St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

 

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OF EQUALITY AMONG THE VIRTUES (SIX ARTICLES)

Deinde considerandum est de aequalitate virtutum. Et circa hoc quaeruntur sex.    We must now consider equality among the virtues: under which head there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum virtus possit esse maior vel minor.     (1) Whether one virtue can be greater or less than another?
Secundo, utrum omnes virtutes simul in eodem existentes, sint aequales.     (2) Whether all the virtues existing together in one subject are equal?
Tertio, de comparatione virtutum moralium ad intellectuales.     (3) Of moral virtue in comparison with intellectual virtue;
Quarto, de comparatione virtutum moralium ad invicem.     (4) Of the moral virtues as compared with one another;
Quinto, de comparatione virtutum intellectualium ad invicem.     (5) Of the intellectual virtues in comparison with one another;
Sexto, de comparatione virtutum theologicarum ad invicem.     (6) Of the theological virtues in comparison with one another.

 

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Whether one virtue can be greater or less than another?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virtus non possit esse maior vel minor. Dicitur enim in Apoc. XXI, quod latera civitatis Ierusalem sunt aequalia. Per haec autem significantur virtutes, ut Glossa dicit ibidem. Ergo omnes virtutes sunt aequales. Non ergo potest esse virtus maior virtute.   Objection 1: It would seem that one virtue cannot be greater or less than another. For it is written (Apoc. 21:16) that the sides of the city of Jerusalem are equal; and a gloss says that the sides denote the virtues. Therefore all virtues are equal; and consequently one cannot be greater than another.
Praeterea, omne illud cuius ratio consistit in maximo, non potest esse maius vel minus. Sed ratio virtutis consistit in maximo, est enim virtus ultimum potentiae, ut philosophus dicit in I de caelo; et Augustinus etiam dicit, in II de Lib. Arb., quod virtutes sunt maxima bona, quibus nullus potest male uti. Ergo videtur quod virtus non possit esse maior neque minor.   Objection 2: Further, a thing that, by its nature, consists in a maximum, cannot be more or less. Now the nature of virtue consists in a maximum, for virtue is "the limit of power," as the Philosopher states (De Coelo i, text. 116); and Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19) that "virtues are very great boons, and no one can use them to evil purpose." Therefore it seems that one virtue cannot be greater or less than another.
Praeterea, quantitas effectus pensatur secundum virtutem agentis. Sed virtutes perfectae, quae sunt virtutes infusae, sunt a Deo, cuius virtus est uniformis et infinita. Ergo videtur quod virtus non possit esse maior virtute.   Objection 3: Further, the quantity of an effect is measured by the power of the agent. But perfect, viz. infused virtues, are from God Whose power is uniform and infinite. Therefore it seems that one virtue cannot be greater than another.
Sed contra, ubicumque potest esse augmentum et superabundantia, potest esse inaequalitas. Sed in virtutibus invenitur superabundantia et augmentum, dicitur enim Matth. V, nisi abundaverit iustitia vestra plus quam Scribarum et Pharisaeorum, non intrabitis in regnum caelorum; et Proverb. XV dicitur, in abundanti iustitia virtus maxima est. Ergo videtur quod virtus possit esse maior vel minor.   On the contrary, Wherever there can be increase and greater abundance, there can be inequality. Now virtues admit of greater abundance and increase: for it is written (Mt. 5:20): "Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven": and (Prov. 15:5): "In abundant justice there is the greatest strength [virtus]." Therefore it seems that a virtue can be greater or less than another.
Respondeo dicendum quod cum quaeritur utrum virtus una possit esse maior alia, dupliciter intelligi potest quaestio. Uno modo, in virtutibus specie differentibus. Et sic manifestum est quod una virtus est alia maior. Semper enim est potior causa suo effectu, et in effectibus, tanto aliquid est potius, quanto est causae propinquius. Manifestum est autem ex dictis quod causa et radix humani boni est ratio. Et ideo prudentia, quae perficit rationem, praefertur in bonitate aliis virtutibus moralibus, perficientibus vim appetitivam inquantum participat rationem. Et in his etiam tanto est una altera melior, quanto magis ad rationem accedit. Unde et iustitia, quae est in voluntate, praefertur aliis virtutibus moralibus, et fortitudo, quae est in irascibili, praefertur temperantiae, quae est in concupiscibili, quae minus participat rationem, ut patet in VII Ethic.   I answer that, When it is asked whether one virtue can be greater than another, the question can be taken in two senses. First, as applying to virtues of different species. In this sense it is clear that one virtue is greater than another; since a cause is always more excellent than its effect; and among effects, those nearest to the cause are the most excellent. Now it is clear from what has been said (Question [18], Article [5]; Question [61], Article [2]) that the cause and root of human good is the reason. Hence prudence which perfects the reason, surpasses in goodness the other moral virtues which perfect the appetitive power, in so far as it partakes of reason. And among these, one is better than another, according as it approaches nearer to the reason. Consequently justice, which is in the will, excels the remaining moral virtues; and fortitude, which is in the irascible part, stands before temperance, which is in the concupiscible, which has a smaller share of reason, as stated in Ethic. vii, 6.
