St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio
Cardinal Bisihop of Alba & Doctor of the Church

Commentary on the Book of Sentances

of Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris

Preface to Book I

Latin text taken from Opera Omnia S. Bonaventurae, Ad Claras Aquas, 1882, Vol 1, p.1-4.
Notes by the Quarrachi Editors.


The depths of rivers He has searched, and hidden things
He has brought to light.
Job 28:11

That word, which1 is taken from the twenty-eighth chapter of Job, having been considered more diligently, opened to us the way to foreknow the fourfold kinds of cause in the Book of Sentances, namely, the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final. For the material cause is signified in the name "of rivers," the formal cause in the investigation of the "depths," the final cause in the revelation of "hidden things," and indeed the efficient cause is undertood in the addition of two phrases, namely "He has searched" and "He has brought to light."


The material cause is signified2 by the name of "rivers" in the plural, not the singular, so that not only the matter or subject of the whole book would be touched upon in general, but even that of the individual books in detail. On account of which it must be noted, that just as there is a fourfold property of a material river, so there is a fourfold propterty of a spiritual river, concerning which, according to the fourfold difference, are the four Books of the Sentances. For I consider3 the material river in regards to its duration, and I find its perenniality. For just as Isidore says:4 "The river is a perennial flowing." I consider it according to its extension, and I find its spaciousness. For in this is a river is distinguished from a rivulet. I consider it according to its motion, and I find its circulation. For just as it is said in the first chapter of Ecclesiates:5 "To the place, whence rivers flow, they return" etc. I consider6 its effect, and I find its cleansing. For a river, on account of the abundance of its waters cleanses the lands, through which it runs, to the extent that it is not polluted.7 And since every one speaking figuratively speaks figuratively according to some similitude,8 with metaphors drawn from this fourfold condition, a river is found to be fourfold in spiritual things, as we can gather from the Scriptures.


 
First,
on account of its perenniality a river is said to be an emanation of persons, since that emanation alone is without beginning, without end.9 This river is spoken of in the seventh chapter of Daniel says:10 "The Ancient of Days sat, and a fiery and swift river went forth from His face." That Ancient of Days is the eternal Father, whose antiquity is eternity. That Ancient One "sat," since not only is eternity in Him, but also immutability.11 "From the face of that Ancient One a fiery and swift river went forth," that is, from the loftiness of His divinity proceeded the fulness of love and the fulness of virtue: the fulness of virtue in the Son,12 therefore the river was swift; the fulness of love in the Holy Spirit, and therefore the river was fiery.

1 On the authority of the manuscripts and edition 1, we substitute in the proposition the relative construction, adding "which" and "is", for a simpler participle; which the Vatican edition has. Then by placing "opened" in place of "opens" we follow the more oustanding of our codices A B C E G K O R S T W X Y ff and others which we have especially consulted.
2 Vatian edition, with the manuscripts and even edition 1 opposing it, adds this word "for" [at the beginning]; codex Y add to this "moreover"; we prefer however the reading of the other codices and editor 1, who however omit the word.
3 Many codices like A G I O T V W Y aa bb have "By considering", which also then on account of a changed construction omit "and" after "duration." Likewise it occurs in the three subsequent propositions here below. This reading, in as much as it could be more elegant in itself, is not displeasing, if it is supported by a sufficient number of codies, and if the aforesaid codices agree with it; but in the last proposition very few codies return to this reading.
4 Book XIII. of the Etymologies, or Of Origins, chapter 21: "A river is a perennial down-flowing of waters, called such by its perpetual flowing."
5 Verse 7 Vatican edition, against manuscripts and editions 1, 2, 3, 6, in the now active voice has "Ecclesiastes says."
6 Codices F M X, agreeing with themselves, add "according to".
7 The Vatican edition has "they are polluted", but wrongly, as is gathered from having made a comparison with what follows, and with the opposing manuscripts and edition 1.
8 This proposition, taken from the sixth book of the Topic. of Aristotle, chapter 2, is quoted in the same words in the edition of Aristotles works printed at Venice by Gergoius de Gregoriis at the expense of Benedict Fontana, 1496, and in the Parisian edition by Ambrosius Firmin-Didot, 1878; in other editions it is rendered thus "For all who use a metaphor use it according to some similitude." a little after, in the opposing mansucripts and edition 1, the Vatican edition badly omits "drawn", then places "in rivers" for "river".
9 Codex Y exhibits the last part of the sentance thus: "in as much as it alone is without beginning and without end."
10 This text is taken partly from v. 9, partly from v. 10.
11 Edition 1 has "inexchangeableness".
12 The Vatican edition "the Son" and a little after "the Holy Spriit"; but we prefer, as the better reading, the one received in the text, which is almost of all the manuscripts and edition 1; for "virtue" is appropriated to the very terminus of the first divine emanation or to the Son (see below, d. 32 a. 2 q. 2 to the end.), indeed "love" is appropriated to the terminus of the second emanation or to the Holy Spirit. (d. 10 a. 2 q. 1).



