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ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, SUMMA THEOLOGICA -
QUESTIONS 103-109 QUESTION OF DULIA (FOUR ARTICLES)
We must now consider the parts of observance. We shall consider (1) dulia, whereby we pay honor and other things pertaining thereto to those who are in a higher position; (2) obedience, whereby we obey their commands.
Under the first head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether honor is a spiritual or a corporal thing? (2) Whether honor is due to those only who are in a higher position? (3) Whether dulia, which pays honor and worship to those who are above us, is a special virtue, distinct from latria? (4) Whether it contains several species?
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1) Whether honor denotes something corporal?
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that honor does not denote something corporal. For honor is showing reverence in acknowledgment of virtue, as may be gathered from the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 5). Now showing reverence is something spiritual, since to revere is an act of fear, as stated above ( Q(81) , A(2), ad 1). Therefore honor is something spiritual.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 3), “honor is the reward of virtue.” Now, since virtue consists chiefly of spiritual things, its reward is not something corporal, for the reward is more excellent than the merit. Therefore honor does not consist of corporal things.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, honor is distinct from praise, as also from glory. Now praise and glory consist of external things. Therefore honor consists of things internal and spiritual.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1) —
On the contrary, Jerome in his exposition of Timothy 5:3, “Honor widows that are widows indeed,” and ( 1 Timothy 5:17), “let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honor” etc. says (Ep. ad Ageruch.): “Honor here stands either for almsgiving or for remuneration.” Now both of these pertain to spiritual things. Therefore honor consists of corporal things.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1) —
I answer that, Honor denotes a witnessing to a person’s excellence. Therefore men who wish to be honored seek a witnessing to their excellence, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 5; viii, 8). Now witness is borne either before God or before man. Before God, Who is the searcher of hearts, the witness of one’s conscience suffices. wherefore honor, so far as God is concerned, may consist of the mere internal movement of the heart, for instance when a man acknowledges either God’s excellence or another man’s excellence before God. But, as regards men, one cannot bear witness, save by means of signs, either by words, as when one proclaims another’s excellence by word of mouth, or by deeds, for instance by bowing, saluting, and so forth, or by external things, as by offering gifts, erecting statues, and the like. Accordingly honor consists of signs, external and corporal.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- RO(1) —
Reverence is not the same as honor: but on the one hand it is the primary motive for showing honor, in so far as one man honors another out of the reverence he has for him; and on the other hand, it is the end of honor, in so far as a person is honored in order that he may be held in reverence by others.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- RO(2) —
According to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 3), honor is not a sufficient reward of virtue: yet nothing in human and corporal things can be greater than honor, since these corporal things themselves are employed as signs in acknowledgment of excelling virtue. It is, however, due to the good and the beautiful, that they may be made known, according to Matthew 5:15, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.” In this sense honor is said to be the reward of virtue.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(1)- RO(3) —
Praise is distinguished from honor in two ways. First, because praise consists only of verbal signs, whereas honor consists of any external signs, so that praise is included in honor.
Secondly, because by paying honor to a person we bear witness to a person’s excelling goodness absolutely, whereas by praising him we bear witness to his goodness in reference to an end: thus we praise one that works well for an end. On the other hand, honor is given even to the best, which is not referred to an end, but has already arrived at the end, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. i, 5).
Glory is the effect of honor and praise, since the result of our bearing witness to a person’s goodness is that his goodness becomes clear to the knowledge of many. The word “glory” signifies this, for “glory” is the same as \kleria\, wherefore a gloss of Augustine on Romans 16:27 observes that glory is “clear knowledge together with praise.”
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2) Whether honor is properly due to those who are above us?
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- O(1) —
It seems that honor is not properly due to those who are above us. For an angel is above any human wayfarer, according to Matthew 11:11, “He that is lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.” Yet an angel forbade John when the latter wished to honor him ( Revelation 22:10). Therefore honor is not due to those who are above us.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, honor is due to a person in acknowledgment of his virtue, as stated above ( A(1) ; Q(63) , A(3) ). But sometimes those who are above us are not virtuous. Therefore honor is not due to them, as neither is it due to the demons, who nevertheless are above us in the order of nature.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, the Apostle says ( Romans 12:10): “With honor preventing one another,” and we read ( 1 Peter 2:17): “Honor all men.” But this would not be so if honor were due to those alone who are above us. Therefore honor is not due properly to those who are above us.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- O(4) —
Further, it is written (Tob. 1:16) that Tobias “had ten talents of silver of that which he had been honored by the king”: and we read ( Esther 6:11) that Assuerus honored Mardochaeus, and ordered it to be proclaimed in his presence: “This honor is he worthy of whom the king hath a mind to honor.” Therefore honor is paid to those also who are beneath us, and it seems, in consequence, that honor is not due properly to those who are above us.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2) —
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. i, 12) that “honor is due to the best.”
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2) —
I answer that, As stated above ( A(1) ), honor is nothing but an acknowledgment of a person’s excelling goodness. Now a person’s excellence may be considered, not only in relation to those who honor him, in the point of his being more excellent than they, but also in itself, or in relation to other persons, and in this way honor is always due to a person, on account of some excellence or superiority.
For the person honored has no need to be more excellent than those who honor him; it may suffice for him to be more excellent than some others, or again he may be more excellent than those who honor him in some respect and not simply.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- RO(1) —
The angel forbade John to pay him, not any kind of honor, but the honor of adoration and latria, which is due to God.
Or again, he forbade him to pay the honor of dulia, in order to indicate the dignity of John himself, for which Christ equaled him to the angels “according to the hope of glory of the children of God”: wherefore he refused to be honored by him as though he were superior to him.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- RO(2) —
A wicked superior is honored for the excellence, not of his virtue but of his dignity, as being God’s minister, and because the honor paid to him is paid to the whole community over which he presides. As for the demons, they are wicked beyond recall, and should be looked upon as enemies, rather than treated with honor.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- RO(3) —
In every man is to be found something that makes it possible to deem him better than ourselves, according to Philippians 2:3, “In humility, let each esteem others better than themselves,” and thus, too, we should all be on the alert to do honor to one another.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(2)- RO(4) —
Private individuals are sometimes honored by kings, not that they are above them in the order of dignity but on account of some excellence of their virtue: and in this way Tobias and Mardochaeus were honored by kings.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3) Whether dulia is a special virtue distinct from latria?
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that dulia is not a special virtue distinct from latria. For a gloss on Psalm 7:1, “O Lord my God, in Thee have I put my trust,” says: “Lord of all by His power, to Whom dulia is due; God by creation, to Whom we owe latria.” Now the virtue directed to God as Lord is not distinct from that which is directed to Him as God.
Therefore dulia is not a distinct virtue from latria.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 8), “to be loved is like being honored.” Now the charity with which we love God is the same as that whereby we love our neighbor. Therefore dulia whereby we honor our neighbor is not a distinct virtue from latria with which we honor God.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, the movement whereby one is moved towards an image is the same as the movement whereby one is moved towards the thing represented by the image. Now by dulia we honor a man as being made to the image of God. For it is written of the wicked (Wis. 2:22,23) that “they esteemed not the honor of holy souls, for God created man incorruptible, and to the image of His own likeness He made him.”
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3) —
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei x), that “the homage due to man, of which the Apostle spoke when he commanded servants to obey their masters and which in Greek is called dulia, is distinct from latria which denotes the homage that consists in the worship of God.”
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3) —
I answer that, According to what has been stated above ( Q(101), A(3) ), where there are different aspects of that which is due, there must needs be different virtues to render those dues. Now servitude is due to God and to man under different aspects: even as lordship is competent to God and to man under different aspects. For God has absolute and paramount lordship over the creature wholly and singly, which is entirely subject to His power: whereas man partakes of a certain likeness to the divine lordship, forasmuch as he exercises a particular power over some man or creature. Wherefore dulia, which pays due service to a human lord, is a distinct virtue from latria, which pays due service to the lordship of God. It is, moreover, a species of observance, because by observance we honor all those who excel in dignity, while dulia properly speaking is the reverence of servants for their master, dulia being the Greek for servitude.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- RO(1) —
Just as religion is called piety by way of excellence, inasmuch as God is our Father by way of excellence, so again latria is called dulia by way of excellence, inasmuch as God is our Lord by way of excellence. Now the creature does not partake of the power to create by reason of which latria is due to God: and so this gloss drew a distinction, by ascribing latria to God in respect of creation, which is not communicated to a creature, but dulia in respect of lordship, which is communicated to a creature.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- RO(2) —
The reason why we love our neighbor is God, since that which we love in our neighbor through charity is God alone. Wherefore the charity with which we love God is the same as that with which we love our neighbor. Yet there are other friendships distinct from charity, in respect of the other reasons for which a man is loved. In like manner, since there is one reason for serving God and another for serving man, and for honoring the one or the other, latria and dulia are not the same virtue.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(3)- RO(3) —
Movement towards an image as such is referred to the thing represented by the image: yet not every movement towards an image is referred to the image as such, and consequently sometimes the movement to the image differs specifically from the movement to the thing. Accordingly we must reply that the honor or subjection of dulia regards some dignity of a man absolutely. For though, in respect of that dignity, man is made to the image or likeness of God, yet in showing reverence to a person, one does not always refer this to God actually.
Or we may reply that the movement towards an image is, after a fashion, towards the thing, yet the movement towards the thing need not be towards its image. Wherefore reverence paid to a person as the image of God redounds somewhat to God: and yet this differs from the reverence that is paid to God Himself, for this in no way refers to His image.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4) Whether dulia has various species?
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that dulia has various species. For by dulia we show honor to our neighbor. Now different neighbors are honored under different aspects, for instance king, father and master, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. ix, 2). Since this difference of aspect in the object differentiates the species of virtue, it seems that dulia is divided into specifically different virtues.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, the mean differs specifically from the extremes, as pale differs from white and black. Now hyperdulia is apparently a mean between latria and dulia: for it is shown towards creatures having a special affinity to God, for instance to the Blessed Virgin as being the mother of God. Therefore it seems that there are different species of dulia, one being simply dulia, the other hyperdulia.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, just as in the rational creature we find the image of God, for which reason it is honored, so too in the irrational creature we find the trace of God. Now the aspect of likeness denoted by an image differs from the aspect conveyed by a trace.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4) —
On the contrary, Dulia is condivided with latria.
But latria is not divided into different species. Neither therefore is dulia.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4) —
I answer that, Dulia may be taken in two ways. In one way it may be taken in a wide sense as denoting reverence paid to anyone on account of any kind of excellence, and thus it comprises piety and observance, and any similar virtue whereby reverence is shown towards a man. Taken in this sense it will have parts differing specifically from one another. In another way it may be taken in a strict sense as denoting the reverence of a servant for his lord, for dulia signifies servitude, as stated above ( A(3) ). Taken in this sense it is not divided into different species, but is one of the species of observance, mentioned by Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii), for the reason that a servant reveres his lord under one aspect, a soldier his commanding officer under another, the disciple his master under another, and so on in similar cases.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- RO(1) —
This argument takes dulia in a wide sense.
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- RO(2) —
P(2b)- Q(103)- A(4)- RO(3) —
Man owes neither subjection nor honor to an irrational creature considered in itself, indeed all such creatures are naturally subject to man. As to the Cross of Christ, the honor we pay to it is the same as that which we pay to Christ, just as the king’s robe receives the same honor as the king himself, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. iv).
QUESTION OF OBEDIENCE (SIX ARTICLES)
We must now consider obedience, under which head there are six points of inquiry: (1) Whether one man is bound to obey another? (2) Whether obedience is a special virtue? (3) Of its comparison with other virtues; (4) Whether God must be obeyed in all things? (5) Whether subjects are bound to obey their superiors in all things? (6) Whether the faithful are bound to obey the secular power?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1) Whether one man is bound to obey another?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that one man is not bound to obey another. For nothing should be done contrary to the divine ordinance. Now God has so ordered that man is ruled by his own counsel, according to Ecclus. 15:14, “God made man from the beginning, and left him in the hand of his own counsel.” Therefore one man is not bound to obey another.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, if one man were bound to obey another, he would have to look upon the will of the person commanding him, as being his rule of conduct. Now God’s will alone, which is always right, is a rule of human conduct. Therefore man is bound to obey none but God.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, the more gratuitous the service the more is it acceptable. Now what a man does out of duty is not gratuitous.
