The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 562 

can do nothing. Secondly, I prove in this way that a man can do nothing: for if a man can do anything, he does it only because of his soul, or only because of his body, or because of both combined. It is certain that he can do nothing by reason of his soul only, because the soul without the body cannot gain merit or lose merit. He can do nothing by reason of the body only, because the body without the soul is deprived of life and form, and therefore it cannot act because every act is form. A man can do nothing by reason of both joined together because, if he could so something, it would be by reason of the soul which is its form. But, as has been said, if the soul outside the body can do nothing, much less can it when joined to the body, for the corruptible body burdens the soul. Now I set this example before you, Brother Giles. If an ass is not able to walk without a load, much less can he do it with a load. Therefore, by this example it seems that the soul is less able to operate when joined to the body than when free from it; but the freed soul can do nothing; therefore, neither can it when joined to the body."

10 He made many more arguments, about a dozen more than the above, opposing Brother Giles in order to make him talk. All who were present were in admiration at these arguments.

11 Brother Giles replied: "Brother Guardian, your reasoning was faulty. Admit that you are wrong about all this." Smiling, the Brother Guardian confessed that he was at fault. But Brother Giles, seeing that the Brother Guardian was not sincere, said: "That admission means nothing, Brother Guardian, and when such a confession of fault means nothing, nothing remains for man to recover."

12 Then Brother Giles spoke again: "Do you know how to sing, Brother Guardian? Sing with me!" Brother Giles took from his sleeve a lute made from a millet reed such as boys make, and beginning at the first chord he refuted and proved false all the twelve arguments in rhythmic words by using all the chords of the lute. Beginning with the first argument, he said: "I do not speak about the essence of man before creation, Brother Guardian, because it is true that because there was nothing then, he could do nothing. But I speak about the essence of man after the creation, to whom God gave free will by which he is able to gain merit by consenting to the good, and lose merit by not consenting to it. Therefore, you spoke badly and proposed a fallacy to me, Brother Guardian, because the Apostle Paul does not speak there about the absence of substance nor about the absence of potency, but of no merit, as he said in another place: IfI do not have charity, I am nothing. For this reason I have not been speaking of a soul freed, or of a dead body, but about a living man who by co-operating with grace can do good, if he wills; and by rejecting




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 562

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