Alio modo potest intelligi quaestio in virtute eiusdem speciei. Et sic, secundum ea quae dicta sunt supra, cum de intensionibus habituum ageretur, virtus potest dupliciter dici maior et minor, uno modo, secundum seipsam; alio modo, ex parte participantis subiecti. Si igitur secundum seipsam consideretur, magnitudo vel parvitas eius attenditur secundum ea ad quae se extendit. Quicumque autem habet aliquam virtutem, puta temperantiam, habet ipsam quantum ad omnia ad quae se temperantia extendit. Quod de scientia et arte non contingit, non enim quicumque est grammaticus, scit omnia quae ad grammaticam pertinent. Et secundum hoc bene dixerunt Stoici, ut Simplicius dicit in commento praedicamentorum, quod virtus non recipit magis et minus, sicut scientia vel ars; eo quod ratio virtutis consistit in maximo.    The question can be taken in another way, as referring to virtues of the same species. In this way, according to what was said above (Question [52], Article [1]), when we were treating of the intensity of habits, virtue may be said to be greater or less in two ways: first, in itself; secondly with regard to the subject that partakes of it. If we consider it in itself, we shall call it greater or little, according to the things to which it extends. Now whosoever has a virtue, e.g. temperance, has it in respect of whatever temperance extends to. But this does not apply to science and art: for every grammarian does not know everything relating to grammar. And in this sense the Stoics said rightly, as Simplicius states in his Commentary on the Predicaments, that virtue cannot be more or less, as science and art can; because the nature of virtue consists in a maximum.
Si vero consideretur virtus ex parte subiecti participantis, sic contingit virtutem esse maiorem vel minorem, sive secundum diversa tempora, in eodem; sive in diversis hominibus. Quia ad attingendum medium virtutis, quod est secundum rationem rectam, unus est melius dispositus quam alius, vel propter maiorem assuetudinem, vel propter meliorem dispositionem naturae, vel propter perspicacius iudicium rationis, aut etiam propter maius gratiae donum, quod unicuique donatur secundum mensuram donationis Christi, ut dicitur ad Ephes. IV. Et in hoc deficiebant Stoici, aestimantes nullum esse virtuosum dicendum, nisi qui summe fuerit dispositus ad virtutem. Non enim exigitur ad rationem virtutis, quod attingat rectae rationis medium in indivisibili, sicut Stoici putabant, sed sufficit prope medium esse, ut in II Ethic. dicitur. Idem etiam indivisibile signum unus propinquius et promptius attingit quam alius, sicut etiam patet in sagittatoribus trahentibus ad certum signum.    If, however, we consider virtue on the part of the subject, it may then be greater or less, either in relation to different times, or in different men. Because one man is better disposed than another to attain to the mean of virtue which is defined by right reason; and this, on account of either greater habituation, or a better natural disposition, or a more discerning judgment of reason, or again a greater gift of grace, which is given to each one "according to the measure of the giving of Christ," as stated in Eph. 4:9. And here the Stoics erred, for they held that no man should be deemed virtuous, unless he were, in the highest degree, disposed to virtue. Because the nature of virtue does not require that man should reach the mean of right reason as though it were an indivisible point, as the Stoics thought; but it is enough that he should approach the mean, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6. Moreover, one same indivisible mark is reached more nearly and more readily by one than by another: as may be seen when several arches aim at a fixed target.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod aequalitas illa non est secundum quantitatem absolutam, sed est secundum proportionem intelligenda, quia omnes virtutes proportionaliter crescunt in homine, ut infra dicetur.   Reply to Objection 1: This equality is not one of absolute quantity, but of proportion: because all virtues grow in a man proportionately, as we shall see further on (Article [2]).
Ad secundum dicendum quod illud ultimum quod pertinet ad virtutem, potest habere rationem magis vel minus boni secundum praedictos modos, cum non sit ultimum indivisibile, ut dictum est.   Reply to Objection 2: This "limit" which belongs to virtue, can have the character of something "more" or "less" good, in the ways explained above: since, as stated, it is not an indivisible limit.
Ad tertium dicendum quod Deus non operatur secundum necessitatem naturae, sed secundum ordinem suae sapientiae, secundum quam diversam mensuram virtutis hominibus largitur, secundum illud ad Ephes. IV, unicuique vestrum data est gratia secundum mensuram donationis Christi.   Reply to Objection 3: God does not work by necessity of nature, but according to the order of His wisdom, whereby He bestows on men various measures of virtue, according to Eph. 4:7: "To every one of you [Vulg.: 'us'] is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ."

