Front Page Titles (by Subject) Second Division, or Secunda Secundæ. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
Return to Title Page for Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Second Division, or Secunda Secundæ. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Second Division, or Secunda Secundæ.
Article I.—Is the object of faith the Sovereign Truth?
R. The object of any cognitive habit has two elements; namely, that which is materially known, which we may call the material object; and that by which the knowledge comes, which is the formal reason of the knowledge of the object. Thus in the science of geometry, the conclusions are things materially known; but the demonstrations by which the conclusions are known, are the formal reason of the knowledge. Thus then in faith, if we consider the formal reason of the knowing of the object, it is nothing else than the Sovereign Truth; for the faith of which we speak does not assent to anything on any other ground than this, that it is revealed by God. Hence faith rests upon the mere truth of God as the means by which it is established and brought home to the mind. But if we consider materially the things to which faith assents, they are not only God Himself, but many other things also, which however do not fall under the assent of faith except so far as they bear some reference to God.
Article IV.—Can the object of faith be anything that is seen?
R. Faith imports the assent of the intellect to that which is believed. Now the intellect assents to a thing in two ways: in one way because it is moved thereto by the object itself, which is either known by itself, as in the case of first principles, whereof there is intuition, or is known through something else, as in the case of conclusions, whereof there is science.1 In another way the intellect assents to a thing, not because it is sufficiently moved by its own proper object as intellect, but by a choice voluntarily inclining to one side rather than to another. If this be done with doubt and dread of the contrary, it will be opinion; but if it be done with full assurance,2 unaccompanied by any such dread, it will be faith. But those things are said to be seen, which by themselves move our intellect or sense to a knowledge of them. Hence it is manifest that neither faith nor opinion can be of things that are seen whether by sense or by intellect.
§ 1. On the words, “Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed,”1 it is to be said that Thomas saw one thing and believed another: he saw a Man, and believing he confessed Him to be God.
OF THE ACT OF FAITH.
Article I.—Is it to believe to think with assent?
R. By thinking in the more proper sense of the word we mean an intellectual study, attended with inquiry, prior to arriving at a perfect understanding by certitude of vision; or, a movement of the mind deliberating, and not yet made perfect by a full vision of the truth. If thinking be taken in this sense, we thereby come to understand the whole rationale of the act of believing. For of the acts belonging to the intellect some have a firm assent without such thinking; as when a man reflects on what he knows or understands. Again, some acts of the intellect involve thinking without firm assent, whether without inclining to either side, as in doubt; or inclining rather to one side, but on slight indication, as in surmise; or adhering to one side, but with dread of the other, as in opinion. But the act of believing means a firm assent to one side; and in that respect he who believes is like the man who knows and understands; and yet his knowledge is not made perfect by manifest vision; and to this extent he is like the other man who doubts, surmises, and opines. Thus it is proper to the believer to think with assent. And thus the act of believing is marked off from all other acts of the intellect about truth or falsehood.
§ 3. To the objection that belief is an act of the understanding, its object being truth; but assent, like consent, seems to be an act, not of understanding, but of will—it is to be said that the intellect of the believer is not finally determined by reason, but by the will; and therefore assent here is taken for an act of the intellect as determined by the will.
Article III.—Is it necessary to salvation to believe anything above natural reason?
R. The final happiness of man consists in a supernatural vision of God. To this vision man cannot arrive except by way of going to school to God as his Teacher, according to that saying: “Every one that hath heard of the Father and hath learned, cometh to me.”1 Of this schooling a man gets the benefit, not all at once, but in successive stages, according to the capacity of his nature. But every such learner must believe in order to arrive at perfect knowledge: as the Philosopher says, “The learner must believe.” Hence, for man to arrive at the vision of perfect happiness, it is a previous requisite that he should believe God, as a scholar believes the master who teaches him.
Article IV.—Is it necessary to receive on faith things that can be proved by natural reason?
R. It is necessary for man to receive by the way of faith, not only truths that are above reason, but also those that can be known by reason, and this on three grounds. First, that man may arrive more quickly to the knowledge of divine truth. For the science to which it belongs to prove the existence of God and other truths concerning Him, is the last of all sciences proposed to man to study, many other sciences being preliminary to it; and thus it is only when much of life was already past that man would arrive at the knowledge of God. Secondly, that the knowledge of God may be more common. For many cannot advance in the study of science, either on account of the dulness of their intellect, or otherwise through the occupations and necessities of this temporal life, or again through slothfulness to learn. These people would be altogether robbed of the knowledge of God, were not the things of God proposed to them by the way of faith. Thirdly, for certainty sake. For human reason is very much to seek in the things of God, as is shown by the errors and mutual contradictions of philosophers. In order then that a knowledge of God, certain and beyond doubt, might obtain amongst men, it was proper that divine truths should be delivered to them by the way of faith, as utterances of God, who cannot lie.
Article IX.—Is faith meritorious?
R. Our acts are meritorious, inasmuch as they proceed from free-will, moved by the grace of God. Hence every human act that is under the control of free-will may be meritorious, if it is referred to God. Now to believe is an act of the intellect, assenting to divine truth by command of the will, moved by God’s grace; and thus is under the control of free-will in reference to God. Hence the act of faith may be meritorious.
§ 3. To the objection that he who pays the assent of faith, either has a sufficient motive to induce him to believe, or he has not: if he has, it cannot be meritorious in him to believe, because he is no longer free not to believe: if he has not, his belief is a piece of light-mindedness, according to the text: “He that is hasty to give credit is light of heart;”1 and so it seems it is not meritorious—the answer is that the believer has sufficient inducement to believe, that inducement being the authority of divine teaching confirmed by miracles, and what is more, the interior impulse of God inviting him: hence he does not believe lightly. Yet he has not sufficient inducement to know, and therefore the character of merit is not taken away.
Article X.—Does reason, leading up to conclusions that are of faith, lessen the merit of faith?
R. Human reasoning alleged in support of the articles of faith may be something antecedent to the will of the believer, in this sense, that but for the said human reasoning he would have either no will at all, or not a prompt will, to believe. At that rate human reasoning diminishes the merit of faith; as also passion antecedent to election in moral virtues diminishes the merit of the virtuous act. For as a man ought to exercise the acts of the moral virtues on the judgment of reason, not on the impulse of passion, so he ought to believe articles of faith, not on the strength of human reasoning, but on the authority of God. Again, human reasoning may be consequent upon the will of the believer. For when a man has a prompt will to believe, he loves the truth believed, and thinks it over, and embraces any arguments that he can find in its favour; and in this respect human reasoning does not exclude the merit of faith, but is a sign of greater merit. So also in the moral virtues, a passion consequent is a sign of greater promptitude of will.1
§ 1. When Gregory says, “That faith has no merit, to which human reasoning lends experience,” he speaks of the case of a man having no mind to believe articles of faith except for the reason alleged in evidence of them. But when a man has a will to believe articles of faith on the sole authority of God, the merit of his faith is not taken away or diminished, even though he has a demonstrative reason for some of those articles, for instance, for the existence of God.
§ 3. What makes against the faith, either as a consideration in the mind of the believer, or in the way of exterior persecution, augments the merit of faith, so far forth as it reveals a will more prompt and firm in the faith. Therefore also the martyrs had greater merit of faith, not receding from the faith for persecutions; and likewise men of learning have greater merit of faith, not receding from the faith for the reasons of philosophers or heretics alleged against it.
OF THE EXTERIOR ACT OF FAITH.
Article II.—Is confession of faith necessary to salvation?
R. The Apostle says: “With the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”1
The things that are necessary to salvation fall under the precepts of the divine law. But confessing the faith, being something affirmative, can only fall under an affirmative precept. Now affirmative precepts do not bind us to be always acting on them, though they bind us always; but they bind us to action according to time and place and other due circumstances, which are the necessary conditions of a human act that it may be an act of virtue. Thus then confessing the faith always and in every place is not necessary to salvation, but in a certain time and place, namely, when by the omission of such confession due honour would be withdrawn from God, or profit from our neighbour, as in the case when one, asked about the faith, holds his peace, and thereby it comes to be believed either that he has not the faith, or that the faith is not true, or others by such silence are turned away from the faith. In cases like these, confession of faith is necessary to salvation.
§ 1. The end and aim of faith, as of other virtues, ought to be subordinate to the end of charity, which is the love of God and our neighbour. And therefore, when the honour of God or our neighbour’s profit requires it, a man ought not to rest satisfied with being united by faith to the divine truth, but he ought to make outward confession of the same.
§ 2. In a case of necessity, where the faith is in danger, any one and every one is bound to publish his faith to others, either for the instruction or encouragement of others of the faithful, or for quelling the arrogance of unbelievers; but at other times the instruction of men in the faith does not belong to all the faithful.
§ 3. If from open confession of the faith there ensues excitement among unbelievers, without any benefit to the faith or the faithful, it is not commendable publicly to confess the faith in such a case. Hence our Lord says: “Give not that which is holy to dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest perhaps turning upon you they tear you.”1 But if there be hope of some benefit to the faith, or under stress of necessity, a man ought publicly to confess his faith. Hence it is said that when the disciples said to our Lord that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized, our Lord answered: “Let them alone,” that is, leave them in their excitement; “they are blind, and leaders of the blind.”2
OF THE VIRTUE OF FAITH.
Article VIII.—Is faith more certain than science?
R. Considering certitude in respect of its motive, that position is said to be the more certain which has the more certain motive. Thus considered, faith is more certain than science; because faith rests on divine truth, science on human reasoning. In another way certitude may be considered with respect to the subject who is certain. In this way that is said to be more certain which the human intellect more fully grasps. At this rate, seeing that articles of faith are above human understanding, but not articles of science, faith from this point of view is the less certain. Hence, absolutely speaking, faith is the more certain of the two; but science is the more certain in a restricted sense, that is, in reference to us.
§ 2. Other things being equal, sight is more certain than hearing; but if the person from whom a thing is heard is a much better authority than the eyesight of the witness, under that condition hearing is more certain than sight. Thus a man of little knowledge is more certainly assured of what he hears from a man of science, than he is of what seems to him according to his own reasoning. Much more is man more certain of what he hears from God, who cannot be deceived, than of what he sees by his own reasoning, which may be deceived.
OF PERSONS HAVING FAITH.
Article III.—Is it possible for him who disbelieves one article of faith, to have faith, uninformed by charity, in the other articles?
R. In a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith, no faith remains, either informed or uninformed. The reason is, because the specific nature of every habit depends upon the precise character of object that it is conversant with; when that is taken away, the specific nature of the habit cannot remain. Now the precise or formal object of faith is the Sovereign Truth, as manifested in Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the Sovereign Truth. Hence whoever does not adhere to and hold for an infallible and divine rule, the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the Sovereign Truth manifested in Holy Scripture, such a one has not the habit of faith, but holds the articles of faith by some other means than by faith; just as in the case of a man holding a conclusion without knowing the demonstration that leads to it, it is manifest that he has no scientific knowledge on that point, but opinion only. But it is clear that he who adheres to the Church’s teaching as to an infallible rule, assents to all points of that teaching; otherwise, if with regard to what the Church teaches, he holds such points as he likes, and points that he dislikes he refuses to hold, he can no longer be said to adhere to the Church’s teaching as to an infallible rule, but he adheres to his own will. And so it is manifest that a heretic who pertinaciously disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the Church’s teaching in the matter of the other articles: for if he is not pertinacious in his disbelief, he is in that case no heretic, but only a man in error.
§ 1. The other articles of faith on which the heretic does not err, he does not hold in the same way as the faithful by simply adhering to the Sovereign Truth, for which adhesion man needs the aid of a habit of faith, but he holds the articles of faith by his own private will and judgment.
§ 2. Faith adheres to all the articles of faith for one motive, namely, for the sake of the Sovereign Truth proposed to us in Scripture, according to the teaching and sound understanding of the Church. And therefore he who relinquishes this motive, is altogether devoid of faith.
OF THE CAUSE OF FAITH.
Article I.—Is faith infused into man by God?
R. There are two requisites for faith. One is the proposing of articles to be believed, which is requisite for man to believe anything explicitly. The other requisite is the assent of the believer to the articles proposed. As to the first of these requisites, faith must necessarily be of God. For articles of faith transcend human reason, and enter not into the knowledge of man except by the revelation of God. But while to some they are revealed immediately by God, as to the Apostles and Prophets, they are proposed to others by God sending preachers of the faith. As to the second requisite, namely, the assent of man to the articles of faith, two manner of causes may be noted. One cause would be an exterior inducement, in the shape of some miracle seen, or persuasion of some man urging you to faith. Neither of these is a sufficient cause; for of those who see one and the same miracle, and hear the same preaching, some believe and some do not. And therefore we must assign another cause, an interior cause, moving a man interiorly to assent to articles of faith. This cause the Pelagians laid down to be merely the free-will of man. But that is false: for since man’s assent to articles of faith raises him to a nature above his own, this assent must be in him by a supernatural principle moving him within, which is God. And therefore in regard of the assent, which is the principal act of faith, faith is of God interiorly moving us by His grace.
OF UNBELIEF IN GENERAL.
Article I.—Is unbelief a sin?
R. Unbelief may be understood in two ways: in one way as a mere negation, so that a man is called an unbeliever simply from not having the faith. In another way unbelief may be understood as signifying contrary opposition to the faith, whereby one stands out against the hearing of the faith, or even despises faith; and in this the proper and perfect essence of unbelief consists; and thus understood, unbelief is a sin. But if it is taken for a pure negation, as in those who have heard nothing of the faith, it has not the character of a sin, but rather of a penalty, inasmuch as such ignorance of divine things is a consequence of the sin of our first parent. Unbelievers of this class are damned for other sins that cannot be forgiven without faith, but they are not damned for the sin of unbelief.1
Article II.—Is the intellect the subject in which unbelief resides?
R. Sin is said to be in that power which is the principle of the act of sin. Now we find two such principles: one primary and general, that commands all acts of sin; and this principle is the will, because all sin is voluntary. The other principle of the act of sin is the proper and proximate principle that elicits the act. Thus the concupiscible faculty is the principle of gluttony and luxury; and accordingly gluttony and luxury are said to be in the concupiscible faculty. But dissent, which is the proper act of unbelief, is an act of the intellect, as also is assent, an act of the intellect moved by the will. And therefore unbelief, like faith, is in the intellect as its proximate subject, but in the will as its prime mover. And in this way all sin is said to be in the will.2
§ 2. The cause of unbelief is in the will, but unbelief itself is in the intellect.
Article III.—Is unbelief the greatest of sins?
R. Every sin formally consists in a turning away from God. Hence a sin is the more grievous, the more a man is thereby separated from God. Now it is by unbelief that a man is furthest removed from God, not having a true knowledge of God. Hence the sin of unbelief is greater than all sins of moral perversity. But the case is otherwise when there is question of sins opposed to the other theological virtues.