Therefore if a man were bound in duty to obey others in doing good deeds, for this very reason his good deeds would be rendered less acceptable through being done out of obedience. Therefore one man is not bound to obey another.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1) —
On the contrary, It is prescribed ( Hebrews 13:17): “Obey your prelates and be subject to them.”
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1) —
I answer that, Just as the actions of natural things proceed from natural powers, so do human actions proceed from the human will. In natural things it behooved the higher to move the lower to their actions by the excellence of the natural power bestowed on them by God: and so in human affairs also the higher must move the lower by their will in virtue of a divinely established authority. Now to move by reason and will is to command. Wherefore just as in virtue of the divinely established natural order the lower natural things need to be subject to the movement of the higher, so too in human affairs, in virtue of the order of natural and divine law, inferiors are bound to obey their superiors.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- RO(1) —
God left man in the hand of his own counsel, not as though it were lawful to him to do whatever he will, but because, unlike irrational creatures, he is not compelled by natural necessity to do what he ought to do, but is left the free choice proceeding from his own counsel. And just as he has to proceed on his own counsel in doing other things, so too has he in the point of obeying his superiors. For Gregory says (Moral. xxxv), “When we humbly give way to another’s voice, we overcome ourselves in our own hearts.”
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- RO(2) —
The will of God is the first rule whereby all rational wills are regulated: and to this rule one will approaches more than another, according to a divinely appointed order. Hence the will of the one man who issues a command may be as a second rule to the will of this other man who obeys him.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(1)- RO(3) —
A thing may be deemed gratuitous in two ways. In one way on the part of the deed itself, because, to wit, one is not bound to do it; in another way, on the part of the doer, because he does it of his own free will. Now a deed is rendered virtuous, praiseworthy and meritorious, chiefly according as it proceeds from the will. Wherefore although obedience be a duty, if one obey with a prompt will, one’s merit is not for that reason diminished, especially before God, Who sees not only the outward deed, but also the inward will.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2) Whether obedience is a special virtue?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- O(1) —
It seems that obedience is not a special virtue.
For disobedience is contrary to obedience. But disobedience is a general sin, because Ambrose says (De Parad. viii) that “sin is to disobey the divine law.” Therefore obedience is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, every special virtue is either theological or moral. But obedience is not a theological virtue, since it is not comprised under faith, hope or charity. Nor is it a moral virtue, since it does not hold the mean between excess and deficiency, for the more obedient one is the more is one praised. Therefore obedience is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “obedience is the more meritorious and praiseworthy, the less it holds its own.” But every special virtue is the more to be praised the more it holds its own, since virtue requires a man to exercise his will and choice, as stated in Ethic. ii, 4. Therefore obedience is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- O(4) —
Further, virtues differ in species according to their objects. Now the object of obedience would seem to be the command of a superior, of which, apparently, there are as many kinds as there are degrees of superiority. Therefore obedience is a general virtue, comprising many special virtues.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2) —
On the contrary, obedience is reckoned by some to be a part of justice, as stated above ( Q(80) ).
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2) —
I answer that, A special virtue is assigned to all good deeds that have a special reason of praise: for it belongs properly to virtue to render a deed good. Now obedience to a superior is due in accordance with the divinely established order of things, as shown above ( A(1) ), and therefore it is a good, since good consists in mode, species and order, as Augustine states (De Natura Boni iii) [*Cf. P(1), Q(5) , A(5) ].
Again, this act has a special aspect of praiseworthiness by reason of its object. For while subjects have many obligations towards their superiors, this one, that they are bound to obey their commands, stands out as special among the rest. Wherefore obedience is a special virtue, and its specific object is a command tacit or express, because the superior’s will, however it become known, is a tacit precept, and a man’s obedience seems to be all the more prompt, forasmuch as by obeying he forestalls the express command as soon as he understands his superior’s will.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- RO(1) —
Nothing prevents the one same material object from admitting two special aspects to which two special virtues correspond: thus a soldier, by defending his king’s fortress, fulfils both an act of fortitude, by facing the danger of death for a good end, and an act of justice, by rendering due service to his lord. Accordingly the aspect of precept, which obedience considers, occurs in acts of all virtues, but not in all acts of virtue, since not all acts of virtue are a matter of precept, as stated above ( P(1), Q(96) , A(3) ). Moreover, certain things are sometimes a matter of precept, and pertain to no other virtue, such things for instance as are not evil except because they are forbidden. Wherefore, if obedience be taken in its proper sense, as considering formally and intentionally the aspect of precept, it will be a special virtue, and disobedience a special sin: because in this way it is requisite for obedience that one perform an act of justice or of some other virtue with the intention of fulfilling a precept; and for disobedience that one treat the precept with actual contempt. On the other hand, if obedience be taken in a wide sense for the performance of any action that may be a matter of precept, and disobedience for the omission of that action through any intention whatever, then obedience will be a general virtue, and disobedience a general sin.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- RO(2) —
Obedience is not a theological virtue, for its direct object is not God, but the precept of any superior, whether expressed or inferred, namely, a simple word of the superior, indicating his will, and which the obedient subject obeys promptly, according to Titus 3:1, “Admonish them to be subject to princes, and to obey at a word,” etc.
It is, however, a moral virtue, since it is a part of justice, and it observes the mean between excess and deficiency. Excess thereof is measured in respect, not of quantity, but of other circumstances, in so far as a man obeys either whom he ought not, or in matters wherein he ought not to obey, as we have stated above regarding religion ( Q(92) , A(2) ). We may also reply that as in justice, excess is in the person who retains another’s property, and deficiency in the person who does not receive his due, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 4), so too obedience observes the mean between excess on the part of him who fails to pay due obedience to his superior, since he exceeds in fulfilling his own will, and deficiency on the part of the superior, who does not receive obedience. Wherefore in this way obedience will be a mean between two forms of wickedness, as was stated above concerning justice ( Q(58) , A(10) ).
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- RO(3) —
Obedience, like every virtue requires the will to be prompt towards its proper object, but not towards that which is repugnant to it. Now the proper object of obedience is a precept, and this proceeds from another’s will. Wherefore obedience make a man’s will prompt in fulfilling the will of another, the maker, namely, of the precept.
If that which is prescribed to him is willed by him for its own sake apart from its being prescribed, as happens in agreeable matters, he tends towards it at once by his own will and seems to comply, not on account of the precept, but on account of his own will. But if that which is prescribed is nowise willed for its own sake, but, considered in itself, repugnant to his own will, as happens in disagreeable matters, then it is quite evident that it is not fulfilled except on account of the precept. Hence Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “obedience perishes or diminishes when it holds its own in agreeable matters,” because, to wit, one’s own will seems to tend principally, not to the accomplishment of the precept, but to the fulfilment of one’s own desire; but that “it increases in disagreeable or difficult matters,” because there one’s own will tends to nothing beside the precept. Yet this must be understood as regards outward appearances: for, on the other hand, according to the judgment of God, Who searches the heart, it may happen that even in agreeable matters obedience, while holding its own, is nonetheless praiseworthy, provided the will of him that obeys tend no less devotedly [*Cf. Q(82) , A(2) ] to the fulfilment of the precept.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(2)- RO(4) —
Reverence regards directly the person that excels: wherefore it admits a various species according to the various aspects of excellence. Obedience, on the other hand, regards the precept of the person that excels, and therefore admits of only one aspect. And since obedience is due to a person’s precept on account of reverence to him, it follows that obedience to a man is of one species, though the causes from which it proceeds differ specifically.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3) Whether obedience is the greatest of the virtues?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that obedience is the greatest of the virtues. For it is written ( 1 Kings 15:22): “Obedience is better than sacrifices.” Now the offering of sacrifices belongs to religion, which is the greatest of all moral virtues, as shown above ( Q(81) , A(6) ). Therefore obedience is the greatest of all virtues.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “obedience is the only virtue that ingrafts virtues in the soul and protects them when ingrafted.” Now the cause is greater than the effect. Therefore obedience is greater than all the virtues.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “evil should never be done out of obedience: yet sometimes for the sake of obedience we should lay aside the good we are doing.” Now one does not lay aside a thing except for something better. Therefore obedience, for whose sake the good of other virtues is set aside, is better than other virtues.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3) —
On the contrary, obedience deserves praise because it proceeds from charity: for Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “obedience should be practiced, not out of servile fear, but from a sense of charity, not through fear of punishment, but through love of justice.” Therefore charity is a greater virtue than obedience.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3) —
I answer that, Just as sin consists in man contemning God and adhering to mutable things, so the merit of a virtuous act consists in man contemning created goods and adhering to God as his end. Now the end is greater than that which is directed to the end.
Therefore if a man contemns created goods in order that he may adhere to God, his virtue derives greater praise from his adhering to God than from his contemning earthly things. And so those, namely the theological, virtues whereby he adheres to God in Himself, are greater than the moral virtues, whereby he holds in contempt some earthly thing in order to adhere to God.
Among the moral virtues, the greater the thing which a man contemns that he may adhere to God, the greater the virtue. Now there are three kinds of human goods that man may contemn for God’s sake. The lowest of these are external goods, the goods of the body take the middle place, and the highest are the goods of the soul; and among these the chief, in a way, is the will, in so far as, by his will, man makes use of all other goods.
Therefore, properly speaking, the virtue of obedience, whereby we contemn our own will for God’s sake, is more praiseworthy than the other moral virtues, which contemn other goods for the sake of God.
Hence Gregory says (Moral. xxxv) that “obedience is rightly preferred to sacrifices, because by sacrifices another’s body is slain whereas by obedience we slay our own will.” Wherefore even any other acts of virtue are meritorious before God through being performed out of obedience to God’s will. For were one to suffer even martyrdom, or to give all one’s goods to the poor, unless one directed these things to the fulfilment of the divine will, which pertains directly to obedience, they could not be meritorious: as neither would they be if they were done without charity, which cannot exist apart from obedience. For it is written ( 1 John 2:4,5): “He who saith that he knoweth God, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar... but he that keepeth His word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected”: and this because friends have the same likes and dislikes.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- RO(1) —
Obedience proceeds from reverence, which pays worship and honor to a superior, and in this respect it is contained under different virtues, although considered in itself, as regarding the aspect of precept, it is one special virtue. Accordingly, in so far as it proceeds from reverence for a superior, it is contained, in a way, under observance; while in so far as it proceeds from reverence for one’s parents, it is contained under piety; and in so far as it proceeds from reverence for God, it comes under religion, and pertains to devotion, which is the principal act of religion. Wherefore from this point of view it is more praiseworthy to obey God than to offer sacrifice, as well as because, “in a sacrifice we slay another’s body, whereas by obedience we slay our own will,” as Gregory says (Moral. xxxv). As to the special case in which Samuel spoke, it would have been better for Saul to obey God than to offer in sacrifice the fat animals of the Amalekites against the commandment of God.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- RO(2) —
All acts of virtue, in so far as they come under a precept, belong to obedience. Wherefore according as acts of virtue act causally or dispositively towards their generation and preservation, obedience is said to ingraft and protect all virtues. And yet it does not follow that obedience takes precedence of all virtues absolutely, for two reasons. First, because though an act of virtue come under a precept, one may nevertheless perform that act of virtue without considering the aspect of precept. Consequently, if there be any virtue, whose object is naturally prior to the precept, that virtue is said to be naturally prior to obedience.
Such a virtue is faith, whereby we come to know the sublime nature of divine authority, by reason of which the power to command is competent to God. Secondly, because infusion of grace and virtues may precede, even in point of time, all virtuous acts: and in this way obedience is not prior to all virtues, neither in point of time nor by nature.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(3)- RO(3) —
There are two kinds of good. There is that to which we are bound of necessity, for instance to love God, and so forth: and by no means may such a good be set aside on account of obedience.
