the principle of art and of science".

15. Et quantumcumque homo habeat naturale iudicatorium bonum et cum hoc frequentiam experientiae, non sufficiunt, nisi sit illustratio per divinam influentiam. Unde dicitur in Daniele: Dat sapientiam sapientibus et scientiam intelligentibus disciplinam. Ipse revelat profunda et abscondita et novit in tenebris constituta; et lux cum eo est 31. Tangit certitudinem sapientialem, scientialem et intellectualem. Sed unde est ista certitudo? Certe a Deo. Certitudinem sapientialem tangit, cum dicit: Ipse revelat profunda. Apostolus: Ipse illuxit in cordibus nostris ad illuminationem scientiae claritatis Dei 32. Lux ista pura est et est cum eo; unde in Ioanne: Ipse est lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum 33. Nullus certitudinaliter illuminatur nisi per ipsum. Et Augustinus decimo quarto De Trinitate quaerit, unde hoc, quod impius bene iudicat aliquando; unde quaerit: "Ubi scriptae sunt illae leges iustitiae, secundum quas iudicat bene impius?" Et respondet, quod "scriptae sunt in libro lucis aeternae, et non migrando, sed imprimendo descendunt in animam, sicut imago anuli, quae cerae imprimitur, anulum non relinquit" etc. Haec autem illuminatio iuvatur per Angelos; in Daniele dicitur: Factum est autem, cum viderem ego Daniel visionem et quaererem intelligentiam; ecce, stetit in conspectu meo quasi species viri etc.; et clamavit et ait: Gabriel, fac intelligere istum visionem 34. Visiones istae descenderunt a Patre luminum, et Angelus adiuvat intellectum Danielis, ut capiat lucem Dei et per hanc intelligat. Dicit Glossa, quod intellectus per naturam habet vim intelligendi, secundum quod discernitur homo a pecore; sed solus Deus illuminat perfecte. Verum est quod homo ministerialiter ac adminiculative per Angelum instruitur, sicut patuit in Daniele; sed effective solus Deus habet potestatem super ipsam animam rationalem, quia ipsa immediate a Deo formatur. Ipse enim illuminat omnem hominem. Unde Angelus sic illuminat, sicut ille qui fenestram aperit, dicitur illuminare domum. "Solus enim habet cathedram in caelis qui docet hominem in terris". -- Unde non est verum quod dicunt philosophi, quod una intelligentia aliam creat, quia creare est omnipotentis Dei, non alicuius virtutis creatae; unde illius lucis, quae est actus purus, est hoc facere. Dixit Paulus in Actibus Apostolorum: In ipso vivimus et movemur et sumus 35; et dicit Augustinus quod Apostolus non loquitur ibi de vita corporali, sed de vita intellectuali. Unde loquitur ibi de Deo, secundum quod est omnibus "causa essendi, ratio intelligendi et ordo vivendi". Causa est essendi immediate producens omnia perpetua, mediate vero temporalia, immediate tamen per virtutes elementares. Ratio autem intelligendi est, quia certificantur per ipsum intelligentiae super transmutabilitatem naturae. Si omnes creaturae impugnarent, Deus tamen est amandus; nec Deus potest facere, quin sit amandus. Corruptis omnibus, remanet certitudo veritatis. Est etiam Deus ordo vivendi; nisi donum Spiritus sancti inhabitat in homine, non regetur secundum regulam rectae vitae. -- Secundum quod Deus est causa essendi intrat in animam ut principium; secundum vero quod est ordo vivendi, intrat in animam ut donum infusum; secundum quod est ratio intelligendi, intrat in animam ut sol intelligentiae. Iste est sol, qui omnes illuminat; a quo aliqui aberrant, secundum quod dicunt impii in libro Sapientiae: Ergo erravimus a via veritatis et iustitiae; lumen non luxit nobis, et sol intelligentiae non est ortus nobis 36 etc.

