Markus Vinzent's Blog

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Meister Eckhart, Parisian Sermo die b. Augustini Parisius habitus, English translation


This sermon was available on the Internet in an English translation (see footnote below), although, the link seems to have disappeared (I give the old link which, strangely enough, is still working), and I have translated the text anew in the light of other work I have done on Eckhart:


'Vas auri solidum ornatum omni lapide pretioso', Eccli. 50
A vessel of pure gold, adorned with whatever most precious stone, Jes. Sir. 50[:10][1]
<LW5:89>
◊1◊ Ad commendationem beati Augustini potest proprie introduci haec auctoritas, et inter cetera commendatur sub vasis metaphora in tribus quae in vase continentur: primo in pretiositate materiae, quia per aurum intelligitur sapientia, ibi: 'vas auri', secundo in dispositione formae, ibi: 'ornatum omni lapide pretioso', tertio in ponderis quantitate, ibi: 'solidum'.
 
 
 
◊2◊ Primo ergo commendatur a pretiositate materiae, id est multitudine sapientiae et scientiae sub diversis habitibus collectae. Ipse enim erat bonus theoricus, egregius logicus et excellentissimus ethicus. Sic enim dividunt nobis magistri scientiam philosophiae, scilicet in theoricam, logicam et ethicam sive practicam. Et hoc secundum illa tria, quae ita vicissim occupant homines, ut nunquam aliquo tempore ab aliquo istorum trium feriari videantur; et ea sunt cogitatio, locutio et operatio. Theoricam sive speculativam ulterius partiuntur <LW5:90> in mathematicam, physicam et ethicam sive theologiam. »In naturalibus autem rationabiliter, in mathematica disciplinabiliter, et in divinis intellectuabiliter versari oportebit neque deduci ad imagines, sed potius respicere formam, quae vere forma est nec imago est et quae esse est et ex qua esse est«, quia secundum Boethium libro De trinitate »omne esse ex forma est«. Mathematicus autem formas et figuras materiae actu inhaerentes disciplinabili consideratione sequestrat. Physicus, id est naturalis, causas qualitatum, motuum et quantitatum inquirit. Ethicus sive theologus ideas rerum, quae in mente divina, antequam prodirent in corpora, ab aeterno quo modo ibi intelligibiliter exstiterunt, subtilius intuetur.
 
 
 
 
◊3◊ Et de divinis aliquando ratiocinatur auctoritatibus maiorum, aliquando exemplis extra quaesitis, aliquando vero ipsam divinam usiam sine subiecta materia contemplatur. Auctoritatibus usus fuit beatus Augu-stinus, quando trinitatem personarum cum unitate essentiae primo nobis volens insinuare introduxit illud in Genesi: 'faciamus hominem ad <LW5:91> imaginem et similitudinem nostram', et per verbum pluralis numeri trinitatem intelligens et per nomina singularis numeri declarans substantiae unitatem. Exemplo etiam usus est Plato in Timaeo, qui dum de principe summo rerum loqui esset animatus, dicit: ita +im++possibile est aliquid de deo profari, sicut difficile est ipsum reperiri. Et ideo idem confugit ad rerum similitudines et exempla et inter omnes res creatas solem ei quam simillimum repperit; unde et solem nominavit. Et Iohannes evangelista, dum de verbo increato loqui auderet, lucem ipsum appellavit, quia lux est prima et universalis species formarum corporalium et principium vitae in corporalibus. Et sic verbum dei patris est omnium »exsistentium substantia« et omnium »viventium vita« <LW5:92> et »omnis substantiae et vitae principium est et causa«, secundum Dionysium De divinis nominibus.
 