 

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Whether all the virtues that are together in one man, are equal?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omnes virtutes in uno et eodem sint aequaliter intensae. Dicit enim apostolus, I ad Cor. VII, unusquisque habet proprium donum a Deo, alius quidem sic, alius autem sic. Non esset autem unum donum magis proprium alicui quam aliud, si omnes virtutes dono Dei infusas quilibet aequaliter haberet. Ergo videtur quod non omnes virtutes sint aequales in uno et eodem.   Objection 1: It would seem that the virtues in one same man are not all equally intense. For the Apostle says (1 Cor. 7:7): "Everyone hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that." Now one gift would not be more proper than another to a man, if God infused all the virtues equally into each man. Therefore it seems that the virtues are not all equal in one and the same man.
Praeterea, si omnes virtutes essent aeque intensae in uno et eodem, sequeretur quod quicumque excederet aliquem in una virtute, excederet ipsum in omnibus aliis virtutibus. Sed hoc patet esse falsum, quia diversi sancti de diversis virtutibus praecipue laudantur; sicut Abraham de fide, Moyses de mansuetudine, Iob de patientia. Unde et de quolibet confessore cantatur in Ecclesia, non est inventus similis illi, qui conservaret legem excelsi; eo quod quilibet habuit praerogativam alicuius virtutis. Non ergo omnes virtutes sunt aequales in uno et eodem.   Objection 2: Further, if all the virtues were equally intense in one and the same man, it would follow that whoever surpasses another in one virtue, would surpass him in all the others. But this is clearly not the case: since various saints are specially praised for different virtues; e.g. Abraham for faith (Rm. 4), Moses for his meekness (Num. 7:3), Job for his patience (Tob. 2:12). This is why of each Confessor the Church sings: "There was not found his like in keeping the law of the most High," [*See Lesson in the Mass Statuit (Dominican Missal)], since each one was remarkable for some virtue or other. Therefore the virtues are not all equal in one and the same man.
Praeterea, quanto habitus est intensior, tanto homo secundum ipsum delectabilius et promptius operatur. Sed experimento patet quod unus homo delectabilius et promptius operatur actum unius virtutis quam actum alterius. Non ergo omnes virtutes sunt aequales in uno et eodem.   Objection 3: Further, the more intense a habit is, the greater one's pleasure and readiness in making use of it. Now experience shows that a man is more pleased and ready to make use of one virtue than of another. Therefore the virtues are not all equal in one and the same man.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in VI de Trin., quod quicumque sunt aequales in fortitudine, aequales sunt in prudentia et temperantia; et sic de aliis. Hoc autem non esset, nisi omnes virtutes unius hominis essent aequales. Ergo omnes virtutes unius hominis sunt aequales.   On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. vi, 4) that "those who are equal in fortitude are equal in prudence and temperance," and so on. Now it would not be so, unless all the virtues in one man were equal. Therefore all virtues are equal in one man.
Respondeo dicendum quod quantitas virtutum, sicut ex dictis patet, potest attendi dupliciter. Uno modo, secundum rationem speciei. Et sic non est dubium quod una virtus unius hominis sit maior quam alia, sicut caritas fide et spe. Alio modo potest attendi secundum participationem subiecti, prout scilicet intenditur vel remittitur in subiecto. Et secundum hoc, omnes virtutes unius hominis sunt aequales quadam aequalitate proportionis, inquantum aequaliter crescunt in homine, sicut digiti manus sunt inaequales secundum quantitatem, sed sunt aequales secundum proportionem, cum proportionaliter augeantur.   I answer that, As explained above (Article [1]), the comparative greatness of virtues can be understood in two ways. First, as referring to their specific nature: and in this way there is no doubt that in a man one virtue is greater than another, for example, charity, than faith and hope. Secondly, it may be taken as referring to the degree of participation by the subject, according as a virtue becomes intense or remiss in its subject. In this sense all the virtues in one man are equal with an equality of proportion, in so far as their growth in man is equal: thus the fingers are unequal in size, but equal in proportion, since they grow in proportion to one another.
Huiusmodi autem aequalitatis oportet eodem modo rationem accipere, sicut et connexionis, aequalitas enim est quaedam connexio virtutum secundum quantitatem. Dictum est autem supra quod ratio connexionis virtutum dupliciter assignari potest. Uno modo, secundum intellectum eorum qui intelligunt per has quatuor virtutes, quatuor conditiones generales virtutum, quarum una simul invenitur cum aliis in qualibet materia. Et sic virtus in qualibet materia non potest aequalis dici, nisi habeat omnes istas conditiones aequales. Et hanc rationem aequalitatis virtutum assignat Augustinus, in VI de Trin., dicens, si dixeris aequales esse istos fortitudine, sed illum praestare prudentia; sequitur quod huius fortitudo minus prudens sit. Ac per hoc, nec fortitudine aequales sunt, quando est illius fortitudo prudentior. Atque ita de ceteris virtutibus invenies, si omnes eadem consideratione percurras.    Now the nature of this equality is to be explained in the same way as the connection of virtues; for equality among virtues is their connection as to greatness. Now it has been stated above (Question [65], Article [1]) that a twofold connection of virtues may be assigned. The first is according to the opinion of those who understood these four virtues to be four general properties of virtues, each of which is found together with the other in any matter. In this way virtues cannot be said to be equal in any matter unless they have all these properties equal. Augustine alludes to this kind of equality (De Trin. vi, 4) when he says: "If you say these men are equal in fortitude, but that one is more prudent than the other; it follows that the fortitude of the latter is less prudent. Consequently they are not really equal in fortitude, since the former's fortitude is more prudent. You will find that this applies to the other virtues if you run over them all in the same way."
Alio modo assignata est ratio connexionis virtutum secundum eos qui intelligunt huiusmodi virtutes habere materias determinatas. Et secundum hoc, ratio connexionis virtutum moralium accipitur ex parte prudentiae, et ex parte caritatis quantum ad virtutes infusas, non autem ex parte inclinationis, quae est ex parte subiecti, ut supra dictum est. Sic igitur et ratio aequalitatis virtutum potest accipi ex parte prudentiae, quantum ad id quod est formale in omnibus virtutibus moralibus, existente enim ratione aequaliter perfecta in uno et eodem, oportet quod proportionaliter secundum rationem rectam medium constituatur in qualibet materia virtutum.    The other kind of connection among virtues followed the opinion of those who hold these virtues to have their own proper respective matters (Question [65], Articles [1],2). In this way the connection among moral virtues results from prudence, and, as to the infused virtues, from charity, and not from the inclination, which is on the part of the subject, as stated above (Question [65], Article [1]). Accordingly the nature of the equality among virtues can also be considered on the part of prudence, in regard to that which is formal in all the moral virtues: for in one and the same man, so long as his reason has the same degree of perfection, the mean will be proportionately defined according to right reason in each matter of virtue.
Quantum vero ad id quod est materiale in virtutibus moralibus, scilicet inclinationem ipsam ad actum virtutis; potest esse unus homo magis promptus ad actum unius virtutis quam ad actum alterius, vel ex natura, vel ex consuetudine, vel etiam ex gratiae dono.    But in regard to that which is material in the moral virtues, viz. the inclination to the virtuous act, one may be readier to perform the act of one virtue, than the act of another virtue, and this either from nature, or from habituation, or again by the grace of God.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod verbum apostoli potest intelligi de donis gratiae gratis datae, quae non sunt communia omnibus, nec omnia aequalia in uno et eodem. Vel potest dici quod refertur ad mensuram gratiae gratum facientis; secundum quam unus abundat in omnibus virtutibus plus quam alius, propter maiorem abundantiam prudentiae, vel etiam caritatis, in qua connectuntur omnes virtutes infusae.   Reply to Objection 1: This saying of the Apostle may be taken to refer to the gifts of gratuitous grace, which are not common to all, nor are all of them equal in the one same subject. We might also say that it refers to the measure of sanctifying grace, by reason of which one man has all the virtues in greater abundance than another man, on account of his greater abundance of prudence, or also of charity, in which all the infused virtues are connected.
Ad secundum dicendum quod unus sanctus laudatur praecipue de una virtute, et alius de alia, propter excellentiorem promptitudinem ad actum unius virtutis, quam ad actum alterius.   Reply to Objection 2: One saint is praised chiefly for one virtue, another saint for another virtue, on account of his more admirable readiness for the act of one virtue than for the act of another virtue.
Et per hoc etiam patet responsio ad tertium.    This suffices for the Reply to the Third Objection.