p. 2

Secondly, on account of its spaciousness a river is said to be an extension [productio] of clean things, on account of which reason not only a river, but a sea is said by the Prophet to be this clean thing in the Psalm:1 "This sea, great and spacious" etc. This river is spoken of in the twenty-ninth chapter of Ezechiel:2 "Behold, I also say to you Pharao, king of Egypt, who recline in the midst of the rivers: Mine is the river, and I made it Myself. I will will place a bridle upon your jaws" etc. That great dragon, to whom the Lord speaks and which He threatens in the figure and person of the Pharao, is the devil, who is the king of Egypt,3 since he reigns in those, whom he has thoroughly blinded with the darkness of error, as heretics are thought to be, to whom4 He even says: "Mine is the river, and I made it Myself," as if to say that He Himself had made this world and He Himself has no other beginning. He mentioned this error and brought it up5 for the sake of the impious Manichees, who contend that the entire machine of visible things was established by an evil God. The jaws of this dragon the Lord "will crush,"6 when with his power to suggest false things born away, He will show, that He is the establisher of this river; whence in the same authority it follows: "Let all the inhabitants of Egypt know, that I am the Lord."

 
Third,
on account of its circulation a river is said to be the incarnation of the Son of God, since, just as in a circle the last is conjoined with the beginning, so in the incarnation the highest is conjoined with the lowest, that is God to slime,7 and the first to the last, as the eternal Son of God to the man established on the sixth day. This river is spoken of in the twenty-fourth chapter of Ecclesiates:8 "I like the river Dorix, and as an aquaduct have gone forth from paradise." Dorix is interpretated medicine of generation, and this is figurative way of speaking, to be understood conversely, that is, as a generation of medicine. For the incarnation of the Son of God was nothing other than a generation of medicine: "For truly has He born our wearinesses and carried our infirmities."9 Therefore rightly is the incarnation of the Son called the river Dorix. And Christ10 himself truly says concerning Himself: "I like the river Dorix," that is, as a medicinal river, "and as an aquaduct I have gone forth from paradise." This nature of water is this,11 that as much as it ascends, it descends. Such was the going-forth of the incarnation, according to what is said in the Psalm:12 "From the highest Heaven His going forth, and His meeting even unto His highest." And the sixteenth chapter of John:13 "I have gone forth from the Father and I came into the world; again I leave the world and I go to the Father," and so He made a circle. Also concerning this river as regards His going forth from His mother can be expounded, that , which is said in the tenth chapter of Esther in the dream of Mordechai:14 "A tiny rivulet sprung into the river, and was converted into light and into the sun." Who, I beseech, is this tiny rivulet but the most humble virgin? She sprang into the river, when She generated Christ, who was not only a river by15 the abundance of grace, but also is called the light of wisdom and the sun of justice, according to what is said of Him in the first16 chapter of John: "He was the true light" etc.

