Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIa/Q55

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Q54 Q56



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Iª-IIae q. 55 pr. Consequenter considerandum est de habitibus in speciali. Et quia habitus, ut dictum est, distinguuntur per bonum et malum, primo dicendum est de habitibus bonis, qui sunt virtutes et alia eis adiuncta, scilicet dona, beatitudines et fructus; secundo, de habitibus malis, scilicet de vitiis et peccatis. Circa virtutes autem quinque consideranda sunt, primo, de essentia virtutis; secundo, de subiecto eius; tertio, de divisione virtutum; quarto, de causa virtutis; quinto, de quibusdam proprietatibus virtutis. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, utrum virtus humana sit habitus. Secundo, utrum sit habitus operativus. Tertio, utrum sit habitus bonus. Quarto, de definitione virtutis. Question 55. The virtues, as to their essence Is human virtue a habit? Is it an operative habit? Is it a good habit? The definition of virtue
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod virtus humana non sit habitus. Virtus enim est ultimum potentiae, ut dicitur in I de caelo. Sed ultimum uniuscuiusque reducitur ad genus illud cuius est ultimum, sicut punctum ad genus lineae. Ergo virtus reducitur ad genus potentiae, et non ad genus habitus. Objection 1. It would seem that human virtue is not a habit: For virtue is "the limit of power" (De Coelo i, text. 116). But the limit of anything is reducible to the genus of that of which it is the limit; as a point is reducible to the genus of line. Therefore virtue is reducible to the genus of power, and not to the genus of habit.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in II de libero Arbit., quod virtus est bonus usus liberi arbitrii. Sed usus liberi arbitrii est actus. Ergo virtus non est habitus, sed actus. Objection 2. Further, Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii) [Retract. ix; cf. De Lib. Arb. ii, 19 that "virtue is good use of free-will." But use of free-will is an act. Therefore virtue is not a habit, but an act.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, habitibus non meremur, sed actibus, alioquin homo mereretur continue, etiam dormiendo. Sed virtutibus meremur. Ergo virtutes non sunt habitus, sed actus. Objection 3. Further, we do not merit by our habits, but by our actions: otherwise a man would merit continually, even while asleep. But we do merit by our virtues. Therefore virtues are not habits, but acts.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 arg. 4 Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de moribus Eccles., quod virtus est ordo amoris. Et in libro octoginta trium quaest., dicit quod ordinatio quae virtus vocatur, est fruendis frui, et utendis uti. Ordo autem, seu ordinatio, nominat vel actum, vel relationem. Ergo virtus non est habitus, sed actus vel relatio. Objection 4. Further, Augustine says (De Moribus Eccl. xv) that "virtue is the order of love," and (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 30) that "the ordering which is called virtue consists in enjoying what we ought to enjoy, and using what we ought to use." Now order, or ordering, denominates either an action or a relation. Therefore virtue is not a habit, but an action or a relation.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 arg. 5 Praeterea, sicut inveniuntur virtutes humanae, ita et virtutes naturales. Sed virtutes naturales non sunt habitus, sed potentiae quaedam. Ergo etiam neque virtutes humanae. Objection 5. Further, just as there are human virtues, so are there natural virtues. But natural virtues are not habits, but powers. Neither therefore are human virtues habits.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod philosophus, in libro Praedicament., scientiam et virtutem ponit esse habitus. On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Categor. vi) that science and virtue are habits.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod virtus nominat quandam potentiae perfectionem. Uniuscuiusque autem perfectio praecipue consideratur in ordine ad suum finem. Finis autem potentiae actus est. Unde potentia dicitur esse perfecta, secundum quod determinatur ad suum actum. Sunt autem quaedam potentiae quae secundum seipsas sunt determinatae ad suos actus; sicut potentiae naturales activae. Et ideo huiusmodi potentiae naturales secundum seipsas dicuntur virtutes. Potentiae autem rationales, quae sunt propriae hominis, non sunt determinatae ad unum, sed se habent indeterminate ad multa, determinantur autem ad actus per habitus, sicut ex supradictis patet. Et ideo virtutes humanae habitus sunt. I answer that, Virtue denotes a certain perfection of a power. Now a thing's perfection is considered chiefly in regard to its end. But the end of power is act. Wherefore power is said to be perfect, according as it is determinate to its act. Now there are some powers which of themselves are determinate to their acts; for instance, the active natural powers. And therefore these natural powers are in themselves called virtues. But the rational powers, which are proper to man, are not determinate to one particular action, but are inclined indifferently to many: and they are determinate to acts by means of habits, as is clear from what we have said above (Question 49, Article 4). Therefore human virtues are habits.