Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q174

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Q173 Q175



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IIª-IIae q. 174 pr. Deinde considerandum est de divisione prophetiae. Et circa hoc quaeruntur sex. Primo, de divisione prophetiae in suas species. Secundo, utrum sit altior prophetia quae est sine imaginaria visione. Tertio, de diversitate graduum prophetiae. Quarto, utrum Moyses fuit eximius prophetarum. Quinto, utrum aliquis comprehensor possit esse propheta. Sexto, utrum prophetia creverit per temporis processum. Question 174. The division of prophecy 1. The division of prophecy into its species 2. Is the more excellent prophecy that which is without imaginative vision? 3. The various degrees of prophecy 4. Was Moses the greatest of the prophets? 5. Can a comprehensor be a prophet? 6. Did prophecy advance in perfection as time went on?
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod inconvenienter dividatur prophetia in Glossa super Matth. I, ecce virgo in utero habebit, ubi dicitur quod prophetia alia est ex praedestinatione Dei, quam necesse est omnibus modis evenire, ut sine nostro impleatur arbitrio, ut haec de qua hic agitur; alia est ex praescientia Dei, cui nostrum admiscetur arbitrium; alia est quae comminatio dicitur quae fit ob signum divinae animadversionis. Illud enim quod consequitur omnem prophetiam, non debet poni ut membrum dividens prophetiam. Sed omnis prophetia est secundum praescientiam divinam, quia prophetae legunt in libro praescientiae, ut dicit Glossa, Isaiae XXXVIII. Ergo videtur quod non debeat poni una species prophetiae quae est secundum praescientiam. Objection 1. It would seem that prophecy is unfittingly divided according to a gloss on Matthew 1:23, "Behold a virgin shall be with child," where it is stated that "one kind of prophecy proceeds from the Divine predestination, and must in all respects be accomplished so that its fulfillment is independent of our will, for instance the one in question. Another prophecy proceeds from God's foreknowledge: and into this our will enters. And another prophecy is called denunciation, which is significative of God's disapproval." For that which results from every prophecy should not be reckoned a part of prophecy. Now all prophecy is according to the Divine foreknowledge, since the prophets "read in the book of foreknowledge," as a gloss says on Isaiah 38:1. Therefore it would seem that prophecy according to foreknowledge should not be reckoned a species of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, sicuti aliquid prophetatur secundum comminationem, ita etiam secundum promissionem, et utraque variatur. Dicitur enim Ierem. XVIII, repente loquar adversum gentem et adversum regnum, ut eradicem et destruam et disperdam illud, si poenitentiam egerit gens illa a malo suo, agam et ego poenitentiam, et hoc pertinet ad prophetiam comminationis. Et postea subdit de prophetia promissionis, subito loquar de gente et de regno, ut aedificem et plantem illud, si fecerit malum in oculis meis, poenitentiam agam super bono quod locutus sum ut facerem ei. Ergo, sicut ponitur prophetia comminationis, ita debet poni prophetia promissionis. Objection 2. Further, just as something is foretold in denunciation, so is something foretold in promise, and both of these are subject to alteration. For it is written (Jeremiah 18:7-8): "I will suddenly speak against a nation and against a kingdom, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy it. If that nation against which I have spoken shall repent of their evil, I also will repent"--and this pertains to the prophecy of denunciation, and afterwards the text continues in reference to the prophecy of promise (Jeremiah 18:9-10): "I will suddenly speak of a nation and of a kingdom, to build up and plant it. If it shall do evil in My sight . . . I will repent of the good that I have spoken to do unto it." Therefore as there is reckoned to be a prophecy of denunciation, so should there be a prophecy of promise.