Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION III.: OF THE EXTERIOR ACT OF FAITH. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION III.: OF THE EXTERIOR ACT OF FAITH. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THE 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to salvation, but in a certain time and place, namely, when by the omission of such confession due honour would be withdrawn from God, or profit from our neighbour, as in the case when one, asked about the faith, holds his peace, and thereby it comes to be believed either that he has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
[1 ]Romans x. 10.
[1 ]St. Matt. vii. 6.
[2 ]St. Matt. xv. 12.