But there is another good to which man is not bound of necessity, and this good we ought sometimes to set aside for the sake of obedience to which we are bound of necessity, since we ought not to do good by falling into sin. Yet as Gregory remarks (Moral. xxxv), “he who forbids his subjects any single good, must needs allow them many others, lest the souls of those who obey perish utterly from starvation, through being deprived of every good.” Thus the loss of one good may be compensated by obedience and other goods.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4) Whether God ought to be obeyed in all things?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that God need not be obeyed in all things. For it is written ( Matthew 9:30,31) that our Lord after healing the two blind men commanded them, saying: “See that no man know this. But they going out spread His fame abroad in all that country.”
Yet they are not blamed for so doing. Therefore it seems that we are not bound to obey God in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, no one is bound to do anything contrary to virtue. Now we find that God commanded certain things contrary to virtue: thus He commanded Abraham to slay his innocent son <012201> (Genesis 22); and the Jews to steal the property of the Egyptians ( Exodus 11), which things are contrary to justice; and Osee to take to himself a woman who was an adulteress ( Hosea 3), and this is contrary to chastity. Therefore God is not to be obeyed in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, whoever obeys God conforms his will to the divine will even as to the thing willed. But we are not bound in all things to conform our will to the divine will as to the thing willed, as stated above ( P(1), Q(19) , A(10) ). Therefore man is not bound to obey God in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4) —
On the contrary, It is written ( Exodus 24:7): “All things that the Lord hath spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4) —
I answer that, As stated above ( A(1) ), he who obeys is moved by the command of the person he obeys, just as natural things are moved by their motive causes. Now just a God is the first mover of all things that are moved naturally, so too is He the first mover of all wills, as shown above ( P(1), Q(9) , A(6) ). Therefore just as all natural things are subject to the divine motion by a natural necessity so too all wills, by a kind of necessity of justice, are bound to obey the divine command.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- RO(1) —
Our Lord in telling the blind men to conceal the miracle had no intention of binding them with the force of a divine precept, but, as Gregory says (Moral. xix), “gave an example to His servants who follow Him that they might wish to hide their virtue and yet that it should be proclaimed against their will, in order that others might profit by their example.”
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- RO(2) —
Even as God does nothing contrary to nature (since “the nature of a thing is what God does therein,” according to a gloss on Romans 11), and yet does certain things contrary to the wonted course of nature; so to God can command nothing contrary to virtue since virtue and rectitude of human will consist chiefly in conformity with God’s will and obedience to His command, although it be contrary to the wonted mode of virtue. Accordingly, then, the command given to Abraham to slay his innocent son was not contrary to justice, since God is the author of life an death. Nor again was it contrary to justice that He commanded the Jews to take things belonging to the Egyptians, because all things are His, and He gives them to whom He will. Nor was it contrary to chastity that Osee was commanded to take an adulteress, because God Himself is the ordainer of human generation, and the right manner of intercourse with woman is that which He appoints. Hence it is evident that the persons aforesaid did not sin, either by obeying God or by willing to obey Him.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(4)- RO(3) —
This comes to man’s knowledge chiefly through God’s command, wherefore man is bound to obey God’s commands in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5) Whether subjects are bound to obey their superiors in all things?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- O(1) —
It seems that subjects are bound to obey their superiors in all things. For the Apostle says ( Colossians 3:20): “Children, obey your parents in all things,” and farther on ( Colossians 3:22): “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh.”
Therefore in like manner other subjects are bound to obey their superiors in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- O(2) —
Now there is no going from extreme to extreme, except through that which stands between. Therefore the commands of a superior must be esteemed the commands of God, wherefore the Apostle says ( Galatians 4:14): “You... received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus” and ( Thessalonians 2:13): “When you had received of us the word of the hearing of God, you received it, not as the word of men, but, as it is indeed, the word of God.”
Therefore as man is bound to obey God in all things, so is he bound to obey his superiors.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- O(3) —
Further, just as religious in making their profession take vows of chastity and poverty, so do they also vow obedience. Now a religious is bound to observe chastity and poverty in all things. Therefore he is also bound to obey in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5) —
On the contrary, It is written ( Acts 5:29): “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Now sometimes the things commanded by a superior are against God. Therefore superiors are not to be obeyed in all things.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5) —
I answer that, As stated above ( AA(1),4 ), he who obeys is moved at the bidding of the person who commands him, by a certain necessity of justice, even as a natural thing is moved through the power of its mover by a natural necessity. That a natural thing be not moved by its mover, may happen in two ways. First, on account of a hindrance arising from the stronger power of some other mover; thus wood is not burnt by fire if a stronger force of water intervene. Secondly, through lack of order in the movable with regard to its mover, since, though it is subject to the latter’s action in one respect, yet it is not subject thereto in every respect. Thus, a humor is sometimes subject to the action of heat, as regards being heated, but not as regards being dried up or consumed. In like manner there are two reasons, for which a subject may not be bound to obey his superior in all things. First on account of the command of a higher power. For as a gloss says on Romans 13:2, “They that resist [Vulg.: ‘He that resisteth’] the power, resist the ordinance of God” (cf. St. Augustine, De Verb. Dom. viii). “If a commissioner issue an order, are you to comply, if it is contrary to the bidding of the proconsul?
Again if the proconsul command one thing, and the emperor another, will you hesitate, to disregard the former and serve the latter? Therefore if the emperor commands one thing and God another, you must disregard the former and obey God.” Secondly, a subject is not bound to obey his superior if the latter command him to do something wherein he is not subject to him. For Seneca says (De Beneficiis iii): “It is wrong to suppose that slavery falls upon the whole man: for the better part of him is excepted.” His body is subjected and assigned to his master but his soul is his own. Consequently in matters touching the internal movement of the will man is not bound to obey his fellow-man, but God alone.
Nevertheless man is bound to obey his fellow-man in things that have to be done externally by means of the body: and yet, since by nature all men are equal, he is not bound to obey another man in matters touching the nature of the body, for instance in those relating to the support of his body or the begetting of his children. Wherefore servants are not bound to obey their masters, nor children their parents, in the question of contracting marriage or of remaining in the state of virginity or the like. But in matters concerning the disposal of actions and human affairs, a subject is bound to obey his superior within the sphere of his authority; for instance a soldier must obey his general in matters relating to war, a servant his master in matters touching the execution of the duties of his service, a son his father in matters relating to the conduct of his life and the care of the household; and so forth.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- RO(1) —
When the Apostle says “in all things,” he refers to matters within the sphere of a father’s or master’s authority.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- RO(2) —
Man is subject to God simply as regards all things, both internal and external, wherefore he is bound to obey Him in all things. On the other hand, inferiors are not subject to their superiors in all things, but only in certain things and in a particular way, in respect of which the superior stands between God and his subjects, whereas in respect of other matters the subject is immediately under God, by Whom he is taught either by the natural or by the written law.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(5)- RO(3) —
Religious profess obedience as to the regular mode of life, in respect of which they are subject to their superiors: wherefore they are bound to obey in those matters only which may belong to the regular mode of life, and this obedience suffices for salvation. If they be willing to obey even in other matters, this will belong to the superabundance of perfection; provided, however, such things be not contrary to God or to the rule they profess, for obedience in this case would be unlawful.
Accordingly we may distinguish a threefold obedience; one, sufficient for salvation, and consisting in obeying when one is bound to obey: secondly, perfect obedience, which obeys in all things lawful: thirdly, indiscreet obedience, which obeys even in matters unlawful.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6) Whether Christians are bound to obey the secular powers?
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- O(1) —
It seems that Christians are not bound to obey the secular power. For a gloss on Matthew 17:25, “Then the children are free,” says: “If in every kingdom the children of the king who holds sway over that kingdom are free, then the children of that King, under Whose sway are all kingdoms, should be free in every kingdom.”
Now Christians, by their faith in Christ, are made children of God, according to John 1:12: “He gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name.” Therefore they are not bound to obey the secular power.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- O(2) —
Further, it is written ( Romans 7:4): “You... are become dead to the law by the body of Christ,” and the law mentioned here is the divine law of the Old Testament. Now human law whereby men are subject to the secular power is of less account than the divine law of the Old Testament. Much more, therefore, since they have become members of Christ’s body, are men freed from the law of subjection, whereby they were under the power of secular princes.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- O(3) —
Further, men are not bound to obey robbers, who oppress them with violence. Now, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei iv): “Without justice, what else is a kingdom but a huge robbery?” Since therefore the authority of secular princes is frequently exercised with injustice, or owes its origin to some unjust usurpation, it seems that Christians ought not to obey secular princes.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6) —
On the contrary, It is written ( Titus 3:1): “Admonish them to be subject to princes and powers,” and ( 1 Peter 2:13,14): “Be ye subject... to every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him.”
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6) —
I answer that, Faith in Christ is the origin and cause of justice, according to Romans 3:22, “The justice of God by faith of Jesus Christ:” wherefore faith in Christ does not void the order of justice, but strengthens it.” Now the order of justice requires that subjects obey their superiors, else the stability of human affairs would cease. Hence faith in Christ does not excuse the faithful from the obligation of obeying secular princes.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- RO(1) —
As stated above ( A(5) ), subjection whereby one man is bound to another regards the body; not the soul, which retains its liberty. Now, in this state of life we are freed by the grace of Christ from defects of the soul, but not from defects of the body, as the Apostle declares by saying of himself ( Romans 7:23) that in his mind he served the law of God, but in his flesh the law of sin. Wherefore those that are made children of God by grace are free from the spiritual bondage of sin, but not from the bodily bondage, whereby they are held bound to earthly masters, as a gloss observes on 1 Timothy 6:1, “Whosoever are servants under the yoke,” etc.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- RO(2) —
The Old Law was a figure of the New Testament, and therefore it had to cease on the advent of truth. And the comparison with human law does not stand because thereby one man is subject to another. Yet man is bound by divine law to obey his fellowman.
P(2b)- Q(104)- A(6)- RO(3) —
Man is bound to obey secular princes in so far as this is required by order of justice. Wherefore if the prince’s authority is not just but usurped, or if he commands what is unjust, his subjects are not bound to obey him, except perhaps accidentally, in order to avoid scandal or danger.
QUESTION OF DISOBEDIENCE (TWO ARTICLES)
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1) Whether disobedience is a mortal sin?
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that disobedience is not a mortal sin.
For every sin is a disobedience, as appears from Ambrose’s definition given above ( Q(104), A(2), O(1) ). Therefore if disobedience were a mortal sin, every sin would be mortal.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxxi) that disobedience is born of vainglory. But vainglory is not a mortal sin.
Neither therefore is disobedience.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, a person is said to be disobedient when he does not fulfil a superior’s command. But superiors often issue so many commands that it is seldom, if ever, possible to fulfil them.
Therefore if disobedience were a mortal sin, it would follow that man cannot avoid mortal sin, which is absurd. Wherefore disobedience is not a mortal sin.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1) —
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1) —
I answer that, As stated above ( Q(24) , A(12) ; P(1), Q(72) , A(5) ; P(1), Q(88) , A(1) ), a mortal sin is one that is contrary to charity which is the cause of spiritual life. Now by charity we love God and our neighbor. The charity of God requires that we obey His commandments, as stated above ( Q(24) , A(12) ). Therefore to be disobedient to the commandments of God is a mortal sin, because it is contrary to the love of God.
Again, the commandments of God contain the precept of obedience to superiors. Wherefore also disobedience to the commands of a superior is a mortal sin, as being contrary to the love of God, according to Romans 13:2, “He that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” It is also contrary to the love of our neighbor, as it withdraws from the superior who is our neighbor the obedience that is his due.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- RO(1) —
The definition given by Ambrose refers to mortal sin, which has the character of perfect sin. Venial sin is not disobedience, because it is not contrary to a precept, but beside it. Nor again is every mortal sin disobedience, properly and essentially, but only when one contemns a precept, since moral acts take their species from the end. And when a thing is done contrary to a precept, not in contempt of the precept, but with some other purpose, it is not a sin of disobedience except materially, and belongs formally to another species of sin.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- RO(2) —
Vainglory desires display of excellence. And since it seems to point to a certain excellence that one be not subject to another’s command, it follows that disobedience arises from vainglory. But there is nothing to hinder mortal sin from arising out of venial sin, since venial sin is a disposition to mortal.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(1)- RO(3) —
No one is bound to do the impossible: wherefore if a superior makes a heap of precepts and lays them upon his subjects, so that they are unable to fulfil them, they are excused from sin.