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., prophetiae genera sunt septem. Primum genus, extasis, quod est mentis excessus, sicut vidit Petrus vas submissum de caelo cum variis animalibus. Secundum genus, visio, sicut apud Isaiam dicentem, vidi dominum sedentem, et cetera. Tertium genus est somnium, sicut Iacob scalam dormiens vidit. Quartum genus est per nubem, sicut ad Moysen loquitur Deus. Quintum genus, vox de caelo, sicut ad Abraham sonuit dicens, ne mittas manum in puerum. Sextum genus, accepta parabola, sicut apud Balaam. Septimum genus, repletio spiritus sancti, sicut pene apud omnes prophetas. Ponit etiam tria genera visionum, unum, secundum oculos corporis; alterum, secundum spiritum imaginarium; tertium, per intuitum mentis. Sed haec non exprimuntur in prius dicta divisione. Ergo est insufficiens. Objection 3. Further, Isidore says (Etym. vii, 8): "There are seven kinds of prophecy. The first is an ecstasy, which is the transport of the mind: thus Peter saw a vessel descending from heaven with all manner of beasts therein. The second kind is a vision, as we read in Isaias, who says (Isaiah 6:1): 'I saw the Lord sitting,' etc. The third kind is a dream: thus Jacob in a dream, saw a ladder. The fourth kind is from the midst of a cloud: thus God spake to Moses. The fifth kind is a voice from heaven, as that which called to Abraham saying (Genesis 22:11): 'Lay not thy hand upon the boy.' The sixth kind is taking up a parable, as in the example of Balaam (Numbers 23:7; 24:15). The seventh kind is the fullness of the Holy Ghost, as in the case of nearly all the prophets." Further, he mentions three kinds of vision; "one by the eyes of the body, another by the soul's imagination, a third by the eyes of the mind." Now these are not included in the aforesaid division. Therefore it is insufficient.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est auctoritas Hieronymi, cuius dicitur esse Glossa. On the contrary, stands the authority of Jerome to whom the gloss above quoted is ascribed.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod species habituum et actuum in moralibus distinguuntur secundum obiecta. Obiectum autem prophetiae est id quod est in cognitione divina supra humanam facultatem existens. Et ideo secundum horum differentiam distinguitur prophetia in diversas species, secundum prius dictam divisionem. Dictum est autem supra quod futurum est in divina cognitione dupliciter. Uno modo, prout est in sua causa. Et sic accipitur prophetia comminationis, quae non semper impletur, sed per eam praenuntiatur ordo causae ad effectus, qui quandoque, aliis supervenientibus, impeditur. Alio modo, praecognoscit Deus aliqua in seipsis. Vel ut fienda ab ipso. Et horum est prophetia praedestinationis, quia, secundum Damascenum, Deus praedestinat ea quae non sunt in nobis. Vel ut fienda per liberum arbitrium hominis. Et sic est prophetia praescientiae. Quae potest esse bonorum et malorum, quod non contingit de prophetia praedestinationis, quae est bonorum tantum. Et quia praedestinatio sub praescientia comprehenditur, ideo in Glossa, in principio Psalterii, ponitur tantum duplex prophetiae species, scilicet secundum praescientiam, et secundum comminationem. I answer that, The species of moral habits and acts are distinguished according to their objects. Now the object of prophecy is something known by God and surpassing the faculty of man. Wherefore, according to the difference of such things, prophecy is divided into various species, as assigned above. Now it has been stated above (71, 6, ad 2) that the future is contained in the Divine knowledge in two ways. First, as in its cause: and thus we have the prophecy of "denunciation," which is not always fulfilled. but it foretells the relation of cause to effect, which is sometimes hindered by some other occurrence supervening. Secondly, God foreknows certain things in themselves--either as to be accomplished by Himself, and of such things is the prophecy of "predestination," since, according to Damascene (De Fide Orth. ii, 30), "God predestines things which are not in our power"--or as to be accomplished through man's free-will, and of such is the prophecy of "foreknowledge." This may regard either good or evil, which does not apply to the prophecy of predestination, since the latter regards good alone. And since predestination is comprised under foreknowledge, the gloss in the beginning of the Psalter assigns only two species to prophecy, namely of "foreknowledge," and of "denunciation."