§ 3. An unbeliever is more grievously punished for the sin of unbelief than another sinner for any other sin, considering the kind of the sin: but for another sin, say adultery, committed by a believer and by an unbeliever, other things being equal, the believer sins more grievously than the unbeliever, as well on account of the knowledge of the truth of faith, as also on account of the sacraments of faith which he has received, and which he dishonours by sinning.
Article VII.—Ought we publicly to dispute with unbelievers?
R. In disputing of the faith there are two things to consider: one on the part of the disputant, the other on the part of the hearers. On the part of the disputant we must consider his intention. For if he disputes as doubting of the faith, and not premising the truth of the faith for a certainty, but intending to make a trial by argument, unquestionably he sins, as one doubtful of the faith and unbelieving. But if one disputes of the faith to confute errors, or even for practice sake, it is a praise-worthy proceeding. On the part of the hearers we have to consider whether they who hear the disputation are instructed and firm in the faith, or are simple people, easy to unsettle. In presence of the wise and firm in faith, there is no danger in disputing of the faith. But with regard to simple folk a distinction must be made. Either these people are assailed by unbelievers striving to destroy the faith in them, or they are not at all troubled in the matter, as in lands where there are no unbelievers. In the first case it is necessary publicly to dispute about the faith, provided there be found persons fit and proper for the purpose, and able to refute error: since by this means simple people will be confirmed in the faith, and the power of deceiving will be taken away from unbelievers; and besides, the silence of those who should withstand the misrepresentation of the truth of faith, would of itself be a confirmation of the error. But in the second case it is dangerous publicly to dispute of faith before simple people, whose faith is all the firmer from their never having heard anything different from what they believe. And therefore it is not expedient for them to hear the words of unbelievers disputing against the faith.1
Article VIII.—Are unbelievers to be brought to the faith by compulsion?
R. Of unbelievers, some there are who have never received the faith, as Gentiles and Jews. Such persons are on no account to be brought to the faith by compulsion, that they themselves should become believers, because believing is of the will; they are however, if possible, to be compelled by the faithful not to stand in the way of the faith by blasphemies or evil persuasions, or open persecutions. And for this reason the faithful of Christ often make war on unbelievers, not to force them to believe, because, even though they had beaten them and got them prisoners, they would still leave them their choice whether they would believe or no, but for the purpose of compelling them not to put hindrances in the way of the faith of Christ. Other unbelievers there are who have at one time received the faith, and profess it, as heretics,1 and all manner of apostates. Such persons are to be compelled even by corporal means to fulfil what they have promised, and hold what they have once received.
§ 3. As to take a vow is voluntary, but to pay the vow is of necessity; so to receive the faith is a voluntary act, but it is of necessity to hold it, once received. And therefore heretics are to be compelled to hold the faith.
Article XI.—Are the rites of unbelievers to be tolerated?
R. Human government is derived from divine government, and ought to imitate it. But God, almighty and supremely good as He is, nevertheless permits sundry evils to happen in the universe that He might prevent; lest if they were taken away, greater good might be taken away, or even still greater evils ensue. So then also they who preside over human government, do right in tolerating sundry evils lest sundry good things be hindered, or even worse evils be incurred, as Augustine says: “Take away prostitutes from human society, and you disorder the world with lustful intrigues.” So then, though unbelievers sin over their rites, they may be tolerated, either for some good that comes of them, or for some evil that is avoided thereby.
Article XII.—Are the children of Jews and other unbelievers to be baptized against the will of their parents?
R. The greatest authority attaches to the custom of the Church, which is always to be followed in all things; since even the teaching of the Catholic doctors has its authority from the Church. Hence we must rather stand by the authority of the Church than by the authority of either Augustine or Jerome or any doctor whatever. Now it has never been the usage of the Church to have children of Jews baptized against the will of their parents; though there have been in past times many powerful Catholic princes, with whom bishops of great holiness have been on intimate terms, who would on no account have failed to obtain their sanction for this practice, had it been consonant with reason. The ground of the rejection of the practice is twofold. One ground is the danger to faith. For if the children received Baptism, not yet having the use of reason, afterwards when they came of age they might easily be induced by their parents to abandon that which they had received in ignorance. Another ground is this, that the practice is opposed to natural justice: for the son naturally belongs to his father. Indeed at first he is not distinct in body from his parents, so long as he is contained in his mother’s womb. Afterwards when he leaves the womb, before he has the use of reason, he is contained under his parents’ care as in a sort of spiritual womb. For so long as a child has not the use of reason, he differs not from an irrational animal: hence as an ox or a horse is another’s to use when he will, according to the civil law, as an instrument of his own, so it is a provision of the natural law that the son should be under the care of his father before he has the use of reason. Hence it would be against natural justice for a child to be withdrawn from his parents’ care before he has the use of reason, or for any arrangement to be made about him against the will of his parents. But after he begins to have the use of reason, he begins to be his own at last, and can provide for himself in things of divine or natural law; and then he is to be induced to the faith not by compulsion, but by persuasion; and he may even consent to the faith against the will of his parents, and be baptized, but not before he has the use of reason.
§ 4. Man is referred to God by reason, whereby he is able to know God. Hence before the use of reason the child is in the order of nature referred to God by the reason of his parents, to whose care he is naturally subject; and it is according as they arrange, that the things of God are to be done upon him.
Article I.—Is heresy a species of unbelief?
R. The name heresy signifies choice or election. Now election is of means to the end, the end being presupposed. In matters of belief the principal truth bears the character of the last end, and the secondary truths the character of means to the end. And because whoever believes, assents to some one’s word, the principal object, and what we may call the scope and aim in every inclination to believe, is the person whose word is acquiesced in: the tenets held in consequence of that acquiescence are secondary things. So then whoever rightly holds the Christian faith, acquiesces by his will in the word of Christ, in the things which truly belong to Christ’s doctrine. Therefore there are two possible ways of deviation from the straight path of Christian faith. One way is by refusal to take the word of Christ. Whoever takes this way, has an evil will with regard to the very scope and aim of faith. Such is the species of unbelief found in Pagans and Jews. Another way is that of intending indeed to take the word of Christ, but at the same time failing in the election of articles whereon to take that word; because you elect not those articles which are truly taught by Christ, but those which your own mind suggests to you. And therefore heresy is a species of unbelief, belonging to those who profess the faith of Christ, but pervert His doctrines.
Article III.—Are heretics to be tolerated?1
R. With regard to heretics two elements are to be considered, one element on their side, and the other on the part of the Church. On their side is the sin whereby they have deserved, not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be banished from the world by death. For it is a much heavier offence to corrupt the faith, whereby the life of the soul is sustained, than to tamper with the coinage, which is an aid to temporal life. Hence if coiners or other malefactors are at once handed over by secular princes to a just death, much more may heretics, immediately they are convicted of heresy, be not only excommunicated, but also justly done to die. But on the part of the Church is mercy in view of the conversion of them that err; and therefore she does not condemn at once, but “after the first and second admonition,” as the Apostle teaches:1 “After that, however, if the man is still found pertinacious, the Church having no hope of his conversion, provides for the safety of others, cutting him off from the Church by the sentence of excommunication; and further she leaves him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated from the world by death.
R. It does not belong to the Church to punish unbelief in those who have never received the faith; according to the saying of the Apostle:1 “What have I to do to judge them that are without?” But the infidelity of them who have received the faith is amenable to her sentence and punishment.
OF THE SIN OF BLASPHEMY.
Article I.—Is blasphemy the opposite of confession of the faith?
R. The name of blasphemy implies some disparagement of the goodness of God. If this is done in the heart only, it is blasphemy of the heart, but if it come out in speech, it is blasphemy of the mouth. And thus blasphemy is the opposite of confession of the faith.
§ 2. As God is praised in His saints, by praise of the works that He accomplishes in His saints, so also blasphemy against the saints redounds consequently upon God.
Article II.—Is blasphemy always a mortal sin?
R. That is a mortal sin by which man is separated from the first principle of spiritual life, which is the charity of God. Hence whatever acts are inconsistent with charity are mortal sins of their kind. Now blasphemy of its kind is opposed to divine charity, because it is a disparagement of divine goodness, which is the object of charity: and therefore blasphemy is a mortal sin of its kind.1
§ 3. Blasphemy may fall from the lips by surprise without deliberation in two ways. Either it is that the person does not notice that what he says is a blasphemy, as may happen in a movement of sudden passion, when a man breaks out into any words that he happens to fancy, without consideration of their meaning: and then it is a venial sin, and does not properly come under the idea of blasphemy; or it may be that he does consider the meaning of his words, and notice that what he says is blasphemous: and then he is not excused from mortal sin, any more than the man is excused who in a sudden fit of anger kills the person sitting next to him.
§ 1. If murder and blasphemy are compared in respect of the objects sinned against, clearly blasphemy, as being an offence directly against God, outweighs murder, which is an offence against our neighbour. But if they are compared in respect of the harm done, then murder has the preponderance: for murder hurts our neighbour more than blasphemy hurts God. But because our estimation of the gravity of a fault must go more by the intention of a perverse will than by the effect wrought, therefore, seeing that the blasphemer intends to wound the honour of God, he sins, absolutely speaking, more grievously than the murderer.1
Article IV.—Do the damned blaspheme?
R. Part of the essence of blasphemy is detestation of the divine goodness. Now they who are in hell retain their perverse will, averse to the justice of God, in this that they love the things for which they are punished, and would wish to practise them if they could, and hate the punishments that are inflicted on them for such sins. They do, however, also grieve for the sins they have committed, not that they hate the sins themselves, but because they are punished for them. Such detestation then of the divine justice is in them an inward blasphemy of the heart. And it is credible that in the resurrection there will be in them vocal blasphemy also, as in the saints there will be vocal praise of God.
Article I.—Is hope a virtue?
R. According to the Philosopher, “The virtue of any given being is that which makes the subject good, and renders his work good.” Wherever therefore we find any good human act, there must be some corresponding human virtue. But the measure of human acts is twofold: one proximate and homogeneous, namely reason; the other supreme and transcendent, namely God; and therefore every human act that attains to reason or to God Himself is good. But the act of hope, of which we now speak, attains to God. For the object of hope is good in the future, difficult, but possible to be had. Now a thing is possible to us in two ways, in one way through ourselves, in another way through others. Inasmuch then as we hope for a thing as possible to us through the divine assistance, our hope attains to God Himself on whose aid it rests. And therefore hope is clearly a virtue, since it makes a man’s act good, and attains to the true rule.
§ 1. The hope of which we now speak is not a passion, but a habit of the mind.
Article II.—Is the proper object of hope eternal happiness?
R. The hope of which we now speak attains to God, resting upon His aid to gain the good thing hoped for. But an effect must be proportionate to its cause; and therefore the good that we properly and principally should hope for from God is infinite good, which is in proportion to the power of God aiding us. Such a good is life everlasting, which consists in the enjoyment of God Himself. For we must not hope anything of Him less than He is Himself; since His goodness, whereby He imparts good things to His creature, is not less than His essence.
§ 2. Whatever other good things there are, we ought not to ask them of God except in order to everlasting happiness.
Article V.—Is hope a theological virtue?
R. Hope has the character of a virtue from its attaining to the supreme rule of human acts, attaining it both as that rule is the first efficient cause, inasmuch as it rests on the aid thereof, and also as that rule is the last final cause, inasmuch as it looks for happiness in the enjoyment of the same. Thus evidently God is the principal object of hope, considered as a virtue. Since therefore the essence of a theological virtue consists in having God for its object, it is plain that hope is a theological virtue.
§ 2. No one can rely too much on the divine assistance.
Article VI.—Is hope a distinct virtue from the other theological virtues?
R. A virtue is said to be theological from having God for the object to which it clings. Now we may cling to another either for his own sake or because by him we come to something else. Charity then makes a man cling to God for His own sake; but faith and hope make a man cling to God as to a principle and source whence other things accrue to us. For of God there accrues to us both the knowledge of truth and the gaining of perfect goodness. Faith then makes a man cling to God inasmuch as He is the principle whence we know the truth: for we believe those things to be true which are told us by God; while hope makes us cling to God, as He is in our regard the principle and source of perfect goodness, inasmuch as by hope we rely on the divine assistance to obtain eternal happiness.1
§ 3. Hope makes us tend to God as to a final good to be obtained, and as to an efficacious aid to succour us: but charity properly makes man tend to God, uniting his affection to God, so that man may no longer live for himself, but for God.
OF THE SUBJECT OF HOPE.
Article I.—Is the will the subject of hope?
R. Habits are known by their acts. But the act of hope is a movement of the appetitive faculty, since its object is good. Appetite in man is twofold, sensitive and intellectual. But the act of the virtue of hope cannot belong to the sensitive appetite: because the good that is the principal object of this virtue is not any sensible good, but divine good. And therefore the superior appetite, which is called the will, is the subject of hope.
§ 3. The movement of hope and the movement of charity are connected one with another, and therefore there is nothing to hinder both movements together belonging to one power.
Article IV.—Is the hope of men still in this life fraught with certitude?
R. Certitude is found in a thing in two ways, by essence and by participation. Essentially it is found in the knowing faculty; by participation, in everything that is moved by the knowing faculty infallibly to its end. In this latter way hope tends with certainty to its end, as partaking of certainty from faith, which is in the knowing faculty.
§ 1. Hope rests principally on the divine omnipotence and mercy, of which omnipotence and mercy every one is certain who has faith.
§ 3. The fact of some persons, who had hope, failing to attain to happiness, arises from defect of their free-will placing the obstacle of sin, not from any defect of the divine power or mercy, which is that on which hope relies.
OF THE GIFT OF FEAR.
Article I.—Can God be feared?
R. Fear may have a double object: one object is the evil itself that the man shrinks from, the other is the object from whence the evil may come. In the first way God, who is goodness itself, cannot be an object of fear; but He may be an object of fear in the second way, inasmuch as evil may threaten us from Him, or in relation to Him. From Him we may be threatened with the evil of punishment, which is not evil absolutely, but in a restricted sense, while absolutely it is good. For since good is so called in reference to the end and aim of being, while evil implies a privation of this reference, that is evil absolutely which excludes reference to the last end: and such is the evil of sin. But the evil of punishment is evil indeed as being the privation of some particular good: at the same time it is good absolutely, inasmuch as it is in keeping with the last end. In relation to God again there may come upon us the evil of fault, if we are separated from Him: and in this way God may and ought to be feared.
Article II.—Is that a good division of fear into filial, initial, servile, and mundane?