 

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Whether the moral virtues are better than the intellectual virtues?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod virtutes morales praeemineant intellectualibus. Quod enim magis est necessarium, et permanentius, est melius. Sed virtutes morales sunt permanentiores etiam disciplinis, quae sunt virtutes intellectuales, et sunt etiam magis necessariae ad vitam humanam. Ergo sunt praeferendae virtutibus intellectualibus.   Objection 1: It would seem that the moral virtues are better than the intellectual. Because that which is more necessary, and more lasting, is better. Now the moral virtues are "more lasting even than the sciences" (Ethic. i) which are intellectual virtues: and, moreover, they are more necessary for human life. Therefore they are preferable to the intellectual virtues.
Praeterea, de ratione virtutis est quod bonum faciat habentem. Sed secundum virtutes morales dicitur homo bonus, non autem secundum virtutes intellectuales, nisi forte secundum solam prudentiam. Ergo virtus moralis est melior quam intellectualis.   Objection 2: Further, virtue is defined as "that which makes its possessor good." Now man is said to be good in respect of moral virtue, and art in respect of intellectual virtue, except perhaps in respect of prudence alone. Therefore moral is better than intellectual virtue.
Praeterea, finis est nobilior his quae sunt ad finem. Sed sicut dicitur in VI Ethic., virtus moralis facit rectam intentionem finis; prudentia autem facit rectam electionem eorum quae sunt ad finem. Ergo virtus moralis est nobilior prudentia, quae est virtus intellectualis circa moralia.   Objection 3: Further, the end is more excellent than the means. But according to Ethic. vi, 12, "moral virtue gives right intention of the end; whereas prudence gives right choice of the means." Therefore moral virtue is more excellent than prudence, which is the intellectual virtue that regards moral matters.
Sed contra, virtus moralis est in rationali per participationem; virtus autem intellectualis in rationali per essentiam, sicut dicitur in I Ethic. Sed rationale per essentiam est nobilius quam rationale per participationem. Ergo virtus intellectualis est nobilior virtute morali.   On the contrary, Moral virtue is in that part of the soul which is rational by participation; while intellectual virtue is in the essentially rational part, as stated in Ethic. i, 13. Now rational by essence is more excellent than rational by participation. Therefore intellectual virtue is better than moral virtue.
Respondeo dicendum quod aliquid potest dici maius vel minus, dupliciter, uno modo, simpliciter; alio modo, secundum quid. Nihil enim prohibet aliquid esse melius simpliciter, ut philosophari quam ditari, quod tamen non est melius secundum quid, idest necessitatem patienti. Simpliciter autem consideratur unumquodque, quando consideratur secundum propriam rationem suae speciei. Habet autem virtus speciem ex obiecto, ut ex dictis patet. Unde, simpliciter loquendo, illa virtus nobilior est quae habet nobilius obiectum. Manifestum est autem quod obiectum rationis est nobilius quam obiectum appetitus, ratio enim apprehendit aliquid in universali; sed appetitus tendit in res, quae habent esse particulare. Unde, simpliciter loquendo, virtutes intellectuales, quae perficiunt rationem, sunt nobiliores quam morales, quae perficiunt appetitum.   I answer that, A thing may be said to be greater or less in two ways: first, simply; secondly, relatively. For nothing hinders something from being better simply, e.g. "learning than riches," and yet not better relatively, i.e. "for one who is in want" [*Aristotle, Topic. iii.]. Now to consider a thing simply is to consider it in its proper specific nature. Accordingly, a virtue takes its species from its object, as explained above (Question [54], Article [2]; Question [60], Article [1]). Hence, speaking simply, that virtue is more excellent, which has the more excellent object. Now it is evident that the object of the reason is more excellent than the object of the appetite: since the reason apprehends things in the universal, while the appetite tends to things themselves, whose being is restricted to the particular. Consequently, speaking simply, the intellectual virtues, which perfect the reason, are more excellent than the moral virtues, which perfect the appetite.
Sed si consideretur virtus in ordine ad actum, sic virtus moralis, quae perficit appetitum, cuius est movere alias potentias ad actum, ut supra dictum est, nobilior est. Et quia virtus dicitur ex eo quod est principium alicuius actus, cum sit perfectio potentiae, sequitur etiam quod ratio virtutis magis competat virtutibus moralibus quam virtutibus intellectualibus, quamvis virtutes intellectuales sint nobiliores habitus simpliciter.    But if we consider virtue in its relation to act, then moral virtue, which perfects the appetite, whose function it is to move the other powers to act, as stated above (Question [9], Article [1]), is more excellent. And since virtue is so called from its being a principle of action, for it is the perfection of a power, it follows again that the nature of virtue agrees more with moral than with intellectual virtue, though the intellectual virtues are more excellent habits, simply speaking.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod virtutes morales sunt magis permanentes quam intellectuales, propter exercitium earum in his quae pertinent ad vitam communem. Sed manifestum est quod obiecta disciplinarum, quae sunt necessaria et semper eodem modo se habentia, sunt permanentiora quam obiecta virtutum moralium, quae sunt quaedam particularia agibilia. Quod autem virtutes morales sunt magis necessariae ad vitam humanam, non ostendit eas esse nobiliores simpliciter, sed quoad hoc. Quinimmo virtutes intellectuales speculativae, ex hoc ipso quod non ordinantur ad aliud sicut utile ordinatur ad finem, sunt digniores. Hoc enim contingit quia secundum eas quodammodo inchoatur in nobis beatitudo, quae consistit in cognitione veritatis, sicut supra dictum est.   Reply to Objection 1: The moral virtues are more lasting than the intellectual virtues, because they are practised in matters pertaining to the life of the community. Yet it is evident that the objects of the sciences, which are necessary and invariable, are more lasting than the objects of moral virtue, which are certain particular matters of action. That the moral virtues are more necessary for human life, proves that they are more excellent, not simply, but relatively. Indeed, the speculative intellectual virtues, from the very fact that they are not referred to something else, as a useful thing is referred to an end, are more excellent. The reason for this is that in them we have a kind of beginning of that happiness which consists in the knowledge of truth, as stated above (Question [3], Article [6]).
Ad secundum dicendum quod secundum virtutes morales dicitur homo bonus simpliciter, et non secundum intellectuales, ea ratione, quia appetitus movet alias potentias ad suum actum, ut supra dictum est. Unde per hoc etiam non probatur nisi quod virtus moralis sit melior secundum quid.   Reply to Objection 2: The reason why man is said to be good simply, in respect of moral virtue, but not in respect of intellectual virtue, is because the appetite moves the other powers to their acts, as stated above (Question [56], Article [3]). Wherefore this argument, too, proves merely that moral virtue is better relatively.
Ad tertium dicendum quod prudentia non solum dirigit virtutes morales in eligendo ea quae sunt ad finem, sed etiam in praestituendo finem. Est autem finis uniuscuiusque virtutis moralis attingere medium in propria materia, quod quidem medium determinatur secundum rectam rationem prudentiae, ut dicitur in II et VI Ethic.   Reply to Objection 3: Prudence directs the moral virtues not only in the choice of the means, but also in appointing the end. Now the end of each moral virtue is to attain the mean in the matter proper to that virtue; which mean is appointed according to the right ruling of prudence, as stated in Ethic. ii, 6; vi, 13.