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod quandoque virtus dicitur id ad quod est virtus, scilicet vel obiectum virtutis, vel actus eius, sicut fides dicitur quandoque id quod creditur, quandoque vero ipsum credere, quandoque autem ipse habitus quo creditur. Unde quando dicitur quod virtus est ultimum potentiae, sumitur virtus pro obiecto virtutis. Id enim in quod ultimo potentia potest, est id ad quod dicitur virtus rei, sicut si aliquis potest ferre centum libras et non plus, virtus eius consideratur secundum centum libras, non autem secundum sexaginta. Obiectio autem procedebat ac si essentialiter virtus esset ultimum potentiae. Reply to Objection 1. Sometimes we give the name of a virtue to that to which the virtue is directed, namely, either to its object, or to its act: for instance, we give the name Faith, to that which we believe, or to the act of believing, as also to the habit by which we believe. When therefore we say that "virtue is the limit of power," virtue is taken for the object of virtue. For the furthest point to which a power can reach, is said to be its virtue; for instance, if a man can carry a hundredweight and not more, his virtue [In English we should say 'strength,' which is the original signification of the Latin 'virtus': thus we speak of an engine being so many horse-power, to indicate its 'strength'] is put at a hundredweight, and not at sixty. But the objection takes virtue as being essentially the limit of power.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod bonus usus liberi arbitrii dicitur esse virtus, secundum eandem rationem, quia scilicet est id ad quod ordinatur virtus sicut ad proprium actum. Nihil est enim aliud actus virtutis quam bonus usus liberi arbitrii. Reply to Objection 2. Good use of free-will is said to be a virtue, in the same sense as above (ad 1); that is to say, because it is that to which virtue is directed as to its proper act. For the act of virtue is nothing else than the good use of free-will.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod aliquo dicimur mereri dupliciter. Uno modo, sicut ipso merito, eo modo quo dicimur currere cursu, et hoc modo meremur actibus. Alio modo dicimur mereri aliquo sicut principio merendi, sicut dicimur currere potentia motiva, et sic dicimur mereri virtutibus et habitibus. Reply to Objection 3. We are said to merit by something in two ways. First, as by merit itself, just as we are said to run by running; and thus we merit by acts. Secondly, we are said to merit by something as by the principle whereby we merit, as we are said to run by the motive power; and thus are we said to merit by virtues and habits.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod virtus dicitur ordo vel ordinatio amoris, sicut id ad quod est virtus, per virtutem enim ordinatur amor in nobis. Reply to Objection 4. When we say that virtue is the order or ordering of love, we refer to the end to which virtue is ordered: because in us love is set in order by virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 1 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod potentiae naturales sunt de se determinatae ad unum, non autem potentiae rationales. Et ideo non est simile, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 5. Natural powers are of themselves determinate to one act: not so the rational powers. And so there is no comparison, as we have said.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit de ratione virtutis humanae quod sit habitus operativus. Dicit enim Tullius, in IV de Tuscul. quaest., quod sicut est sanitas et pulchritudo corporis, ita est virtus animae. Sed sanitas et pulchritudo non sunt habitus operativi. Ergo neque etiam virtus. Objection 1. It would seem that it is not essential to human virtue to be an operative habit. For Tully says (Tuscul. iv) that as health and beauty belong to the body, so virtue belongs to the soul. But health and beauty are not operative habits. Therefore neither is virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, in rebus naturalibus invenitur virtus non solum ad agere, sed etiam ad esse, ut patet per philosophum, in I de caelo, quod quaedam habent virtutem ut sint semper, quaedam vero non ad hoc quod sint semper, sed aliquo tempore determinato. Sed sicut se habet virtus naturalis in rebus naturalibus, ita se habet virtus humana in rationalibus. Ergo etiam virtus humana non solum est ad agere, sed etiam ad esse. Objection 2. Further, in natural things we find virtue not only in reference to act, but also in reference to being: as is clear from the Philosopher (De Coelo i), since some have a virtue to be always, while some have a virtue to be not always, but at some definite time. Now as natural virtue is in natural things, so is human virtue in rational beings. Therefore also human virtue is referred not only to act, but also to being.