Fouth, on accout of cleansing a river is said to be the dispensation of the Sacraments, which without themselves being polluted cleanse us from befoulments of sins. This river is spoken of in the twenty-second chapter of the Apocalypse:17 "He showed me the river of living waters, splendid as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb." The dispensation of the Sacraments is said to be a river "spendid as crystal" on account of the clarity and brilliance, which it leaves in the souls, who are cleansed in this river. The river is also said to be "of living waters" on account of the efficacy of grace, which vivifies the soul. This river also "proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb." For sacramental grace proceed from God as from an author18 and efficient cause, from Christ as from a mediator and from the one who merited it. On account of which all the Sacraments are said to have efficacious grace from the passion of Christ, whence Augustine testifies:19 "From the side of the sleeping Christ / there flowed the Sacraments, while blood and water flowed from there."

1 Psalm 103:25 A little before this very many of the codices, such as A B C D G H I K M O P R S T W ee and edition 1 omit "reason" [causam]; the reading, not to be spurned, is much more genuine, in so far as the relative "which" refers to "spaciousness."
2  Verse 3. The Vulgate in this passage reads "of your rivers"; immediately afterward edition 4 and 6 have "you who" for "and you".
3  Trusting the manuscripts and editon 1, we have expunged the passage in the Vatican edition, which is added here: "which is interpreted darkness." Immediately afterwards codex O has "who" in place of "since he."
4  The Vatican edition has "who," but this is entirely false, as is clear from the context itself, and repugnant to the manuscripts with edition 1.
5  Codices K V and editon 1 add "and brings it up," indeed the others, such as codices A and T for "he brought it up" read "he brings it up" in regard to the Manichees living in the time of the holy Doctor.
6  Codex U reads "He will break" Then codices B C D G I O T W X Z bb have the not so good reading "since", codex A has "who" in place of "when." A little afterwards by the words "in the same authority" understand Exechiel 29:6 where even the Vulgate with edition 1 reads "because" for "since."
7  We have added the words omitted in the Vatican edition "that is God to slime" with the assitance of the manuscripts and edition 1. Confer the "Book on the Spirit and soul," chapter 14. A little before this codex ee with edition 1 reads "has been conjoined" in place of "is conjoined." At the end of the passage codices A C F I M S T ect. have "sixth" [sexto]; the Vatican edition has "sixth" [sexta].
8  Verse 41 in the Vulgate reads "I like the Dioryx of the river and as " etc. Likewise this recurrs a little below. But see Lyranus and Cardinal Hugo of S. Charo on this verse. [cf. also Corn. a Lapide, vol V, 1841 ed.] pp.574-6.
9  Isaiah 53:4, in which passage the Vulgate reads "our sorrows" for "our infirmities."
10  On account of our trust in the manuscripts and edition 1, for "Christ" is badly lacking in the Vatican edition.
11  With the codices and edition 1 opposing it, the Vatican edition puts "The nature of this water is," but faultily, because what is subjoined is appropriate not only to this or that water, but all water.
12  Psalm 18:7 (6)
13  Verse 28.
14  Verse 6, in which passage the Vatican edition has here and a little afterwards "small" not "tiny," though the mansucripts and edition 1 disagree; the Vulgate however has : "A little fountain, which sprung" etc. A little before this codices I and T omit "which is said," for that which the Vatican edition with edition 1 and one other codex have as "which . . .says."
15  Codices H and ee have "on account of"; then codex M has "superabundance"
16  Verse 9.
17  Verse 1.
18  On the authority of very many codices, such as K R Y Z and ee we substitute "author" for "agent", which the Vatican edition has. Each word is often written in codices in the same manner. Then edition 1 adds after "Christ" the word "indeed."
19 "On the Gospel of John," chapter 2 Tract 9, n. 10: "From the sleeping Adam Eve is made from his side; after Christ died His side was stuck with the lance, so that the Sacraments would flow forth, by which the Church is formed." See also the book of quotations taken from Augustine (which is by Prosper / of Aquintaine) n. 329 A little before this on account of codices A C F G H I K P R S T U X Y aa bb ee and edition 1 we put "whence" in place of "as". Then codices S aa bb with edition 1 have "with Augustine as witness" for "Augustine testifies," among whose words codex M adds "of the Church" after "the Sacraments."