◊4◊ Et sic contingit theologum duplici ditari cognitione in via: una est 'per speculum et in aenigmate', alia est per speculum et in lumine. Prima fit tripliciter, scilicet ablatione, eminentia et causa. Ablatione in hunc modum procedendo: nullum corpus est deus; nullum intelligibile creatum est deus. Et cum demonstratio de re cognoscibili fiat ad sensum vel ad intellectum, de deo autem cognoscendo non potest fieri demonstratio ad sensum, quia est incorporeus, nec ad intellectum, quia forma nobis cognita caret, sed per solam alterius formae remotionem: quasi ab aliis eligendo separatur et separando eligitur. Quod innuit Boethius in libro De duabus naturis dicens: »deus et materia integro perfectoque intellectu capi non possunt, sed aliquo modo privatione ceterarum rerum capiuntur«. Unde Dionysius dicit quod affirmationes de deo factae vel dictae incompactae sunt, negationes vero verae. <LW5:93> Eminentia cognoscitur, quando in unoquoque, quod nobilius est et eminentius, deo attribuitur. Secundum quod dicit Augustinus X Confessionum: qui facit pulchra, pulchrior est, qui fortia, fortior et qui bona, melior est. Disce ergo homo ex creaturis cognoscere creatorem, et ne inhaereas ei quod factum est et perdas eum per quem factum est. Causa vero cognoscitur, quando omnia mobilia ad unum immobile, omnia variabilia ad unum invariabile, omnia corporabilia ad unum simplex et omnium multitudinem ad primam resolvimus unitatem, quae quidem »principium et causa est omnium« eorum quae sunt. Unum enim est in generatione omnium ante multa, et simplex est ante compositum prioritate naturali, secundum philosophum in De caelo et mundo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
◊5◊ Secundo cognoscitur in via per speculum et in lumine, quando scilicet lux divina per effectum suum aliquem specialem irradiat super potentias cognoscentes <LW5:94> et super medium in cognitione, elevans intellectum ipsum ad id quod naturaliter non potest. »Mentis enim humanae acies invalida in tam excellenti lumine non figitur, nisi per iustitiam fidei prius purius emundetur«, secundum Augustinum libro De trinitate; et in VII Confessionum dicit: »aeterna veritas et vera caritas et cara aeternitas, tu es deus meus, tibi suspiro 'die ac nocte'; cum te primo cognovi, tu assumpsisti me«. Ecce qualiter dicit quod assumptus fuerit, ut videret esse quod viderat, »et nudum me esse qui videram; et reverberasti infirmitatem meam radians in me vehementer, et contremui amore et horrore et inveni me longe esse a te in regione dissimilitudinis«.
 
 
 
 ◊6◊ Et haec cognitio operatur ad tria: primo ad occulta vel futura pronuntiandum, secundo ad meritorie operandum, tertio ad divinam dulcedinem praegustandum. Primus modus est prophetalis; secundus in habitibus gratuitis usque ad fructus; tertius in exstasi mentis, et haec in fructibus. Secundus et tertius perfecte erant in eo, quia de tertio dicitur secundum quod est in intellectu <LW5:95> practico. Haec cognitio scientia vel sapientia, quasi sapida scientia, quae aliquando intromittit hominem in affectum multum. Ecce quomodo 'vas' illud 'auri' commendatur a pretiositate materiae, id est utilitatis scientiae. Et secundum hoc talis et tanta scientia non fuit in materia vitii, sed virtutis. Unde dicitur X Confessionum: »da mihi te, deus meus, redde te mihi«; non enim amo 'primos recubitos in cenis' nec 'salutari in foro', nec 'vocari ab hominibus rabbi'; sed te »amo et, si parum est, amem validius. Et nec possum metiri, quantum mihi desit amoris ad id, quod satis est, donec currat vita mea in amplexus tuos et abscondatur in absconsione vultus tui. Hoc tamen scio, quia mihi male praeter te, non solum extra me, sed etiam in me ipso, et omnis copia, quae deus non est, egestas mihi est«.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ◊7◊ Secundo commendatur beatus Augustinus a dispositione formae in eo quod dicitur 'ornatus omni lapide pretioso'. Dispositio autem formae in ipso est exhibitio virtutis in operatione. Et bene dicitur virtus gratuita forma, quia rem esse est a forma, secundum Boethium De trinitate. Et bene dicitur <LW5:96> esse a virtute, quia sicut improprie dicuntur mortui homines, ita malus improprie dicitur esse. Esse enim est »quod ordinem retinet servatque naturam«, secundum Boethium in III Consolationum. Et virtus est ordo, secundum Augustinum, ordo inquam amoris, quia qui virtutem habet, ordinem tenet servatque naturam. »Nihil enim est quod servans naturam deo contrarie conetur«, secundum Boethium in eodem.
 
◊8◊ Sapientia igitur beati Augustini fuit sibi pro materia virtutis, virtutis inquam monasticae, politicae et theologicae. Monastica virtus ordinat et perficit hominem in se ipso, quia opus eius est carnis suppeditatio. Actus virtutis monasticae est +hic; fructus eius est++ spiritualis laetitia ex luculenta bonorum operum exercitatione, virtutis politicae cum civium amicitia et ex integra spiritus conservatione actus virtutis theologicae obtinetur spiritualis effectus a dei gratia. Fructus eius iste est. Unde ad Gal. 5: 'fructus autem spiritus caritas, gaudium'. De quo gaudio Eccli. 30: 'non est sensus supra sensum salutis, et non est oblectamentum supra cordis gaudium'. De quo gaudio Augustinus X Confessionum dicit: »est gaudium, quod non datur <LW5:97> impiis, sed eis qui te gratis colunt«, domine, »quorum gaudium tu ipse es. Et ipsa est beata vita: gaudere ad te, in te, propter te, ipsa est vita et non est altera«.
 