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in VII Physic., quod virtus est dispositio perfecti ad optimum. Optimum autem ad quod hominem oportet disponi per virtutem, est ipse Deus, ut probat Augustinus in libro II de moribus Eccles.; ad quem disponitur anima per assimilationem ad ipsum. Ergo videtur quod virtus dicatur qualitas quaedam animae in ordine ad Deum, tanquam assimilativa ad ipsum, non autem in ordine ad operationem. Non igitur est habitus operativus. Objection 3. Further, the Philosopher says (Phys. vii, text. 17) that virtue "is the disposition of a perfect thing to that which is best." Now the best thing to which man needs to be disposed by virtue is God Himself, as Augustine proves (De Moribus Eccl. 3,6, 14) to Whom the soul is disposed by being made like to Him. Therefore it seems that virtue is a quality of the soul in reference to God, likening it, as it were, to Him; and not in reference to operation. It is not, therefore, an operative habit.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in II Ethic., quod virtus uniuscuiusque rei est quae opus eius bonum reddit. On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 6) says that "virtue of a thing is that which makes its work good."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod virtus, ex ipsa ratione nominis, importat quandam perfectionem potentiae, ut supra dictum est. Unde, cum duplex sit potentia, scilicet potentia ad esse et potentia ad agere, utriusque potentiae perfectio virtus vocatur. Sed potentia ad esse se tenet ex parte materiae, quae est ens in potentia, potentia autem ad agere se tenet ex parte formae, quae est principium agendi, eo quod unumquodque agit inquantum est actu. In constitutione autem hominis, corpus se habet sicut materia, anima vero sicut forma. Et quantum quidem ad corpus, homo communicat cum aliis animalibus; et similiter quantum ad vires quae sunt animae et corpori communes; solae autem illae vires quae sunt propriae animae, scilicet rationales, sunt hominis tantum. Et ideo virtus humana, de qua loquimur, non potest pertinere ad corpus; sed pertinet tantum ad id quod est proprium animae. Unde virtus humana non importat ordinem ad esse, sed magis ad agere. Et ideo de ratione virtutis humanae est quod sit habitus operativus. I answer that, Virtue, from the very nature of the word, implies some perfection of power, as we have said above (Article 1). Wherefore, since power [The one Latin word 'potentia' is rendered 'potentiality' in the first case, and 'power' in the second] is of two kinds, namely, power in reference to being, and power in reference to act; the perfection of each of these is called virtue. But power in reference to being is on the part of matter, which is potential being, whereas power in reference to act, is on the part of the form, which is the principle of action, since everything acts in so far as it is in act. Now man is so constituted that the body holds the place of matter, the soul that of form. The body, indeed, man has in common with other animals; and the same is to be said of the forces which are common to the soul and body: and only those forces which are proper to the soul, namely, the rational forces, belong to man alone. And therefore, human virtue, of which we are speaking now, cannot belong to the body, but belongs only to that which is proper to the soul. Wherefore human virtue does not imply reference to being, but rather to act. Consequently it is essential to human virtue to be an operative habit.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod modus actionis sequitur dispositionem agentis, unumquodque enim quale est, talia operatur. Et ideo, cum virtus sit principium aliqualis operationis, oportet quod in operante praeexistat secundum virtutem aliqua conformis dispositio. Facit autem virtus operationem ordinatam. Et ideo ipsa virtus est quaedam dispositio ordinata in anima, secundum scilicet quod potentiae animae ordinantur aliqualiter ad invicem, et ad id quod est extra. Et ideo virtus, inquantum est conveniens dispositio animae, assimilatur sanitati et pulchritudini, quae sunt debitae dispositiones corporis. Sed per hoc non excluditur quin virtus etiam sit operationis principium. Reply to Objection 1. Mode of action follows on the disposition of the agent: for such as a thing is, such is its act. And therefore, since virtue is the principle of some kind of operation, there must needs pre-exist in the operator in respect of virtue some corresponding disposition. Now virtue causes an ordered operation. Therefore virtue itself is an ordered disposition of the soul, in so far as, to wit, the powers of the soul are in some way ordered to one another, and to that which is outside. Hence virtue, inasmuch as it is a suitable disposition of the soul, is like health and beauty, which are suitable dispositions of the body. But this does not hinder virtue from being a principle of operation.