R. We are dealing with fear now inasmuch as by it we are in any way either turned to God or turned away from Him. Sometimes man for the evil that he fears withdraws from God; and this is called human or mundanc fear. Sometimes again man for the evil that he fears turns to God and cleaves to Him. The evil in this latter case is twofold, the evil of punishment and the evil of fault. If then one turns to God and cleaves to Him for fear of punishment, it will be servile fear; but if for fear of fault, it will be filial fear, for it is proper to sons to fear offending their father. But if it is for fear of both, it is initial fear, which is a mean between the two.
§ 1. The saying of Augustine, “He who does a thing through fear, though what he does be good, still does not do well,” is to be understood of him who does a thing out of servile fear, inasmuch as it is servile, that is, in such a way as not to love justice, but only to fear punishment.
Article VI.—Can servile fear abide with charity?
R. Servile fear is caused by love of self, because it is fear of punishment or loss of one’s own good. Hence servile fear can stand with charity on the same terms as love of self does; for it is on the same principle that man desires his own good and fears to be deprived of it. Now love of self may stand to charity in three different relations. In one way it is contrary to charity, when it comes to this, that a man places his last end in the love of his own good. In another way it is included in charity, when it means that a man loves himself in God and for God. In a third way it is distinct from charity but not contrary to it, as when a man loves himself with an eye to his own good, yet so as not to place his last end in this good of his own; in the same way that for our neighbour we may have some special love besides the love of charity that is founded in God, loving our neighbour on the ground of suitableness of temper, blood relationship, or some other human condition, which nevertheless is referable to charity. Thus then also fear of punishment is in one way included in charity: for to be separated from God is a punishment, and that which charity most of all shrinks from: hence this is a point of chaste fear. In another way it is contrary to charity, when, flying from punishment as contrary to his natural good, a man takes that punishment for the chiefest of evils, and the contrary of the good that he loves as his last end; and at this rate the fear of punishment does not go with charity. In another way the fear of punishment is distinct indeed in substance from chaste fear, because the man fears the penal evil, not on account of the separation from God, but because it is hurtful to his own good; and yet his last end is not set in that good, nor consequently is that evil dreaded as the chiefest of evils; and such fear of punishment can go with charity. But the fear of punishment is then only said to be servile when punishment is feared as the chiefest of evils.1 And therefore fear as servile abides not with charity; but the substance of servile fear can abide with charity, as the love of self can so abide.
Article X.—Does fear grow less as charity grows greater?
R. There is a filial fear whereby one fears offence to one’s father or separation from him, and a servile fear whereby one fears punishment. Filial fear must necessarily increase with the increase of charity, as the effect with the increase of the cause, for the more we love another, the more we fear to offend him or to be separated from him. But servile fear in respect of its servility is altogether taken away by the advent of charity. The fear of punishment remains however in substance; and this fear is diminished by the increase of charity, especially as to the active exercise of such fear, because the more we love God, the less we fear punishment, first, because we attend less to our own good, which is defeated by punishment; secondly, because adhering more firmly to God we have more confidence of reward, and thereby less fear of punishment.
Article I.—Is despair a sin?
R. What affirmation or negation is in the intellect, that courting or avoidance is in the appetite; and what is in the intellect true or false, is in the appetite good or bad. And therefore every movement of appetite formed upon a true understanding is in itself good; and every movement of appetite formed upon a false understanding is in itself evil and sinful. Now the true estimate of the understanding regarding God is this, that men’s salvation comes of God, and that pardon is given to sinners; whilst it is a false opinion that He denies pardon to a penitent sinner, or does not convert sinners to Himself by justifying grace. And therefore the movement of despair, which is formed upon a false estimate of God, is vicious and sinful.
§ 1. In every mortal sin there is some turning away from the good that perishes not, and some turning to the good that perishes; but the manner of this is different in different sins. The sins opposed to the theological virtues, as hatred of God, despair, and unbelief, primarily consist in the turning away from the good that perishes not; the reason being that the theological virtues have God for their object; but consequently they imply a turning to the good that perishes, inasmuch as the soul abandoning God must consequently of necessity turn to other things. Other sins primarily consist in a turning to the good that perishes, and consequently in a turning away from the good that perishes not. For the fornicator does not intend to fall away from God, but to enjoy the delight of his flesh, upon which enjoyment his falling away from God ensues.
§ 3. The damned are not in a state to hope, on account of the impossibility of their return to happiness; and therefore their not hoping is not imputed to them as a fault, but is part of their damnation, as though in this world a man were not to hope for that which he was never born to enjoy.
Article II.—Can there be despair without unbelief?
R. Unbelief belongs to the intellect, despair to the appetitive faculty. The intellect deals with universals, but the appetitive faculty is conversant with particular things. Now one who looks at a thing rightly in the general, may be wrong in the movement of his appetite from the warping of his judgment in a particular instance; as he who commits fornication has a warped judgment in a particular instance, choosing fornication as a good thing for himself here and now, while he still keeps his universal judgment right according to faith, that fornication is a mortal sin. In like manner, while keeping in the general a right judgment of faith, that there is forgiveness of sins in the Church, one may still suffer a movement of despair, to the effect that for himself in his state there is no hope of pardon, his judgment being warped in this particular instance. And thus there may be despair without unbelief, as also there may be other mortal sins.1
Article III.—Is despair the greatest of sins?
R. The sins that are opposed to the theological virtues, are of their kind more grievous than other sins. For whereas the theological virtues have God for their object, the sins opposed to them imply directly and primarily a turning away from God. Now in every mortal sin the principal root of evil and grievousness of the act comes from this, that it is a turning away from God: for if there could be a turning to the good that perishes, without a turning away from God, though that would be an inordinate proceeding, yet it would not be a mortal sin.2 And therefore that which of its own ordinary nature in the first place involves a turning away from God, is the most grievous sin of all mortal sins.
Now the opposites of the theological virtues are unbelief, despair, and hatred of God. Of these, hatred and unbelief in themselves, that is, in their own specific nature, prove on comparison to be more grievous than despair. For unbelief comes of a man not believing the truth of God; hatred of God comes of man’s will being contrary to the divine goodness; but despair comes of man not hoping that he has any share in the goodness of God. Evidently therefore unbelief and hatred of God are against God as He is in Himself; but despair is against Him, in so far as we are sharers in His goodness. Hence of itself it is a greater sin not to believe God’s truth, or to hate God, than not to hope to obtain glory of Him.
But if we make the comparison of despair with the other two sins so far as they affect ourselves, in that light despair is the more dangerous; because, as it is by hope that we are held back from evil-doing and led on to goodness, so the taking away of hope plunges men headlong into vice, and disgusts them with the labour of doing good. Hence Isidore says: “A guilty deed is the death of the soul; but to despair is to go down to hell.”
Article I.—Does presumption rely on God or on the presumptuous man’s own strength?
R. Presumption seems to imply a certain immoderation in hope. The object of hope is good, difficult, but possible. Now a thing is possible to man in one way by his own strength; in another way, only by the power of God. There may be presumption by immoderation in respect of both these hopes. Regarding the hope whereby a man confides in his own strength, presumption is found in a man striving for a good as possible to him, when it exceeds his ability. Such presumption is opposed to the virtue of magnanimity, which holds the golden mean in this sort of hope. As regards the hope whereby a man clings to the divine power, there may be presumption by immoderation in this, that a man aims at a thing as possible by the power and mercy of God, which is not possible, as when a man hopes to obtain pardon without repentance, or glory without merits.
Article II.—Is presumption a sin?
Every movement of appetite proceeding upon a false understanding is in itself evil and sinful. But presumption is a movement of appetite, involving as it does a certain inordinate hope. Moreover, it proceeds upon a false understanding, as also does despair: for it is false on the one hand that God does not pardon them that repent, or does not turn sinners to repentance; and false on the other that He grants forgiveness to such as persist in sin, or bestows heavenly glory on them that abandon good works; that being the notion upon which the movement of presumption is formed. And therefore presumption is a sin, but a less sin than despair; because it is more proper to God to have mercy and to spare than to punish, on account of His infinite goodness: for the former course, that of mercy, befits God in respect of Himself, but the latter course of punishment befits Him in view of our sins.
§ 3. To sin with a purpose of continuing in the sin under hope of pardon, is the part of presumption; and this does not diminish, but increases the sin. But to sin in hope of pardon to be obtained some time, with a purpose of abstaining from the sin and repenting of it,—that is not the part of presumption: on the contrary, it diminishes the sin, because the man seems thereby to have his will less bent upon sinning.
OF CHARITY IN ITSELF.
Article I.—Is charity a friendship?
R. Not every love has the character of friendship, but only that love which is attended with good-will. But if we do not wish any good to the objects that we love, but rather wish ourselves the good that is in them, in the way that we are said to love wine, or a horse, or anything of that nature,—that is not the love of friendship, but of desire.1 But neither is good-will sufficient for the being of friendship, but there is required a mutual affection, because a friend is a friend to a friend. This mutual good-will is founded on something shared in common. Now there is a something that man shares with God, inasmuch as God makes us partakers of His happiness. Of which partnership it is said: “God is faithful, by whom you are called to the fellowship of his Son.”2 Upon this partnership, then, some friendship must be founded; and the friendship that is founded thereon is charity. Hence it is manifest that charity is a friendship of man with God.
§ 1. There is a twofold life of man: one exterior, lived in our sensible and bodily nature; and in this we have no communion or converse with God and the Angels. Another life is spiritual, lived in the mind; and according thereto we have converse with God and the Angels; imperfectly in our present state, but the intercourse will be made perfect in our heavenly country.
Article IV.—Is charity a special virtue?
R. The divine goodness possesses a special character of goodness, as being the object of happiness; and therefore the love of charity, which is the love of this goodness, is a special love, and charity is a special virtue.
§ 2. The virtue or art to which the final end appertains, commands the virtues or arts to which other secondary ends belong, as the art of war commands the art of horsemanship. And therefore, because charity has for its object the ultimate end of human life, namely, eternal happiness, it extends to the acts of the whole of human life by way of command, not as immediately eliciting all acts of all virtues.1
Article V.—Is charity the most excellent of virtues?
R. The standard of human acts is twofold, namely, human reason and God; but God is the first standard, by which even human reason is to be regulated. And therefore the theological virtues, which consist in attaining that first standard—seeing that their object is God—are more excellent than the moral or intellectual virtues, which consist in attaining to human reason. Therefore, even among theological virtues themselves, that one must be preferable which attains more to God. Now that which has being of itself, is always greater than that which derives its being through another. Faith then and hope attain to God, inasmuch as the knowledge of truth, or the obtaining of good, comes to us of Him: but charity attains to God Himself, to rest in Him, not that anything may accrue to us of Him. And therefore charity is more excellent than faith or hope, and consequently than all other virtues: as also prudence, which attains to reason in itself, is more excellent than the other moral virtues, which attain to reason inasmuch as the mean is fixed by reason for human acts or passions.
Article VII.—Can there be any true virtue without charity?
R. Virtue aims at good. Now the chief good is the end in view: for the means to the end are not called good except in order to the end. As the end is twofold, one ultimate and one proximate end, so there is also a twofold good, one ultimate and general good, and another good proximate and particular. The ultimate and principal good of man is the enjoyment of God, according to the text: “It is good for me to adhere to my God;”1 and to this end man is adapted by charity. The secondary and particular good of man is again twofold. There is one variety of it that is truly good, and capable, so far as it goes, of subordination to the principal good, or last end. The other variety is apparent and not true good,—not true, because it leads away from final good.
It is clear then that true virtue, absolutely so called, is that which aims at the principal good of man: as the Philosopher also says that “virtue is a disposition of the perfect to the best.” And in that way no true virtue can be without charity. But if we consider virtue in reference to some particular end, we may then allow of something in the absence of charity being called virtue, inasmuch as it aims at some particular good. But if that particular good be not true good, but only apparent, then also the virtue that aims at that good will not be true virtue, but a false appearance of virtue. Thus the prudence of the covetous is not true prudence, which devises various ways and means of making money; and the same of the justice of the covetous, which scorns to touch others’ possessions for fear of losing heavily thereby; and the same of the temperance of the covetous, by which they abstain from luxury as being an expensive taste; and the same of the fortitude of the covetous, with which, as Horace says, “they cross the sea, over the rocks and through the fire, to escape poverty.” But if the particular good that is sought be true good, as the preservation of the State, or something of that sort, the virtue that seeks it will be true virtue, but imperfect, unless it be referred to the formal and perfect good.
§ 1. In a man without charity two sorts of acts are possible. One act is in keeping with his lack of charity, when he does something in view of that which is precisely the reason why charity is wanting to him; and such an act is always evil: as Augustine says that the act of an unbeliever, inasmuch as he is an unbeliever, is always a sin, even though he clothe the naked, or do anything of that nature, directing it to the purpose of his unbelief. There is another act possible in him that has not charity, not in point of the lack of charity in him, but in point of some other gift of God that he has, be that gift faith, or hope, or again some natural goodness: for that is not taken away by sin. Thus without charity there may be an act good of its kind, yet not perfectly good, because the due reference to the last end is wanting.
OF THE SUBJECT OF CHARITY.
Article I.—Is the will the subject of charity?
R. Appetite being twofold, sensitive and intellectual—the latter called the will—the object of both the one and the other is good, but in different ways. The object of the sensitive appetite is good apprehended by sense. The object of the intellectual appetite is good according to the universal idea of good, apprehended by the intellect. But the object of charity is not any sensible good, but the divine good, which is known by the intellect alone. And therefore the subject of charity is not the sensible appetite, but the intellectual appetite, that is, the will.
Article XII.—Is charity lost by one act of mortal sin?
R. One contrary is taken away by another contrary supervening. Now every act of mortal sin is contrary to charity in its essence, which consists in the love of God above all things, and man’s total subjection of himself to God, referring all that he has unto Him. It is therefore of the essence of charity that man should so love God, as to be willing to submit to Him in all things, and in all things follow the rule of His commandments. Now if charity were an acquired habit depending on the natural goodness of its possessor, there would be nothing to necessitate its instant abolition by one contrary act; for an act is not directly contrary to a habit, but to an act. The continuance of a habit in its possessor does not require the continuance of the corresponding act: hence an acquired habit is not at once banished by the supervening of a contrary act. But charity, being an infused habit, depends on the action of God infusing it, which is like that of the sun illuminating the air. And therefore as light would cease at once in the air by any obstacle put to the illuminating action of the sun, so also charity ceases to be in the soul, the moment any obstacle is put to the influx of it from God. But clearly, by every mortal sin contrary to the commandments of God, an obstacle is placed to the infusion aforesaid, because man chooses sin in preference to the divine friendship, a requisite of which friendship is that we follow the will of God; and consequently by one act of mortal sin the habit of charity is immediately lost.1
OF THE OBJECT OF CHARITY.
Article III.—Are even irrational creatures to be loved in charity?