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there flowed the Sacraments, while blood and water flowed from there."

All these rivers are contained at once and in order in the second1 chapter of Genesis, where it is said, that "the river went forth from the place of delight, which from there divided into four sources: the name of the first, Phiso, the name of the second, Gehon, the name of the third, Tigris, and the name of the fourth, Euphrates." That river going forth form Paradise is the entire matter of this book. The four rivers proceeding from this one are the special matter of the four books, just as one can easily adapt, who wants to diligently explain2 the interpretations of the aforesaid names. For "Phiso" is interpreted "mouth of change," and in this is signified the emanation of persons. For just as from the material mouth there proceeds the word and spirit, so from the mouth of the Father comes forth the Son and Holy Spirit, as is said in the twenty-fouth chapter of Ecclesiates:3 "I went forth from the mouth of the Most High, first born before every creature." This the Son says Himself, who is the Word and Wisdom of the Father. And in the Psalm:4 "By the word of the Lord the heavens have been made firm: and by the spirit of His mouth" etc. "Gehon" is interpreted "sand," and in this is signified the extension of clean things. For just as the universe of creatures is compared to the sea on account of its spaciousness, so the sands on account of their numerosity, as is said in the first chapter of Ecclesiates:5 "Sand of the sea and drops of the rain: who can count thee?" "Tigris" is interpreted "arrow", and in this is signified the incarnation of the Son of God. For just as in an arrow iron has been conjoined with wood, so in Christ the fortitude of divinity has been conjoined to the pliability of humanity. And just as an arrow flies from the bow and wood to strike adversaries, so did Christ climbing the Cross destroy the adversary. This is that arrow, which is spoken of in the thirteenth chapter of Kings:6 "Arrow of the Lord's salvation, and arrow of salvation against Syria." "Euphrates" is interpreted "fruit-bearing", in which is signified the dispensation of the Sacraments, which not only purge the soul from fault, but even fecundate it in grace. Which has been signified in the last chapter of the Apocalype,7 where it is said, that along the crystaline river "there was a wood bearing fruit, whose leaves were for medicine."

 

 
Therefore since four are the rivers, four are the depths of the rivers corresponding to the aforesaid rivers.

The depth of the eternal emanation is the loftiness of the divine existence [esse], of which there can be understood that which is said in the seventh chapter of Ecclesiates:8 "Deep profundity, who will find it?" Truly a deep profundity and a profound depth, so that the Apostle might exclaim in the eleventh chapter to the Romans9 and say: "O depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how incomprehensible are His judgements, and unsearchable His ways!" Truly incomprehensible judgements, because profound. For the judgements of God are as the many of the abyss.10 and as is said in the first chapter of Ecclesiates:11 "Depth of the abyss, who has measured it?" This profundity is signified in the eleventh chapter of Job:12 "Perhaps you perceive the footprints of God and repair even to the perfect Omnipotent? More lofty than Heaven, and what will you make? more profound than Hell, and whence will you know [cognosces]?" as if he were to say: "you are not able of yourself": therefore the Apostle counsels in the third chapter to the Ephesians:13 "Be rooted and founded upon charity, so that you may be able to comprehend" etc..

And this depth the Master investigates in the first book. For the loftiness of the divine existence (esse) consists in two things, namely in the noblest emanations, which are generation and procession, and14 in the noblest conditions, which are the highest wisdom, omnipotence and perfect will, concerning which is the first book. For in the first part he deals with the Most Holy Unity and Trinity, in the second, in fact15 with a special tract, he deals with His abovesaid threefold condition or property.


 
The depth of creation is the vanity of the created existence (esse). For the creature in as much as it vanishes, so much more does it tend to a depth, either vanishing through fault or through punishment. On account of this it is said through the Prophet in the person of a man, who vanished through fault, in the Psalm:16 "I have been thrust into the slime of the deep, and there is no substance." And again the Prophet praying, lest he vanish through punishment: "Do not submerge me, he said, storm of water, nor swallow me, depth" etc..