15. And however much a man has a good natural judgment [iudicatorium] and with this frequency of experience, they are not sufficient, unless there be a brightening through a divine influence. Whence it is said in Daniel: Give wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those understanding discipline. He Himself revels things profound and hidden away and knows [novit] the things constituted in darkness; and light is with Him 31. He touches upon sapiential, sciential and intellectual certitude. And whence is that certitude? Certainly from God. He touches upon sapiential certitude, when he says: He Himself reveals things profound. The Apostle: He Himself has begun to shine in our hearts for the illumination of the knowledge of the brightness of God 32. That light is pure and it is with Him; whence in John: He Himself is the True Light, which illumines every man coming into this world 33. No one is certainly illuminated except through Him. And (St.) Augustine in the fourteenth (chapter) On the Trinity asks, whence (is) this, that the impious sometimes judges well; whence he asks: "Where have those laws of justice been written, according to which the impious judges well?" And he responds, that "they have been written in the book of eternal Light, and not by migrating, but by impressing they descend upon the soul, as the image of a ring, which is pressed upon wax, does not leave the ring" etc.. Moreover this brightening is assisted [iuvatur] by the Angels; in Daniel it is said: It came to pass, however, when I, Daniel, saw the vision and sought intelligence; behold, there stood in my sight as if the appearance of a man etc., and he shouted and said: Gabriel, make that one understand the vision 34. Those visions descended from the Father of lights, and the Angel assisted the intellect of Daniel, to seize the light of God and through this to understand. The Gloss says, that the intellect by nature has the strength to understand, accord to which a man is discerned from a sheep; but God alone illumines perfectly. It is true that a man is instructed in the manner of a minister [ministerialiter] and in a supportive manner [adminiculative] by an Angel, as was clear in Daniel: but effectively God alone has the power over that rational soul, because it itself is immediately formed by God. For He Himself illumines all men. Whence an Angel thus illumines, as he who opens a window, is said to illumine a house. "For He alone has His cathedra in the heavens who teaches man throughout the earth [in terris]". -- Whence it is not true what philosophers say, that one intelligence creates another, because to create belongs to the Omnipotent God, and not to any other created virtue; whence to that Light, which is pure act, belongs this making. Paul said in the Acts of the Apostles: In Him we live and move and are 35; and (St.) Augustine says that the Apostle does not speak there of corporal life, but of intellectual life. Whence it is said there of God, according to which He is for all things "the cause of existing, the reason for understanding and the order for living". He is the cause of existing immediately producing all perpetual things, but mediately (all) temporal things, nevertheless (these) immediately through elementary virtues. Moreover He is the reason for understanding, because intelligences are made certain [certificantur] by Him above [super] the transmutability of (their) nature. Even if every creature were to attack [impugnarent], God nevertheless is to be loved; nor can God cause Himself not [facere quin] to be loved. With all things corrupted, the certitude of truth remains. God is also the order for living; unless the gift of the Holy Spirit indwell in a man, he is not ruled according to the rule of upright life. -- According to which God is the cause of existing, He enters in the soul as its Principle; but according to which He is the order for living, He enters into the soul as an infused gift; according to which He is the reason for understanding, He enters into the soul as the sun of the intelligence. That One is the sun, who illumines all; from whom some wander away, according to which the impious say in the Book of Wisdom: Therefore let us wander from the way of truth and justice; light has not shown upon us, and the sun of the intelligence has not risen for us 36 etc..

16. Tres sunt errores cavendi in scientiis, qui sacram Scripturam et fidem christianam et omnem sapientiam exterminant; quorum unus est contra causam essendi, alius contra rationem intelligendi, et tertius contra ordinem vivendi. Error contra causam essendi est de aeternitate mundi, ut ponere mundum aeternum. Error contra rationem intelligendi est de necessitate fatali, sicut ponere quod omnia eveniunt de necessitate. Tertius est de unitate intellectus humani, sicut ponere quod unus est intellectus in omnibus. -- Isti errores significantur in Apocalypsi in numero nominis bestiae. Dicitur ibi, quod habuit nomen cuius numerus sexcenti sexaginta sex 37, qui est numerus ciclicus. Primi fundant se super circulum motus et temporis; secundi, supra motum siderum; tertii, supra intelligentiam unam, dicendo, quod ingreditur et egreditur in corpus.

16. In the sciences there are three things to beware of, which banish Sacred Scripture and the Christian Faith and every wisdom; one of which is against the cause of existing, another against the reason for understanding, and the third against the order for living. The error against the cause of existing concerns the eternity of the world, as positing [sicut ponere] the world as eternal. The error against the reason for understanding concerns fatal necessity, as positing that all things come about from necessity. The third concerns the unity of the human intellect, as positing that there is intellect in all (men). -- Those errors are signified in the Apocalypse in the number of the name of the beast. There it is said, that he has a name whose number (is) 666 37, which is a cyclical number. The first stream upon a circle of motion and time; the second, upon the motion of the stars; the third, upon one intelligence, by saying, that it steps into and out of the body.

Totum istud est falsum. Primus error refellitur per id quod scriptum est in veteri Testamento: In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram 38. Secundum errorem secundum nihil est de libero arbitrio, nihil valet crux Christi. Secundum tertium, non est differentia in merito et praemio, si una est anima Christi et Iudae proditoris. Totum est haereticum.