R. Charity is a friendship. Now the love of friendship works in two ways: in one way towards the friend for whom friendship is entertained; and in another way towards the good that we desire our friend to have. In the first way then no irrational creature can be loved in charity; and that for three reasons. First, because friendship is entertained for him to whom we wish good; but we cannot properly wish good to an irrational creature, because it does not belong to such a creature properly to have good, but only to the rational creature, which is competent to use the good that it has, disposing of it by free-will. Secondly, because all friendship rests upon some life lived in common; but irrational creatures cannot share in human life, which is according to reason: here there can be no friendship with irrational creatures except perhaps metaphorically. The third reason is peculiar to charity: because charity rests on the sharing of eternal happiness, of which the irrational creature is not capable. Still irrational creatures can be loved in charity as good things that we desire for others, inasmuch as in charity we wish them to be preserved for the honour of God and the benefit of men; and thus also God loves them in charity.
Article IV.—Ought a man to love himself in charity?
R. Charity being a friendship, we may speak of charity in two ways: in one way under the general aspect of friendship; and in this light we must say that friendship properly is not entertained towards one’s own self, but something greater than friendship: because friendship imports union, but every being has with itself unity, which goes beyond union with another. Hence as unity is the principle of union, so the love wherewith one loves oneself is the form and root of friendship: for our friendship for others consists in bearing them that regard which we bear ourselves. So there is no science of first principles, but something greater than science, namely, intuition, or insight.1 In another way we may speak of charity in its proper character and essence, as it is a friendship of man with God primarily, and secondarily with the creatures that are of God; among which the man himself counts who has the charity. In this way, among other things that he loves in charity as belonging to God, he also loves himself in charity.
Article V.—Ought a man to love his own body in charity?
R. Our body may be considered either in its nature, or in the corruption, culpable and penal, that attaches to it. The nature of our body is not created by any Evil Principle, as the Manichean fable has it, but is of God. Hence it is in our power to use it for the service of God, according to the text: “Present your members as instruments of justice unto God.”1 And therefore in the love of charity with which we love God, we ought to love our body also: but the culpable infection and penal corruption that is in our body, we ought not to love, but rather to yearn and strive hard with a desire of charity for its removal.
§ 2. Though our body cannot enjoy God to know Him and love Him, still we can arrive at the perfect enjoyment of God by the works that we do with the aid of the body. Hence there redounds upon the body from the enjoyment of the soul a certain happiness—“the vigour of sound health and incorruption,” as Augustine says. And therefore since the body is in some way our partner in happiness, it is apt to be loved with the love of charity.
Article VI.—Are sinners to be loved in charity?
R. In sinners two things may be considered, their nature and their fault. In the nature that they have from God they are capable of happiness, on the sharing of which charity is founded; and therefore in their nature they are to be loved in charity. But their fault is contrary to God, and is an obstacle to happiness. Hence for the fault whereby they are opposed to God, all sinners are to be hated, even father and mother and kinsmen, as the text has it.1 For we ought in sinners to hate their being sinners, and love their being men, capable of happiness: and this is to love them truly in charity for God’s sake.
§ 2. As the Philosopher says, the benefits of friendship are not to be withdrawn from friends when they do wrong, so long as there is hope of their cure; but erring friends are to be helped to the recovery of virtue much more than they should be to the recovery of money, if they had lost it, as virtue is more akin to friendship than money. But when they fall into the extremity of malice and become incurable, then the intimacy of friendship is no longer to be afforded them. And therefore sinners of this sort, of whom injury to others is more to be expected than their own amendment, are put to death by the bidding of law divine and human. Yet even this the judge does, not out of hatred for them, but out of the love of charity, whereby the public good is preferred to the life of an individual.2 And even in that case the judicial infliction of death is a benefit to the sinner, serving to the expiation of his fault, if he is converted; to the termination of his fault, if he is not converted.
§ 4. We love sinners in charity, not that we should wish what they wish, or rejoice at what they rejoice in, but to make them wish what we wish, and rejoice in what is matter of joy to us. Hence it is said: “They shall be turned to thee, and thou shalt not be turned to them.”1
Article VII.—Do sinners love themselves?
R. It is common to all men to love that which each one takes himself to be. Not all men, however, take themselves to be that which they really are. For the prime element in man is his rational mind: while his sentient and bodily nature is of secondary importance. The former is termed by the Apostle, “the inward man,” the latter “the outward man.”2 Now good men take for the prime element in them their rational nature, or inward man: herein they take themselves to be what they really are. But the wicked take for the prime element in themselves their sentient and bodily nature, that is, their outward man. Hence, not knowing themselves aright, they do not truly love themselves, but they love that which they take themselves for. But the good, truly knowing themselves, truly love themselves.
Article VIII.—Is the love of enemies a necessary point of charity?
R. The love of enemies may be looked at in three ways. In one way, as though enemies were to be loved for being enemies: that were a wrong-headed proceeding and repugnant to charity, because it would be loving what was evil in another. In another way the love of enemies may be taken as fastening upon the nature that is in them, but only in the general. Thus understood, the love of enemies is a necessary point of charity, to the effect that a man loving God and his neighbour should not exclude his enemies from the general compass of his love of his neighbour. In a third way love of enemies may be looked at as something that is made a special point of, as though one should be moved with a special affection of love towards an enemy; and this is not a necessary point of charity, absolutely speaking, because neither is it a necessary point of charity to have a particular affection for any and every given individual, seeing that such universal particularization is impossible. It is, however, a necessary point of charity so far as preparedness of mind goes, that a man should have his mind made up to show love to his enemy even as an individual, should necessity occur.1 But apart from instant necessity, a man’s doing an act of love to his enemy for the sake of God, belongs to the perfection of charity. For the more a man loves God, the more love also he shows for his neighbour, and allows no enmity to stand in his way: just as if one had much love for another, he would love also that man’s children for love of him, though they were enemies to himself.
§ 2. To the objection that charity does not take away nature, and that naturally every being, even an irrational agent, hates its own contrary, it is to be said that enemies are contrary to us inasmuch as they are enemies: hence we ought to hate that point in them; for the fact that they are our enemies ought to displease us. But they are not contrary to us inasmuch as they are men, capable of happiness; and in that respect we are bound to love them.
Article IX.—Is it of necessity for salvation to render signs and offices of love to an enemy?
R. Inward love for an enemy in general is of absolute necessity of precept; but as for any special affection, that is not absolutely required except in preparedness of mind, as above explained. So we must say of the external rendering of any office and sign of love. There are some signs or services of love that are rendered to our neighbours in general, as when one prays for all the faithful, or for a whole people, or confers some benefit upon an entire community; and such services or signs of love it is of necessity of precept to render even to enemies. The omission of them would be a piece of vindictive spite, against which the text runs: “Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens.”1 Other services or signs of love there are, which are rendered to certain individuals in particular. It is not of necessity for salvation to render these to enemies, except in point of preparedness of mind, so that the said enemies should be aided in the hour of need, according to the text: “If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink.”1 But the rendering of such services to enemies not in the hour of need, belongs to the perfection of charity, whereby a man not only carefully avoids being overcome by evil—a point of necessary duty—but also wishes to overcome evil by good, which is a point of perfection: that is to say, he is not only careful not to be drawn into hatred for the injury done him, but makes it his further aim by his benefits to draw his enemy to love him.
OF THE ORDER TO BE OBSERVED IN CHARITY.
Article I.—Is there any order in charity?
R. Priority and posteriority are in relation to some principle. But order involves some sort of priority and posteriority. Hence wherever there is a principle, there must also be order. Now the love of charity tends to God as to the principle of happiness, in the common sharing of which the friendship of charity is founded. And therefore in the objects that are loved in charity there must be some order in relation to the first principle of this love, which is God.
Article III.—Is a man bound in charity to love God more than himself?
R. We receive from God a twofold good, the good of nature and the good of grace. On the participation of natural goods allowed us by God is founded the natural love, whereby man in the wholeness and integrity of his nature loves God above all things and more than himself: because every part naturally loves the common good of the whole more than its own particular good. This is apparent in the social virtues, whereby citizens sometimes suffer damage to their own properties and persons, for the sake of the common good. Much more is this the case in the friendship of charity, which is founded upon the participation of the gifts of grace. And therefore a man is bound in charity to love God, who is the common good of all, more than himself: because happiness is in God, as in the common fount and origin of all things capable of happiness.
§ 3. The wish to enjoy God belongs to the love wherewith God is loved by the love of desire. But we love God more by the love of friendship than by the love of desire, because the goodness of God is greater in itself than the goodness that we have for our portion by enjoying Him.
Article IV.—Is a man bound in charity to love himself more than his neighbour?
R. There are two things in man, his spiritual nature and his bodily nature. A man is said to love himself, when he loves his spiritual nature. And in this way a man ought to love himself, after God, more than any other person. For God is loved as the principle of goodness, on which the love of charity is founded; man loves himself in charity inasmuch as he is a partaker in the goodness aforesaid: while his neighbour is loved on the score of partnership in that good. Hence as unity is better than union, so the partaking of a man’s own self in the divine goodness is a better ground for love than the fact of another’s association with self in this partaking. And therefore a man is bound in charity to love himself more than his neighbour. A sign of this is, that a man ought not to take upon himself any evil of sin to deliver his neighbour from sin.
§ 1. The quantity of the love of charity depends not only on the object, which is God, but also on the subject loving, which is the man himself who has the charity. And therefore, though a neighbour better than self is nearer to God, still because he is not so near to him who has the charity as himself is to himself, it does not follow that any one ought to love his neighbour more than himself.
§ 2. A man ought to suffer corporal loss for his friend; and in so doing he loves himself the more on his spiritual and mental side, inasmuch as what he does is a point of the perfection of virtue, which is a good of the mind.1
Article V.—Ought a man to love his neighbour more than his own body?
R. Partnership in the full participation of happiness, which is the reason for loving our neighbour, is a greater reason for love than partnership in happiness by way of redundance and overflow, which is the reason for loving our own body.1 And therefore we ought to love our neighbour, as to the salvation of his soul, more than our own body.
§ 2. Our body is nearer our soul than our neighbour is, in respect of the constitution of our own nature; but as regards participation in happiness, greater is the companionship of our neighbour’s soul with our soul than even that of our own body.
§ 3. The care of his own body is urgent on every man; but the care of his neighbour’s salvation is not urgent on every man, except it be in a case of necessity. And therefore it is not a necessary point of charity for a man to expose his own person for the salvation of his neighbour, except in the case in which he is officially bound to provide for his salvation. But that one should spontaneously offer himself to this, belongs to the perfection of charity.
Article VI.—Is one neighbour to be loved more than another?
R. There have been two opinions on this point. Some have said that all neighbours are to be loved in charity equally so far as affection goes, but not in exterior effect. They allow of gradations of love in the matter of outward acts of kindness, which they say we ought to do rather for those nearest to us than for strangers; but as for inward affection, that they say we ought to bestow equally on all, even on enemies. But this is an irrational thing to say. For the affection of charity, which is an inclination of grace, goes not less according to order than natural appetite, which is an inclination of nature, seeing that both the one and the other inclination proceeds from the divine wisdom. We see in natural things that natural inclination is proportionate to the act or movement which is proper to the nature of each. Therefore also the inclination of grace, which is the affection of charity, must be proportioned to what has to be done externally: so that we should have a more intense affection of charity for those who are the more proper objects of our active beneficence. Therefore we must say that even in affection we ought to love one of our neighbours more than another. And the reason is, because, seeing that the principle of love is God and the subject loving, there must necessarily be greater affection of love according as there is greater nearness to one or other of these two principles.
§ 1. To the objection taken from Augustine’s words, “All men are to be equally loved: but seeing that you cannot do good to all, their interest is to be especially consulted whose lot is more closely bound up with your own, according as place and time and other circumstances give opportunity,” it is to be said that love may be unequal in two ways: in one way in respect of the good that we wish to a friend; and so far as this goes, we should love all men equally in charity: because we are to wish for all generically the same good, namely, eternal happiness. In another way love is said to be greater for the act of love being more intense: at that rate we ought not to love all men equally.
Or to put it otherwise, there are two ways in which love for different persons may be unequal. One way would be by loving some and not loving others. Now in actual beneficence we must observe this inequality, because we cannot do good to all; but as regards good wishes, such inequality should not be. The other way consists in loving some more than others. Augustine then does not intend to exclude this latter inequality, but only the former, as is clear from what he says about doing good.
Article VII.—Ought we to love persons of superior goodness more than other persons with whom we have more intimate relations?
R. Every act must be proportioned both to the object and to the agent. From the object it has its species: from the strength of the agent it has the measure of its intensity. Now the object of the love of charity is God: the agent loving is man. Diversity therefore in the love of charity must consist, so far as species goes, in loving different neighbours differently according to the several ways in which they stand to God; wishing, that is, greater good to him who is nearer to God. For though the good of eternal happiness, which charity wishes to all, is one in itself, still there are various degrees of participation in that happiness. And this is a point of charity, to wish the justice of God to have place, according to which persons of superior goodness have a more perfect participation of happiness. And this touches the species of the love: for the species of love are various according to the various goods that we wish to the persons whom we love. But the intensity of love is determined in reference to the man himself who loves; and in this respect a man loves more dearly those who are nearer to him; and the good which his love wishes them, is wished with more intense affection than the greater good which he wishes to better persons.
Again, the goodness of virtue which sets some men near God, admits of increase and diminution: and therefore I may wish in charity that the person with whom I have a closer tie, may be better than the stranger, and so be capable of arriving at a higher degree of happiness.
Another way in which we have more love of charity for those with whom we are more intimate, is that we have more varieties of love for them. For in regard of those with whom we have no such close connection, we have only the friendship of charity, but in regard of those with whom we are closely connected, we have sundry other friendships according to the manner of their connection with us. But since the good whereon every other virtuous friendship rests is finally directed to the good which is the basis of charity, it follows that charity commands the act of every other friendship, as the art which deals with the end proposed commands the art which deals with the means thereto. And thus affection for another as a kinsman, or a fellow-countryman, or on any other lawful ground that is referable to the end of charity, can be commanded by charity. Thus by charity, as well eliciting as commanding, we love in more ways those who are more closely connected with us.1
§ 1. We are not bidden2 to hate in our relations the fact of their being our relations, but this only, that they hinder us from God: and in this they are not relations, but enemies.
§ 2. Charity makes a man conformable to God in such proportion as that the man is affected to his own as God to His own. For there are some things that we can will in charity, because they befit us, which however God does not will, because it does not befit Him to will them.
§ 3. Charity in eliciting the act of love regards not only the object loved, but also the subject loving: whence it comes to pass that where the object is nearer, the love is greater.
Article VIII.—Ought he to be better loved, who is nearer in blood?