Wherefore superiors should refrain from making a multitude of precepts.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2) Whether disobedience is the most grievous of sins?
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- O(1) —
It seems that disobedience is the most grievous of sins. For it is written ( 1 Kings 15:23): “It is like the sin of witchcraft to rebel, and like the crime of idolatry to refuse to obey.
But idolatry is the most grievous of sins, as stated above ( Q(94) , A(3) ).
Therefore disobedience is the most grievous of sins.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, the sin against the Holy Ghost is one that removes the obstacles of sin, as stated above ( Q(14) , A(2) ). Now disobedience makes a man contemn a precept which, more than anything, prevents a man from sinning. Therefore disobedience is a sin against the Holy Ghost, and consequently is the most grievous of sins.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, the Apostle says ( Romans 5:19) that “by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners.” Now the cause is seemingly greater than its effect. Therefore disobedience seems to be a more grievous sin than the others that are caused thereby.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2) —
On the contrary, Contempt of the commander is a more grievous sin than contempt of his command. Now some sins are against the very person of the commander, such as blasphemy and murder.
Therefore disobedience is not the most grievous of sins.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2) —
I answer that, Not every disobedience is equally a sin: for one disobedience may be greater than another, in two ways. First, on the part of the superior commanding, since, although a man should take every care to obey each superior, yet it is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority.
Consequently the higher the person who commands, the more grievous is it to disobey him: so that it is more grievous to disobey God than man.
Secondly, on the part of the things commanded. For the person commanding does not equally desire the fulfilment of all his commands: since every such person desires above all the end, and that which is nearest to the end. Wherefore disobedience is the more grievous, according as the unfulfilled commandment is more in the intention of the person commanding. As to the commandments of God, it is evident that the greater the good commanded, the more grievous the disobedience of that commandment, because since God’s will is essentially directed to the good, the greater the good the more does God wish it to be fulfilled.
Consequently he that disobeys the commandment of the love of God sins more grievously than one who disobeys the commandment of the love of our neighbor. On the other hand, man’s will is not always directed to the greater good: hence, when we are bound by a mere precept of man, a sin is more grievous, not through setting aside a greater good, but through setting aside that which is more in the intention of the person commanding.
Accordingly the various degrees of disobedience must correspond with the various degrees of precepts: because the disobedience in which there is contempt of God’s precept, from the very nature of disobedience is more grievous than a sin committed against a man, apart from the latter being a disobedience to God. And I say this because whoever sins against his neighbor acts also against God’s commandment. And if the divine precept be contemned in a yet graver matter, the sin is still more grievous. The disobedience that contains contempt of a man’s precept is less grievous than the sin which contemns the man who made the precept, because reverence for the person commanding should give rise to reverence for his command. In like manner a sin that directly involves contempt of God, such as blasphemy, or the like, is more grievous (even if we mentally separate the disobedience from the sin) than would be a sin involving contempt of God’s commandment alone.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- RO(1) —
This comparison of Samuel is one, not of equality but of likeness, because disobedience redounds to the contempt of God just as idolatry does, though the latter does so more.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- RO(2) —
Not every disobedience is sin against the Holy Ghost, but only that which obstinacy is added: for it is not the contempt of any obstacle to sin that constitutes sin against the Holy Ghost, else the contempt of any good would be a sin against the Holy Ghost, since any good may hinder a man from committing sin. The sin against the Holy Ghost consists in the contempt of those goods which lead directly to repentance and the remission of sins.
P(2b)- Q(105)- A(2)- RO(3) —
The first sin of our first parent, from which sin was transmitted to a men, was not disobedience considered as a special sin, but pride, from which then man proceeded to disobey. Hence the Apostle in these words seems to take disobedience in its relation to every sin.
QUESTION OF THANKFULNESS OR GRATITUDE (SIX ARTICLES)
We must now consider thankfulness or gratitude, and ingratitude.
Concerning thankfulness there are six points of inquiry: (1) Whether thankfulness is a special virtue distinct from other virtues? (2) Who owes more thanks to God, the innocent or the penitent? (3) Whether man is always bound to give thanks for human favors? (4) Whether thanksgiving should be deferred? (5) Whether thanksgiving should be measured according to the favor received or the disposition of the giver? (6) Whether one ought to pay back more than one has received?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1) Whether thankfulness is a special virtue, distinct from other virtues?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that thankfulness is not a special virtue, distinct from other virtue. For we have received the greatest benefits from God, and from our parents. Now the honor which we pay to God in return belongs to the virtue of religion, and the honor with which we repay our parents belongs to the virtue of piety. Therefore thankfulness or gratitude is not distinct from the other virtues.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, proportionate repayment belongs to commutative justice, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 4). Now the purpose of giving thanks is repayment (Ethic. 5,4). Therefore thanksgiving, which belongs to gratitude, is an act of justice. Therefore gratitude is not a special virtue, distinct from other virtues.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, acknowledgment of favor received is requisite for the preservation of friendship, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 13; ix, 1). Now friendship is associated with all the virtues, since they are the reason for which man is loved. Therefore thankfulness or gratitude, to which it belongs to repay favors received, is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1) —
On the contrary, Tully reckons thankfulness a special part of justice (De Invent. Rhet. ii).
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1) —
I answer that, As stated above ( P(1), Q(60) , A(3) ), the nature of the debt to be paid must needs vary according to various causes giving rise to the debt, yet so that the greater always includes the lesser. Now the cause of debt is found primarily and chiefly in God, in that He is the first principle of all our goods: secondarily it is found in our father, because he is the proximate principle of our begetting and upbringing: thirdly it is found in the person that excels in dignity, from whom general favors proceed; fourthly it is found in a benefactor, from whom we have received particular and private favors, on account of which we are under particular obligation to him.
Accordingly, since what we owe God, or our father, or a person excelling in dignity, is not the same as what we owe a benefactor from whom we have received some particular favor, it follows that after religion, whereby we pay God due worship, and piety, whereby we worship our parents, and observance, whereby we worship persons excelling in dignity, there is thankfulness or gratitude, whereby we give thanks to our benefactors. And it is distinct from the foregoing virtues, just as each of these is distinct from the one that precedes, as falling short thereof.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- RO(1) —
Just as religion is superexcelling piety, so is it excelling thankfulness or gratitude: wherefore giving thanks to God was reckoned above ( Q(83) , A(17) ) among things pertaining to religion.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- RO(2) —
Proportionate repayment belongs to commutative justice, when it answers to the legal due; for instance when it is contracted that so much be paid for so much. But the repayment that belongs to the virtue of thankfulness or gratitude answers to the moral debt, and is paid spontaneously. Hence thanksgiving is less thankful when compelled, as Seneca observes (De Beneficiis iii).
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(1)- RO(3) —
Since true friendship is based on virtue, whatever there is contrary to virtue in a friend is an obstacle to friendship, and whatever in him is virtuous is an incentive to friendship. In this way friendship is preserved by repayment of favors, although repayment of favors belongs specially to the virtue of gratitude.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2) Whether the innocent is more bound to give thanks to God than the penitent?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2)- O(1) —
It seems that the innocent is more bound to give thanks to God than the penitent. For the greater the gift one has received from God, the more one is bound to give Him thanks. Now the gift of innocence is greater than that of justice restored. Therefore it seems that the innocent is more bound to give thanks to God than the penitent.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, a man owes love to his benefactor just as he owes him gratitude. Now Augustine says (Confess. ii): “What man, weighing his own infirmity, would dare to ascribe his purity and innocence to his own strength; that so he should love Thee the less, as if he had less needed Thy mercy, whereby Thou remittest sins to those that turn to Thee?” And farther on he says: “And for this let him love Thee as much, yea and more, since by Whom he sees me to have been recovered from such deep torpor of sin, by Him he sees himself to have been from the like torpor of sin preserved.” Therefore the innocent is also more bound to give thanks than the penitent.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, the more a gratuitous favor is continuous, the greater the thanksgiving due for it. Now the favor of divine grace is more continuous in the innocent than in the penitent. For Augustine says (Confess. iii): “To Thy grace I ascribe it, and to Thy mercy, that Thou hast melted away my sins as it were ice. To Thy grace I ascribe also whatsoever I have not done of evil; for what might I not have done?... Yea, all I confess to have been forgiven me, both what evils I committed by my own wilfulness, and what by Thy guidance committed not.” Therefore the innocent is more bound to give thanks than the penitent.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2) —
On the contrary, It is written ( Luke 7:43): “To whom more is forgiven, he loveth more [*Vulg.: ‘To whom less is forgiven, he loveth less’ Luke 7:47].” Therefore for the same reason he is bound to greater thanksgiving.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(2) —
I answer that, Thanksgiving [gratiarum actio] in the recipient corresponds to the favor [gratia] of the giver: so that when there is greater favor on the part of the giver, greater thanks are due on the part of the recipient. Now a favor is something bestowed “gratis”: wherefore on the part of the giver the favor may be greater on two counts. First, owing to the quantity of the thing given: and in this way the innocent owes greater thanksgiving, because he receives a greater gift from God, also, absolutely speaking, a more continuous gift, other things being equal.
Secondly, a favor may be said to be greater, because it is given more gratuitously; and in this sense the penitent is more bound to give thanks than the innocent, because what he receives from God is more gratuitously given: since, whereas he was deserving of punishment, he has received grace. Wherefore, although the gift bestowed on the innocent is, considered absolutely, greater, yet the gift bestowed on the penitent is greater in relation to him: even as a small gift bestowed on a poor man is greater to him than a great gift is to a rich man. And since actions are about singulars, in matters of action, we have to take note of what is such here and now, rather than of what is such absolutely, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iii) in treating of the voluntary and the involuntary.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3) Whether a man is bound to give thanks to every benefactor?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that the a man is not bound to give thanks to every benefactor. For a man may benefit himself just as he may harm himself, according to Ecclus. 14:5, “He that is evil to himself, to whom will he be good?” But a man cannot thank himself, since thanksgiving seems to pass from one person to another. Therefore thanksgiving is not due to every benefactor.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, gratitude is a repayment of an act of grace. But some favors are granted without grace, and are rudely, slowly and grudgingly given. Therefore gratitude is not always due to a benefactor.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, no thanks are due to one who works for his own profit. But sometimes people bestow favors for their own profit. Therefore thanks are not due to them.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(4) —
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(5) —
Further, no one is bound to do what he cannot do equitably and advantageously. Now it happens at times that the benefactor is very well off, and it would be of no advantage to him to be repaid for a favor he has bestowed. Again it happens sometimes that the benefactor from being virtuous has become wicked, so that it would not seem equitable to repay him. Also the recipient of a favor may be a poor man, and is quite unable to repay. Therefore seemingly a man is not always bound to repayment for favors received.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- O(6) —
Further, no one is bound to do for another what is inexpedient and hurtful to him. Now sometimes it happens that repayment of a favor would be hurtful or useless to the person repaid.