 
 ◊9◊ Virtus politica est luculenta bonorum operum exercitatio et perficit hominem et ordinat in civium collegio. Actus virtutis politicae est haec, quae exhibet opera amicis in deo et inimicis propter deum in tantum, ut 'si esurierit inimicus, cibat illum; si sitit, potum dat ei'. Fructus autem qui ex hoc sequitur, est non tantum civium, sed etiam inimicorum vindicata amicitia. Unde ad Rom. 12: 'hoc enim faciens carbones ignis congeres super caput eius', et ad Rom. 12: 'caput eius' est mens animae, super quam carbones congeruntur, dum per praeventionem beneficiorum ad reddendum compelluntur.
 
 
 
◊10◊ Theologica virtus perficit hominem cum deo, quia est integra spiritus conservatio ex carnis subiectione. Actus virtutis theologicae, id est fidei, dilectionis, est hic. Fructus eius est spiritualis effectus gratiae ad perfectionem iustitiae.
◊11◊ Sed quia non contingit nos de deo aliquid scire nisi per effectus, ideo distinguamus septem modos gratiae adventus in 'vas' taliter 'ornatum'. Venit enim <LW5:98> primo per modum nivis refrigerantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet ab aestu carnalium desideriorum refrigeratio. Secundo venit per modum roris impinguantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet aeternorum desideriorum impinguatio. Tertio venit per modum vini inebriantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet omnimoda rerum mutabilium oblivio. Quarto venit per modum olei subiectum penetrantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet illuminatio dei et inflammatio. Quinto venit per modum ignis depurantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet perfecta purgatio. Sexto venit per modum lucis se cum subiecto unientis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet 'in eandem imaginem' cum deo transformatio. Septimo venit per modum spiritus vehementer impellentis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet naturalis vitae defectio. Ecce per istum modum beatus Augustinus fuit ditatus, ideo dicitur sic 'vas electionis' a dispositione formae.
 
 
 
◊12◊ Tertio commendatur beatus Augustinus a ponderis quantitate in eo quod dicitur 'solidum'. Quantitas autem in pondere est vehementia in amore. De quo idem: »Quantum te amabo, bone Iesu? Tuus amor sicut fons, meus sicut <LW5:99> sitis. Ex toto enim tu amasti me. Scio enim, quid faciam. Ponam totum meum contra totum tuum, quia plus non possum. Potero autem, cum donare volueris. Unum scio, quia non quiescam, donec totus amor fiam.« Quod nobis praestare dignetur, qui vivit deus. Amen. Iste sermo sic est reportatus ab ore magistri Echardi de Hochheim, die beati Augustini, Parisius.
 
◊1◊ One can appropriately introduce this verse for the commemoration of Saint Augustine, wherein, amongst others, he is commended in three ways which are implied in the metaphor of a vessel: first, in the preciousness of the material, for by ‘gold’ we have to understand ‘wisdom’, when [it is said], a vessel of gold, second, in its characteristics, when [it is said], adorned with whatever most precious stone, third, in the magnitude of its weight, when [it is said], pure.
◊2◊ First, therefore, he is commended by the preciousness of the material, for the breath of wisdom and knowledge gathered under his many talents. For he was a good theorist, an exceptional locutor, and a most excellent ethicist. For in such a way do the Masters divide for us the science of philosophy, namely into theory, logic, and ethics or practical [philosophy]. And according to these three, which so in turn occupy men, that they were never seen to rest for any time from any of these three: thinking, talking, and doing. Theory or speculation is further divided into mathematics, physics, and ethics or theology. ‘On natural things, however, one has to ponder rationally, on mathematicals systematically, and on divine things intellectually; and neither to be drawn to images, but rather to refer to form, which truly is form, not image, and which is being and from which being is’, as [one reads] in Boethius' book On the Trinity, ‘all being is from form’. The mathematician, however, separates the forms and shapes which are indeed inherent of matter, by way of disciplined consideration, the scientist of physics, i.e. of nature, makes inquiries into the causes of quality, motion, and quantity, the moral philosopher or theologian more subtly looks closely into the ideas of things which are in the divine mind, before they come forth into bodies, according to which mode they exist there from eternity in an intelligible manner.
◊3◊ And of the divine things, sometimes it is argued according to the highest authorities, at other times, by means of examples searched for outside [these], but at other times the divine substance itself without subjected matter is contemplated. Saint Augustine made use of authorities when he first wants to lead us to the trinity of persons with their unity of essence and introduces it from Genesis: Let us make man according to our image and likeness [Gen. 1:26], and through the plural form of the verb understanding the trinity and by means of the singular of the noun declaring the unity of substance. The example is also used by Plato in the Timaeus, when speaking about the highest principle of all things, he says, ‘it is thus impossible to say anything about God, just as it is difficult to find him, and so one flees to the similitude of things, examples and amongst all created things only to that one which one finds most similar [to God]’. And John the Evangelist, when he dares to speak of the uncreated word, calls it light [John 1:4], because light is the first and universal species of corporeal forms, as well as the principle of life in bodies. And thus the word of God, the Father, is ‘the substance of’ all ‘that exists’, and ‘principle and cause of all substance and life’, according to Dionysus' On the Divine Names.
 