R. The intensity of love is in proportion to the nearness of the person loved to the person loving. And therefore love is to be measured out to different persons differently according to different ties that bring them near. That is to say, each is to be loved above the rest in the matter of the particular tie of friendship that we have with him. Now friendship among kinsmen rests on the tie of natural origin; friendship among fellow-countrymen depends on a civil tie; and friendship between fellow-soldiers on a military tie. And therefore in what touches nature we ought to love kinsmen above the rest: in points of civil society we ought to love fellow-countrymen above the rest, and in matters of war, fellow-soldiers above the rest. If, however, we compare one tie with another, it is clear that the natural tie of origin is prior and more unchangeable; while other ties are things that supervene and may be changed. And therefore friendship between kinsmen is more stable; but other friendships may prevail over it in the proper matter of each friendship.
Article XIII.—Does the order of charity still hold in heaven?
R. Even in our heavenly country it will hold good that one will love another with whom he has a special tie, in more ways than he loves the rest: for virtuous motives of love will not cease to have influence on the soul of the Blessed. Still to all these reasons that reason of love is there incomparably preferred, which is derived from nearness to God.
§ 3. God will be to every one in heaven his whole reason for loving anything, because God is the whole good of man. For on the impossible supposition that God were not the good of man, man would have no reason for loving Him. And therefore in the order of love, after God, man ought most of all to love himself.
OF THE PRINCIPAL ACT OF CHARITY, WHICH IS LOVE.
Article II.—Is love, as an act of charity, the same as sympathy?
R. Love even in the intellectual appetite differs from sympathy: for it involves a union of affection between the person loving and the person loved, the former counting the latter as in a manner united to himself, or belonging to himself, and being affected towards him accordingly. But sympathy is a simple act of the will by which we wish well to another, not presupposing the aforesaid union of affection with him. Thus then in love, as an act of charity, sympathy is included; but love adds in the union of affection besides. And therefore the Philosopher says that “sympathy is the beginning of friendship.”
Article VI.—Are any bounds to be set to our love of God?
R. The more the rule is attained to, the better; and therefore the more God is loved, the better the love.1
§ 3. That affection is to be measured by reason, the object whereof is subject to the judgment of reason. But God, the object of divine love, transcends the judgment of reason; and therefore is not measured by reason, but transcends reason. Nor is the case alike of the interior act of charity and of exterior acts. For the interior act of charity has the character of a final end, because the ultimate good of man consists in the adherence of his soul to God, according to the text: “It is good for me to adhere to my God.”1 But exterior acts are means to the end; and therefore are to be adjusted at once to the measure of charity and to that of reason.
Article VII.—Is it more meritorious to love an enemy than to love a friend?
R. The reason for loving our neighbour in charity is God. When then we ask which is better or more meritorious, to love a friend or an enemy, these loves may be compared from two points of view: in one way considering the neighbour who is loved, and in another way considering the reason for loving. In the former way, love borne to a friend ranks above love borne to an enemy: because a friend is at once a better man and more allied to you, and therefore affords more suitable matter for love. Hence also the opposite act is worse: for it is worse to hate a friend than an enemy. But in the latter way love borne to an enemy ranks first, for two reasons. First of all, because there may be another reason than God for the loving of a friend; but of the loving of an enemy God alone is the reason. Secondly, because supposing that both the one and the other is loved for God’s sake, that love of God is shown to be stronger which extends the affections to more remote objects, to wit, even to the loving of enemies; as the force of a fire is shown to be all the stronger, the more remote the objects to which it extends its heat. But as the same fire acts more strongly on nearer than on more remote objects, so also charity loves more ardently persons closely conjoined than others more remote; and in this respect love borne to friends, taken in itself, is a warmer and better love than love borne to enemies.
Article VIII.—Is it more meritorious to love your neighbour than to love God?
R. This comparison may be instituted in two ways: in one way considering each love separately, and then doubtless the love of God is the more meritorious. The comparison may be put in another way, taking the love of God to mean the love of Him only, and the love of your neighbour the love of that neighbour for God. Thus considered, the love of your neighbour includes the love of God; while the love of God does not include the love of your neighbour. Hence it will be a comparison of the perfect love of God, that extends even to your neighbour, with a love of God insufficient and imperfect: because “this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God love also his brother.”1 And in this sense the love of your neighbour takes precedence.
§ 3. Goodness makes more towards virtue and merit than difficulty. Hence it need not be that the more difficult is always the more meritorious thing to do, but that only which is in such a way the more difficult as to be also the better.
Article II.—Does the spiritual joy, that is caused by charity, admit of any admixture of sorrow?
R. There is caused by charity a twofold joy in God. One joy is principal, the proper effect of charity, whereby we rejoice in the divine goodness considered in itself. This joy of charity admits of no intermingling of sorrow; as neither does the good that is its object admit of any admixture of evil. There is another joy of charity, whereby one rejoices in the divine goodness as shared in by us. This participation may be hindered by something coming in the way. And therefore in this respect the joy of charity may suffer an admixture of sadness, the soul being sad at what is opposed to the participation of the divine goodness, either in ourselves, or in the neighbours whom we love as ourselves.
Article III.—Can the spiritual joy, that is caused by charity, be filled in us?1
R. Joy stands to desire as rest to motion. Now rest is full, when there is nothing left of motion. Hence joy is then full, when nothing more remains to be desired. But so long as we are in this world, the motion of desire ceases not in us, because there is still room for us to approach nearer to God by grace. But on arriving at perfect happiness, nothing will remain to be desired: because there will be there the full enjoyment of God, in which enjoyment man will obtain whatever he desired even in the matter of other good things, according to the text: “Who satisfieth thy desire with good things.”2 And so there desire rests, not only that wherewith we desire God, but there will also be rest from all other desires. Hence the joy of the Blessed is perfectly full,—full even to overflowing, because they shall obtain more than they have had capacity to desire. For “neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.”3 And this is what is said: “Good measure and running over shall they give into your bosom.”4 Since, however, no creature is capable of having a joy in God, that is worthy of Him, this full and perfect joy is not received and contained in man, but rather man enters into it, according to the text: “Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”5
§ 2. On arriving at happiness, every one will attain the term prefixed for him according to divine predestination, and there will be no point left beyond that to tend to: although in that terminal state one arrives to a greater nearness to God, another to a less. And therefore every one’s joy will be full on the part of him that rejoices, because every one’s desire will be fully set at rest: yet shall the joy of one be greater than that of another because of a fuller participation in the divine happiness.
Article III.—Is peace the proper effect of charity?
R. A double union is of the essence of peace. One union is by subordination of the individual’s own desires all to one object: the other is by union of one individual’s desire with that of another individual. Charity effects both these unions. It effects the first union by making us love God with all our hearts, so as to refer all we have to Him; and thus all our desires tend to one object. It effects the second union by making us love our neighbour as ourselves, with the result that a man wishes to fulfil his neighbour’s will as his own.
§ 2. To the objection, that a thing is not an effect of charity, when the contrary of it can stand with charity—but disagreement, the contrary of peace, can stand with charity, as we see that Jerome and Augustine disagreed in some matters of opinion, and Paul and Barnabas—it is to be said that harmony of opinions is not a point of friendship, but harmony in the practical interests of life, especially those of great importance; for disagreement over small matters counts for no disagreement at all. And therefore there is nothing to prevent persons, who have charity, from disagreeing in matters of opinion. Nor is this inconsistent with peace: because opinions belong to the intellect, which is prior to desire: now it is union of desires that makes peace. In like manner also, so long as there is concord in main interests, disagreement on some little matters is not against charity: for such disagreement arises from diversity of opinions, one party reckoning the matter that they disagree about to be a point of that interest upon which they are agreed, while the other considers that it is not. Accordingly, such disagreement about minutiæ and matters of opinion, though inconsistent with that perfect peace, in which truth will be fully known and every desire satisfied, still is not inconsistent with such imperfect peace as is possible on our way to that goal.
OF DOING GOOD TO OTHERS.
Article III.—Should we do good rather to those who are more nearly connected with us?1
R. Grace and virtue imitate the order of nature, which is instituted by Divine Wisdom. Now the order of nature is that every natural agent should diffuse its action sooner and more abundantly on the objects that are nearer to itself. And therefore we must be more prone to do good to the persons that are nearer to us. The nearness of one man to another is specified according to the various relations of intercourse of man with man, as kinsmen, fellow-countrymen, fellow-believers. And various good offices are to be paid in various ways according to various connections. To every one kindness is to be shown by preference in the matter wherein he is connected with us. Such is the general rule, but it admits of variation for variety of places and times and businesses. For in a certain case we should rather help a stranger, say, in extreme necessity, than even a parent not in such necessity.
§ 3. A debt or due is of two sorts. One sort there is, which is not to be reckoned among the goods of him who owes it, but among the goods of him to whom it is owing: for instance, if one have money or other chattels of another, whether taken by theft, or lent, or deposited for safe keeping. In respect to this, a man ought to pay back the debt or due sooner than benefit his connections therefrom. Another debt or due there is, which is reckoned among the goods of him who owes it, not among the goods of him to whom it is owing: for instance, if something is due, not by necessity of justice, but according to a certain moral equity, such as arises from benefits gratuitously received. Now no benefactor’s benefaction is so great as that of parents; and therefore in the return of benefits parents’ claims are to be preferred to all others, unless there be a preponderant claim of necessity on another side, or other modifying consideration, such as general advantage of Church or State.
Article I.—Is almsgiving an act of charity?
R. Exterior acts are referred to that virtue to which their motive belongs. Now the motive of almsgiving is to succour one in need. Hence some define almsgiving: “A work whereby something is given to one in need, out of compassion, for the sake of God:” which motive belongs to mercy. Hence almsgiving is properly an act of mercy. And this appears from the name: for in Greek eleemosyna is derived from mercy.1 And because mercy is an effect of charity, it follows that almsgiving is an act of charity through the medium of mercy.
§ 1. To the objection, that an act of charity cannot be without charity, but almsgiving can be without charity, according to the text: “If I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing,”2 —it is to be said that a thing is said to be an act of charity in two ways: in one way, materially, as it is an act of justice to do just things; and such an act of virtue may be without virtue: for many who have not the habit of justice do just things from natural reason, or from fear, or from the hope of gain. In another way a thing is said to be an act of virtue formally, as it is an act of justice to do just things in the way that the just man does them, that is to say, with readiness and delight; and in this way an act of virtue is not without virtue. Thus then to give alms materially may be without charity; but formally to give alms, that is, for God, with delight and readiness, and in every way as it ought to be done, is not without charity.1
Article V.—Is it of precept to give alms?
R. Since the love of our neighbour is of precept, all those things must fall under precept without which the love of our neighbour cannot be maintained. Now it is a point of love of our neighbour, not only to wish him good, but also to do him good, according to the text: “Let us love not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”2 But to will and to work a person’s good, it is requisite that we should succour his need, which is done by almsgiving; and therefore almsgiving is of precept. But because precepts are given of acts of virtue, almsgiving must fall under precept inasmuch as it is an act necessary to virtue, or in other words, required by right reason. In point of which, something is to be considered on the side of the giver, and something on the side of him to whom the alms is to be given. On the side of the giver we must observe that what is distributed in alms should be his superfluity. And I say superfluity, not merely in respect of the man himself, or above what is necessary for that individual, but also in respect of others, the care of whom is incumbent on him. In this respect we are to understand the phrase necessary to the person, taking person as implying dignity.1 Every one must first provide for himself, and for those the care of whom is incumbent on him; and afterwards, out of the residue, he should relieve the needs of others. On the part of the receiver it is requisite that he should be in need; otherwise there would be no reason why alms should be given him. But since it is impossible for one man to relieve all who are in need, therefore it is not every need that binds under precept, but that which must be relieved, or the sufferer will perish. In that case Ambrose’s saying has place: “Feed him that is dying of hunger: if thou hast not fed him, thou hast slain him.”2 Thus then it is of precept to give alms out of your superfluity, and to give alms to him who is in extreme need: otherwise almsgiving is matter of counsel, as there are counsels of every better good.
§ 2. The temporal goods that heaven bestows on a man are his as to the ownership, but as to the use they ought not to be his exclusively, but also should benefit others, who can be maintained out of them, from what is superfluous to the owner. Wherefore Basil says: “It is the bread of the hungry that you withhold: the naked man’s coat that you keep in store: the shoe of the barefoot that is mouldering in your house: the money of the needy that you have buried in the earth.”
§ 3. There is a time at which one sins mortally in omitting to give alms: on the part of the receiver, when there is an apparent, evident, and urgent need, and no appearance of any one at hand to relieve it: on the part of the giver, when he has superfluities, which are not necessary to him in his present state, according to a probable estimate. Nor need he consider all the cases that may happen in the future: for this would be to think of the future, which our Lord forbids.1 But the measures of superfluous and necessary should be determined according to what may be expected in all likelihood and occurs for the most part.
Article VI.—Is a man bound to give alms out of his store of necessaries?
R. The word necessary is used in two ways: one way it means that without which a thing cannot be. Out of what is so necessary alms ought not to be given at all; for instance, in the case of one in such stress of need as only to have just enough for the sustenance of himself and his children: for to give alms out of what is so necessary is to take your own and your children’s life. This I say except in the conjuncture where by taking from yourself you gave to some great personage who was the mainstay of Church or State. For the deliverance of such a person it would be praiseworthy to expose yourself and your kin to the danger of death: since the common good is to be preferred to private good. In another way that is said to be necessary, without which life cannot be conveniently lived according to the condition and state of your own person and of other persons, the care of whom is incumbent on you. The limit of this necessity is not a hard and fast line: but you may add a good deal without being able to pronounce that it goes beyond what is thus necessary: and you may subtract a good deal, and yet enough retain to enable you to live suitably to your state. To give alms then out of this store is good, and falls not under precept, but under counsel. It would be an inordinate thing, however, for one to deprive himself of so much of his own goods to give to others, as not to be able on the rest to pass his life suitably to his state and to the calls of business. For no one ought to live unsuitably. But from this rule there are three exceptions. The first is when one changes his state, say, by entering religion: for then in giving away all he has for Christ he does a work of perfection, and transfers himself to another state. Secondly, when the deprivation, though of things necessary for a suitable estate of life, yet can easily be made up, so that no very great inconvenience follows. Thirdly, on the concurrence of extreme need in some private person, or again some great need in the commonwealth: for in such cases it is praiseworthy in you to drop what might seem to belong to the becoming ornament of your state in order to relieve a greater need.
Article VII.—May alms be given out of ill-gotten goods?