Therefore favors are not always to be repaid by gratitude.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3) —
On the contrary, It is written ( 1 Thessalonians 5:18): “In all things give thanks.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3) —
I answer that, Every effect turns naturally to its cause; wherefore Dionysius says (Div. Nom. i) that “God turns all things to Himself because He is the cause of all”: for the effect must needs always be directed to the end of the agent. Now it is evident that a benefactor, as such, is cause of the beneficiary. Hence the natural order requires that he who has received a favor should, by repaying the favor, turn to his benefactor according to the mode of each. And, as stated above with regard to a father ( Q(31) , A(3) ; Q(101), A(2) ), a man owes his benefactor, as such, honor and reverence, since the latter stands to him in the relation of principle; but accidentally he owes him assistance or support, if he need it.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(1) —
In the words of Seneca (1 Benef. v), “just as a man is liberal who gives not to himself but to others, and gracious who forgives not himself but others, and merciful who is moved, not by his own misfortunes but by another’s, so too, no man confers a favor on himself, he is but following the bent of his nature, which moves him to resist what hurts him, and to seek what is profitable.” Wherefore in things that one does for oneself, there is no place for gratitude or ingratitude, since a man cannot deny himself a thing except by keeping it. Nevertheless things which are properly spoken of in relation to others are spoken of metaphorically in relation to oneself, as the Philosopher states regarding justice (Ethic. v, 11), in so far, to wit, as the various parts of man are considered as though they were various persons.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(2) —
It is the mark of a happy disposition to see good rather than evil. Wherefore if someone has conferred a favor, not as he ought to have conferred it, the recipient should not for that reason withhold his thanks. Yet he owes less thanks, than if the favor had been conferred duly, since in fact the favor is less, for, as Seneca remarks (De Benef. ii.) “promptness enhances, delay discounts a favor.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(3) —
As Seneca observes (De Benef. vi), “it matters much whether a person does a kindness to us for his own sake, or for ours, or for both his and ours. He that considers himself only, and benefits because cannot otherwise benefit himself, seems to me like a man who seeks fodder for his cattle.” And farther on: “If he has done it for me in common with himself, having both of us in his mind, I am ungrateful and not merely unjust, unless I rejoice that what was profitable to him is profitable to me also. It is the height of malevolence to refuse to recognize a kindness, unless the giver has been the loser thereby.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(4) —
As Seneca observes (De Benef. iii), “when a slave does what is wont to be demanded of a slave, it is part of his service: when he does more than a slave is bound to do, it is a favor: for as soon as he does anything from a motive of friendship, if indeed that be his motive, it is no longer called service.” Wherefore gratitude is due even to a slave, when he does more than his duty.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(5) —
A poor man is certainly not ungrateful if he does what he can. For since kindness depends on the heart rather than on the deed, so too gratitude depends chiefly the heart. Hence Seneca says (De Benef. ii): “Who receives a favor gratefully, has already begun to pay it back: and that we are grateful for favors received should be shown by the outpourings of the heart, not only in his hearing but everywhere.” From this it is evident that however well off a man may be, it is possible to thank him for his kindness by showing him reverence and honor.
Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. viii, 14): “He that abounds should be repaid with honor, he that is in want should be repaid with money”: and Seneca writes (De Benef. vi): “There are many ways of repaying those who are well off, whatever we happen to owe them; such as good advice, frequent fellowship, affable and pleasant conversation without flattery.”
Therefore there is no need for a man to desire neediness or distress in his benefactor before repaying his kindness, because, as Seneca says (De Benef. vi), “it were inhuman to desire this in one from whom you have received no favor; how much more so to desire it in one whose kindness has made you his debtor!”
If, however, the benefactor has lapsed from virtue, nevertheless he should be repaid according to his state, that he may return to virtue if possible.
But if he be so wicked as to be incurable, then his heart has changed, and consequently no repayment is due for his kindness, as heretofore. And yet, as far as it possible without sin, the kindness he has shown should be held in memory, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. ix, 3).
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(3)- RO(6) —
As stated in the preceding reply, repayment of a favor depends chiefly on the affection of the heart: wherefore repayment should be made in such a way as to prove most beneficial. If, however, through the benefactor’s carelessness it prove detrimental to him, this is not imputed to the person who repays him, as Seneca observes (De Benef. vii): “It is my duty to repay, and not to keep back and safeguard my repayment.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4) Whether a man is bound to repay a favor at once?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that a man is bound to repay a favor at once. For we are bound to restore at once what we owe, unless the term be fixed. Now there is no term prescribed for the repayment of favors, and yet this repayment is a duty, as stated above ( A(3) ). Therefore a man is bound to repay a favor at once.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, a good action would seem to be all the more praiseworthy according as it is done with greater earnestness.
Now earnestness seems to make a man do his duty without any delay.
Therefore it is apparently more praiseworthy to repay a favor at once.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, Seneca says (De Benef. ii) that “it is proper to a benefactor to act freely and quickly.” Now repayment ought to equal the favor received. Therefore it should be done at once.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4) —
On the contrary, Seneca says (De Benef. iv): “He that hastens to repay, is animated with a sense, not of gratitude but of indebtedness.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4) —
I answer that, Just as in conferring a favor two things are to be considered, namely, the affection of the heart and the gift, so also must these things be considered in repaying the favor. As regards the affection of the heart, repayment should be made at once, wherefore Seneca says (De Benef. ii): “Do you wish to repay a favor? Receive it graciously.” As regards the gift, one ought to wait until such a time as will be convenient to the benefactor. In fact, if instead of choosing a convenient time, one wished to repay at once, favor for favor, it would not seem to be a virtuous, but a constrained repayment. For, as Seneca observes (De Benef. iv), “he that wishes to repay too soon, is an unwilling debtor, and an unwilling debtor is ungrateful.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- RO(1) —
A legal debt must be paid at once, else the equality of justice would not be preserved, if one kept another’s property without his consent. But a moral debt depends on the equity of the debtor: and therefore it should be repaid in due time according as the rectitude of virtue demands.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- RO(2) —
Earnestness of the will is not virtuous unless it be regulated by reason; wherefore it is not praiseworthy to forestall the proper time through earnestness.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(4)- RO(3) —
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5) Whether in giving thanks we should look at the benefactor’s disposition or at the deed?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- O(1) —
It seems that in repaying favors we should not look at the benefactor’s disposition but at the deed. For repayment is due to beneficence, and beneficence consists in deeds, as the word itself denotes. Therefore in repaying favors we should look at the deed.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- O(2) —
Further, thanksgiving, whereby we repay favors, is a part of justice. But justice considers equality between giving and taking. Therefore also in repaying favors we should consider the deed rather than the disposition of the benefactor.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- O(3) —
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5) —
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5) —
I answer that, The repayment of a favor may belong to three virtues, namely, justice, gratitude and friendship. It belongs to justice when the repayment has the character of a legal debt, as in a loan and the like: and in such cases repayment must be made according to the quantity received.
On the other hand, repayment of a favor belongs, though in different ways, to friendship and likewise to the virtue of gratitude when it has the character of a moral debt. For in the repayment of friendship we have to consider the cause of friendship; so that in the friendship that is based on the useful, repayment should be made according to the usefulness accruing from the favor conferred, and in the friendship based on virtue repayment should be made with regard for the choice or disposition of the giver, since this is the chief requisite of virtue, as stated in Ethic. viii, 13. And likewise, since gratitude regards the favor inasmuch as it is bestowed gratis, and this regards the disposition of the giver, it follows again that repayment of a favor depends more on the disposition of the giver than on the effect.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- RO(1) —
Every moral act depends on the will. Hence a kindly action, in so far as it is praiseworthy and is deserving of gratitude, consists materially in the thing done, but formally and chiefly in the will.
Hence Seneca says (De Benef. i): “A kindly action consists not in deed or gift, but in the disposition of the giver or doer.”
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- RO(2) —
Gratitude is a part of justice, not indeed as a species is part of a genus, but by a kind of reduction to the genus of justice, as stated above ( Q(80) ). Hence it does not follow that we shall find the same kind of debt in both virtues.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(5)- RO(3) —
God alone sees man’s disposition in itself: but in so far as it is shown by certain signs, man also can know it. It is thus that a benefactor’s disposition is known by the way in which he does the kindly action, for instance through his doing it joyfully and readily.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6) Whether the repayment of gratitude should surpass the favor received?
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- O(1) —
It seems that there is no need for the repayment of gratitude to surpass the favor received. For it is not possible to make even equal repayment to some, for instance, one’s parents, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. viii, 14). Now virtue does not attempt the impossible. Therefore gratitude for a favor does not tend to something yet greater.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- O(2) —
Further, if one person repays another more than he has received by his favor, by that very fact he gives him something his turn, as it were. But the latter owes him repayment for the favor which in his turn the former has conferred on him. Therefore he that first conferred a favor will be bound to a yet greater repayment, and so on indefinitely. Now virtue does not strive at the indefinite, since “the indefinite removes the nature of good” (Metaph. ii, text. 8). Therefore repayment of gratitude should not surpass the favor received.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- O(3) —
Further, justice consists in equality. But “more” is excess of equality. Since therefore excess is sinful in every virtue, it seems that to repay more than the favor received is sinful and opposed to justice.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6) —
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 5): “We should repay those who are gracious to us, by being gracious to them return,” and this is done by repaying more than we have received.
Therefore gratitude should incline to do something greater.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6) —
I answer that, As stated above ( A(5) ), gratitude regards the favor received according the intention of the benefactor; who seems be deserving of praise, chiefly for having conferred the favor gratis without being bound to do so. Wherefore the beneficiary is under a moral obligation to bestow something gratis in return. Now he does not seem to bestow something gratis, unless he exceeds the quantity of the favor received: because so long as he repays less or an equivalent, he would seem to do nothing gratis, but only to return what he has received. Therefore gratitude always inclines, as far as possible, to pay back something more.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- RO(1) —
As stated above ( A(3), ad 5; A(5) ), in repaying favors we must consider the disposition rather than the deed.
Accordingly, if we consider the effect of beneficence, which a son receives from his parents namely, to be and to live, the son cannot make an equal repayment, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. viii, 14). But if we consider the will of the giver and of the repayer, then it is possible for the son to pay back something greater to his father, as Seneca declares (De Benef. iii).
If, however, he were unable to do so, the will to pay back would be sufficient for gratitude.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- RO(2) —
The debt of gratitude flows from charity, which the more it is paid the more it is due, according to Romans 13:8, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” Wherefore it is not unreasonable if the obligation of gratitude has no limit.
P(2b)- Q(106)- A(6)- RO(3) —
As in injustice, which is a cardinal virtue, we consider equality of things, so in gratitude we consider equality of wills. For while on the one hand the benefactor of his own free-will gave something he was not bound to give, so on the other hand the beneficiary repays something over and above what he has received.
QUESTION OF INGRATITUDE (FOUR ARTICLES)
We must now consider ingratitude, under which head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether ingratitude is always a sin? (2) Whether ingratitude is a special sin? (3) Whether every act of ingratitude is a mortal sin? (4) Whether favors should be withdrawn from the ungrateful?
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1) Whether ingratitude is always a sin?
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that ingratitude is not always a sin.
For Seneca says (De Benef. iii) that “he who does not repay a favor is ungrateful.” But sometimes it is impossible to repay a favor without sinning, for instance if one man has helped another to commit a sin.
Therefore, since it is not a sin to refrain from sinning, it seems that ingratitude is not always a sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, every sin is in the power of the person who commits it: because, according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. iii; Retract. i), “no man sins in what he cannot avoid.” Now sometimes it is not in the power of the sinner to avoid ingratitude, for instance when he has not the means of repaying. Again forgetfulness is not in our power, and yet Seneca declares (De Benef. iii) that “to forget a kindness is the height of ingratitude.” Therefore ingratitude is not always a sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, there would seem to be no repayment in being unwilling to owe anything, according to the Apostle ( Romans 13:8), “Owe no man anything.” Yet “an unwilling debtor is ungrateful,” as Seneca declares (De Benef. iv). Therefore ingratitude is not always a sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1) —
I answer that, As stated above ( Q(106), A(4), ad 1, A(6) ) a debt of gratitude is a moral debt required by virtue. Now a thing is a sin from the fact of its being contrary to virtue. Wherefore it is evident that every ingratitude is a sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- RO(1) —
Gratitude regards a favor received: and he that helps another to commit a sin does him not a favor but an injury: and so no thanks are due to him, except perhaps on account of his good will, supposing him to have been deceived, and to have thought to help him in doing good, whereas he helped him to sin. In such a case the repayment due to him is not that he should be helped to commit a sin, because this would be repaying not good but evil, and this is contrary to gratitude.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- RO(2) —
No man is excused from ingratitude through inability to repay, for the very reason that the mere will suffices for the repayment of the debt of gratitude, as stated above ( Q(106), A(6), ad 1).
Forgetfulness of a favor received amounts to ingratitude, not indeed the forgetfulness that arises from a natural defect, that is not subject to the will, but that which arises from negligence. For, as Seneca observes (De Benef. iii), “when forgetfulness of favors lays hold of a man, he has apparently given little thought to their repayment.”