This depth the Master investigates in the second / book.

of Aquintaine) n. 329 A little before this on account of codices A C F G H I K P R S T U X Y aa bb ee and edition 1 we put "whence" in place of "as". Then codices S aa bb with edition 1 have "with Augustine as witness" for "Augustine testifies," among whose words codex M adds "of the Church" after "the Sacraments."

1 Verses 10-14, where the Vulgate adds "to irrigate Paradise" after "of delight" and enumerates the names of the rivers in this fashion: "The name of one, Phison,... and the name of the second river, Gehon,...Indeed the name of the third river, Tigris,...Moreover the fourth river, is itself the Euphrates." Many codices A F G I S W Y etc. with editions 1, 2, 3, 6 spell the name of the second river thus "Gyon." A little before this codex M has "according to thier order" in place of "in order".
2  Codex ee and edition 1 have "consider".
3  Verse 5, where the Vulgate has prodivi [went forth] for prodii [went forth.]
4  Psalm 32:6.
5  Verse 3, in which text the Vatican manuscript with the Vulgate adds "and the days of the world" after "rain". A little before we have substituted from codices A C G H I O R S T U Y Z bb ee ff and edition 1 "numerosity" for "innumerableness," though each reading has the same meaning.
6  Verse 17.
7  Verse 2, where the Vulgate reads: "The tree of life bearing twelve fruits, bearing its own fruit throughout every month and the leaves of the wood were for the healing of the nations."
8  Verse 25.
9  Verse 33, in which text, trusting in the codices and edition 1, we have added "and how unsearchable are His ways," which the Vatican edition omitts.
10  Psalm 35:7, where the Vulgate reads: "Thy judgements are as the many of the abyss."
11  Verse 2.
12  Verse 7 and 8.
13  Verse 17 and 18.
14  The Vatican edition has a confused reading, in which the conjunction "and" is omitted and there is put in its place a period, so that with the following preposition "in" there begins a new sentance: we have emended this from the manuscrips and edition 1.
15  There has been inserted here in the Vatican edition the following sentance: "which he begins in distinction 35: And since we observed above" etc., which we have removed as an interpolation on the authority of the codices and edition 1.
16  Psalm 68:2. The text of Sacred Scripture just following is found in the same Psalm 68:16.


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book. For the vanity of the created existence [esse] consists in two things, viz. in change from non-existence [non esse] to existence [esse] and again in the reversion into non-existence [non esse]. And in as much as no creature passes entirely into non-being [non ens] by nature, nevertheless, just as Augustine says,1 "the sinner tends to non-existence [non esse] by fault." And concerning these two is the entire second book. For in the first part he deals with the going-forth of things, in the second part2 he in fact deals with the Fall, as concerns temptation by the devil, original sin and actual sin, through to the end of the book.

The depth of the incarnation is the merit of the humanity3 of Christ, which was so great, as truly can be said to be deep, as if not having a terminus nor bottom. Of this there can be understood that which is said in the second chapter of Jona:4 "Thou has cast me forth into the depth in the heart of my mother, and the river surrounded me." This can be said of Christ, who was so humiliated, that truly he could be said to be "cast forth" and "abject," as is said in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah:5 "And we have seen him, and there is no beauty in him, and we desired him: dispised and the last of men" etc. Truly therefore He calls himself "cast-forth," but where? "in the depth of the sea and of the river." For the passion of Christ is compared to the sea on account of the bitterness of its penalty, but also6 to a river on account of the sweetness of its charity. For the most sweet Heart of Jesus Christ was stirred with such great a tenderness of love for7 us, that it did not seem heavy for Him to sustain for us an extreme and most bitter kind of death.

And this depth the Master investigates in the third book. For the merit of Christ consists in two things, namely in His Passion, through which He redeemed us, and in His action, through which He formed us, which consists in His works of virtue, of gifts, and of precepts, concerning which two things is the third book. For in the first part the incarnation and passion are dealt with, in which consists our redemption, in the second8 the virtues, gifts, and precepts, in which consist our formation.