R. There are three sorts of ill-gotten goods. There is one sort that is due to him from whom it was gotten, and cannot be retained by him who has gotten it, as in cases of robbery and theft and usury. Out of such goods alms cannot be given, since the man is bound to restitution of them. There is another sort which the party who has gotten it cannot keep, and yet it is not due to him of whom he has gotten it: because against justice he received it, and against justice the other gave it; as in the case of simony, in which both giver and receiver act against the justice of the divine law. Hence restitution should not be made to the giver, but the amount should be distributed in alms. And the same in like cases, in which both giving and receiving are against the law. There is a third sort of ill-gotten gains, where the getting itself is not unlawful, but the source of the getting is unlawful, as appears in the case of what a woman gets by following the trade of a prostitute. This is properly called filthy lucre; for in following that trade the woman acts filthily and against the law of God: but in taking her hire, she acts not unjustly, nor against the law. Hence this manner of ill-gotten gain may be retained, and alms given out of it.
§ 2. As regards money won at play something seems to be unlawful by divine law, namely, that a man should win from those who are incapable of alienating their property, as are infants [in the legal sense] and lunatics, and such like; and that a man should draw another to play from covetousness of winning of him; and that he should win of him by playing unfairly; and in these cases he is bound to restitution, and thus cannot give alms out of that money. There seems to be something further unlawful by positive civil law,1 which prohibits that sort of gain altogether. But because the civil law does not bind all, but only those who are subject to those laws, and moreover may be abrogated by disuse, therefore among the people that are bound by such laws winners at play, as a rule, are bound to restitution, unless a custom to the contrary happens to prevail, or unless it was the loser who invited the other to play, in which case that other is not bound to restitution, because the loser deserves not to receive it. On the other hand, he cannot lawfully keep his winnings, while the law against him remains in force; hence he ought in that case to give them away in alms.
Article IX.—Are alms to be given by preference to our nearest of kin?
R. Augustine says: “They who are nearer akin to us are assigned us as it were by lot, that we should make more provision for them.” Still in this matter a measure of discernment must be applied, according to different degrees of kindred and of holiness and of usefulness. For to a much holier person in greater need, and to one more useful towards the common good, alms should rather be given than to a person nearer akin, especially if the kindred is not very close; if no special care of that person rests upon us; and if he is in no great need.
OF FRATERNAL CORRECTION.
Article I.—Is fraternal correction an act of charity?
R. Sin may be looked at in one way as hurtful to him who sins; in another way as tending to the hurt of others, who take harm from the sin, or scandal, and also as being to the prejudice of the public good, the due course and order whereof is troubled by the sin of an individual. There is then a twofold correction of an offender: one that applies a remedy to the sin inasmuch as that is the evil of the sinner himself, and this is properly fraternal correction, which is directed to the amendment of the offender. Fraternal correction is an act of charity, because by it we remove the evil of our brother, namely, sin, the removal whereof belongs more to charity than even the removal of exterior loss or bodily hurt, inasmuch as the contrary good of virtue is more allied to charity than the good of the body or of exterior things. Hence fraternal correction is an act of charity, more so than the cure of bodily infirmity, or the relief of exterior distress. But there is another correction that applies a remedy to the sin of an offender, inasmuch as that makes towards the evil estate of others, and particularly towards the prejudice of the public good; and such correction is an act of justice; it being the property of that virtue to maintain the right order of justice in one man towards another.
Article II.—Is fraternal correction matter of precept?
R. As the negative precepts of the law forbid acts of sin, so the affirmative precepts induce to acts of virtue. Now acts of sin are evil in themselves, and can in no way become good, nor at any time or place, because of themselves they are conjoined to an evil end; and therefore the negative precepts bind always and for always. But acts of virtue ought not to be done anyhow, but with observance of due circumstances requisite to the act being virtuous, so that it be done where it ought, and when it ought, and as it ought. In these circumstances of a virtuous act, regard must be had specially to the end in view. Now fraternal correction is directed to the amendment of our brother, and therefore it falls under precept inasmuch as it is necessary to this end, but not so that an erring brother should be corrected in every place, or at every time.
§ 4. That which is due to a definite and fixed person, whether it be a corporal or a spiritual good, we must pay him, not waiting for him to come in our way, but taking proper trouble to seek him out. Hence as he who owes money to a creditor ought to look for him, when it is time to pay him his due; so he who has special care of any one ought to seek him to correct him of sin. But as for those good services that are not due to any definite individual, but to all our neighbours in common, be they corporal or spiritual good offices, we need not seek for persons to render them to, but it is enough that we render them to those who come in our way. And therefore Augustine says: “The Lord admonishes us not to pass over one another’s sins, nor yet to go looking for something to rebuke; but when we do see something, to give correction.” Otherwise we should become spies on the lives of other people, contrary to what is said in Prov. xxiv. 15: “Seek not after wickedness in the house of the just, nor spoil his rest.”
Article III.—Does fraternal correction belong only to superiors?
R. There are two sorts of correction. One is an act of charity, tending to the amendment of an erring brother by way of simple admonition; and such correction belongs to every one that has charity, be he subject or superior. But there is another correction that is an act of justice, with intent of the common good, which is not only procured by admonishing a brother, but sometimes also by chastising him, that others in fear may cease their offending; and such correction belongs to superiors alone, who are competent not only to admonish, but also to correct by chastisement.
Article VI.—Should correction be withheld for fear of the offender becoming worse?
R. The correction that belongs to superiors, and is directed to the public good, and is borne out by coercive power, should not be omitted for any uproar made by the receiver of it. For if he will not amend himself, he must be compelled by penalties to cease from offending. And even though he be incorrigible, yet the public good is hereby secured, the order of justice is kept, and others are deterred by the example made of one. Hence a judge does not omit to pass sentence of condemnation on an offender for any fear of his uproar or of that of his friends. But fraternal correction is a different thing, having for its end the amendment of the offender, and is not borne out by coercion, but by mere admonition. And therefore where in all likelihood it may be reckoned that the sinner is not in a state to receive an admonition, but to go from bad to worse, fraternal correction is to be given up: because means must be regulated as the nature of the end requires.
Article VII.—In fraternal correction, is it of necessity of precept that secret admonition should precede denunciation?
R. If the sins are public, a remedy is to be applied to the sinner, not merely for his personal improvement, but also for the sake of others, under whose notice his sin has come, that they may not be scandalized. And therefore such sins are to be publicly reprehended, according to the saying of the Apostle: “Them that sin reprove before all, that the rest also may have fear;”1 which is to be understood of public sins, as Augustine says. But if the sins are hidden, the saying of our Lord appears to have place: “If thy brother shall offend against thee.”2 For he who offends you in public before others, does not sin against you alone, but also against the rest of the company, whom he shocks. But because even secret sins may be an offence against our neighbour, there seems to be need of yet a further distinction. Some secret sins are to our neighbour’s hurt in body or in soul; say, if one should secretly negotiate the betrayal of the city to the enemy, or if a heretic should privately turn men away from the faith. And since he who sins secretly in this way, does not sin against you alone, but also against others, the right course is to proceed immediately to denounce him, that the harm may be stopped; unless indeed you are firmly convinced that you can put an immediate stop to these evils by a secret admonition. Other sins there are that tend only to the prejudice of the sinner; and then all our effort must be to succour our sinful brother. And as a physician of the body gives help to his patient, if he can, without amputation of any limb; but if he cannot, he amputates the limb that is less necessary, that the life of the whole may be preserved: so he who aims at the amendment of his brother ought, if he can, so to amend his brother’s conscience as to save his good name. For good name is useful to the sinner, not only in his temporal, but even in his spiritual interest: because many are withdrawn from sin by fear of infamy; hence when they see themselves become infamous, they sin without check or bridle. But because a good conscience is preferable to a good name, our Lord has willed that at the cost of his good name, if it cannot be otherwise, our brother’s conscience be cleared of guilt by a public denunciation. Hence it is clearly of necessity of precept that secret admonition should precede public denunciation.
Article I.—Is it possible for any one to hate God?
R. Hatred is a movement of the appetitive power, which is not moved except by some object apprehended. Now God may be apprehended by man in two ways: in one way in Himself, as He is seen in His Essence; in another way by the effects that He works: since “the invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”1 God in His Essence is Goodness itself, which none can hate, because it is of the nature of good to be loved: and therefore it is impossible for any one seeing God in His Essence to hate Him. Even of the effects that He produces, some there are which can in no way be contrary to the human will: because to see, to live, and to understand, is something desirable and lovely to all; and these are some of the effects wrought by God. Hence God cannot be hated, inasmuch as He is apprehended as the author of these effects. But some effects wrought by God are repugnant to an inordinate will, as the infliction of punishment, and also the prohibition of sins by the divine law; and in consideration of such effects God may be hated by some persons, inasmuch as He is the prohibiter of sins and the inflicter of punishments.
Article II.—Is hatred of God the greatest of sins?
R. The guilt of sin consists in a voluntary turning away from God. In hatred of God this voluntary turning away is involved by the ordinary and essential nature of the act: but in other sins it is contained only derivatively and through the medium of something else. For as the will of itself cleaves to what it loves, so of itself it shrinks back from what it hates. Hence when any one hates God, his will of itself is turned away from Him: but in other sins, for instance, fornication, the will turns not away from God of itself, but by reason of something else, inasmuch as it seeks an inordinate delight, which has annexed to it a turning away from God. But that which is ordinarily and essentially, always goes beyond that which is derivatively. Hence hatred of God is of greater gravity than other sins.
§ 2. Unbelief is not culpable except in so far as it is voluntary. Its voluntariness arises from the unbeliever’s hatred of the truth proposed to him. Hence manifestly the sinfulness of unbelief comes of hatred of God, about whose truth faith is conversant. And therefore as the cause outdoes the effect, so hatred of God is a greater sin than unbelief.
Article III.—Is all hatred of our neighbour a sin?
R. Love is due to our neighbour for what he has of God, that is, for nature and grace: but not for what he has of himself and of the devil, that is, for sin and defect of justice. And therefore it is lawful to hate sin in our brother, and all that goes with lack of divine justice: but the nature itself and the grace of our brother none can hate without sin. But our hating in our brother his fault and defect of good is a point of love of our brother: for it is on the same principle that we wish any one’s good and hate his evil. Hence hatred of our brother, taken absolutely, is always sinful.
§ 1. According to the commandment of God, parents are to be honoured in point of nature and tie of kindred: but they are to be “hated”1 inasmuch as they stand in the way of our approaching the perfection of divine justice.
§ 2. In detractors (who are “hateful to God”)2 God hates their fault, not their nature; and so without blame may we hate detractors.
Article I.—Is sloth a sin?
R. Sloth is a heaviness and sadness, that so weighs down the soul that it has no mind to do anything. It carries with it a disgust of work. It is a torpor of the mind neglecting to set about good. Such sadness is always evil.1
§ 3. It is a point of humility that a man, from the consideration of his own defects, should abstain from extolling himself; but it is not a point of humility, but rather of ingratitude in him, to contemn the good gifts that he has from God. From such contempt sloth follows: for we get sad over what we count evil or cheap. A man should therefore so extol the good of others as not to contemn the good gifts with which himself is endowed from Heaven: for at that rate these gifts would be rendered to him matter of sadness.
§ 4. Sin is always to be shunned: but the assault of sin is sometimes to be overcome by flight, sometimes by resistance; by flight, when continued thinking of the matter increases the incentive to sin, as in lust, whene it is said: “Fly fornication;”1 by resistance, when keeping on the thought takes away the incentive to sin that arises from laying hold of the matter but lightly. And this latter is the case with sloth: for the more we think of spiritual goods, the more pleasing they become to us; whence there is an end of our sloth.
Article III.—Is sloth a mortal sin?
R. That sin is called mortal, which takes away the spiritual life, which life is by charity, and by charity we have God dwelling in us. Hence that sin is mortal of its kind, which of its own nature is contrary to charity. Such a sin is sloth: for the proper effect of charity is joy in God: while sloth is a sadness at spiritual good, inasmuch as it is divine good. Hence sloth is a mortal sin of its kind.
It is to be noticed however in all sins mortal of their kind, that they are not mortal except when they attain their full completeness. For the consummation of sin is in the consent of reason. We speak now of human sin, which consists in a human act, the principle of which is reason. Hence if there be a beginning of sin in the sensitive appetite, and it reach not so far as the consent of reason, the sin is venial owing to the imperfection of the act:2 but if it reaches so far as the consent of reason, it is a mortal sin. Thus then the movement of sloth is sometimes in the sensual appetite only, coming of the repugnance of the flesh to the spirit, and then it is a venial sin. Sometimes however it reaches to the reason, and reason consents to the avoidance and horror and detestation of the divine good, and the flesh altogether prevails against the spirit; and then manifestly sloth is a mortal sin.
§ 1. Sloth is a withdrawal of the mind, not from any and every spiritual good, but from the divine good to which the soul ought in bounden duty to apply. Hence if any one is saddened at being forced to accomplish works of virtue that he is not bound to do, that is not the sin of sloth, but only when one is saddened at duties that are incumbent upon him to do for God.
§ 3. A man makes no effort on points in which he is very wanting: and therefore he feels no envy when any one excels him therein. But if he is wanting only a little, he thinks he can master that point, and so strives after it: hence, if his effort is made void by the height of another’s glory, he is rendered sad. This is why the lovers of honour are more prone to envy. The mean-spirited likewise are envious, because they count everything great; and whatever good happens to any one, they reckon that they have been outdone in a great matter. Hence in Job v. 2 it is said: “Envy slayeth the little one.”
Article II.—Is envy a sin?
R. Envy is a sadness at another’s good. Such sadness may happen in four ways. In one way, when you grieve at another’s good inasmuch as therein you have cause to fear for yourself, or for other good men. Such sadness is not envy, and may be without sin. Hence Gregory says: “It often happens, without loss of charity, that an enemy’s downfall delights us; and without reproach of envy, his elevation makes us sad: because by his fall we think that some are raised up, who deserve to be raised; and by his advancement we fear that many may be unjustly oppressed.” In another way we may be saddened at another’s good, not because he has the good, but because the good that he has is wanting to us; and this is properly emulation. If this emulation is about the goods of virtue, it is praiseworthy, according to the text: “Be emulous of the better gifts.”1 But if it is about temporal goods, it may or may not be sinful. In a third way a man is saddened at another’s good, inasmuch as the person to whom the good comes in is unworthy of it. This sadness cannot arise about the goods of virtue, which make a man just, but about riches and such-like gifts, as may accrue both to worthy and unworthy. This sadness, according to the Philosopher, is called righteous indignation, and is a point of virtue. But this he says because he considered the said temporal goods in themselves, as they appear great to those who have not an eye for eternal goods. But according to the teaching of faith, the increase of temporal goods in unworthy hands is directed by the just ordinance of God either to the correction of the enjoyers of them or to their condemnation; and such goods are as nothing in comparison with the good things to come, that are reserved for the good. And therefore such sadness as this is forbidden in Holy Scripture, according to the text: “Be not emulous of evil-doers, nor envy them that work iniquity.”1 In a fourth way a man may be sad at the goods of another inasmuch as that other surpasses him in good things; and this is properly envy, and is always evil, because it is grief over that which is matter of rejoicing, namely, our neighbour’s good.