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod virtus quae est ad esse, non est propria hominis, sed solum virtus quae est ad opera rationis, quae sunt propria hominis. Reply to Objection 2. Virtue which is referred to being is not proper to man; but only that virtue which is referred to works of reason, which are proper to man.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, cum Dei substantia sit eius actio, summa assimilatio hominis ad Deum est secundum aliquam operationem. Unde, sicut supra dictum est, felicitas sive beatitudo, per quam homo maxime Deo conformatur, quae est finis humanae vitae, in operatione consistit. Reply to Objection 3. As God's substance is His act, the highest likeness of man to God is in respect of some operation. Wherefore, as we have said above (Question 3, Article 2), happiness or bliss by which man is made most perfectly conformed to God, and which is the end of human life, consists in an operation.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit de ratione virtutis quod sit habitus bonus. Peccatum enim in malo semper sumitur. Sed etiam peccati est aliqua virtus; secundum illud I ad Cor. XV, virtus peccati lex. Ergo virtus non semper est habitus bonus. Objection 1. It would seem that it is not essential to virtue that it should be a good habit. For sin is always taken in a bad sense. But there is a virtue even of sin; according to 1 Corinthians 15:56: "The virtue [Douay: 'strength'] of sin is the Law." Therefore virtue is not always a good habit.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, virtus potentiae respondet. Sed potentia non solum se habet ad bonum, sed etiam ad malum; secundum illud Isaiae V, vae, qui potentes estis ad bibendum vinum, et viri fortes ad miscendam ebrietatem. Ergo etiam virtus se habet et ad bonum et ad malum. Objection 2. Further, Virtue corresponds to power. But power is not only referred to good, but also to evil: according to Isaiah 5: "Woe to you that are mighty to drink wine, and stout men at drunkenness." Therefore virtue also is referred to good and evil.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, secundum apostolum, II ad Cor. XII, virtus in infirmitate perficitur. Sed infirmitas est quoddam malum. Ergo virtus non solum se habet ad bonum, sed etiam ad malum. Objection 3. Further, according to the Apostle (2 Corinthians 12:9): "Virtue [Douay: 'power'] is made perfect in infirmity." But infirmity is an evil. Therefore virtue is referred not only to good, but also to evil.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de moribus Eccles., nemo autem dubitaverit quod virtus animam facit optimam. Et philosophus dicit, in II Ethic., quod virtus est quae bonum facit habentem, et opus eius bonum reddit. On the contrary, Augustine says (De Moribus Eccl. vi): "No one can doubt that virtue makes the soul exceeding good": and the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 6): "Virtue is that which makes its possessor good, and his work good likewise."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, virtus importat perfectionem potentiae, unde virtus cuiuslibet rei determinatur ad ultimum in quod res potest, ut dicitur in I de caelo. Ultimum autem in quod unaquaeque potentia potest, oportet quod sit bonum, nam omne malum defectum quendam importat; unde Dionysius dicit, in IV cap. de Div. Nom., quod omne malum est infirmum. Et propter hoc oportet quod virtus cuiuslibet rei dicatur in ordine ad bonum. Unde virtus humana, quae est habitus operativus, est bonus habitus, et boni operativus. I answer that, As we have said above (Article 1), virtue implies a perfection of power: wherefore the virtue of a thing is fixed by the limit of its power (De Coelo i). Now the limit of any power must needs be good: for all evil implies defect; wherefore Dionysius says (Div. Hom. ii) that every evil is a weakness. And for this reason the virtue of a thing must be regarded in reference to good. Therefore human virtue which is an operative habit, is a good habit, productive of good works.