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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
, XXV. 1-3. The doctrinal scope of it was already determined. Man, he tells us, is the only creature who partakes at once of the corruptible and incorruptible nature; and since every nature is ordained to some ultimate end, it follows that the end of man is double. And as among all beings he alone partakes of the corruptible and incorruptible, so alone among all beings he is ordained to a double end, whereof the one is his end as corruptible, the other as incorruptible. That unspeakable Providence therefore foreordered two ends to be pursued by man, to wit, beatitude in this life, which consists in the operation of our own virtue, and is figured by the Terrestrial Paradise, and the beatitude of life eternal, which consists in a fruition of the divine countenance, whereto our own virtue cannot ascend unless aided by divine light, which is understood by the Celestial Paradise. The one we attain by practice of the moral and intellectual virtues as they are taught by philosophers, the