The whole (of it) is false. The first error is refuted by that which is written in the Old Testament: In the beginning God created heaven and earth 38. According to the second error there is nothing from free will [libero arbitrio], the Cross of Christ is worth nothing. According to the third, there is no difference in merit and reward, if one (and the same) is the soul of Christ and of Judas the betrayer. The whole (of it) is heretical.

17. Primus, dico, error destruit causam essendi; quia tu sentis, Deum esse causam omnium aut secundum partem, aut secundum totum. Si secundum partem: ergo aufers Deo suam principalitatem causandi. Si secundum totum: ergo cuiusque alterius Deus est causa: ergo producit illud non de se ipso, non de aliquo alio, quia nihil est: ergo de nihilo. -- Item, sequitur secundum istum errorem, quod res habuit simul esse et non-esse, et quod esse ante non-esse; et multa alia inconvenientia. Unde certum est, quod Deus omnia creavit. Et ideo dixit illa bona mulier filio suo in libro Machabaeorum, quod respiceret omnia, quia de nihilo ea creavit Deus 39.

17. The first error, I say, destroys the cause of existing; (it says:) because you have the opinion, that God is the cause of all things, (it must be) either according to a part, or according to the whole. If according to a part: therefore you take from God His principality of causing. If according to the whole: therefore God is the cause of any other: therefore God produces it not from His very self, not from something else, because there is nothing; therefore from nothing. — Likewise, there follows that second error, that a thing had at the same time a ‘to be’ and a ‘not-to be’, and that (its) ‘to be’ (is) before (its) ‘not-to-be’; and many other inconveniences. Whence it is certain, that God created all things. And for that reason that good woman said to her son in the Book of Machabees, that he should look back at all (things), because from nothing did God create them 39.

18. Secundus error est de necessitate fatali, sicut de constellationibus: si homo sit natus in tali constellatione de necessesitate erit latro, vel malus, vel bonus. Istud evacuat liberum arbitrium et meritum et praemium: quia si homo facit ex necessitate quod facit, quid valet libertas arbitrii? Quid merebitur? -- Sequitur etiam, quod Deus sit origo omnium malorum. Verum est quod aliqua dispositio relinquitur ex stellis; sed tamen solus Deus principatur animae rationali. Dicit Ieremias: Confundentur vehementer, quia non intellexerunt opprobrium sempiternum 40. Opprobrium sempiternum habebunt qui sic errant.

18. The second error concerns fatal necessity, as concerns the constellations: (it says,) if a man be born in such a constellation, of necessity will he be a thief, and/or evil, and/or good. That voids free will [liberum arbitrium] and merit and reward; because if a man does out of necessity what he does, what value is the liberty of judgment [libertas arbitrii]? What will he merit? -- It also follows, that God would be the origin of all evils. It is true that some disposition remains from the stars; but nevertheless God alone rules over [principatur] the rational soul. Jeremiah says: They have been vehemently confounded, because they have not understood everlasting disgrace [opprobrium sempiternum] 40. They who err thus shall have an everlasting disgrace.

19. Tertius error est pessimus qui comprehendit utrumque. Aliqui insani male intellexerunt de intellectu. Unde quidam dixerunt, quod esset ignis; quidam, quod aqua; isti reprobati sunt per philosophos. -- Quod iste intellectus sit unus in omnibus, istud est contra radicem distinctionis et individuationis, quia in diversis intellectus habet esse distinctum: ergo habet principia suae essentiae propria et distincta et individuantia. -- Quod alii dicunt, quod una Intelligentia irradiat super omnes, istud est impossibile; quia nulla creatura istud potest. Unde hoc est solius Dei.

19. The third error, which comprehends both, is the worst. Some insane (men) understood the intellect in an evil manner [male de intellectu]. Whence certain ones say, that it is fire; certain ones, that it is water; those have be reproved by the philosophers. -- That that intellect is one in all (men), that is against the root of distinction and individuation, because in diverse (persons) the intellect has distinct being: therefore it has proper and distinct and individuating [individuantia] principles of its essence. -- That others say, that one intelligence radiates over all. that is impossible; because no creature can (do) that. Whence it belongs to God alone.

