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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
will is free only when the judgment wholly controls the appetite. De Monarchia, Lib. I. ยง 14. On such a base even a democracy may rest secure, and on such alone. Rome was always the central point of Dante's speculation. A shadow of her old sovereignty was still left her in the primacy of the Church, to which unity of faith was essential. He accordingly has no sympathy with heretics of whatever kind. He puts the ex-troubadour Bishop of Marseilles, chief instigator of the horrors of Provence, in paradise. Paradiso, IX. The Church is infallible in spiritual matters, but this is an affair of outward discipline merely, and means the Church as a form of polity. Unity was Dante's leading doctrine, and therefore he puts Mahomet among the schismatics, not because he divided the Church, but the faith. Inferno, XXXVIII.; Purgatorio, XXXII. Dante's Church was of this world, but he surely believed in another and spiritual one. It has been questioned whether he was orthodox or not.