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod praescientia proprie dicitur praecognitio futurorum eventuum prout in seipsis sunt, et secundum hoc ponitur species prophetiae. Prout autem dicitur respectu futurorum eventuum sive secundum quod in seipsis sunt sive secundum quod sunt in causis suis, communiter se habet ad omnem speciem prophetiae. Reply to Objection 1. Foreknowledge, properly speaking, denotes precognition of future events in themselves, and in this sense it is reckoned a species of prophecy. But in so far as it is used in connection with future events, whether as in themselves, or as in their causes, it is common to every species of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod prophetia promissionis comprehenditur sub prophetia comminationis, quia eadem ratio est veritatis in utraque. Denominatur tamen magis a comminatione, quia Deus pronior est ad relaxandum poenam quam ad subtrahendum promissa beneficia. Reply to Objection 2. The prophecy of promise is included in the prophecy of denunciation, because the aspect of truth is the same in both. But it is denominated in preference from denunciation, because God is more inclined to remit punishment than to withdraw promised blessings.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Isidorus distinguit prophetiam secundum modum prophetandi. Qui quidem potest distingui vel secundum potentias cognoscitivas in homine, quae sunt sensus, imaginatio et intellectus. Et sic sumitur triplex visio, quam ponit tam ipse quam Augustinus, XII super Gen. ad Litt. Vel potest sumi secundum differentiam prophetici influxus. Qui quidem, quantum ad illustrationem intellectus, significatur per repletionem spiritus sancti, quam septimo loco ponit. Quantum vero ad impressionem formarum imaginabilium, ponit tria, scilicet somnium, quod ponit tertio loco; et visionem, quae fit in vigilando respectu quorumcumque communium, quam ponit in secundo loco; et extasim, quae fit per elevationem mentis in aliqua altiora, quam ponit primo loco. Quantum vero ad sensibilia signa, ponit tria. Quia sensibile signum aut est aliqua res corporea exterius apparens visui, sicut nubes, quam ponit quarto loco. Aut est vox exterius formata ad auditum hominis delata, quam ponit quinto loco. Aut est vox per hominem formata cum similitudine alicuius rei, quod pertinet ad parabolam, quam ponit sexto loco. Reply to Objection 3. Isidore divides prophecy according to the manner of prophesying. Now we may distinguish the manner of prophesying--either according to man's cognitive powers, which are sense, imagination, and intellect, and then we have the three kinds of vision mentioned both by him and by Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 6,7)--or according to the different ways in which the prophetic current is received. Thus as regards the enlightening of the intellect there is the "fullness of the Holy Ghost" which he mentions in the seventh place. As to the imprinting of pictures on the imagination he mentions three, namely "dreams," to which he gives the third place; "vision," which occurs to the prophet while awake and regards any kind of ordinary object, and this he puts in the second place; and "ecstasy," which results from the mind being uplifted to certain lofty things, and to this he assigns the first place. As regards sensible signs he reckons three kinds of prophecy, because a sensible sign is--either a corporeal thing offered externally to the sight, such as "a cloud," which he mentions in the fourth place--or a "voice" sounding from without and conveyed to man's hearing--this he puts in the fifth place--or a voice proceeding from a man, conveying something under a similitude, and this pertains to the "parable" to which he assigns the sixth place.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod excellentior sit prophetia quae habet visionem intellectualem et imaginariam, quam ea quae habet visionem intellectualem tantum. Dicit enim Augustinus, XII super Gen. ad Litt., et habetur in Glossa, I ad Cor. XIV, super illud, spiritus autem loquitur mysteria, minus est propheta qui rerum significatarum solo spiritu videt imagines; et magis est propheta qui solo earum intellectu est praeditus; sed maxime propheta est qui in utroque praecellit. Hoc autem pertinet ad prophetam qui simul habet intellectualem et imaginariam visionem. Ergo huiusmodi prophetia est altior. Objection 1. It would seem that the prophecy which has intellective and imaginative vision is more excellent than that which is accompanied by intellective vision alone. For Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii, 9): "He is less a prophet, who sees in spirit nothing but the signs representative of things, by means of the images of things corporeal: he is more a prophet, who is merely endowed with the understanding of these signs; but most of all is he a prophet, who excels in both ways," and this refers to the prophet who has intellective together with imaginative vision. Therefore this kind of prophecy is more excellent.