Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XCVII.: OF TEMPTING GOD. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION XCVII.: OF TEMPTING GOD. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
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 TEMPTING GOD.
Article I.—Does tempting God consist in certain proceedings, in which an effect is looked for that is possible to divine power alone?
R. A man tempts God sometimes in words, sometimes in deeds. In words we speak with God in prayer. Hence a man expressly tempts God in his petition, when he asks anything of God with the intention of making trial of God’s knowledge, power, or will. A man expressly tempts God in deeds, when he means by what he does to make experiment of the divine power, or loving-kindness, or knowledge. He tempts God, as we may say, constructively, who though he does not intend to make experiment of God, nevertheless asks for something, or does something, which is useful for nothing else but to put God’s power, or goodness, or knowledge, to the test. Thus if one gallops a horse to escape the enemy, that is not making trial of the horse; but if one gallops a horse without any useful purpose, that is reckoned to be nothing else than making trial of the horse’s speed. When then for some necessary or useful purpose, a man trusts himself to divine help in his petitions or deeds, that is not tempting God, for it is said: “As we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee.”1 But when this is done without any useful and necessary purpose, it is constructive tempting of God. Hence on the text, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,”2 the gloss says: “He tempts God, who, having a safe line of action open to him, unreasonably puts himself in danger by way of making trial of the possibility of a divine deliverance.”
§ 2. The saints, when they work miracles by their prayers, are moved by some consideration of necessity or utility to seek for effects of divine power.
§ 3. It is in view of great necessity and utility that the preachers of the Kingdom of God leave aside temporal succours, that they more readily give themselves to preaching the Word of God; but if they were to abandon human aids without any utility or necessity, they would be tempting God.
[1 ]2 Paral. xx. 12.
[2 ]Deut. vi. 16.