 

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Whether justice is the chief of the moral virtues?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod iustitia non sit praecipua inter virtutes morales. Maius enim est dare alicui de proprio, quam reddere alicui quod ei debetur. Sed primum pertinet ad liberalitatem; secundum autem ad iustitiam. Ergo videtur quod liberalitas sit maior virtus quam iustitia.   Objection 1: It would seem that justice is not the chief of the moral virtues. For it is better to give of one's own than to pay what is due. Now the former belongs to liberality, the latter to justice. Therefore liberality is apparently a greater virtue than justice.
Praeterea, illud videtur esse maximum in unoquoque, quod est perfectissimum in ipso. Sed sicut dicitur Iac. I, patientia opus perfectum habet. Ergo videtur quod patientia sit maior quam iustitia.   Objection 2: Further, the chief quality of a thing is, seemingly, that in which it is most perfect. Now, according to Jm. 1:4, "Patience hath a perfect work." Therefore it would seem that patience is greater than justice.
Praeterea, magnanimitas operatur magnum, in omnibus virtutibus, ut dicitur in IV Ethic. Ergo magnificat etiam ipsam iustitiam. Est igitur maior quam iustitia.   Objection 3: Further, "Magnanimity has a great influence on every virtue," as stated in Ethic. iv, 3. Therefore it magnifies even justice. Therefore it is greater than justice.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in V Ethic., quod iustitia est praeclarissima virtutum.   On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1) that "justice is the most excellent of the virtues."
Respondeo dicendum quod virtus aliqua secundum suam speciem potest dici maior vel minor, vel simpliciter, vel secundum quid. Simpliciter quidem virtus dicitur maior, secundum quod in ea maius bonum rationis relucet, ut supra dictum est. Et secundum hoc, iustitia inter omnes virtutes morales praecellit, tanquam propinquior rationi. Quod patet et ex subiecto, et ex obiecto. Ex subiecto quidem, quia est in voluntate sicut in subiecto, voluntas autem est appetitus rationalis, ut ex dictis patet. Secundum autem obiectum sive materiam, quia est circa operationes, quibus homo ordinatur non solum in seipso, sed etiam ad alterum. Unde iustitia est praeclarissima virtutum, ut dicitur in V Ethic. Inter alias autem virtutes morales, quae sunt circa passiones, tanto in unaquaque magis relucet rationis bonum, quanto circa maiora motus appetitivus subditur rationi. Maximum autem in his quae ad hominem pertinent, est vita, a qua omnia alia dependent. Et ideo fortitudo, quae appetitivum motum subdit rationi in his quae ad mortem et vitam pertinent, primum locum tenet inter virtutes morales quae sunt circa passiones, tamen ordinatur infra iustitiam. Unde philosophus dicit, in I Rhetoric., quod necesse est maximas esse virtutes, quae sunt aliis honoratissimae, siquidem est virtus potentia benefactiva. Propter hoc, fortes et iustos maxime honorant, haec quidem enim in bello, scilicet fortitudo; haec autem, scilicet iustitia, et in bello et in pace utilis est. Post fortitudinem autem ordinatur temperantia, quae subiicit rationi appetitum circa ea quae immediate ordinantur ad vitam, vel in eodem secundum numerum, vel in eodem secundum speciem, scilicet in cibis et venereis. Et sic istae tres virtutes, simul cum prudentia, dicuntur esse principales etiam dignitate.   I answer that, A virtue considered in its species may be greater or less, either simply or relatively. A virtue is said to be greater simply, whereby a greater rational good shines forth, as stated above (Article [1]). In this way justice is the most excellent of all the moral virtues, as being most akin to reason. This is made evident by considering its subject and its object: its subject, because this is the will, and the will is the rational appetite, as stated above (Question [8], Article [1]; Question [26], Article [1]): its object or matter, because it is about operations, whereby man is set in order not only in himself, but also in regard to another. Hence "justice is the most excellent of virtues" (Ethic. v, 1). Among the other moral virtues, which are about the passions, the more excellent the matter in which the appetitive movement is subjected to reason, so much the more does the rational good shine forth in each. Now in things touching man, the chief of all is life, on which all other things depend. Consequently fortitude which subjects the appetitive movement to reason in matters of life and death, holds the first place among those moral virtues that are about the passions, but is subordinate to justice. Hence the Philosopher says (Rhet. 1) that "those virtues must needs be greatest which receive the most praise: since virtue is a power of doing good. Hence the brave man and the just man are honored more than others; because the former," i.e. fortitude, "is useful in war, and the latter," i.e. justice, "both in war and in peace." After fortitude comes temperance, which subjects the appetite to reason in matters directly relating to life, in the one individual, or in the one species, viz. in matters of food and of sex. And so these three virtues, together with prudence, are called principal virtues, in excellence also.
Secundum quid autem dicitur aliqua virtus esse maior, secundum quod adminiculum vel ornamentum praebet principali virtuti. Sicut substantia est simpliciter dignior accidente; aliquod tamen accidens est secundum quid dignius substantia, inquantum perficit substantiam in aliquo esse accidentali.    A virtue is said to be greater relatively, by reason of its helping or adorning a principal virtue: even as substance is more excellent simply than accident: and yet relatively some particular accident is more excellent than substance in so far as it perfects substance in some accidental mode of being.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod actus liberalitatis oportet quod fundetur super actum iustitiae, non enim esset liberalis datio, si non de proprio daret, ut in II Polit. dicitur. Unde liberalitas sine iustitia esse non posset, quae secernit suum a non suo. Iustitia autem potest esse sine liberalitate. Unde iustitia simpliciter est maior liberalitate, tanquam communior, et fundamentum ipsius, liberalitas autem est secundum quid maior, cum sit quidam ornatus iustitiae, et complementum eius.   Reply to Objection 1: The act of liberality needs to be founded on an act of justice, for "a man is not liberal in giving, unless he gives of his own" (Polit. ii, 3). Hence there could be no liberality apart from justice, which discerns between "meum" and "tuum": whereas justice can be without liberality. Hence justice is simply greater than liberality, as being more universal, and as being its foundation: while liberality is greater relatively since it is an ornament and an addition to justice.
Ad secundum dicendum quod patientia dicitur habere opus perfectum in tolerantia malorum, in quibus non solum excludit iniustam vindictam, quam etiam excludit iustitia; neque solum odium quod facit caritas; neque solum iram, quod facit mansuetudo; sed etiam excludit tristitiam inordinatam, quae est radix omnium praedictorum. Et ideo in hoc est perfectior et maior, quod in hac materia extirpat radicem. Non autem est simpliciter perfectior omnibus aliis virtutibus. Quia fortitudo non solum sustinet molestias absque perturbatione, quod est patientiae, sed etiam ingerit se eis, cum opus fuerit. Unde quicumque est fortis, est patiens, sed non convertitur, est enim patientia quaedam fortitudinis pars.   Reply to Objection 2: Patience is said to have "a perfect work," by enduring evils, wherein it excludes not only unjust revenge, which is also excluded by justice; not only hatred, which is also suppressed by charity; nor only anger, which is calmed by gentleness; but also inordinate sorrow, which is the root of all the above. Wherefore it is more perfect and excellent through plucking up the root in this matter. It is not, however, more perfect than all the other virtues simply. Because fortitude not only endures trouble without being disturbed, but also fights against it if necessary. Hence whoever is brave is patient; but the converse does not hold, for patience is a part of fortitude.
Ad tertium dicendum quod magnanimitas non potest esse nisi aliis virtutibus praeexistentibus, ut dicitur in IV Ethic. Unde comparatur ad alias sicut ornatus earum. Et sic secundum quid est maior omnibus aliis, non tamen simpliciter.   Reply to Objection 3: There can be no magnanimity without the other virtues, as stated in Ethic. iv, 3. Hence it is compared to them as their ornament, so that relatively it is greater than all the others, but not simply.