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, quanto virtus alicuius rei est maior, tanto ad magis distantia se extendit. Sed lumen propheticum principaliter ad mentem pertinet, ut ex dictis patet. Ergo perfectior videtur esse prophetia quae derivatur usque ad imaginationem, quam illa quae existit in solo intellectu. Objection 2. Further, the greater a thing's power is, the greater the distance to which it extends. Now the prophetic light pertains chiefly to the mind, as stated above (Question 173, Article 2). Therefore apparently the prophecy that extends to the imagination is greater than that which is confined to the intellect.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, Hieronymus, in prologo libri regum, distinguit prophetas contra Hagiographos. Omnes autem illi quos prophetas nominat, puta Isaias, Ieremias et alii huiusmodi, simul cum intellectuali visione imaginariam habuerunt, non autem illi qui dicuntur Hagiographi, sicut ex inspiratione spiritus sancti scribentes, sicut Iob, David, Salomon et huiusmodi. Ergo videtur quod magis proprie dicuntur prophetae illi qui habent simul visionem imaginariam cum intellectuali, quam illi qui habent intellectualem tantum. Objection 3. Further, Jerome (Prol. in Lib. Reg.) distinguishes the "prophets" from the "sacred writers." Now all those whom he calls prophets (such as Isaias, Jeremias, and the like) had intellective together with imaginative vision: but not those whom he calls sacred writers, as writing by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost (such as Job, David, Solomon, and the like). Therefore it would seem more proper to call prophets those who had intellective together with imaginative vision, than those who had intellective vision alone.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 arg. 4 Praeterea, Dionysius dicit, I cap. Cael. Hier., quod impossibile est nobis superlucere divinum radium, nisi varietate sacrorum velaminum circumvelatum. Sed prophetica revelatio fit per immissionem divini radii. Ergo videtur quod non possit esse absque phantasmatum velaminibus. Objection 4. Further, Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i) that "it is impossible for the Divine ray to shine on us, except as screened round about by the many-colored sacred veils." Now the prophetic revelation is conveyed by the infusion of the divine ray. Therefore it seems that it cannot be without the veils of phantasms.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod Glossa dicit, in principio Psalterii, quod ille modus prophetiae ceteris est dignior, quando scilicet ex sola spiritus sancti inspiratione, remoto omni exteriori adminiculo facti vel dicti vel visionis vel somnii, prophetatur. On the contrary, A gloss says at the beginning of the Psalter that "the most excellent manner of prophecy is when a man prophesies by the mere inspiration of the Holy Ghost, apart from any outward assistance of deed, word, vision, or dream."
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod dignitas eorum quae sunt ad finem, praecipue consideratur ex fine. Finis autem prophetiae est manifestatio alicuius veritatis supra hominem existentis. Unde quanto huiusmodi manifestatio est potior, tanto prophetia est dignior. Manifestum est autem quod manifestatio veritatis divinae quae fit secundum nudam contemplationem ipsius veritatis, potior est quam illa quae fit sub similitudine corporalium rerum, magis enim appropinquat ad visionem patriae, secundum quam in essentia Dei veritas conspicitur. Et inde est quod prophetia per quam aliqua supernaturalis veritas conspicitur nude secundum intellectualem veritatem, est dignior quam illa in qua veritas supernaturalis manifestatur per similitudinem corporalium rerum secundum imaginariam visionem. Et ex hoc etiam ostenditur mens prophetae sublimior, sicut in doctrina humana auditor ostenditur esse melioris intellectus qui veritatem intelligibilem a magistro nude prolatam capere potest, quam ille qui indiget sensibilibus exemplis ad hoc manuduci. Unde in commendationem prophetiae David dicitur, II Reg. XXIII, mihi locutus est fortis Israel; et postea subdit, sicut lux aurorae, oriente sole, mane absque nubibus rutilat. I answer that, The excellence of the means is measured chiefly by the end. Now the end of prophecy is the manifestation of a truth that surpasses the faculty of man. Wherefore the more effective this manifestation is, the more excellent the prophecy. But it is evident that the manifestation of divine truth by means of the bare contemplation of the truth itself, is more effective than that which is conveyed under the similitude of corporeal things, for it approaches nearer to the heavenly vision whereby the truth is seen in God's essence. Hence it follows that the prophecy whereby a supernatural truth is seen by intellectual vision, is more excellent than that in which a supernatural truth is manifested by means of the similitudes of corporeal things in the vision of the imagination. Moreover the prophet's mind is shown thereby to be more lofty: even as in human teaching the hearer, who is able to grasp the bare intelligible truth the master propounds, is shown to have a better understanding than one who needs to be taken by the hand and helped by means of examples taken from objects of sense. Hence it is said in commendation of David's prophecy (2 Samuel 23:3): "The strong one of Israel spoke to me," and further on (2 Samuel 23:4): "As the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, shineth in the morning without clouds."