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(1)- RO(3) —
The debt of gratitude flows from the debt of love, and from the latter no man should wish to be free. Hence that anyone should owe this debt unwillingly seems to arise from lack of love for his benefactor.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- O(1) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, no special sin is contained under different kinds of sin. But one can be ungrateful by committing different kinds of sin, for instance by calumny, theft, or something similar committed against a benefactor. Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, Seneca writes (De Benef. iii): “It is ungrateful to take no notice of a kindness, it is ungrateful not to repay one, but it is the height of ingratitude to forget it.” Now these do not seem to belong to the same species of sin. Therefore ingratitude is not a special sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2) —
I answer that, Every vice is denominated from a deficiency of virtue, because deficiency is more opposed to virtue: thus illiberality is more opposed to liberality than prodigality is. Now a vice may be opposed to the virtue of gratitude by way of excess, for instance if one were to show gratitude for things for which gratitude is not due, or sooner than it is due, as stated above ( Q(106), A(4) ). But still more opposed to gratitude is the vice denoting deficiency of gratitude, because the virtue of gratitude, as stated above ( Q(106), A(6) ), inclines to return something more. Wherefore ingratitude is properly denominated from being a deficiency of gratitude. Now every deficiency or privation takes its species from the opposite habit: for blindness and deafness differ according to the difference of sight and hearing. Therefore just as gratitude or thankfulness is one special virtue, so also is ingratitude one special sin.
It has, however, various degrees corresponding in their order to the things required for gratitude. The first of these is to recognize the favor received, the second to express one’s appreciation and thanks, and the third to repay the favor at a suitable place and time according to one’s means. And since what is last in the order of generation is first in the order of destruction, it follows that the first degree of ingratitude is when a man fails to repay a favor, the second when he declines to notice or indicate that he has received a favor, while the third and supreme degree is when a man fails to recognize the reception of a favor, whether by forgetting it or in any other way. Moreover, since opposite affirmation includes negation, it follows that it belongs to the first degree of ingratitude to return evil for good, to the second to find fault with a favor received, and to the third to esteem kindness as though it were unkindness.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- RO(1) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- RO(2) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(2)- RO(3) —
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3) Whether ingratitude is always a mortal sin?
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that ingratitude is always a mortal sin. For one ought to be grateful to God above all. But one is not ungrateful to God by committing a venial sin: else every man would be guilty of ingratitude. Therefore no ingratitude is a venial sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, a sin is mortal through being contrary to charity, as stated above ( Q(24) , A(12) ). But ingratitude is contrary to charity, since the debt of gratitude proceeds from that virtue, as stated above ( Q(106), A(1), ad 3; A(6), ad 2). Therefore ingratitude is always a mortal sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, Seneca says (De Benef. ii): “Between the giver and the receiver of a favor there is this law, that the former should forthwith forget having given, and the latter should never forget having received.” Now, seemingly, the reason why the giver should forget is that he may be unaware of the sin of the recipient, should the latter prove ungrateful; and there would be no necessity for that if ingratitude were a slight sin. Therefore ingratitude is always a mortal sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- O(4) —
On the contrary, No one should be put in the way of committing a mortal sin. Yet, according to Seneca (De Benef. ii), “sometimes it is necessary to deceive the person who receives assistance, in order that he may receive without knowing from whom he has received.”
But this would seem to put the recipient in the way of ingratitude.
Therefore ingratitude is not always a mortal sin.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3) —
I answer that, As appears from what we have said above ( A(2) ), a man may be ungrateful in two ways: first, by mere omission, for instance by failing to recognize the favor received, or to express his appreciation of it or to pay something in return, and this is not always a mortal sin, because, as stated above ( Q(106), A(6) ), the debt of gratitude requires a man to make a liberal return, which, however, he is not bound to do; wherefore if he fail to do so, he does not sin mortally. It is nevertheless a venial sin, because it arises either from some kind of negligence or from some disinclination to virtue in him. And yet ingratitude of this kind may happen to be a mortal sin, by reason either of inward contempt, or of the kind of thing withheld, this being needful to the benefactor, either simply, or in some case of necessity.
Secondly, a man may be ungrateful, because he not only omits to pay the debt of gratitude, but does the contrary. This again is sometimes mortal and sometimes a venial sin, according to the kind of thing that is done.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- RO(1) —
By committing a venial sin one is not ungrateful to God to the extent of incurring the guilt of perfect ingratitude: but there is something of ingratitude in a venial sin, in so far as it removes a virtuous act of obedience to God.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- RO(2) —
When ingratitude is a venial sin it is not contrary to, but beside charity: since it does not destroy the habit of charity, but excludes some act thereof.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- RO(3) —
Seneca also says (De Benef. vii): “When we say that a man after conferring a favor should forget about it, it is a mistake to suppose that we mean him to shake off the recollection of a thing so very praiseworthy. When we say: He must not remember it, we mean that he must not publish it abroad and boast about it.”
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(3)- RO(4) —
He that is unaware of a favor conferred on him is not ungrateful, if he fails to repay it, provided he be prepared to do so if he knew. It is nevertheless commendable at times that the object of a favor should remain in ignorance of it, both in order to avoid vainglory, as when Blessed Nicolas threw gold into a house secretly, wishing to avoid popularity: and because the kindness is all the greater through the benefactor wishing not to shame the person on whom he is conferring the favor.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4) Whether favors should be withheld from the ungrateful?
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that favors should withheld from the ungrateful. For it is written (Wis. 16:29): “The hope of the unthankful shall melt away as the winter’s ice.” But this hope would not melt away unless favors were withheld from him. Therefore favors should be withheld from the ungrateful.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, no one should afford another an occasion of committing sin. But the ungrateful in receiving a favor is given an occasion of ingratitude. Therefore favors should not be bestowed on the ungrateful.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, “By what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented” (Wis. 11:17). Now he that is ungrateful when he receives a favor sins against the favor. Therefore he should be deprived of the favor.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4) —
On the contrary, It is written ( Luke 6:35) that “the Highest... is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil.” Now we should prove ourselves His children by imitating Him ( Luke 6:36). Therefore we should not withhold favors from the ungrateful.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4) —
I answer that, There are two points to be considered with regard to an ungrateful person. The first is what he deserves to suffer and thus it is certain that he deserves to be deprived of our favor. The second is, what ought his benefactor to do? For in the first place he should not easily judge him to be ungrateful, since, as Seneca remarks (De Benef. iii), “a man is often grateful although he repays not,” because perhaps he has not the means or the opportunity of repaying.
Secondly, he should be inclined to turn his ungratefulness into gratitude, and if he does not achieve this by being kind to him once, he may by being so a second time. If, however, the more he repeats his favors, the more ungrateful and evil the other becomes, he should cease from bestowing his favors upon him.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- RO(1) —
The passage quoted speaks of what the ungrateful man deserves to suffer.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- RO(2) —
He that bestows a favor on an ungrateful person affords him an occasion not of sin but of gratitude and love. And if the recipient takes therefrom an occasion of ingratitude, this is not to be imputed to the bestower.
P(2b)- Q(107)- A(4)- RO(3) —
QUESTION OF VENGEANCE (FOUR ARTICLES)
We must now consider vengeance, under which head there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether vengeance is lawful? (2) Whether it is a special virtue? (3) Of the manner of taking vengeance; (4) On whom should vengeance be taken?
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1) Whether vengeance is lawful?
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that vengeance is not lawful. For whoever usurps what is God’s sins. But vengeance belongs to God, for it is written ( Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19): “Revenge to Me, and I will repay.” Therefore all vengeance is unlawful.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, he that takes vengeance on a man does not bear with him. But we ought to bear with the wicked, for a gloss on Cant 2:2, “As the lily among the thorns,” says: “He is not a good man that cannot bear with a wicked one.” Therefore we should not take vengeance on the wicked.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- O(3) —
Therefore at least in the New Testament all vengeance is unlawful.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- O(4) —
Further, a man is said to avenge himself when he takes revenge for wrongs inflicted on himself. But, seemingly, it is unlawful even for a judge to punish those who have wronged him: for Chrysostom [*Cf. Opus Imperfectum, Hom. v in Matth., falsely ascribed to St. Chrysostom] says: “Let us learn after Christ’s example to bear our own wrongs with magnanimity, yet not to suffer God’s wrongs, not even by listening to them.” Therefore vengeance seems to be unlawful.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- O(5) —
Further, the sin of a multitude is more harmful than the sin of only one: for it is written (Ecclus. 26:5-7): “Of three things my heart hath been afraid... the accusation of a city, and the gathering together of the people, and a false calumny.” But vengeance should not be taken on the sin of a multitude, for a gloss on Matthew 13:29,30, “Lest perhaps... you root up the wheat... suffer both to grow,” says that “a multitude should not be excommunicated, nor should the sovereign.” Neither therefore is any other vengeance lawful.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1) —
On the contrary, We should look to God for nothing save what is good and lawful. But we are to look to God for vengeance on His enemies: for it is written ( Luke 18:7): “Will not God revenge His elect who cry to Him day and night?” as if to say: “He will indeed.” Therefore vengeance is not essentially evil and unlawful.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1) —
I answer that, Vengeance consists in the infliction of a penal evil on one who has sinned. Accordingly, in the matter of vengeance, we must consider the mind of the avenger. For if his intention is directed chiefly to the evil of the person on whom he takes vengeance and rests there, then his vengeance is altogether unlawful: because to take pleasure in another’s evil belongs to hatred, which is contrary to the charity whereby we are bound to love all men. Nor is it an excuse that he intends the evil of one who has unjustly inflicted evil on him, as neither is a man excused for hating one that hates him: for a man may not sin against another just because the latter has already sinned against him, since this is to be overcome by evil, which was forbidden by the Apostle, who says ( Romans 12:21): “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.”
If, however, the avenger’s intention be directed chiefly to some good, to be obtained by means of the punishment of the person who has sinned (for instance that the sinner may amend, or at least that he may be restrained and others be not disturbed, that justice may be upheld, and God honored), then vengeance may be lawful, provided other due circumstances be observed.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- RO(1) —
He who takes vengeance on the wicked in keeping with his rank and position does not usurp what belongs to God but makes use of the power granted him by God. For it is written ( Romans 13:4) of the earthly prince that “he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” If, however, a man takes vengeance outside the order of divine appointment, he usurps what is God’s and therefore sins.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- RO(2) —
The good bear with the wicked by enduring patiently, and in due manner, the wrongs they themselves receive from them: but they do not bear with them as to endure the wrongs they inflict on God and their neighbor. For Chrysostom [*Cf. Opus Imperfectum, Hom. v in Matth., falsely ascribed to St. Chrysostom] says: “It is praiseworthy to be patient under our own wrongs, but to overlook God’s wrongs is most wicked.”
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- RO(3) —
The law of the Gospel is the law of love, and therefore those who do good out of love, and who alone properly belong to the Gospel, ought not to be terrorized by means of punishment, but only those who are not moved by love to do good, and who, though they belong to the Church outwardly, do not belong to it in merit.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- RO(4) —
Sometimes a wrong done to a person reflects on God and the Church: and then it is the duty of that person to avenge the wrong. For example, Elias made fire descend on those who were come to seize him ( 2 Kings 1); likewise Eliseus cursed the boys that mocked him ( 2 Kings 2); and Pope Sylverius excommunicated those who sent him into exile (XXIII, Q. iv, Cap. Guilisarius). But in so far as the wrong inflicted on a man affects his person, he should bear it patiently if this be expedient. For these precepts of patience are to be understood as referring to preparedness of the mind, as Augustine states (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i).
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(1)- RO(5) —
When the whole multitude sins, vengeance must be taken on them, either in respect of the whole multitude — thus the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea while they were pursuing the children of Israel ( Exodus 14), and the people of Sodom were entirely destroyed ( Genesis 19) — or as regards part of the multitude, as may be seen in the punishment of those who worshipped the calf.
Sometimes, however, if there is hope of many making amends, the severity of vengeance should be brought to bear on a few of the principals, whose punishment fills the rest with fear; thus the Lord ( Numbers 25) commanded the princes of the people to be hanged for the sin of the multitude.