 

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Whether wisdom is the greatest of the intellectual virtues?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sapientia non sit maxima inter virtutes intellectuales. Imperans enim maius est eo cui imperatur. Sed prudentia videtur imperare sapientiae, dicitur enim I Ethic., quod quales disciplinarum debitum est esse in civitatibus, et quales unumquemque addiscere, et usquequo, haec praeordinat, scilicet politica, quae ad prudentiam pertinet, ut dicitur in VI Ethic. Cum igitur inter disciplinas etiam sapientia contineatur, videtur quod prudentia sit maior quam sapientia.   Objection 1: It would seem that wisdom is not the greatest of the intellectual virtues. Because the commander is greater than the one commanded. Now prudence seems to command wisdom, for it is stated in Ethic. i, 2 that political science, which belongs to prudence (Ethic. vi, 8), "orders that sciences should be cultivated in states, and to which of these each individual should devote himself, and to what extent." Since, then, wisdom is one of the sciences, it seems that prudence is greater than wisdom.
Praeterea, de ratione virtutis est quod ordinet hominem ad felicitatem, est enim virtus dispositio perfecti ad optimum, ut dicitur in VII Physic. Sed prudentia est recta ratio agibilium, per quae homo ad felicitatem perducitur, sapientia autem non considerat humanos actus, quibus ad beatitudinem pervenitur. Ergo prudentia est maior virtus quam sapientia.   Objection 2: Further, it belongs to the nature of virtue to direct man to happiness: because virtue is "the disposition of a perfect thing to that which is best," as stated in Phys. vii, text. 17. Now prudence is "right reason about things to be done," whereby man is brought to happiness: whereas wisdom takes no notice of human acts, whereby man attains happiness. Therefore prudence is a greater virtue than wisdom.
Praeterea, quanto cognitio est perfectior, tanto videtur esse maior. Sed perfectiorem cognitionem habere possumus de rebus humanis, de quibus est scientia, quam de rebus divinis, de quibus est sapientia, ut distinguit Augustinus in XII de Trin., quia divina incomprehensibilia sunt, secundum illud Iob XXXVI, ecce Deus magnus, vincens scientiam nostram. Ergo scientia est maior virtus quam sapientia.   Objection 3: Further, the more perfect knowledge is, the greater it seems to be. Now we can have more perfect knowledge of human affairs, which are the subject of science, than of Divine things, which are the object of wisdom, which is the distinction given by Augustine (De Trin. xii, 14): because Divine things are incomprehensible, according to Job 26:26: "Behold God is great, exceeding our knowledge." Therefore science is a greater virtue than wisdom.
Praeterea, cognitio principiorum est dignior quam cognitio conclusionum. Sed sapientia concludit ex principiis indemonstrabilibus, quorum est intellectus; sicut et aliae scientiae. Ergo intellectus est maior virtus quam sapientia.   Objection 4: Further, knowledge of principles is more excellent than knowledge of conclusions. But wisdom draws conclusions from indemonstrable principles which are the object of the virtue of understanding, even as other sciences do. Therefore understanding is a greater virtue than wisdom.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in VI Ethic., quod sapientia est sicut caput inter virtutes intellectuales.   On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 7) that wisdom is "the head" among "the intellectual virtues."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, magnitudo virtutis secundum suam speciem, consideratur ex obiecto. Obiectum autem sapientiae praecellit inter obiecta omnium virtutum intellectualium, considerat enim causam altissimam, quae Deus est, ut dicitur in principio Metaphys. Et quia per causam iudicatur de effectu, et per causam superiorem de causis inferioribus; inde est quod sapientia habet iudicium de omnibus aliis virtutibus intellectualibus; et eius est ordinare omnes; et ipsa est quasi architectonica respectu omnium.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [3]), the greatness of a virtue, as to its species, is taken from its object. Now the object of wisdom surpasses the objects of all the intellectual virtues: because wisdom considers the Supreme Cause, which is God, as stated at the beginning of the Metaphysics. And since it is by the cause that we judge of an effect, and by the higher cause that we judge of the lower effects; hence it is that wisdom exercises judgment over all the other intellectual virtues, directs them all, and is the architect of them all.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, cum prudentia sit circa res humanas, sapientia vero circa causam altissimam; impossibile est quod prudentia sit maior virtus quam sapientia, nisi, ut dicitur in VI Ethic., maximum eorum quae sunt in mundo, esset homo. Unde dicendum est, sicut in eodem libro dicitur, quod prudentia non imperat ipsi sapientiae, sed potius e converso, quia spiritualis iudicat omnia, et ipse a nemine iudicatur, ut dicitur I ad Cor. II. Non enim prudentia habet se intromittere de altissimis, quae considerat sapientia, sed imperat de his quae ordinantur ad sapientiam, scilicet quomodo homines debeant ad sapientiam pervenire. Unde in hoc est prudentia, seu politica, ministra sapientiae, introducit enim ad eam, praeparans ei viam, sicut ostiarius ad regem.   Reply to Objection 1: Since prudence is about human affairs, and wisdom about the Supreme Cause, it is impossible for prudence to be a greater virtue than wisdom, "unless," as stated in Ethic. vi, 7, "man were the greatest thing in the world." Wherefore we must say, as stated in the same book (Ethic. vi), that prudence does not command wisdom, but vice versa: because "the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged by no man" (1 Cor. 2:15). For prudence has no business with supreme matters which are the object of wisdom: but its command covers things directed to wisdom, viz. how men are to obtain wisdom. Wherefore prudence, or political science, is, in this way, the servant of wisdom; for it leads to wisdom, preparing the way for her, as the doorkeeper for the king.