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod quando aliqua supernaturalis veritas revelanda est per similitudines corporales, tunc magis est propheta qui utrumque habet, scilicet lumen intellectuale et imaginariam visionem, quam ille qui habet alterum tantum, quia perfectior est prophetia. Et quantum ad hoc loquitur Augustinus. Sed illa prophetia in qua revelatur nude intelligibilis veritas, est omnibus potior. Reply to Objection 1. When a particular supernatural truth has to be revealed by means of corporeal images, he that has both, namely the intellectual light and the imaginary vision, is more a prophet than he that has only one, because his prophecy is more perfect; and it is in this sense that Augustine speaks as quoted above. Nevertheless the prophecy in which the bare intelligible truth is revealed is greater than all.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod aliud est iudicium de his quae propter se quaeruntur, et de his quae quaeruntur propter aliud. In his enim quae propter se quaeruntur, quanto virtus agentis ad plura et remotiora se extendit, tanto potior est, sicut medicus reputatur melior qui potest plures, et magis a sanitate distantes sanare. In his autem quae non quaeruntur nisi propter aliud, quanto agens potest ex paucioribus et propinquioribus ad suum intentum pervenire, tanto videtur esse maioris virtutis, sicut magis laudatur medicus qui per pauciora et leviora potest sanare infirmum. Visio autem imaginaria in cognitione prophetica non requiritur propter se, sed propter manifestationem intelligibilis veritatis. Et ideo tanto potior est prophetia, quanto minus ea indiget. Reply to Objection 2. The same judgment does not apply to things that are sought for their own sake, as to things sought for the sake of something else. For in things sought for their own sake, the agent's power is the more effective according as it extends to more numerous and more remote objects; even so a physician is thought more of, if he is able to heal more people, and those who are further removed from health. on the other hand, in things sought only for the sake of something else, that agent would seem to have greater power, who is able to achieve his purpose with fewer means and those nearest to hand: thus more praise is awarded the physician who is able to heal a sick person by means of fewer and more gentle remedies. Now, in the prophetic knowledge, imaginary vision is required, not for its own sake, but on account of the manifestation of the intelligible truth. Wherefore prophecy is all the more excellent according as it needs it less.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod nihil prohibet aliquid esse simpliciter melius, quod tamen minus proprie recipit alicuius praedicationem, sicut cognitio patriae est nobilior quam cognitio viae, quae tamen magis proprie dicitur fides, eo quod nomen fidei importat imperfectionem cognitionis. Similiter autem prophetia importat quandam obscuritatem et remotionem ab intelligibili veritate. Et ideo magis proprie dicuntur prophetae qui vident per imaginariam visionem, quamvis illa prophetia sit nobilior quae est per intellectualem visionem, dum tamen sit eadem veritas utrobique revelata. Si vero lumen intellectuale alicui divinitus infundatur non ad cognoscendum aliqua supernaturalia, sed ad iudicandum secundum certitudinem veritatis divinae ea quae humana ratione cognosci possunt; sic talis prophetia intellectualis est infra illam quae est cum imaginaria visione ducente in supernaturalem veritatem; cuiusmodi prophetiam habuerunt omnes illi qui numerantur in ordine prophetarum. Qui etiam ex hoc specialiter dicuntur prophetae, quia prophetico officio fungebantur, unde et ex persona domini loquebantur, dicentes ad populum, haec dicit dominus; quod non faciebant illi qui Hagiographa conscripserunt, quorum plures loquebantur frequentius de his quae humana ratione cognosci possunt, non quasi ex persona Dei, sed ex persona propria, cum adiutorio tamen divini luminis. Reply to Objection 3. The fact that a particular predicate is applicable to one thing and less properly to another, does not prevent this latter from being simply better than the former: thus the knowledge of the blessed is