 
The depth of the sacramental dispensation is the efficay of a perfect medicine. For so great is the efficacy of the sacramental medicine, that it exceeds the human mind, so that it can truly be called a depth. This is spoken of in the fifty-first chapter of Isaiah:9 "Thou has placed a depth of the sea as Thy way, so that they might pass over free." That depth, in which the Egyptians were submerged and the sons of Israel10 passed over free and were saved, is the efficacy of the Sacraments, in which the works of darkness are destroyed and the arms of light and the gifts of graces are confered, through which man is transfered from the power of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of God of charity. This efficacy of the Sacraments is a depth of a sea and of a river: of a sea,11 in as much as at first it frees from fault and introduces one into the bitterness of penitence; of a river, in as much as it frees from misery and introduces one into the sweetness of glory.12 Which was presaged best of all in the sons of Israel, for whom as they went forth from Egypt the sea was dried up, and they passed over "through dry land in its midst," just as is said in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus;13 and for those entering into the land of promise the river was dried up, and they passed over through its midst, just as is said in the fourth chapter of Josuah.14

This depth the Master investigates in the fourth book. For the efficacy of the perfect medicine consists in two things, namely in its healing a variety of depressing infirmaties and in its freeing from the totality of worsening miseries; and concerning these two is the entire fourth book. For in the first part he deals with the manifold healing, which the seven Sacraments effect. In the second15 he deals with perfect healing, to which they lead, like the glory of the resurrected, who truly and faithfully harvested in the Sacraments of the Church; and contrariwise with the punishments of the wicked, who contemned the Sacraments of the Church.

 
Moreover from the investigation of the four depths in the four books there comes the result, namely the revelation of four hidden things.

1 The words cited from Augustine are not found litterarly in his works, but in as much as they regard the sense [of his teaching]; concerning this see book VII of the Confessions, chapter 16; On the True Religion, chapter 11 and book XIV of the City of God, chapter 13. [A little before this] codex X with edition 1 has "tends" for "passes," and codices F H and aa "into non-existence [non esse]" for "into non-being [non ens]"; in the following sentance after "second" many codices B E H K P V W X ff add "book."
2  The Vatican edition, against the authority of the manuscripts and edition 1, adds here "which begins in distinction 24: Therefore the devil seeing" etc. and then for "to the end [in finem]" reads "to the end [ad finem]".
3  Parting with the mansucripts and editions 1, 2, 3 the Vatican edition has "humility." Then codices F I T concluding the sentance with the word "terminus," begin the next differently: "This is the depth of which" etc., which is a reading not to be spurned.
4  Verse 4.
5  Verse 2.3, where the Vulgate omitts "in him" after "there was."
6  We have emended this undue omission of the words "but also" with the help of nearly all the codices and edition 1.
7  Codicex Y has "for [erga]".
8  The sentance, which the Vatican edition inserts here is : "which begins in distinction 23: Since this is infact considered above" etc.; "are dealt with [agitur]," is lacking in the manuscripts and in editon 1.
9  Verse 10, where the Vulgate omitts "your."
10 We have supplied "Israel" on the basis of many codices K F S T X Y EE etc. and edition 1.
11  We restore the mutilated reading of the Vatican edition, in which "and of a river: of a sea" is lacking on the basis of the manuscripts and edition 1.
12  The Vatican edition with very many codices has "of grace" in place of "of glory" contrary to codices aa and bb, whose reading nevertheless we judge to be genuine, because no only in the second part of the fourth book of the Sentances is grace not dealt with, but rather glory, but also because in the following paragraph only glory is dealth with. A little below, following very many codices such as A F G H M T etc. with edition 1, we have substituted "presaged" for "prefigured."
13  Verse 19, which the Vulgate puts thus: "Hoever the sons of Israel walked through dry land in its midst." In the codices cited, chapter 22, verse 22 reads: "And the sons of Israel entered in through the midst of a dry sea."
14  Verse 22-24. On the authority of the manuscripts and edition 1 we have corrected the corrupted reading of the Vatican edition "`The water was divided from Egypt, and they passed over through the midst of a dry sea, just as is said: And entering into the land of promise through a dry stream-bed Israel passed over that Jordan, with the Lord Our God drying up its waters' etc. In a similar manner it is said in Joshua."
15  The sentance added here in the Vatican edition "which begins in distinction 43: At last concerning the condition of the resurrection" etc., is not found in the manuscripts nor in edition 1. Then edition 1 has "namely" for "like," which is just as sufficient.