Ad secundum dicendum quod prudentia considerat ea quibus pervenitur ad felicitatem, sed sapientia considerat ipsum obiectum felicitatis, quod est altissimum intelligibile. Et si quidem esset perfecta consideratio sapientiae respectu sui obiecti, esset perfecta felicitas in actu sapientiae. Sed quia actus sapientiae in hac vita est imperfectus respectu principalis obiecti, quod est Deus; ideo actus sapientiae est quaedam inchoatio seu participatio futurae felicitatis. Et sic propinquius se habet ad felicitatem quam prudentia.   Reply to Objection 2: Prudence considers the means of acquiring happiness, but wisdom considers the very object of happiness, viz. the Supreme Intelligible. And if indeed the consideration of wisdom were perfect in respect of its object, there would be perfect happiness in the act of wisdom: but as, in this life, the act of wisdom is imperfect in respect of its principal object, which is God, it follows that the act of wisdom is a beginning or participation of future happiness, so that wisdom is nearer than prudence to happiness.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in I de anima, una notitia praefertur alteri aut ex eo quod est nobiliorum, aut propter certitudinem. Si igitur subiecta sint aequalia in bonitate et nobilitate, illa quae est certior, erit maior virtus. Sed illa quae est minus certa de altioribus et maioribus, praefertur ei quae est magis certa de inferioribus rebus. Unde philosophus dicit, in II de caelo, quod magnum est de rebus caelestibus aliquid posse cognoscere etiam debili et topica ratione. Et in I de partibus Animal., dicit quod amabile est magis parvum aliquid cognoscere de rebus nobilioribus quam multa cognoscere de rebus ignobilioribus. Sapientia igitur ad quam pertinet Dei cognitio, homini, maxime in statu huius vitae, non potest perfecte advenire, ut sit quasi eius possessio; sed hoc solius Dei est, ut dicitur in I Metaphys. Sed tamen illa modica cognitio quae per sapientiam de Deo haberi potest, omni alii cognitioni praefertur.   Reply to Objection 3: As the Philosopher says (De Anima i, text. 1), "one knowledge is preferable to another, either because it is about a higher object, or because it is more certain." Hence if the objects be equally good and sublime, that virtue will be greater which possesses more certain knowledge. But a virtue which is less certain about a higher and better object, is preferable to that which is more certain about an object of inferior degree. Wherefore the Philosopher says (De Coelo ii, text. 60) that "it is a great thing to be able to know something about celestial beings, though it be based on weak and probable reasoning"; and again (De Part. Animal. i, 5) that "it is better to know a little about sublime things, than much about mean things." Accordingly wisdom, to which knowledge about God pertains, is beyond the reach of man, especially in this life, so as to be his possession: for this "belongs to God alone" (Metaph. i, 2): and yet this little knowledge about God which we can have through wisdom is preferable to all other knowledge.
Ad quartum dicendum quod veritas et cognitio principiorum indemonstrabilium dependet ex ratione terminorum, cognito enim quid est totum et quid pars, statim cognoscitur quod omne totum est maius sua parte. Cognoscere autem rationem entis et non entis, et totius et partis, et aliorum quae consequuntur ad ens, ex quibus sicut ex terminis constituuntur principia indemonstrabilia, pertinet ad sapientiam, quia ens commune est proprius effectus causae altissimae, scilicet Dei. Et ideo sapientia non solum utitur principiis indemonstrabilibus, quorum est intellectus, concludendo ex eis, sicut aliae scientiae; sed etiam iudicando de eis, et disputando contra negantes. Unde sequitur quod sapientia sit maior virtus quam intellectus.   Reply to Objection 4: The truth and knowledge of indemonstrable principles depends on the meaning of the terms: for as soon as we know what is a whole, and what is a part, we know at once that every whole is greater than its part. Now to know the meaning of being and non-being, of whole and part, and of other things consequent to being, which are the terms whereof indemonstrable principles are constituted, is the function of wisdom: since universal being is the proper effect of the Supreme Cause, which is God. And so wisdom makes use of indemonstrable principles which are the object of understanding, not only by drawing conclusions from them, as other sciences do, but also by passing its judgment on them, and by vindicating them against those who deny them. Hence it follows that wisdom is a greater virtue than understanding.