On the other hand, if it is not the whole but only a part of the multitude that has sinned, then if the guilty can be separated from the innocent, vengeance should be wrought on them: provided, however, that this can be done without scandal to others; else the multitude should be spared and severity foregone. The same applies to the sovereign, whom the multitude follow. For his sin should be borne with, if it cannot be punished without scandal to the multitude: unless indeed his sin were such, that it would do more harm to the multitude, either spiritually or temporally, than would the scandal that was feared to arise from his punishment.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2) Whether vengeance is a special virtue?
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- O(1) —
It seems that vengeance is not a special and distinct virtue. For just as the good are rewarded for their good deeds, so are the wicked punished for their evil deeds. Now the rewarding of the good does not belong to a special virtue, but is an act of commutative justice. Therefore in the same way vengeance should not be accounted a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- O(2) —
Further, there is no need to appoint a special virtue for an act to which a man is sufficiently disposed by the other virtues. Now man is sufficiently disposed by the virtues of fortitude or zeal to avenge evil. Therefore vengeance should not be reckoned a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- O(3) —
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2) —
On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii) reckons it a part of justice.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2) —
I answer that, As the Philosopher states (Ethic. ii, 1), aptitude to virtue is in us by nature, but the complement of virtue is in us through habituation or some other cause. Hence it is evident that virtues perfect us so that we follow in due manner our natural inclinations, which belong to the natural right. Wherefore to every definite natural inclination there corresponds a special virtue. Now there is a special inclination of nature to remove harm, for which reason animals have the irascible power distinct from the concupiscible. Man resists harm by defending himself against wrongs, lest they be inflicted on him, or he avenges those which have already been inflicted on him, with the intention, not of harming, but of removing the harm done. And this belongs to vengeance, for Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that by “vengeance we resist force, or wrong, and in general whatever is obscure” [*’Obscurum’ Cicero wrote ‘obfuturum’ but the sense is the same as St. Thomas gives in the parenthesis] “(i.e. derogatory), either by self-defense or by avenging it.” Therefore vengeance is a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- RO(1) —
Just as repayment of a legal debt belongs to commutative justice, and as repayment of a moral debt, arising from the bestowal of a particular favor, belongs to the virtue of gratitude, so too the punishment of sins, so far as it is the concern of public justice, is an act of commutative justice; while so far as it is concerned in defending the rights of the individual by whom a wrong is resisted, it belongs to the virtue of revenge.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- RO(2) —
Fortitude disposes to vengeance by removing an obstacle thereto, namely, fear of an imminent danger. Zeal, as denoting the fervor of love, signifies the primary root of vengeance, in so far as a man avenges the wrong done to God and his neighbor, because charity makes him regard them as his own. Now every act of virtue proceeds from charity as its root, since, according to Gregory (Hom. xxvii in Ev.), “there are no green leaves on the bough of good works, unless charity be the root.”
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(2)- RO(3) —
Two vices are opposed to vengeance: one by way of excess, namely, the sin of cruelty or brutality, which exceeds the measure in punishing: while the other is a vice by way of deficiency and consists in being remiss in punishing, wherefore it is written ( Proverbs 13:24): “He that spareth the rod hateth his son.” But the virtue of vengeance consists in observing the due measure of vengeance with regard to all the circumstances.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3) Whether vengeance should be wrought by means of punishments customary among men?
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that vengeance should not be wrought by means of punishments customary among men. For to put a man to death is to uproot him. But our Lord forbade ( Matthew 13:29) the uprooting of the cockle, whereby the children of the wicked one are signified. Therefore sinners should not be put to death.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, all who sin mortally seem to be deserving of the same punishment. Therefore if some who sin mortally are punished with death, it seems that all such persons should be punished with death: and this is evidently false.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, to punish a man publicly for his sin seems to publish his sin: and this would seem to have a harmful effect on the multitude, since the example of sin is taken by them as an occasion for sin. Therefore it seems that the punishment of death should not be inflicted for a sin.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3) —
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3) —
I answer that, Vengeance is lawful and virtuous so far as it tends to the prevention of evil. Now some who are not influenced by motive of virtue are prevented from committing sin, through fear of losing those things which they love more than those they obtain by sinning, else fear would be no restraint to sin. Consequently vengeance for sin should be taken by depriving a man of what he loves most. Now the things which man loves most are life, bodily safety, his own freedom, and external goods such as riches, his country and his good name. Wherefore, according to Augustine’s reckoning (De Civ. Dei xxi), “Tully writes that the laws recognize eight kinds of punishment”: namely, “death,” whereby man is deprived of life; “stripes,” “retaliation,” or the loss of eye for eye, whereby man forfeits his bodily safety; “slavery,” and “imprisonment,” whereby he is deprived of freedom; “exile” whereby he is banished from his country; “fines,” whereby he is mulcted in his riches; “ignominy,” whereby he loses his good name.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- RO(1) —
Our Lord forbids the uprooting of the cockle, when there is fear lest the wheat be uprooted together with it. But sometimes the wicked can be uprooted by death, not only without danger, but even with great profit, to the good. Wherefore in such a case the punishment of death may be inflicted on sinners.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- RO(2) —
All who sin mortally are deserving of eternal death, as regards future retribution, which is in accordance with the truth of the divine judgment. But the punishments of this life are more of a medicinal character; wherefore the punishment of death is inflicted on those sins alone which conduce to the grave undoing of others.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(3)- RO(3) —
The very fact that the punishment, whether of death or of any kind that is fearsome to man, is made known at the same time as the sin, makes man’s will avers to sin: because the fear of punishment is greater than the enticement of the example of sin.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4) Whether vengeance should be taken on those who have sinned involuntarily?
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that vengeance should be taken on those who have sinned involuntarily. For the will of one man does not follow from the will of another. Yet one man is punished for another, according to Exodus 20:5, “I am... God... jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation.”
Thus for the sin of Cham, his son Chanaan was curse ( Genesis 9:25) and for the sin of Giezi, his descendants were struck with leprosy ( 2 Kings 5). Again the blood of Christ lays the descendants of the Jews under the ban of punishment, for they said ( Matthew 27:25): “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Moreover we read ( Joshua 7) that the people of Israel were delivered into the hands of their enemies for the sin of Achan, and that the same people were overthrown by the Philistines on account of the sin of the sons of Heli ( 1 Samuel 4). Therefore a person is to be punished without having deserved it voluntarily.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, nothing is voluntary except what is in a man’s power. But sometimes a man is punished for what is not in his power; thus a man is removed from the administration of the Church on account of being infected with leprosy; and a Church ceases to be an episcopal see on account of the depravity or evil of the people. Therefore vengeance is taken not only for voluntary sins.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, ignorance makes an act involuntary.
Now vengeance is sometimes taken on the ignorant. Thus the children of the people of Sodom, though they were in invincible ignorance, perished with their parents ( Genesis 19). Again, for the sin of Dathan and Abiron their children were swallowed up together with them ( Numbers 16).
Therefore vengeance is sometimes taken on those who have deserved it involuntarily.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- O(4) —
Further, compulsion is most opposed to voluntariness. But a man does not escape the debt of punishment through being compelled by fear to commit a sin. Therefore vengeance is sometimes taken on those who have deserved it involuntarily.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- O(5) —
Further Ambrose says on Luke 5 that “the ship in which Judas was, was in distress”; wherefore “Peter, who was calm in the security of his own merits, was in distress about those of others.” But Peter did not will the sin of Judas. Therefore a person is sometimes punished without having voluntarily deserved it.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4) —
On the contrary, Punishment is due to sin. But every sin is voluntary according to Augustine (De Lib. Arb. iii; Retract. i).
Therefore vengeance should be taken only on those who have deserved it voluntarily.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4) —
I answer that, Punishment may be considered in two ways. First, under the aspect of punishment, and in this way punishment is not due save for sin, because by means of punishment the equality of justice is restored, in so far as he who by sinning has exceeded in following his own will suffers something that is contrary to this will.
Wherefore, since every sin is voluntary, not excluding original sin, as stated above ( P(1), Q(81) , A(1) ), it follows that no one is punished in this way, except for something done voluntarily. Secondly, punishment may be considered as a medicine, not only healing the past sin, but also preserving from future sin, or conducing to some good, and in this way a person is sometimes punished without any fault of his own, yet not without cause.
It must, however, be observed that a medicine never removes a greater good in order to promote a lesser; thus the medicine of the body never blinds the eye, in order to repair the heel: yet sometimes it is harmful in lesser things that it may be helpful in things of greater consequence. And since spiritual goods are of the greatest consequence, while temporal goods are least important, sometimes a person is punished in his temporal goods without any fault of his own. Such are many of the punishments inflicted by God in this present life for our humiliation or probation. But no one is punished in spiritual goods without any fault on his part, neither in this nor in the future life, because in the latter punishment is not medicinal, but a result of spiritual condemnation.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- RO(1) —
A man is never condemned to a spiritual punishment for another man’s sin, because spiritual punishment affects the soul, in respect of which each man is master of himself. But sometimes a man is condemned to punishment in temporal matters for the sin of another, and this for three reasons. First, because one man may be the temporal goods of another, and so he may be punished in punishment of the latter: thus children, as to the body, are a belonging of their father, and slaves are a possession of their master. Secondly, when one person’s sin is transmitted to another, either by “imitation,” as children copy the sins of their parents, and slaves the sins of their masters, so as to sin with greater daring; or by way of “merit,” as the sinful subjects merit a sinful superior, according to Job 34:30, “Who maketh a man that is a hypocrite to reign for the sins of the people?” Hence the people of Israel were punished for David’s sin in numbering the people ( 2 Samuel 24). This may also happen through some kind of “consent” or “connivance”: thus sometimes even the good are punished in temporal matters together with the wicked, for not having condemned their sins, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 9).
Thirdly, in order to mark the unity of human fellowship, whereby one man is bound to be solicitous for another, lest he sin; and in order to inculcate horror of sin, seeing that the punishment of one affects all, as though all were one body, as Augustine says in speaking of the sin of Achan (QQ. sup. Josue viii). The saying of the Lord, “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation,” seems to belong to mercy rather than to severity, since He does not take vengeance forthwith, but waits for some future time, in order that the descendants at least may mend their ways; yet should the wickedness of the descendants increase, it becomes almost necessary to take vengeance on them.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- RO(2) —
As Augustine states (QQ. sup. Josue viii), human judgment should conform to the divine judgment, when this is manifest, and God condemns men spiritually for their own sins. But human judgment cannot be conformed to God’s hidden judgments, whereby He punishes certain persons in temporal matters without any fault of theirs, since man is unable to grasp the reasons of these judgments so as to know what is expedient for each individual. Wherefore according to human judgment a man should never be condemned without fault of his own to an inflictive punishment, such as death, mutilation or flogging. But a man may be condemned, even according to human judgment, to a punishment of forfeiture, even without any fault on his part, but not without cause: and this in three ways.
First, through a person becoming, without any fault of his, disqualified for having or acquiring a certain good: thus for being infected with leprosy a man is removed from the administration of the Church: and for bigamy, or through pronouncing a death sentence a man is hindered from receiving sacred orders.
Secondly, because the particular good that he forfeits is not his own but common property: thus that an episcopal see be attached to a certain church belongs to the good of the whole city, and not only to the good of the clerics.
Thirdly, because the good of one person may depend on the good of another: thus in the crime of high treason a son loses his inheritance through the sin of his parent.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- RO(3) —
By the judgment of God children are punished in temporal matters together with their parents, both because they are a possession of their parents, so that their parents are punished also in their person, and because this is for their good lest, should they be spared, they might imitate the sins of their parents, and thus deserve to be punished still more severely. Vengeance is wrought on dumb animals and any other irrational creatures, because in this way their owners are punished; and also in horror of sin.
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- RO(4) —
An act done through compulsion of fear is not involuntary simply, but has an admixture of voluntariness, as stated above ( P(1), Q(6) , AA(5),6 ).