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First is the magnitudo of the divine substance, which is spoken of in the fourty-fifth1 chapter of Isaiah: "Truly Thou art a hidden God, the God of Israel, the Savior." Truly the magnitude of the divine substance is hidden according to that which is said in the twenty-sixth2 chapter of Job: "When we have scarecly heard a tiny drop of His speach, who can gaze at the magnitude of His thunder?" Certainly no one can gaze upon it, except him, with whom the wisdom of God dwells. On account of this that lover of wisdom begged, in the ninth chapter of Wisdom:3 "Send her from Thy holy heavens and from the throne of Thy magnitude."

This hidden thing the Master, replete with wisdom from on high, brought to light through the investigation of the first book. For with the noblest emanations and properties seen and undterstood, he points out for us the magnitude of the divine substance, according as this is possible to travelers.

The second hidden thing is the order of divine wisdom, which is spoken of in the twenty-eighth4 chapter of Job: "Where is wisdom found? and what is the place of understanding? it is hidden from the eyes of all the living." Truly hidden, because, just as is said in the same place,5 "wisdom brought from hidden places"; thus, as is understood, she requires the investigation of profundity not in herself, but in her works, in which she sparkles. Whence it is said in the first6 chapter of Ecclesiates, that "one is the Most High Creator, who pours her forth upon all His works."

Therefore the Master manisfests this hidden thing in the investigation of the second book. For having seen the order of goods and evils, it is clear to us, in what manner the wisdom of God has been ordained from eternity and in what manner from ancient times, before the earth was made.7

The third hidden thing is the fortitude of the divine power, which is spoken of in the third chapter of Habakuk:8 "The horns are in His mands; there His fortitude has been hidden"; this is said of Christ hanging upon the Cross, where the fortitude of virtue lay hidden beneath the mantle of infirmity. And "this is the sacrament hidden from the ages," which is spoken of in the third chapter to the Ephesians:9 "To me the least of all the Saints has been given this grace: to preach among the Gentiles the good news [evangelizare] of the unsearchable riches of Christ and to enlighten all, concerning that which is the dispensation of the sacrament hidden by the ages in God." This is the hidden sacrament, the sacred secretr, that10 the mighty God, to conquer the enemy, put on the arms of our infirmity; which is a thing unheard of by the ages.

However11 in the investigation of the third book, where it is shown, that Christ in His infirmity conquered the opposing power, the fortitude of the divine power is manifested. For if He conquered by means of infirmity, what would He have done, if He had fought by means of virtue? And if "the weak [body] of God is stronger than men," the arm of God "who will weaken it?"12 Truly is there revealed, that indescribable fortitude of Him, whose infirmity is so strong.

The fourth hidden thing is the sweetness of the Divine Mercy, which is spoken of in the Psalm:13 "How great the multitude of Thy sweetness, Lord, which Thou has hidden for those who fear Thee!" Truly hidden and reserved, for those who fear, is the sweetness of Mercy, because, just as is said in the Psalm:14 "The Mercy of the Lord is from eternity unto eternity upon those who fear Him, and upon those, who hope in His Mercy."

This sweetness is manifested in the inestigation of the fourth book. For having seen, in what way God dismisses sins in the present, and what manner15 are the medicines He applies to our wounds, and what manner are the rewards He will give in the future, the sweetness of the Divine Mercy is opened to us.