 

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Whether charity is the greatest of the theological virtues?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod caritas non sit maxima inter virtutes theologicas. Cum enim fides sit in intellectu, spes autem et caritas in vi appetitiva, ut supra dictum est; videtur quod fides comparetur ad spem et caritatem, sicut virtus intellectualis ad moralem. Sed virtus intellectualis est maior morali, ut ex dictis patet. Ergo fides est maior spe et caritate.   Objection 1: It would seem that charity is not the greatest of the theological virtues. Because, since faith is in the intellect, while hope and charity are in the appetitive power, it seems that faith is compared to hope and charity, as intellectual to moral virtue. Now intellectual virtue is greater than moral virtue, as was made evident above (Question [62], Article [3]). Therefore faith is greater than hope and charity.
Praeterea, quod se habet ex additione ad aliud, videtur esse maius eo. Sed spes, ut videtur, se habet ex additione ad caritatem, praesupponit enim spes amorem, ut Augustinus dicit in Enchirid.; addit autem quendam motum protensionis in rem amatam. Ergo spes est maior caritate.   Objection 2: Further, when two things are added together, the result is greater than either one. Now hope results from something added to charity; for it presupposes love, as Augustine says (Enchiridion viii), and it adds a certain movement of stretching forward to the beloved. Therefore hope is greater than charity.
Praeterea, causa est potior effectu. Sed fides et spes sunt causa caritatis, dicitur enim Matth. I, in Glossa, quod fides generat spem, et spes caritatem. Ergo fides et spes sunt maiores caritate.   Objection 3: Further, a cause is more noble than its effect. Now faith and hope are the cause of charity: for a gloss on Mt. 1:3 says that "faith begets hope, and hope charity." Therefore faith and hope are greater than charity.
Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. XIII, nunc autem manent fides, spes, caritas, tria haec; maior autem horum est caritas.   On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:13): "Now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, magnitudo virtutis secundum suam speciem, consideratur ex obiecto. Cum autem tres virtutes theologicae respiciant Deum sicut proprium obiectum, non potest una earum dici maior altera ex hoc quod sit circa maius obiectum; sed ex eo quod una se habet propinquius ad obiectum quam alia. Et hoc modo caritas est maior aliis. Nam aliae important in sui ratione quandam distantiam ab obiecto, est enim fides de non visis, spes autem de non habitis. Sed amor caritatis est de eo quod iam habetur, est enim amatum quodammodo in amante, et etiam amans per affectum trahitur ad unionem amati; propter quod dicitur I Ioan. IV, qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo.   I answer that, As stated above (Article [3]), the greatness of a virtue, as to its species, is taken from its object. Now, since the three theological virtues look at God as their proper object, it cannot be said that any one of them is greater than another by reason of its having a greater object, but only from the fact that it approaches nearer than another to that object; and in this way charity is greater than the others. Because the others, in their very nature, imply a certain distance from the object: since faith is of what is not seen, and hope is of what is not possessed. But the love of charity is of that which is already possessed: since the beloved is, in a manner, in the lover, and, again, the lover is drawn by desire to union with the beloved; hence it is written (1 Jn. 4:16): "He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod non hoc modo se habent fides et spes ad caritatem, sicut prudentia ad virtutem moralem. Et hoc propter duo. Primo quidem, quia virtutes theologicae habent obiectum quod est supra animam humanam, sed prudentia et virtutes morales sunt circa ea quae sunt infra hominem. In his autem quae sunt supra hominem, nobilior est dilectio quam cognitio. Perficitur enim cognitio, secundum quod cognita sunt in cognoscente, dilectio vero, secundum quod diligens trahitur ad rem dilectam. Id autem quod est supra hominem, nobilius est in seipso quam sit in homine, quia unumquodque est in altero per modum eius in quo est. E converso autem est in his quae sunt infra hominem. Secundo, quia prudentia moderatur motus appetitivos ad morales virtutes pertinentes, sed fides non moderatur motum appetitivum tendentem in Deum, qui pertinet ad virtutes theologicas; sed solum ostendit obiectum. Motus autem appetitivus in obiectum, excedit cognitionem humanam; secundum illud ad Ephes. III, supereminentem scientiae caritatem Christi.   Reply to Objection 1: Faith and hope are not related to charity in the same way as prudence to moral virtue; and for two reasons. First, because the theological virtues have an object surpassing the human soul: whereas prudence and the moral virtues are about things beneath man. Now in things that are above man, to love them is more excellent than to know them. Because knowledge is perfected by the known being in the knower: whereas love is perfected by the lover being drawn to the beloved. Now that which is above man is more excellent in itself than in man: since a thing is contained according to the mode of the container. But it is the other way about in things beneath man. Secondly, because prudence moderates the appetitive movements pertaining to the moral virtues, whereas faith does not moderate the appetitive movement tending to God, which movement belongs to the theological virtues: it only shows the object. And this appetitive movement towards its object surpasses human knowledge, according to Eph. 3:19: "The charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge."
Ad secundum dicendum quod spes praesupponit amorem eius quod quis adipisci se sperat, qui est amor concupiscentiae, quo quidem amore magis se amat qui concupiscit bonum, quam aliquid aliud. Caritas autem importat amorem amicitiae, ad quam pervenitur spe, ut supra dictum est.   Reply to Objection 2: Hope presupposes love of that which a man hopes to obtain; and such love is love of concupiscence, whereby he who desires good, loves himself rather than something else. On the other hand, charity implies love of friendship, to which we are led by hope, as stated above (Question [62], Article [4]).
Ad tertium dicendum quod causa perficiens est potior effectu, non autem causa disponens. Sic enim calor ignis esset potior quam anima, ad quam disponit materiam, quod patet esse falsum. Sic autem fides generat spem, et spes caritatem, secundum scilicet quod una disponit ad alteram.   Reply to Objection 3: An efficient cause is more noble than its effect: but not a disposing cause. For otherwise the heat of fire would be more noble than the soul, to which the heat disposes the matter. It is in this way that faith begets hope, and hope charity: in the sense, to wit, that one is a disposition to the other.

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