Article I.—Is discord a sin?
R. Concord is caused by charity, inasmuch as charity unites the hearts of many together to one effect, which is principally the good of God, and secondarily the good of our neighbour. Discord then is a sin for being contrary to this concord. But there are two ways in which this concord is destroyed—ordinarily and incidentally.1 In human acts and movements, that is said to be ordinary, which is according to the intention of the agent. Hence a man is at ordinary discord with his neighbour, when knowingly and intentionally he dissents from the good of God and his neighbour, to which he ought to consent; and this is a mortal sin of its kind on account of its contrariety to charity, though the first motions of this discord, on account of the imperfection of the act, are only venial sins. But that is taken to be incidental, which is beside the intention in human acts. Hence when the intention of both parties is fixed on a good end, making for the honour of God and the profit of their neighbour; but one thinks this particular course is good, while the other is of a contrary opinion; the discord then is only incidentally against the good of God or of their neighbour. And such discord is not a sin, nor inconsistent with charity, unless it be either attended with error on points that are of necessity to salvation, or be carried on with undue obstinacy: since the concord that charity produces is a union of wills, not a union of opinions.1
Hence it appears that discord is sometimes the fault of one side only, when what one of the contending parties wants is good, and the other knowingly resists that good: sometimes it is the fault of both sides, when each refuses the good of the other, and each loves his own self-advantage.
§ 1. In itself, the will of one man is not the rule of the will of another: but inasmuch as the will of our neighbour keeps close to the will of God, it becomes consequently a rule laid down according to the proper rule: and disagreement with such a will is sinful, as meaning disagreement with the divine rule.
§ 2. As the will of a man keeping close to God is a right rule, from which it is sinful to disagree: so the will of a man running counter to God is a perverse rule, from which it is good to disagree. Therefore to raise a discord contrary to that good concord which is the work of charity, is a grievous sin: hence it is said, “Six things there are which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth;”1 and the seventh is set down, “him that soweth discord among brethren.”2 But to raise a discord to the destruction of evil concord, is praiseworthy; and this is how Paul raised a discord among those that were of one accord in evil, the Pharisees and Sadducees.3 So our Lord said of Himself: “I am not come to send peace, but the sword.”4
§ 3. The discord between Paul and Barnabas5 was incidental, not ordinary: for both intended good, but the one thought one thing good, the other another thing, which difference of view was a piece of human shortcoming: for such a controversy turned not on any points that are of necessity to salvation. And yet this very divergence was ordered of Divine Providence for the beneficial effect that ensued thereupon.
Article II.—Is discord the daughter of vainglory?
R. Discord means a jarring of wills, inasmuch as the will of one party is set on one thing, and the will of another on another. But the will fixing on its own comes of preferring one’s own interests and views to the interests and views of others; and when this is done inordinately, it is a piece of pride and vainglory. And therefore discord, whereby every one goes after his own and withdraws his shoulders from his neighbour’s good, is written down by Gregory the Great a daughter of vainglory.
Article I.—Is it always a sin to go to war?
R. There are three requisites for a war to be just. The first thing is the authority of the prince by whose command the war is to be waged. It does not belong to a private person to start a war, for he can prosecute his claim in the court of his superior.1 In like manner the mustering of the people, that has to be done in wars, does not belong to a private person. But since the care of the commonwealth is entrusted to princes, to them belongs the protection of the common weal of the city, kingdom, or province subject to them. And as they lawfully defend it with the material sword against inward disturbances by punishing male-factors, so it belongs to them also to protect the commonwealth from enemies without by the sword of war. The second requisite is a just cause, so that they who are assailed should deserve to be assailed for some fault that they have committed. Hence Augustine says: “Just wars are usually defined as those which avenge injuries, in cases where a nation or city has to be chastised for having either neglected to punish the wicked doings of its people, or neglected to restore what has been wrongfully taken away.” The third thing requisite is a right intention of promoting good or avoiding evil. For Augustine says: “Eagerness to hurt, bloodthirsty desire of revenge, an untamed and unforgiving temper, ferocity in renewing the struggle, dust of empire,—these and the like excesses are justly blamed in war.”
§ 1. To the objection from the text that “all that take the sword shall perish with the sword,”1 it is to be said, as Augustine says, that “he takes the sword, who without either command or grant of any superior or lawful authority, arms himself to shed the blood of another.” But he who uses the sword by the authority of a prince or judge (if he is a private person), or out of zeal for justice, and by the authority of God (if he is a public person), does not take the sword of himself, but uses it as committed to him by another.
§ 2. To the objection from the text,2 “I say to you not to resist evil,” it is to be said, as Augustine says, that such precepts are always to be observed “in readiness of heart,” so that a man be ever ready not to resist, if there be occasion for non-resistance. But sometimes he must take another course in view of the common good, or even in view of those with whom he fights. Hence Augustine says: “He is the better for being overcome, from whom the license of wrong-doing is snatched away: for there is no greater unhappiness than the happiness of sinners, the nourishment of an impunity which is only granted as a punishment, and the strengthening of that domestic foe, an evil will.”
Article III.—Is it lawful in war to use stratagems?1
R. The end of stratagems is to deceive the enemy. Now there are two ways of deceiving in word or deed. One way is by telling lies and breaking promises, and no one ought to deceive the enemy in this way; for “there are certain laws of war, and agreements to be observed even among enemies,” as Ambrose says. In another way one may be deceived by the fact that we do not open our purpose or declare our mind to him. That we are not always bound to do. Even in sacred doctrine many things are to be concealed from unbelievers, that they may not scoff at them, according to the text: “Give not what is holy to dogs.”2 Much more are our preparations to attack our enemies to be hidden from them. Such concealment belongs to the nature of stratagems, which it is lawful to use in just wars. Nor are such stratagems properly called frauds, nor are they inconsistent with justice, nor with a well-ordered will. For it would be an inordinate will for any one to wish nothing to be concealed from him by other people.
Article IV.—Is war lawful on feast-days?1
R. The observance of feasts does not bar the taking the means even to the bodily welfare of man. Hence our Lord rebukes the Jews, saying: “Are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath-day?”2 Therefore it is that physicians may lawfully apply remedies to men on a feast-day. Much more is the good estate of the commonwealth to be maintained, whereby many murders are prevented, and countless ills both temporal and spiritual—a more important good than the bodily well-being of a single man. And therefore, for the defence of the commonwealth of the faithful, just wars may lawfully be prosecuted on feast-days, if necessity so requires: for it would be tempting God for a man to want to keep his hands from war under stress of such necessity. But when the necessity ceases, war is not lawful on feast-days.
§ 4. “And they determined in that day, saying: Whoever shall come up against us to fight on the sabbath-day, we will fight against him.”3
OF ASSAULT AND BATTERY.
Article I.—Is assault and battery always sinful?
R. As contention means a conflict, so assault and battery means a conflict in deeds. Assault and battery is a sort of private war between private persons, not sanctioned by any public authority, but prompted by a disordered will. And therefore an assault always involves sin. And in the party who assails another unjustly, it is a mortal sin; for to do hurt to another by work of hand is not without mortal sin.1 But in him who defends himself the act may be without sin, and it may be a venial sin, and it may be a mortal sin, according to the different motion of his mind and different manner of defending himself. For if he defends himself with the mere purpose of repelling the wrong offered, and with due moderation, it is not a sin, nor can it be properly called assault and battery on his part. But if he defends himself with a purpose of vengeance or hatred, or beyond the bounds of due moderation, it is always sinful,—a venial sin when some slight motion of anger or vengeance blends itself with the act, or when it does not go much beyond the bounds of moderate defence; a mortal sin, when you rise up against your assailant with mind resolved to kill him or do him grievous hurt.
Article II.—Is sedition always a mortal sin?
R. Sedition is opposed to the unity of a multitude, that is, of a people, city, or kingdom. The unity to which sedition is opposed is a unity of law and public utility. Therefore sedition is a mortal sin of its kind, and all the more grievous inasmuch as the public good that is assailed by sedition is greater than private good that suffers in assault and battery. The sin of sedition attaches primarily and principally to those who bring about the sedition, and they sin most grievously; secondarily, to those who abet them in disturbing the common weal. But they who defend the common weal, and resist disturbers of the public peace, are not to be called seditious: as neither are they who defend their own persons said to be guilty of assault.
Article I.—Is scandal aptly defined to be “any word or deed, less right, that gives occasion of fall to another”?
R. An obstacle set in the way, so that one is likely to fall over it, is called scandalum, a stumbling-block. So in the course of the spiritual way one is exposed to a spiritual fall by the deed or act of another, who by his advice or persuasion or example draws you to commit sin; and this is properly called scandal. Now nothing of its own nature exposes any one to spiritual ruin, except what labours under some defect of correctness: for what is perfectly right rather fortifies a man against falling than exposes him to fall. And therefore it is appropriately said that “any word or deed, less right, that gives occasion to a fall,” is scandal.
§ 2. “Less right” does not mean here what is surpassed by something else in point of correctness, but what labours under some lack of correctness, either as being in itself evil, or as having the appearance of evil. And therefore the Apostle admonishes us: “From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.”1
§ 3. Nothing can become to a man a sufficient cause of sin, that is, of a spiritual fall, but his own will. And therefore the sayings or doings of another man can only be an imperfect cause, in some manner inducing to a fall. And therefore we do not say, “giving cause to a fall,” but, “giving occasion,” which is an imperfect cause.
§ 4. The word or deed of another may be a cause of sin to you in two ways, ordinarily and incidentally. Ordinarily, when one by his evil word or deed intends to induce you to sin; or even though he intends not that, his mere deed is such as of its own nature to be an incentive to sin, as when one commits sin in public, or what looks like sin; and in that case the man who does such an act, properly gives occasion to another’s fall: hence it is called active scandal. Incidentally one man’s word or deed is an occasion of sin to another, when apart from the intention of the doer, and apart from the quality of the work, some evil-disposed person is led on by such a work to sin, as when one envies the goods of another; and in this case the doer of the good and proper act gives no occasion, so far as in him lies, but the other takes occasion to sin. And therefore this is passive scandal without the active: for so far as in him lies, he who does right gives no occasion to the fall which the other suffers. Sometimes then there is at once active scandal in the one party, and passive in the other, as when one man sins at the inducement of another: sometimes there is active scandal without passive, as when one by word or deed tries to induce another to sin, and that other does not consent: sometimes again there is passive scandal without the active, as above explained.
Article III.—Is scandal a special sin?
R. Passive scandal cannot be a special sin: because for one man to fall by occasion of the word or deed of another may happen in any kind of sin; nor does the mere taking occasion from another’s word or deed constitute a special fashion of sinning, seeing that it does not involve any special deformity opposed to a special virtue. Active scandal as it occurs incidentally, when it is beside the intention of the agent, as when one does not intend by his inordinate word or deed to give another any occasion to fall, but only wants to gratify his own will, is not a special sin: because what is incidental does not constitute a species. But active scandal as it occurs ordinarily, when one intends by his inordinate word or deed to draw another to sin, derives the character of a special sin from the intention of a special end: for the end in view fixes the species in moral matters. Hence as theft is a special sin, or murder, on account of the special hurt intended to our neighbour, so also is scandal a special sin for the special hurt intended; and it is opposed to fraternal correction, in which the removal of a special hurt is intended.
Article V.—Can passive scandal befall even perfect men?
R. Passive scandal supposes a certain unsettling and divorce from good in the soul of him who suffers the scandal. Now none is unsettled who clings firmly to an immoveable object. But perfect men cling to God alone, whose goodness is unchangeable: for though they cling to their superiors, they do not cling to them except inasmuch as they cling to Christ. Hence, however much they see others misbehaving in word or deed, they budge not from their rectitude, according to the psalm: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Sion: he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusalem.”1
§ 3. Perfect men do fall at times into some venial sins by the infirmity of the flesh; but they are not scandalized in the proper sense of the word scandal, by the sayings or doings of others.
Article VI.—Is active scandal to be found in perfect men?
R. It is the property of the perfect to do what they do according to the rule of reason, as the text has it: “Let all things be done decently and according to order.”2 And this caution they particularly follow in matters where there is danger of their not only themselves offending, but also giving offence to others. And if in their public words or deeds anything is wanting of this moderation, that defect comes of human weakness, in respect of which they fall short of perfection, yet not so far short either as to imply any great departure from the order of reason, but only a small and slight departure, not great enough for any reasonable being thence to take occasion of sin.
§ 3. The venial sins of the perfect consist for the most part in sudden impulses, which being hidden cannot give scandal.
Article VII.—Are spiritual goods to be abandoned for fear of scandal?
R. Scandal being twofold, active and passive, there can be no question here of active scandal: for as active scandal is “any word or deed less right,” nothing must be done with active scandal. But the question has place, if it be understood of passive scandal. We must consider then what is to be abandoned for fear lest another take scandal. A distinction must be drawn in the matter of spiritual goods. Some of these are of necessity to salvation; and they cannot be let go without mortal sin. But clearly no man ought to commit mortal sin to hinder another man’s sin: because in the order of charity a man ought to love his own spiritual welfare more than that of another. And therefore points that are of necessity to salvation, are not to be dropped for the avoiding of scandal. But with regard to those spiritual goods that are not of necessity to salvation, it seems a distinction must be drawn. For the scandal that arises from them sometimes proceeds from malice: that is in the case when some persons wish to hinder such spiritual goods by setting scandals afoot; and this is the scandal of the Pharisees, who were scandalized at the teaching of our Lord; which scandal, the Lord teaches, is to be despised.1 But sometimes scandal proceeds from infirmity or ignorance; and such is the scandal of little ones; for which sake spiritual goods are either to be concealed, or at times deferred, until such time as by means of an explanation an end can be put to scandal of this sort. But if the scandal continues after the explanation, it then seems to come of malice, and so affords no motive for abandoning such spiritual works.
§ 1. To the objection taken from the words of Augustine, that “where danger of schism is apprehended, we must desist from the punishment of sins,” it is to be said that the infliction of punishment is not desirable for its own sake; but punishments are inflicted as medicines for the prevention of sins, and therefore have the quality of justice in so far as they are checks upon sin. But supposing there is a clear case of sins being multiplied and made greater by the infliction of punishment, then the infliction of punishment will not fall under justice. Of such a case Augustine speaks, namely, when danger of schism threatens to ensue upon an excommunication: for then it is no point of the truth of justice to pronounce the excommunication.