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sicut perfectum, ita et bonum dicitur metaphorice in malis, dicitur enim et perfectus fur sive latro, et bonus fur sive latro; ut patet per philosophum, in V Metaphys. Secundum hoc ergo, etiam virtus metaphorice in malis dicitur. Et sic virtus peccati dicitur lex, inquantum scilicet per legem occasionaliter est peccatum augmentatum, et quasi ad maximum suum posse pervenit. Reply to Objection 1. Just as bad things are said metaphorically to be perfect, so are they said to be good: for we speak of a perfect thief or robber; and of a good thief or robber, as the Philosopher explains (Metaph. v, text. 21). In this way therefore virtue is applied to evil things: so that the "virtue" of sin is said to be law, in so far as occasionally sin is aggravated through the law, so as to attain to the limit of its possibility.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod malum ebrietatis et nimiae potationis, consistit in defectu ordinis rationis. Contingit autem, cum defectu rationis, esse aliquam potentiam inferiorem perfectam ad id quod est sui generis, etiam cum repugnantia vel cum defectu rationis. Perfectio autem talis potentiae, cum sit cum defectu rationis, non posset dici virtus humana. Reply to Objection 2. The evil of drunkenness and excessive drink, consists in a falling away from the order of reason. Now it happens that, together with this falling away from reason, some lower power is perfect in reference to that which belongs to its own kind, even in direct opposition to reason, or with some falling away therefrom. But the perfection of that power, since it is compatible with a falling away from reason, cannot be called a human virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod tanto ratio perfectior esse ostenditur, quanto infirmitates corporis et inferiorum partium magis potest vincere seu tolerare. Et ideo virtus humana, quae rationi attribuitur, in infirmitate perfici dicitur, non quidem rationis, sed in infirmitate corporis et inferiorum partium. Reply to Objection 3. Reason is shown to be so much the more perfect, according as it is able to overcome or endure more easily the weakness of the body and of the lower powers. And therefore human virtue, which is attributed to reason, is said to be "made perfect in infirmity," not of the reason indeed, but of the body and of the lower powers.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non sit conveniens definitio virtutis quae solet assignari, scilicet, virtus est bona qualitas mentis, qua recte vivitur, qua nullus male utitur, quam Deus in nobis sine nobis operatur. Virtus enim est bonitas hominis, ipsa enim est quae bonum facit habentem. Sed bonitas non videtur esse bona, sicut nec albedo est alba. Igitur inconvenienter dicitur quod virtus est bona qualitas. Objection 1. It would seem that the definition, usually given, of virtue, is not suitable, to wit: "Virtue is a good quality of the mind, by which we live righteously, of which no one can make bad use, which God works in us, without us." For virtue is man's goodness, since virtue it is that makes its subject good. But goodness does not seem to be good, as neither is whiteness white. It is therefore unsuitable to describe virtue as a "good quality."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, nulla differentia est communior suo genere, cum sit generis divisiva. Sed bonum est communius quam qualitas, convertitur enim cum ente. Ergo bonum non debet poni in definitione virtutis, ut differentia qualitatis. Objection 2. Further, no difference is more common than its genus; since it is that which divides the genus. But good is more common than quality, since it is convertible with being. Therefore "good" should not be put in the definition of virtue, as a difference of quality.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, sicut Augustinus dicit, in XII de Trin., ubi primo occurrit aliquid quod non sit nobis pecoribusque commune, illud ad mentem pertinet. Sed quaedam virtutes sunt etiam irrationabilium partium; ut philosophus dicit, in III Ethic. Non ergo omnis virtus est bona qualitas mentis. Objection 3. Further, as Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 3): "When we come across anything that is not common to us and the beasts of the field, it is something appertaining to the mind." But there are virtues even of the irrational parts; as the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 10). Every virtue, therefore, is not a good quality "of the mind."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 4 Praeterea, rectitudo videtur ad iustitiam pertinere, unde idem dicuntur recti, et iusti. Sed iustitia est species virtutis. Inconvenienter ergo ponitur rectum in definitione virtutis, cum dicitur, qua recte vivitur. Objection 4. Further, righteousness seems to belong to justice; whence the righteous are called just. But justice is a species of virtue. It is therefore unsuitable to put "righteous" in the definition of virtue, when we say that virtue is that "by which we live righteously."