◊4◊ And thus on [his] way the theologian reaches a twofold knowledge; one is through a mirror and in darkness [1Cor. 12:13], the other is through a mirror and in light. The first happens in three ways, namely by taking away, by eminence and by causality. Taking away proceeds in the following manner: no body is God, nothing intelligibly created is God. And as a recognicable thing is being shown by way of sense or intellect, God, indeed, cannot be recognised by way of sense or intellect, because he is incorporeal and has not a known form like us, but [he can only be recognised] solely through the removal of the other form, which as if by selecting it was separated and by separating it was selected, which Boethius introduces in his book On the Two Natures: ‘God and matter cannot be grasped wholly and perfectly by the intellect, but they may be grasped by another way of privation of other things’. Therefore, Dionysius says that our affirmations about God are incompletely made or said, whereas negations are true. By eminence, he [God] becomes known, when in a single way something that is more noble and more eminent is attributed to God, according to which Augustine says in Confessions X: ‘Who makes things beautiful, is more beautiful; things strong, is stronger, and who made things good, is better. Learn therefore, human being to know the creator from the creatures, do not cling to things which have been made, loosing the one through whom it has been made’. By cause, he [God] becomes known when we resolve all that is moveable to the one immovable; all that is varied to the one invariable, all that is corporeal to the simple one, and all multiplicity to the first one, who, indeed, is ‘the principle and cause of all’ those which are. The one, indeed, in the generating of all prior to the multiple things, and he is simple by natural priority before anything composed according to the Philosopher [Aristotle] in On Heaven and Earth.
◊5◊ Secondly, how [God] becomes known on the way through a mirror and in light, when, for example, the divine light, through its own effect, shines on something special beyond the powers to know and beyond the mean of cognition, elevating the intellect itself to that what it can naturally not achieve. ‘Truly the feeble sight of the human mind is not remedied in so excellent a light, unless it is first cleansed more purely through the justice of faith’, according to Augustine in the book On the Trinity. And in book VII [10:16] of the Confessions he says: ‘Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity, you are my God, to you I sigh both day and night [Ps. 1:2]. When I first knew you, you raised me up [see Ps. 26:10]’. See, in which way he says that he was raised up, so that he saw the being that he say, ‘yet I was naked, when I saw, but you cast aside the infirmity of my sight, shining heavily into me, and I trembled with love and fear; and I found myself to be far off from you, in a land of dissimilitude’.
◊6◊ And this cognition operates towards three things: First, towards the annunciation of hidden or future things; second, towards things that have to be done for benefit, third towards the foretasting of divine sweetness. The first is the prophetic way; the second happens in graced habits until they carry fruits; the third takes place in the ecstasy of the mind, and this means in the fruits. The second and third were perfectly present in him [Augustine], because it is spoken about the third one according to that which exists in the practical intellect. This cognition by science or wisdom, like tasting wisdom, sometimes comes into a person in a heavy affect. See how that vessel of gold is commended by the preciousness of its material, i.e. its usefulness for knowledge. And according to this such kind and breath of science did not happen in the material of vice, but of virtue. Therefore, it is said in book XIII of the Confessions: ‘Give yourself to me, my God, give yourself back to me’, for I do not love the places of honour at table [Matth. 23:6] nor salutation in the square [Matth. 6:2], nor to be called ‘Rabbi’ by human beings [Matth. 23:7], but ‘I love you, and if that is not enough, make me able to love you more. How much is my love still lacking? I can never know, so give to my life your bounty and shelter me in the shadow of your presence. Only this I know, my life is worthless to me, not only the things outside myself, but things within myself, and [this] is my poverty, all the treasures I have which are not God.’
◊7◊ Second, Saint Augustine is commended for the characteristics of this which is said to be adorned with whatever most precious stone. The characteristics in itself is an exhibition of virtue in action, and virtue is well-called free form, because something is through form, according to Boethius in On the Trinity. And it is well said to be through virtue, because just as men are improperly said to be dead, so the evil person is improperly said to be. Being, namely, is ‘what retains order and preserves nature’ according to Boethius in book III of the Consolation. And virtue is order according to Augustine, indeed the order of love, for the one who has virtue keeps order and,  preserves nature. ‘Nothing that [truly] serves nature can be contrary to God’, according to Boethius in the same place.