more excellent than the knowledge of the wayfarer, although faith is more properly predicated of the latter knowledge, because faith implies an imperfection of knowledge. On like manner prophecy implies a certain obscurity, and remoteness from the intelligible truth; wherefore the name of prophet is more properly applied to those who see by imaginary vision. And yet the more excellent prophecy is that which is conveyed by intellectual vision, provided the same truth be revealed in either case. If, however, the intellectual light be divinely infused in a person, not that he may know some supernatural things, but that he may be able to judge, with the certitude of divine truth, of things that can be known by human reason, such intellectual prophecy is beneath that which is conveyed by an imaginary vision leading to a supernatural truth. It was this kind of prophecy that all those had who are included in the ranks of the prophets, who moreover were called prophets for the special reason that they exercised the prophetic calling officially. Hence they spoke as God's representatives, saying to the people: "Thus saith the Lord": but not so the authors of the "sacred writings," several of whom treated more frequently of things that can be known by human reason, not in God's name, but in their own, yet with the assistance of the Divine light withal.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 2 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod illustratio divini radii in vita praesenti non fit sine velaminibus phantasmatum qualiumcumque, quia connaturale est homini, secundum statum praesentis vitae, ut non intelligat sine phantasmate. Quandoque tamen sufficiunt phantasmata quae communi modo a sensibus abstrahuntur, nec exigitur aliqua visio imaginaria divinitus procurata. Et sic dicitur revelatio prophetica fieri sine imaginaria visione. Reply to Objection 4. In the present life the enlightenment by the divine ray is not altogether without any veil of phantasms, because according to his present state of life it is unnatural to man not to understand without a phantasm. Sometimes, however, it is sufficient to have phantasms abstracted in the usual way from the senses without any imaginary vision divinely vouchsafed, and thus prophetic vision is said to be without imaginary vision.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod gradus prophetiae non possint distingui secundum visionem imaginariam. Gradus enim alicuius rei non attenditur secundum id quod est propter aliud, sed secundum id quod est propter se. In prophetia autem propter quaeritur visio intellectualis, propter aliud autem visio imaginaria, ut supra dictum est. Ergo videtur quod gradus prophetiae non distinguantur secundum imaginariam visionem, sed solum secundum intellectualem. Objection 1. It would seem that the degrees of prophecy cannot be distinguished according to the imaginary vision. For the degrees of a thing bear relation to something that is on its own account, not on account of something else. Now, in prophecy, intellectual vision is sought on its own account, and imaginary vision on account of something else, as stated above (2, ad 2). Therefore it would seem that the degrees of prophecy are distinguished not according to imaginary, but only according to intellectual, vision.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, unius prophetae videtur esse unus gradus prophetiae. Sed uni prophetae fit revelatio secundum diversas imaginarias visiones. Ergo diversitas imaginariae visionis non diversificat gradus prophetiae. Objection 2. Further, seemingly for one prophet there is one degree of prophecy. Now one prophet receives revelation through various imaginary visions. Therefore a difference of imaginary visions does not entail a difference of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, secundum Glossam, in principio Psalterii, prophetia consistit in dictis et factis, somnio et visione. Non ergo debet prophetiae gradus magis distingui secundum imaginariam visionem, ad quam pertinet visio et somnium, quam secundum dicta et facta. Objection 3. Further, according to a gloss [Cassiodorus, super Prolog. Hieron. in Psalt.], prophecy consists of words, deeds, dreams, and visions. Therefore the degrees of prophecy should not be distinguished according to imaginary vision, to which vision and dreams pertain, rather than according to words and deeds.