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 5 Praeterea, quicumque superbit de aliquo, male utitur eo. Sed multi superbiunt de virtute, dicit enim Augustinus, in regula, quod superbia etiam bonis operibus insidiatur, ut pereant. Falsum est ergo quod nemo virtute male utatur. Objection 5. Further, whoever is proud of a thing, makes bad use of it. But many are proud of virtue, for Augustine says in his Rule, that "pride lies in wait for good works in order to slay them." It is untrue, therefore, "that no one can make bad use of virtue."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 arg. 6 Praeterea, homo per virtutem iustificatur. Sed Augustinus dicit, super illud Ioan., maiora horum faciet, qui creavit te sine te, non iustificabit te sine te. Inconvenienter ergo dicitur quod virtutem Deus in nobis sine nobis operatur. Objection 6. Further, man is justified by virtue. But Augustine commenting on John 15:11: "He shall do greater things than these," says [Tract. xxvii in Joan.: Serm. xv de Verb. Ap. 11: "He who created thee without thee, will not justify thee without thee." It is therefore unsuitable to say that "God works virtue in us, without us."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est auctoritas Augustini, ex cuius verbis praedicta definitio colligitur, et praecipue in II de libero arbitrio. On the contrary, We have the authority of Augustine from whose words this definition is gathered, and principally in De Libero Arbitrio ii, 19.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ista definitio perfecte complectitur totam rationem virtutis. Perfecta enim ratio uniuscuiusque rei colligitur ex omnibus causis eius. Comprehendit autem praedicta definitio omnes causas virtutis. Causa namque formalis virtutis, sicut et cuiuslibet rei, accipitur ex eius genere et differentia, cum dicitur qualitas bona, genus enim virtutis qualitas est, differentia autem bonum. Esset tamen convenientior definitio, si loco qualitatis habitus poneretur, qui est genus propinquum. Virtus autem non habet materiam ex qua, sicut nec alia accidentia, sed habet materiam circa quam; et materiam in qua, scilicet subiectum. Materia autem circa quam est obiectum virtutis; quod non potuit in praedicta definitione poni, eo quod per obiectum determinatur virtus ad speciem; hic autem assignatur definitio virtutis in communi. Unde ponitur subiectum loco causae materialis, cum dicitur quod est bona qualitas mentis. Finis autem virtutis, cum sit habitus operativus, est ipsa operatio. Sed notandum quod habituum operativorum aliqui sunt semper ad malum, sicut habitus vitiosi; aliqui vero quandoque ad bonum, et quandoque ad malum, sicut opinio se habet ad verum et ad falsum; virtus autem est habitus semper se habens ad bonum. Et ideo, ut discernatur virtus ab his quae semper se habent ad malum, dicitur, qua recte vivitur, ut autem discernatur ab his quae se habent quandoque ad bonum, quandoque ad malum, dicitur, qua nullus male utitur. Causa autem efficiens virtutis infusae, de qua definitio datur, Deus est. Propter quod dicitur, quam Deus in nobis sine nobis operatur. Quae quidem particula si auferatur, reliquum definitionis erit commune omnibus virtutibus, et acquisitis et infusis. I answer that, This definition comprises perfectly the whole essential notion of virtue. For the perfect essential notion of anything is gathered from all its causes. Now the above definition comprises all the causes of virtue. For the formal cause of virtue, as of everything, is gathered from its genus and difference, when it is defined as "a good quality": for "quality" is the genus of virtue, and the difference, "good." But the definition would be more suitable if for "quality" we substitute "habit," which is the proximate genus. Now virtue has no matter "out of which" it is formed, as neither has any other accident; but it has matter "about which" it is concerned, and matter "in which" it exits, namely, the subject. The matter about which virtue is concerned is its object, and this could not be included in the above definition, because the object fixes the virtue to a certain species, and here we are giving the definition of virtue in general. And so for material cause we have the subject, which is mentioned when we say that virtue is a good quality "of the mind." The end of virtue, since it is an operative habit, is operation. But it must be observed that some operative habits are always referred to evil, as vicious habits: others are sometimes referred to good, sometimes to evil; for instance, opinion is referred both to the true and to the untrue: whereas virtue is a habit which is always referred to good: and so the distinction of virtue from those habits which are always referred to evil, is expressed in the words "by which we live righteously": and its distinction from those habits which are sometimes directed unto good, sometimes unto evil, in the words, "of which no one makes bad use." Lastly, God is the efficient cause of infused virtue, to which this definition applies; and this is expressed in the words "which God works in us without us." If we omit this phrase, the remainder of the definition will apply to all virtues in general, whether acquired or infused.