Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXVII.: OF THE CAUSE OF LOVE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXVII.: OF THE CAUSE OF LOVE. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THE CAUSE OF LOVE.
§ 1. Evil is never loved except under an aspect of good, inasmuch as it is good in a restricted sense, and is apprehended as being good absolutely; and thus some love is evil as tending to that which is not absolutely true good. And after this fashion a man loves iniquity, inasmuch as by iniquity he gains a certain good, pleasure, money, or the like.
§ 3.The beautiful is the same as the good, but from a different point of view. For good being “that which all things seek,” it is of the essence of good that the appetite should rest therein. But it belongs to the essence of beauty that the appetite should rest in the sight or knowledge of the object regarded as beautiful; hence those senses especially regard the beautiful which are the best avenues of knowledge, to wit, sight and hearing as subservient to reason. We speak of “beautiful sights” and “beautiful sounds;” but in reference to the objects of the other senses we do not use the designation: for we do not say “beautiful tastes,” or “beautiful odours.” And thus it is clear that beauty superadds to good a certain hold upon the knowing faculty: so that that is called good which is matter of simple complacency to the appetite; but that is called beautiful the mere apprehension whereof is pleasing.
Article III.—Is likeness a cause of love?
R. Likeness, properly speaking, is a cause of love. But we must observe that there may be likeness between things in two ways. One way would be by each thing having the same attribute actually, as two things having the attribute of whiteness. Another way would be by one thing having potentially and in inclination what the other has actually. Potentiality has a certain likeness to actuality, for in the promise and potency the actuality is in a manner contained. The first mode of likeness causes the love of friendship, or of benevolence: for from the fact of two things being alike, as having one form, they are in a manner one in that form; and therefore the affection of the one tends to the other as being one thing with itself, and wishes it good as to itself. The second mode of likeness causes the love of desire, or the friendship that is founded on the utility or pleasure that the friend affords. For wherever there is potentiality, there is a craving after its realization, and a delight in the gaining thereof, if the gainer be a sentient and cognitive being.
In the love of desire the lover, properly speaking, loves himself, wishing for himself the good that he desires. But every one loves himself more than he loves his neighbour: because he is one with himself substantially, but one with his neighbour only in a certain likeness of form. And therefore if his neighbour’s likeness to him in the participation of that form hinders him from gaining the good that he loves, such a neighbour becomes odious to him, not for being like him, but for being in his way in the gaining of his own proper good. And for this reason, “potter quarrels with potter,”1 because they get in one another’s way in their peculiar line of gain; and “among the proud there are always contentions,”2 because they hinder one another in the attainment of that special pre-eminence which they covet.
§ 2. Even in the case of a man loving in another what he loves not in himself, there is found an element of likeness according to proportion. For as that other is to what is loved in him, so is the man himself to what he loves in himself: for instance, if a good singer loves a good writer, there comes out there a likeness of proportion, inasmuch as each has the gift that befits him in his own profession.
§ 3. He who loves what he needs, has a likeness to what he loves, as a capacity bears a likeness to the actuality of which it is a capacity.
§ 4. Though not all men have the virtues in their complete habit, still they have them to the extent of certain seminal principles of reason, according to which he who has not virtue loves a virtuous man as being in conformity with his own natural reason.
[1 ]The Greek version of our “Two of a trade can never agree.” (Trl.)
[2 ]Prov. xiii. 10.