Therefore this public-exhibition [propalatio] of the hidden things is the general purpose [finis] of the book, to which the Master of the Sentances, willingly leading and being lead, has investigated the depths of the preceeding rivers by the grace of the Holy Spirit. For He is the extraordinary investigator of secrets and depths, according to that which is said in the second chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians:16 "The Spirit investigates all things, even the depths of God." Driven by the charity of this Spirit and enlightened by His light and clarity, the Master composed this work and searched the depths of rivers; with this Spirit also helping, he has been made the revealer of hidden things. For he is that very one, of whom it is written in the second chapter of Daniel:17 "He reveals depths and hidden things; and he knows / those things constituted in darkness."

1 Verse 15. In the following sentance we have restored "is" after "substance" on the basis of the manuscripts and editon 1.
2  Verse 14, in which text we have changed "little" into "tiny,"I trusting in the manuscripts and edition 1. The Vulgate reads "little" here and at the end has : "who will be able togaze at the thunder of His magnitude?"
3  Verse 10. A little before we have substituted with the help of the codices and editions 1, 2, and 3 "On account of" in place of "For."
4  Verse 12, 20 and 21, following which text the Vatican edition, departing from the other manuscripts, adds: "and the birds of heaven He also has hidden."
5  Job. 28, 18. Then The Vatican edition, opposing the manuscripts and editon 1, after "thus" has less correctly: "if she chooses to be known."
6  Verse 8 and 10, where the Vulgate has "and" for "who." A little after this the codices with edition 1 have more rightly "therefore [igitur]" in place of "therfore [ergo]."
7  This refers to Prov. 8:23.
8  Vers 4. Then the codices do not agree among themselves; th emajority along with the Vatican edition has "this is read [legitur]"; codex R has "This is read [hoc loquitur]"; codex O has "which is understood; we have followed codices S Y ff and edition 1, which have "This is said [loquitur]".
9  Verse 8.9.
10  We have substituted on the authority of nearly all the manuscripts and edition 1, "that" for "by which"; which reading seems to be more to the point. Codex R quotes the preceeding sentance thus: "For this is the sacrament hidden, that is the sacred secret."
11  Codices I M W have "Moreover."
12  This refers to 1 Cor. 1:25 and to Isaiah 14:27. Then the Vatican edition has "Therefore truly is His indescribable fortitude revealed, whose . . ."; which is indeed more elegant, as in the text reconstructed, with edition 1 the codices, which are nevertheless not a few, that is A B C E F O T U V W cc, omitt in addition "of Him," others indeed, that is P Q S Y, have "is" in place of "of Him," codex R has instead "was."
13  Psalm 30:20. Then after "reserved" codices P Q R add "is" [which the trans. has followed for reater clarity] Then codices H and T, having transposed the words and added "divine," read "the sweetness of the Divine Mercy."
14  Psalm 102:17 and 146:11.
15  Codices A B D F M R X have not so well "in what way." Then codex R has "medicines [medicamenta]" in place of "medicines [medicamina]"; and a little after the Vatican edition with codex cc, contradicting however the more ancient manuscripts and editon 1, has "He gives" for "He will give."
16  Verse 10, where the Vulgate adds "For" before "The Spirit." A little below this we have supplied "est" after "scrutatus" on the basis of teh manuscripts and edition 1 [which does not change the reading of "searched"].
17  Verse 22. Then after "Desiring" we have inserted "he asked" on the basis of teh manuscripts and edition 1, which is absent in the Vatican edition. [v. page 6 here for this footnote.]


p. 6

constituted in darkness. And this was the intention and purpose [finis]of the Master, according to what he himself says in the Prologue: "Desiring, he said, to exalt the lamp of truth upon a candlestick, we have compiled this volume in much sweat and labor, with God as our witness, from the testimonirs of truth founded upon eternity." And a little before this he had said, that he had proposed "to lay open the concealed things of theological inquiries."

Therefore in what has just been said in the present book, the material, formal, efficient and final cause are made clear.



The English translation here has been released to the public domain by its author.
The "/" symbol is used to indicate that the text which follows appeared on the subsequent page of the Quarrachi Edition.
N.B. that the translation of the notes in English corresponds to the context of the English text, not that of the Latin text;
likewise they are a freer translation that that which is necessitated by the body of the text.
Items in
[ ] brackets are notes added by trans..


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