P(2b)- Q(108)- A(4)- RO(5) —
QUESTION OF TRUTH (FOUR ARTICLES)
We must now consider truth and the vices opposed thereto. Concerning truth there are four points of inquiry: (1) Whether truth is a virtue? (2) Whether it is a special virtue? (3) Whether it is a part of justice? (4) Whether it inclines to that which is less?
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1) Whether truth is a virtue?
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- O(1) —
It seems that truth is not a virtue. For the first of virtues is faith, whose object is truth. Since then the object precedes the habit and the act, it seems that truth is not a virtue, but something prior to virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- O(2) —
Further, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 7), it belongs to truth that a man should state things concerning himself to be neither more nor less than they are. But this is not always praiseworthy — neither in good things, since according to Proverbs 27:2, “Let another praise thee, and not thy own mouth” — nor even in evil things, because it is written in condemnation of certain people ( Isaiah 3:9): “They have proclaimed abroad their sin as Sodom, and they have not hid it.” Therefore truth is not a virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- O(3) —
Further, every virtue is either theological, or intellectual, or moral. Now truth is not a theological virtue, because its object is not God but temporal things. For Tully says (De Invent. Rhet. ii) that by “truth we faithfully represent things as they are were, or will be.”
Likewise it is not one of the intellectual virtues, but their end. Nor again is it a moral virtue, since it is not a mean between excess and deficiency, for the more one tells the truth, the better it is. Therefore truth is not a virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1) —
On the contrary, The Philosopher both in the Second and in the Fourth Book of Ethics places truth among the other virtues.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1) —
I answer that, Truth can be taken in two ways.
First, for that by reason of which a thing is said to be true, and thus truth is not a virtue, but the object or end of a virtue: because, taken in this way, truth is not a habit, which is the genus containing virtue, but a certain equality between the understanding or sign and the thing understood or signified, or again between a thing and its rule, as stated in the P(1), Q(16) , A(1) ; P(1), Q(21) , A(2) . Secondly, truth may stand for that by which a person says what is true, in which sense one is said to be truthful. This truth or truthfulness must needs be a virtue, because to say what is true is a good act: and virtue is “that which makes its possessor good, and renders his action good.”
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- RO(1) —
This argument takes truth in the first sense.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- RO(2) —
To state that which concerns oneself, in so far as it is a statement of what is true, is good generically. Yet this does not suffice for it to be an act of virtue, since it is requisite for that purpose that it should also be clothed with the due circumstances, and if these be not observed, the act will be sinful. Accordingly it is sinful to praise oneself without due cause even for that which is true: and it is also sinful to publish one’s sin, by praising oneself on that account, or in any way proclaiming it uselessly.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(1)- RO(3) —
A person who says what is true, utters certain signs which are in conformity with things; and such signs are either words, or external actions, or any external thing. Now such kinds of things are the subject-matter of the moral virtues alone, for the latter are concerned with the use of the external members, in so far as this use is put into effect at the command of the will. Wherefore truth is neither a theological, nor an intellectual, but a moral virtue. And it is a mean between excess and deficiency in two ways. First, on the part of the object, secondly, on the part of the act. On the part of the object, because the true essentially denotes a kind of equality, and equal is a mean between more and less. Hence for the very reason that a man says what is true about himself, he observes the mean between one that says more than the truth about himself, and one that says less than the truth. On the part of the act, to observe the mean is to tell the truth, when one ought, and as one ought.
Excess consists in making known one’s own affairs out of season, and deficiency in hiding them when one ought to make them known.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2) Whether truth is a special virtue?
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- O(1) —
Therefore truth is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- O(2) —
Therefore truth is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- O(3) —
Further, the truth of life is the truth whereby one lives aright, and of which it is written ( Isaiah 38:3): “I beseech Thee... remember how I have walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart.”
Now one lives aright by any virtue, as follows from the definition of virtue given above ( P(1), Q(55) , A(4) ). Therefore truth is not a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- O(4) —
Further, truth seems to be the same as simplicity, since hypocrisy is opposed to both. But simplicity is not a special virtue, since it rectifies the intention, and that is required in every virtue. Therefore neither is truth a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2) —
On the contrary, It is numbered together with other virtues (Ethic. ii, 7).
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2) —
I answer that, The nature of human virtue consists in making a man’s deed good. Consequently whenever we find a special aspect of goodness in human acts, it is necessary that man be disposed thereto by a special virtue. And since according to Augustine (De Nat.
Boni iii) good consists in order, it follows that a special aspect of good will be found where there is a special order. Now there is a special order whereby our externals, whether words or deeds, are duly ordered in relation to some thing, as sign to thing signified: and thereto man is perfected by the virtue of truth. Wherefore it is evident that truth is a special virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- RO(1) —
The true and the good are convertible as to subject, since every true thing is good, and every good thing is true. But considered logically, they exceed one another, even as the intellect and will exceed one another. For the intellect understands the will and many things besides, and the will desires things pertaining to the intellect, and many others. Wherefore the “true” considered in its proper aspect as a perfection of the intellect is a particular good, since it is something appetible: and in like manner the “good” considered in its proper aspect as the end of the appetite is something true, since it is something intelligible.
Therefore since virtue includes the aspect of goodness, it is possible for truth to be a special virtue, just as the “true” is a special good; yet it is not possible for goodness to be a special virtue, since rather, considered logically, it is the genus of virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- RO(2) —
The habits of virtue and vice take their species from what is directly intended, and not from that which is accidental and beside the intention. Now that a man states that which concerns himself, belongs to the virtue of truth, as something directly intended: although it may belong to other virtues consequently and beside his principal intention. For the brave man intends to act bravely: and that he shows his fortitude by acting bravely is a consequence beside his principal intention.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- RO(3) —
The truth of life is the truth whereby a thing is true, not whereby a person says what is true. Life like anything else is said to be true, from the fact that it attains its rule and measure, namely, the divine law; since rectitude of life depends on conformity to that law.
This truth or rectitude is common to every virtue.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(2)- RO(4) —
Simplicity is so called from its opposition to duplicity, whereby, to wit, a man shows one thing outwardly while having another in his heart: so that simplicity pertains to this virtue. And it rectifies the intention, not indeed directly (since this belongs to every virtue), but by excluding duplicity, whereby a man pretends one thing and intends another.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3) Whether truth is a part of justice?
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- O(1) —
It seems that truth is not a part of justice. For it seems proper to justice to give another man his due. But, by telling the truth, one does not seem to give another man his due, as is the case in all the foregoing parts of justice. Therefore truth is not a part of justice.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- O(2) —
Further, truth pertains to the intellect: whereas justice is in the will, as stated above ( Q(58) , A(4) ). Therefore truth is not a part of justice.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- O(3) —
Further, according to Jerome truth is threefold, namely, “truth of life,” “truth of justice,” and “truth of doctrine.” But none of these is a part of justice. For truth of life comprises all virtues, as stated above ( A(2), ad 3): truth of justice is the same as justice, so that it is not one of its parts; and truth of doctrine belongs rather to the intellectual virtues. Therefore truth is nowise a part of justice.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3) —
On the contrary, Tully (De Invent. Rhet. ii) reckons truth among the parts of justice.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3) —
I answer that, As stated above ( Q(80) ), a virtue is annexed to justice, as secondary to a principal virtue, through having something in common with justice, while falling short from the perfect virtue thereof. Now the virtue of truth has two things in common with justice. In the first place it is directed to another, since the manifestation, which we have stated to be an act of truth, is directed to another, inasmuch as one person manifests to another the things that concern himself. In the second place, justice sets up a certain equality between things, and this the virtue of truth does also, for it equals signs to the things which concern man himself. Nevertheless it falls short of the proper aspect of justice, as to the notion of debt: for this virtue does not regard legal debt, which justice considers, but rather the moral debt, in so far as, out of equity, one man owes another a manifestation of the truth. Therefore truth is a part of justice, being annexed thereto as a secondary virtue to its principal.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- RO(1) —
Since man is a social animal, one man naturally owes another whatever is necessary for the preservation of human society. Now it would be impossible for men to live together, unless they believed one another, as declaring the truth one to another.
Hence the virtue of truth does, in a manner, regard something as being due.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- RO(2) —
Truth, as known, belongs to the intellect.
But man, by his own will, whereby he uses both habits and members, utters external signs in order to manifest the truth, and in this way the manifestation of the truth is an act of the will.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(3)- RO(3) —
The truth of which we are speaking now differs from the truth of life, as stated in the preceding A(2), ad 3.
We speak of the truth of justice in two ways. In one way we refer to the fact that justice itself is a certain rectitude regulated according to the rule of the divine law; and in this way the truth of justice differs from the truth of life, because by the truth of life a man lives aright in himself, whereas by the truth of justice a man observes the rectitude of the law in those judgments which refer to another man: and in this sense the truth of justice has nothing to do with the truth of which we speak now, as neither has the truth of life. In another way the truth of justice may be understood as referring to the fact that, out of justice, a man manifests the truth, as for instance when a man confesses the truth, or gives true evidence in a court of justice. This truth is a particular act of justice, and does not pertain directly to this truth of which we are now speaking, because, to wit, in this manifestation of the truth a man’s chief intention is to give another man his due. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7) in describing this virtue: “We are not speaking of one who is truthful in his agreements, nor does this apply to matters in which justice or injustice is questioned.”
The truth of doctrine consists in a certain manifestation of truths relating to science wherefore neither does this truth directly pertain to this virtue, but only that truth whereby a man, both in life and in speech, shows himself to be such as he is, and the things that concern him, not other, and neither greater nor less, than they are. Nevertheless since truths of science, as known by us, are something concerning us, and pertain to this virtue, in this sense the truth of doctrine may pertain to this virtue, as well as any other kind of truth whereby a man manifests, by word or deed, what he knows.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4) Whether the virtue of truth inclines rather to that which is less?
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4)- O(1) —
It seems that the virtue of truth does not incline to that which is less. For as one incurs falsehood by saying more, so does one by saying less: thus it is no more false that four are five, than that four are three. But “every falsehood is in itself evil, and to be avoided,” as the Philosopher declares (Ethic. iv, 7). Therefore the virtue of truth does not incline to that which is less rather than to that which is greater.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4)- O(2) —
Further, that a virtue inclines to the one extreme rather than to the other, is owing to the fact that the virtue’s mean is nearer to the one extreme than to the other: thus fortitude is nearer to daring than to timidity. But the mean of truth is not nearer to one extreme than to the other; because truth, since it is a kind of equality, holds to the exact mean. Therefore truth does not more incline to that which is less.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4)- O(3) —
Further, to forsake the truth for that which is less seems to amount to a denial of the truth, since this is to subtract therefrom; and to forsake the truth for that which is greater seems to amount to an addition thereto. Now to deny the truth is more repugnant to truth than to add something to it, because truth is incompatible with the denial of truth, whereas it is compatible with addition. Therefore it seems that truth should incline to that which is greater rather than to that which is less.
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4) —
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7) that “by this virtue a man declines rather from the truth towards that which is less.”
P(2b)- Q(109)- A(4) —
I answer that, There are two ways of declining from the truth to that which is less. First, by affirming, as when a man does not show the whole good that is in him, for instance science, holiness and so forth. This is done without prejudice to truth, since the lesser is contained in the greater: and in this way this virtue inclines to what is less.
For, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7), “this seems to be more prudent because exaggerations give annoyance.” For those who represent themselves as being greater than they are, are a source of annoyance to others, since they seem to wish to surpass others: whereas those who make less account of themselves are a source of pleasure, since they seem to defer to others by their moderation. Hence the Apostle says ( Corinthians 12:6): “Though I should have a mind to glory, I shall not be foolish: for I will say the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth in me or anything he heareth from me.”
Secondly, one may incline to what is less by denying, so as to say that what is in us is not. In this way it does not belong to this virtue to incline to what is less, because this would imply falsehood. And yet this would be less repugnant to the truth, not indeed as regards the proper aspect of truth, but as regards the aspect of prudence, which should be safeguarded in all the virtues. For since it is fraught with greater danger and is more annoying to others, it is more repugnant to prudence to think or boast that one has what one has not, than to think or say that one has not what one has.
This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.