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod medium diversificat gradus cognitionis, sicut scientia propter quid est altior, eo quod est per nobilius medium, quam scientia quia, vel etiam quam opinio. Sed visio imaginaria in cognitione prophetica est sicut quoddam medium. Ergo gradus prophetiae distingui debent secundum imaginariam visionem. On the contrary, The medium differentiates the degrees of knowledge: thus science based on direct ["Propter quid"] proofs is more excellent than science based on indirect ["Quia"] premises or than opinion, because it comes through a more excellent medium. Now imaginary vision is a kind of medium in prophetic knowledge. Therefore the degrees of prophecy should be distinguished according to imaginary vision.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, prophetia in qua per lumen intelligibile revelatur aliqua supernaturalis veritas per imaginariam visionem, medium gradum tenet inter illam prophetiam in qua revelatur supernaturalis veritas absque imaginaria visione, et illam in qua per lumen intelligibile absque imaginaria visione dirigitur homo ad ea cognoscenda vel agenda quae pertinent ad humanam conversationem. Magis autem est proprium prophetiae cognitio quam operatio. Et ideo infimus gradus prophetiae est cum aliquis ex interiori instinctu movetur ad aliqua exterius facienda, sicut de Samsone dicitur, Iudic. XV, quod irruit spiritus domini in eum, et sicut solent ad ardorem ignis ligna consumi, ita et vincula quibus ligatus erat, dissipata sunt et soluta. Secundus autem gradus prophetiae est cum aliquis ex interiori lumine illustratur ad cognoscendum aliqua quae tamen non excedunt limites naturalis cognitionis, sicut dicitur de Salomone, III Reg. IV, quod locutus est parabolas, et disputavit super lignis, a cedro quae est in Libano usque ad hyssopum quae egreditur de pariete, et disseruit de iumentis et volucribus et reptilibus et piscibus. Et hoc totum fuit ex divina inspiratione, nam praemittitur, dedit Deus sapientiam Salomoni, et prudentiam multam nimis. Hi tamen duo gradus sunt infra prophetiam proprie dictam, quia non attingunt ad supernaturalem veritatem. Illa autem prophetia in qua manifestatur supernaturalis veritas per imaginariam visionem, diversificatur primo, secundum differentiam somnii, quod fit in dormiendo; et visionis, quae fit in vigilando. Quae pertinet ad altiorem gradum prophetiae, quia maior vis prophetici luminis esse videtur quae animam occupatam circa sensibilia in vigilando abstrahit ad supernaturalia, quam illa quae animam hominis abstractam a sensibilibus invenit in dormiendo. Secundo autem diversificantur gradus prophetiae quantum ad expressionem signorum imaginabilium quibus veritas intelligibilis exprimitur. Et quia signa maxime expressa intelligibilis veritatis sunt verba ideo altior gradus prophetiae videtur quando propheta audit verba exprimentia intelligibilem veritatem, sive in vigilando sive in dormiendo, quam quando videt aliquas res significativas veritatis, sicut septem spicae plenae significant septem annos ubertatis. In quibus etiam signis tanto videtur prophetia esse altior, quanto signa sunt magis expressa, sicut quod Ieremias vidit incendium civitatis sub similitudine ollae succensae, sicut dicitur Ierem. I. Tertio autem ostenditur esse altior gradus prophetiae quando propheta non solum videt signa verborum vel factorum, sed etiam videt, in vigilando vel in dormiendo, aliquem sibi colloquentem aut aliquid demonstrantem, quia per hoc ostenditur quod mens prophetae magis appropinquat ad causam revelantem. Quarto autem potest attendi altitudo gradus prophetalis ex conditione eius qui videtur. Nam altior gradus prophetiae est si ille qui loquitur vel demonstrat, videatur, in vigilando vel dormiendo, in specie Angeli, quam si videatur in specie hominis. Et adhuc altior si videatur, in dormiendo vel vigilando, in specie Dei, secundum illud Isaiae VI, vidi dominum sedentem. Super omnes autem hos gradus est tertium genus prophetiae, in quo intelligibilis veritas et supernaturalis