Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XXVII.: OF THE PRINCIPAL ACT OF CHARITY, WHICH IS LOVE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XXVII.: OF THE PRINCIPAL ACT OF CHARITY, WHICH IS LOVE. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF THE 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.
[1 ]Cf. I-II. q. 64. art. 4. (Trl.)
[1 ]Psalm lxxii. 28
[1 ]1 St. John iv. 21.