◊8◊ Wisdom, therefore, of Saint Augustine was for him the matter of virtue, namely monastic, political, and theological virtue. Monastic virtue directs and perfects human being in itself because its work is the submission of the flesh. The act of monastic virtue is <this: its fruit is> spiritual delight from the splendid exercise of good works; of political virtue, it is the obtaining the friendship with fellow-citizens; and from the entire preservation of the spirit the act of theological virtue is obtained as spiritual effect from the grace of God. Its fruit is that one, from where [one reads] at Gal. 5[:22]: The fruit of the spirit are love, joy. Of that joy Jes. Sir. 30[:16 writes]: There is no greater riches than bodily health, and there is no delight greater than a joyous heart. On that joy Augustine says in book X of the Confessions: ‘There is a joy not granted to the impious, but only to those who abide by grace in you’, Lord, ‘and you, yourself, are this joy. The blessed life is this, to rejoice unto you, in you, and with you. This is life and no other’.
◊9◊ Political virtue is the splendid exercise of good works, and it perfects human being and directs one in the community of citizens. These are the works of political virtue: it exhibits its deeds for friends in God and for enemies, insofar as God is in them, as [it is said]: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, give him something to drink [Rom. 12:20]. The fruit which follows from this is not just love of the citizen, but even the vindicating love of our enemies. Therefore, [one reads at] Rom. 12[:20]: In doing this you will heap red hot coals upon your head. And ad Rom. 12[:20]: Your head is the mind of the soul, upon which coals are heaped when through the anticipation of kindness they are compelled to give back.
◊10◊ Theological virtue perfects a human being in relation to God, because it is a entire preservation of the spirit from the subjection of the flesh. The fruit of it is the effect of spiritual grace for the perfection of justice.
◊11◊ But because we are not able to know God other than through His effects, we must therefore distinguish seven manners of grace having come into the vessel so adorned. It comes first in the manner of a cooling snow, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely cooling the heat of fleshly desires. Second, it comes through the manner of dense dew, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely the intensifying of desires for eternal things. Third, it comes through the manner of an inebriating wine, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely in the forgetfulness of all mutable things. Fourth, it comes through the manner of ointment that penetrates to what it is applied, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely the illumination of and the burning for God. Fifth, it comes through the manner of a purging fire, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely that perfect purification. Sixth, it comes through the manner of light, uniting itself with what is subjected to it, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely one's transformation into the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Seventh, it comes through the manner of the spirit blowing vehemently, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely giving up one's natural life. Behold, in this way Saint Augustine was enriched, and so he is called a chosen vessel for his character.
◊12◊ Third, Saint Augustine is praised for the magnitude of that which he pondered, [for it] is called “solid.” Magnitude in weight is intensity in relation to love, about which he himself has said: “As much as I love you, Good Jesus, your love is like a spring, whereas I am parched. You have loved me without limits. Indeed, I know my deeds. I lay my whole being before you, because nothing more is possible. I will drink, if you but command. I know only this, I shall not be satisfied until I am made completely [yours] in love” which he deigns to offer us, God who lives. Amen.
This sermon has been recounted from the mouth of Meister Eckhart of Hochheim, on the Feast of Saint Augustine, at Paris.

 




[1] This translation takes note of (although often deviating from) the translation provided by M. Demkovich, OP; P. Hyde, and J.D. Rooney, and edited by M. Demkovich, OP, available at https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxheWNhcmR1c3Byb2plY3R8Z3g6MmY3ZDY0NTUzYmJjN2IzNw.

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