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod id quod primo cadit in intellectu, est ens, unde unicuique apprehenso a nobis attribuimus quod sit ens; et per consequens quod sit unum et bonum, quae convertuntur cum ente. Unde dicimus quod essentia est ens et una et bona; et quod unitas est ens et una et bona; et similiter de bonitate. Non autem hoc habet locum in specialibus formis, sicut est albedo et sanitas, non enim omne quod apprehendimus, sub ratione albi et sani apprehendimus. Sed tamen considerandum quod sicut accidentia et formae non subsistentes dicuntur entia, non quia ipsa habeant esse, sed quia eis aliquid est; ita etiam dicuntur bona vel una, non quidem aliqua alia bonitate vel unitate, sed quia eis est aliquid bonum vel unum. Sic igitur et virtus dicitur bona, quia ea aliquid est bonum. Reply to Objection 1. That which is first seized by the intellect is being: wherefore everything that we apprehend we consider as being, and consequently as gone, and as good, which are convertible with being. Wherefore we say that essence is being and is one and is good; and that oneness is being and one and good: and in like manner goodness. But this is not the case with specific forms, as whiteness and health; for everything that we apprehend, is not apprehended with the notion of white and healthy. We must, however, observe that, as accidents and non-subsistent forms are called beings, not as if they themselves had being, but because things are by them; so also are they called good or one, not by some distinct goodness or oneness, but because by them something is good or one. So also is virtue called good, because by it something is good.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod bonum quod ponitur in definitione virtutis, non est bonum commune, quod convertitur cum ente, et est in plus quam qualitas, sed est bonum rationis, secundum quod Dionysius dicit, in IV cap. de Div. Nom., quod bonum animae est secundum rationem esse. Reply to Objection 2. Good, which is put in the definition of virtue, is not good in general which is convertible with being, and which extends further than quality, but the good as fixed by reason, with regard to which Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) "that the good of the soul is to be in accord with reason."
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod virtus non potest esse in irrationali parte animae, nisi inquantum participat rationem, ut dicitur in I Ethic. Et ideo ratio, sive mens, est proprium subiectum virtutis humanae. Reply to Objection 3. Virtue cannot be in the irrational part of the soul, except in so far as this participates in the reason (Ethic. i, 13). And therefore reason, or the mind, is the proper subject of virtue.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod iustitiae est propria rectitudo quae constituitur circa res exteriores quae in usum hominis veniunt, quae sunt propria materia iustitiae, ut infra patebit. Sed rectitudo quae importat ordinem ad finem debitum et ad legem divinam, quae est regula voluntatis humanae, ut supra dictum est, communis est omni virtuti. Reply to Objection 4. Justice has a righteousness of its own by which it puts those outward things right which come into human use, and are the proper matter of justice, as we shall show further on (60, 2; II-II, 58, 8). But the righteousness which denotes order to a due end and to the Divine law, which is the rule of the human will, as stated above (Question 19, Article 4), is common to all virtues.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod virtute potest aliquis male uti tanquam obiecto, puta cum male sentit de virtute, cum odit eam, vel superbit de ea, non autem tanquam principio usus, ita scilicet quod malus sit actus virtutis. Reply to Objection 5. One can make bad use of a virtue objectively, for instance by having evil thoughts about a virtue, e.g. by hating it, or by being proud of it: but one cannot make bad use of virtue as principle of action, so that an act of virtue be evil.
Iª-IIae q. 55 a. 4 ad 6 Ad sextum dicendum quod virtus infusa causatur in nobis a Deo sine nobis agentibus, non tamen sine nobis consentientibus. Et sic est intelligendum quod dicitur, quam Deus in nobis sine nobis operatur. Quae vero per nos aguntur, Deus in nobis causat non sine nobis agentibus, ipse enim operatur in omni voluntate et natura. Reply to Objection 6. Infused virtue is caused in us by God without any action on our part, but not without our consent. This is the sense of the words, "which God works in us without us." As to those things which are done by us, God causes them in us, yet not without action on our part, for He works in every will and in every nature.

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