§ 5. Some have said that venial sin is to be committed for the avoidance of scandal. But that involves a contradiction; for if it is the right thing to do, it is no longer evil nor sinful; for sin cannot be a due object of choice. Sometimes however the presence of some circumstance makes that not a venial sin, which would be a venial sin were that circumstance away. Thus a jesting word is a venial sin when uttered to no useful purpose; but if there is a reasonable cause for its utterance, it is no longer an idle word nor sinful.
Article VIII.—Are temporal goods to be given up for fear of scandal?
§ 6. Against [an unqualified affirmative] stands the fact that Blessed Thomas of Canterbury demanded the restoration of the goods of the Church, to the scandal of the King.1
OF THE PRECEPTS OF CHARITY.
Article I.—Ought any precept to be given about charity?
R. A thing falls under precept inasmuch as it has the character of being something due. Now a thing is due in two ways, for its own sake and for the sake of something else. What is due for its own sake in every undertaking is the end in view; for that has the character of something good in itself. What is due for the sake of something else is the means to the end. Now the end of spiritual life is the union of man with God by charity: to this end all the other elements of spiritual life are directed as means. Hence the Apostle says: “The end of the commandment is charity from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith.”1 For all the virtues, the acts of which are matter of precept, are directed either to the purifying of the heart from the rolling vapours of passion,2 or to the keeping of a good conscience, as the virtues that deal with outward acts,3 or to the keeping of a right faith, as the virtues that concern the worship of God. And these three classes of virtues are requisite for loving God. For an impure heart is withdrawn from the love of God by the passion that inclines it to earthly things. Again, a bad conscience makes us have a horror of the divine justice for fear of punishment: while a feigned faith draws the affection to that which is feigned about God, and separates it from the truth of God. But in every department that which is for its own sake and in its own ordinary right, takes precedence of that which is for the sake of something else; and therefore the greatest commandment is that of charity.1
§ 2. The obligation of a commandment is not opposed to liberty except in him whose mind is averse to what is commanded, as appears in those who keep the commandments from fear alone. But the precept of charity cannot be fulfilled except of one’s own will, and therefore is not out of keeping with liberty.
§ 3. All the commandments of the decalogue are directed to the love of God and of our neighbour; and therefore the precepts of charity needed not to be enumerated among the commandments of the decalogue, but are included in them all.
Article II.—Was it needful to give two precepts of charity?
R. Precepts in a law are like the propositions in speculative sciences, where the conclusions are virtually contained in the first principles. Hence whoever perfectly knows the principles in the whole of their virtual extension, can have no need of the conclusions being severally proposed to him. But because not all who know the principles are competent to consider all that is virtually contained in those principles, for their sakes in the sciences conclusions must be drawn out of the principles. But in matters of practice, in which the precepts of law are our guide, the end in view stands for a principle. And the love of God is the end to which the love of our neighbour is directed. And therefore precepts must be given, not only of the love of God, but also of the love of our neighbour, for the benefit of less capable minds, that do not easily observe how the one of these precepts is contained in the other.
Article IV.—Is that insertion proper in the precept, that God should be loved “with our whole heart”?
R. An act falls under precept inasmuch as it is an act of virtue. Now it is requisite to an act of virtue, that it should be not only incident on due matter, but also be clothed in due circumstances, rendering it proportionate to the matter. But God is to be loved as the last end, to which everything is to be referred. And therefore entireness was to be specified in laying down the precept of the love of God.
§ 2. There are two ways of loving God with our whole heart. One way is in act, so that the whole heart and desire of man should ever be actually going out towards God; and that is the perfection that obtains in our heavenly home. Another way is that the whole heart of man should go out towards God habitually, in such fashion that the man’s heart admits nothing contrary to the love of God. This is the perfection proper on the way to heaven. Nor is it defeated by venial sin; because that does not take away the habit of charity, as it does not tend to an opposite object, but only hinders the exercise of charity.1
§ 3. The perfection of charity at which the evangelical counsels aim, lies half-way between the two degrees of perfection above mentioned. It consists in man withdrawing, so far as is possible, even from lawful temporal things, that occupy the mind and hinder the actual movement of the heart to God.
Article VI.—Can the precept of the love of God be fulfilled in this world?
R. A precept may be fulfilled perfectly or imperfectly. A precept is perfectly fulfilled, when the end intended by the author of the precept is attained. A precept is fulfilled, but imperfectly, when though the end of the author of the precept is not attained, still there is no swerving from the line of direction to that end. Thus if a general orders his soldiers to fight, that soldier fulfils the precept perfectly, who fights and overcomes the enemy, according to the intention of his commander. He also fulfils it, though imperfectly, whose fighting does not lead to victory, provided that he does nothing that is a downright breach of military discipline. Now God intends by this precept that man should be entirely united to Him, which will be accomplished in our heavenly home, when God shall be “all in all.”1 And therefore it is in our heavenly home that this precept shall be fully and perfectly fulfilled; and yet in this world of passage one man fulfils it more perfectly than another, the nearer he approaches to the likeness of the perfection that is in heaven.
Article VII.—Is the precept of the love of our neighbour fitly and properly given?
R. This precept is laid down properly; for it touches at once upon the reason and on the measure of love. The reason of love is touched upon in the mention of our neighbour: for on this account we ought to love others in charity, because they are nigh unto us, as well in respect of the natural image of God as of capacity for heavenly glory. Nor does it matter whether he be called our neighbour, or our brother,2 or our friend,3 because by all these names the same connection is denoted. The measure of love is indicated when it is said as thyself: which is not to be understood as though you were to love your neighbour equally with yourself, but like yourself, and that in three ways. First, in respect of the end, that you should love your neighbour for God, as he ought to love himself for God,—that thus your love of your neighbour may be a holy love. Secondly, in respect of the regulation of the love, that you should not condescend to your neighbour in any evil thing, but only in good things, as a man ought to satisfy his own will only in good things,—that thus your love of your neighbour may be a just love. Thirdly, in respect of the reason of the love, that you should not love your neighbour for the sake of any profit or enjoyment, but for the reason that you wish your neighbour’s good as he wishes his own good,—that thus your love of your neighbour may be a true love. For when one loves his neighbour for his own profit or enjoyment, he does not truly love his neighbour, but himself.
Article II.—Is stupidity a sin?
R. Stupidity implies a dulness of perception in judging, particularly about the Highest Cause, the Last End and Sovereign Good. This may come of natural incapacity, and that is not a sin. Or it may come of man burying his mind so deep in earthly things as to render his perceptions unfit to grasp the things of God, according to the text: “The sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God;”1 and such stupidity is a sin.
§ 2. Though no one wishes to be stupid, still people do wish for what leads to stupidity, by withdrawing their thoughts from things spiritual and burying them in things of earth. So it is also with other sins: for the lustful man wants the pleasure, to which the sin is attached, though he does not absolutely wish for the sin; for he would like to enjoy the pleasure without the sin.
[1 ]The theological virtues are so bound up with St. Thomas’s moral system, that it is impossible wholly to omit his treatment of them. It has been difficult at times to make the distinction, but in the main those Articles are omitted which concern the theologian rather than the moralist. (Trl.)
[1 ]I-II. q. 57. art. 2. (Trl.)
[2 ]St. Paul’s πληροϕορία πίστεως, Hebrews x. 22. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. John xx. 29.
[1 ]St. John vi. 45.
[1 ]Ecclus. xix 4.
[1 ]For passion antecedent and consequent, see I-II. q 77. art. 6. (Trl.)
[1 ]Romans x. 10.
[1 ]St. Matt. vii. 6.
[2 ]St. Matt. xv. 12.
[1 ]The hardest thing in the condition of men who have not the true faith, is the difficulty of getting any grievous sin forgiven them. Still there may be, nay, there must be, channels of divine mercy open to all men of good-will (Trl.)
[2 ]All sin is commanded by the will, but elicited by the power of which it is immediately the act. The sin is at once in the eliciting and in the commanding power. (See I-II. q. 6 art. 4.) Thus all sin is in the will, but not in the will only. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. Thomas evidently regarded revealed truth as a gift of God necessary for salvation—a deposit that we have a duty to keep, a treasure that we are in danger of being robbed of, a trust which it is a sin to betray—rather than as matter for an intellectual game which all can play at and exercise their critical faculty upon with advantage (Trl.)
[1 ]The heretics whom the mediæval writers had in view, were the heretics of their own time, i.e., apostate Catholics The Protestant of our day falls under St. Thomas’s first class of unbelievers. (Trl.)
[1 ]A question to ask in the nineteenth century! The changes of the last six hundred years may be reduced to three heads.
[1 ]Titus iii. 10.
[1 ]1 Cor. v. 12.
[1 ]For the meaning of this phrase see I-II. q 88 art. 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]A man may be accounted to have gone all lengths in wickedness, when he sets himself wilfully and with full resolution to blaspheme. (Trl.)
[1 ]It comes to this, that faith seeks truth of God, and hope happiness in God; while charity seeks God Himself. (Trl.)
[1 ]What St. Thomas here calls servile fear, is marked by modern writers as servilely servile fear. Otherwise St. Thomas’s doctrine in substance quite accords with the last words of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises: “Not only is filial fear a thing pious and most holy, but even servile fear, where a man does not attain to anything better and more useful, is a great help to lift his head above mortal sin; and when he has come out of that, he easily arrives to filial fear which is wholly acceptable and pleasing to God our Lord, because it goes along with divine love.” (Trl.)
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q lxxvii. art 2. (Trl.)
[2 ]That is to say, if sin were no more than philosophical sin, we should never have mortal sin, I-II. q. 71. art. 6. § 5.; Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 119, 125; and no eternal punishment, I-II. q. 87. art. 4 (Trl.)
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q. 26. art. 4. (Trl.)
[2 ]1 Cor. i. 9.
[1 ]For the technical sense of eliciting and commanding see above, II-II. q. 10. art. 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]Psalm lxxii. 28.
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q. 71. art. 4. (Trl.)
[1 ]As explained, I-II q. 57. art. 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]Romans vi. 13.
[1 ]St. Luke xiv. 26.
[2 ]There is a limit to this principle, which is, that so long as the individual does not degrade himself by his own crime, his life is sacred. See II-II. q. 64. art. 2. § 3. (Trl.)
[1 ]Jerem. xv. 19.
[2 ]2 Cor. iv. 16.
[1 ]Not your necessity of course, but your enemy’s necessity and need of your help On the whole of this practical matter cf. Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 241—243. (Trl.)
[1 ]Levit. xix. 18.
[1 ]Frov. xxv. 21.
[1 ]Evidently from this article, St. Thomas is no altruist (see Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 180—182), nor yet a selfish individualist, as Articles III. and V. show. (Trl.)
[1 ]See above, q. 25. art. 5. § 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]An act is said to be elicited by the power or habit of which it is an act; commanded by some higher habit or power. See above, II-II. q. 10. art. 2. (Trl.)
[2 ]St. Luke xiv. 26.
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q. 64. art. 4. (Trl.)
[1 ]Psalm lxxii. 28
[1 ]1 St. John iv. 21.
[1 ]Cf. St John xv. 11.
[2 ]Psalm cii. 5
[3 ]1 Cor. ii. 9.
[4 ]St. Luke vi 38.
[5 ]St. Matt. xxv. 21.
[1 ]See above, II-II. q. 26. art. 6. (Trl.)
[1 ]ἐλεημοσύνη, whence our word alms, from ἐλεεɩ̂ν, to be merciful, which appears in Kyrie elesion. (Trl.)
[2 ]1 Cor. xiii. 3.
[1 ]See above, on the mode of virtue, I-II. q 100 art. 9; also Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 184, 185 (2). (Trl.)
[2 ]1 St. John iii. 18
[1 ]Thus persona, “parson,” means a beneficed clergyman. The parson’s necessities outrun those of the single individual. (Trl.)
[2 ]By a violation of charity, but not of justice. Ethics and Natural Law, p. 281. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. Matt. vi. 34.
[1 ]Roman Law. (Trl.)
[1 ]1 Timothy v. 20.
[2 ]St. Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17.
[1 ]Romans i. 20.
[1 ]St. Luke xiv. 26.
[2 ]Romans i. 30.
[1 ]Acedia, ἀκηδία (ἀ privative and κη̂δος, care) the don’t care feeling.
[1 ]1 Cor. vi. 18.
[2 ]See note on I-II. q. 74. art. 10. (Trl.)
[1 ]1 Cor. xii. 31. Aemulamini, ζηλον̂τε. The Rheims version has “be jealous of.” (Trl.)
[1 ]Psalm xxxvi. 1.
[1 ]In St. Thomas, per se and per accidens, phrases which he constantly repeats, to the despair of his translator. There seems nothing for it but to take some English word and invest it with a technical meaning ad hoc. The word ordinary has been chosen, not in its sense of customary, but suggested by the canonists’ phrase of ordinary jurisdiction, i.e., jurisdiction which a man enjoys of his own right by virtue of the office which he holds. Cf. II-II. q. 67. art. 1. (Trl.)
[1 ]Above, II-II. q. 29. art. 3. § 2. (Trl.)
[1 ]Prov. vi. 16.
[2 ]Prov. vi. 19.
[3 ]Acts xxiii. 6.
[4 ]St. Matt. x. 34.
[5 ]Acts xv. 39.
[1 ]Hence it is no justification for an enterprise of violence commenced by private individuals in a civilized State, to call it a war. Every State is bound to suppress private war within the limits of its own jurisdiction; as also to take away all pretext for such war by due redress of wrongs. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. Matt. xxvi. 52.
[2 ]St. Matt. v. 39.
[1 ]St. Thomas disputes the maxim that “all’s fair in war.” (Trl.)
[2 ]St. Matt. vii. 6.
[1 ]Lawful to make war, and much better, to make hay, on a Sunday. (Trl.)
[2 ]St. John vii. 23.
[3 ]1 Mach. ii. 41.
[1 ]If the hurt be serious. Hurting a man in the middle ages meant something more than putting him to slight pain. (Trl.)
[1 ]1 Thess. v. 22.
[1 ]Psalm cxxiv. 1.
[2 ]1 Cor. xiv. 40.
[1 ]St. Matt. xv. 1—14
[1 ]This reference of St. Thomas Aquinas to St. Thomas of Canterbury cannot be omitted from an English translation. The general answer about temporal goods here is analogous to that returned about spiritual goods in the Article preceding. (Trl.)
[1 ]1 Timothy i. 5.
[2 ]Fortitude and temperance. (Trl.)
[3 ]Justice and the parts thereof. (Trl.)
[1 ]St. Matt. xxii.
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q. 88. art. 1. § 1. (Trl.)
[1 ]1 Cor. xv. 28.
[2 ]1 St. John iv. 21.
[3 ]Levit. xix. 18.
[1 ]1 Cor. ii. 14.