20. "Omnis substantia intellectualis est sciens et rediens supra se reditione completa". Unde omnis substantia intellectualis intelligit se et diligit et iudicat. Unde habet rationem speculi et lucem super illud radiantem. Et hoc quidem verum est in Deo, et tam in Angelo quam in homine; sed differenter: Quia in Deo idem sunt speculum et lux ipsa re, sed differunt ratione. In Angelo autem differunt ratione et natura, sed non tempore, quia non potest intelligere plus quam intelligat, quia "intelligentia plena est formis". Sed in homine differunt et ratione et natura et tempore, quia homo non statim intelligit, cum potest intelligere. Sic ergo intellectus humanus habet rationem apprehendentis et iudicantis, intellectum possibilem et agentem; nec potest iste intellectus sufficienter illuminari sine adminiculo superioris et altioris lucis, quia Sapiens dicit: Corpus, quod corrumpitur, aggravat animam 41 etc.; et Philosophus dicit: "Sicut se habet oculus vespertilionis ad lucem solis, sic se habet intellectus noster ad manifestissima naturae".

20. "Every intellectual substance is knowing and returning upon itself with a complete return". Whence every intellectual substance understands and loves [diligit] and judges itself. Whence it has reason for reflection [speculi] and light radiating upon it. And this indeed is true in God, and as much in the Angel as in man; but differently: Because in God there is likewise reflection and light by itself [ipsa re], but they differ in reason. In the Angel, moreover, they differ in reason and nature, but not in time, because it cannot understand more than it understands, because "(its) intelligence is full of forms". But in man they differ both in reason and in nature and in time, because man does not understand at once, when he can understand. If therefore the human intellect has a reason for its apprehending and judging, (it has) a possible and agent intellect; nor can that intellect sufficiently be illumined without the assistance of a superior and higher light, because the Wiseman says: The body, which is corrupted, weighs down the soul 41 etc.; and the Philosopher says: "As the eye of twilight is held towards the light of the sun, so our intellect is held towards the most manifest things of nature".

De tertio intellectu, scilicet qui est clavis contemplationis caelestium, longum esset dicere. Rogabimus Dominum, etc.

Of the third understanding, that is, that which is the key of the contemplation of heavenly things, it would be long to speak. We will beg the Lord, ....


1. Ps 15, 7.

2. Prov 1, 5.

3. Ps 118, 130.

4. Mt 11, 25.

5. Is 28, 9.

6. Dan 1, 17.

7. Eccli 5, 13.

8. Is 28, 19.

9. Is 7, 9.

10. 2 Cor 10, 5.

11. Ps 15, 7.

12. Ps 31, 8-9.

13. Ps 48, 13.

14. Prov 2, 3-5.

15. Iob 28, 28.

16. Ios 1, 7.

17. Prov 14, 8.

18. Eccli 5, 14.

19. Sap 1, 5.

20. Eccle 8, 6.

21. Prov 17, 8.

22. Bar 3, 14.

23. Prov 3, 10.

24. Ps 35, 10.

25. Deut 32, 28-29.

26. Ps 31, 8.

27. Eccli 1, 26.

28. Eccli 17, 1.

29. Eccli 1, 5.

30. Eccli 34, 9.

31. Dan 2, 21.

32. 2 Cor 4, 6.

33. Io 1, 9.

34. Dan 8, 15-16.

35. Act 17, 28.

36. Sap 5, 6-7.

37. Ap 13, 18.

38. Gen 1, 1.

39. 2 Mach 7, 28.

40. Ier 20, 11.

41. Sap 9, 15.


1. Ps 15:7.

2. Prov 1:5.

3. Ps 118:130.

4. Mt 11:25.

5. Is 28:9.

6. Dan 1:17.

7. Eccli 5:13.

8. Is 28:19.

9. Is 7:9.

10. 2 Cor 10:5.

11. Ps 15:7.

12. Ps 31:8-9.

13. Ps 48:13.

14. Prov 2:3-5.

15. Job 28:28.

16. Jos 1:7.

17. Prov 14:8.

18. Eccli 5:14.

19. Ws 1:5.

20. Eccle 8:6.

21. Prov 17:8.

22. Bar 3:14.

23. Prov 3:10.

24. Ps 35:10.

25. Dt 32:28-29.

26. Ps 31:8.

27. Eccli 1:26.

28. Eccli 17:1.

29. Eccli 1:5.

30. Eccli 34:9.

31. Dan 2:21.

32. 2 Cor 4:6.

33. Jn 1:9.

34. Dan 8:15-16.

35. Act 17:28.

36. Ws 5:6-7.

37. Ap 13:18.

38. Gen 1:1.

39. 2 Mac 7:28.

40. Jer 20:11.

41. Ws 9:15.


N.B.: Items in square [ ] brackets indicate the Latin term(s) corresponding to the immediately previous English term(s). Items in round ( ) brackets indicate English words added by the English translator for the sake of clarity, usually implicit in the Latin syntax. Principal terms which have consistent signification are indicated with their corresponding Latin term in each first instance; thereafter only when some English or Latin term is diversely or similarly translated, respectively speaking. This English translation has been released to the public domain by its author.