absque imaginaria visione ostenditur. Quae tamen excedit rationem prophetiae proprie dictae, ut dictum est. Et ideo consequens est quod gradus prophetiae proprie dictae distinguantur secundum imaginariam visionem. I answer that, As stated above (Question 173, Article 2), the prophecy wherein, by the intelligible light, a supernatural truth is revealed through an imaginary vision, holds the mean between the prophecy wherein a supernatural truth is revealed without imaginary vision, and that wherein through the intelligible light and without an imaginary vision, man is directed to know or do things pertaining to human conduct. Now knowledge is more proper to prophecy than is action; wherefore the lowest degree of prophecy is when a man, by an inward instinct, is moved to perform some outward action. Thus it is related of Samson (Judges 15:14) that "the Spirit of the Lord came strongly upon him, and as the flax ['Lina.' St. Thomas apparently read 'ligna' ('wood')] is wont to be consumed at the approach of fire, so the bands with which he was bound were broken and loosed." The second degree of prophecy is when a man is enlightened by an inward light so as to know certain things, which, however, do not go beyond the bounds of natural knowledge: thus it is related of Solomon (1 Kings 4:32-33) that "he spoke . . . parables . . . and he treated about trees from the cedar that is in Libanus unto the hyssop that cometh out of the wall, and he discoursed of beasts and of fowls, and of creeping things and of fishes": and all of this came from divine inspiration, for it was stated previously (1 Kings 4:29): "God gave to Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much." Nevertheless these two degrees are beneath prophecy properly so called, because they do not attain to supernatural truth. The prophecy wherein supernatural truth is manifested through imaginary vision is differentiated first according to the difference between dreams which occur during sleep, and vision which occurs while one is awake. The latter belongs to a higher degree of prophecy, since the prophetic light that draws the soul away to supernatural things while it is awake and occupied with sensible things would seem to be stronger than that which finds a man's soul asleep and withdrawn from objects of sense. Secondly the degrees of this prophecy are differentiated according to the expressiveness of the imaginary signs whereby the intelligible truth is conveyed. And since words are the most expressive signs of intelligible truth, it would seem to be a higher degree of prophecy when the prophet, whether awake or asleep, hears words expressive of an intelligible truth, than when he sees things significative of truth, for instance "the seven full ears of corn" signified "seven years of plenty" (Genesis 41:22-26). On such like signs prophecy would seem to be the more excellent, according as the signs are more expressive, for instance when Jeremias saw the burning of the city under the figure of a boiling cauldron (Jeremiah 1:13). Thirdly, it is evidently a still higher degree of prophecy when a prophet not only sees signs of words or deeds, but also, either awake or asleep, sees someone speaking or showing something to him, since this proves the prophet's mind to have approached nearer to the cause of the revelation. Fourthly, the height of a degree of prophecy may be measured according to the appearance of the person seen: for it is a higher degree of prophecy, if he who speaks or shows something to the waking or sleeping prophet be seen by him under the form of an angel, than if he be seen by him under the form of man: and higher still is it, if he be seen by the prophet whether asleep or awake, under the appearance of God, according to Isaiah 6:1, "I saw the Lord sitting." But above all these degrees there is a third kind of prophecy, wherein an intelligible and supernatural truth is shown without any imaginary vision. However, this goes beyond the bounds of prophecy properly so called, as stated above (2, ad 3); and consequently the degrees of prophecy are properly distinguished according to imaginary vision.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod discretio luminis intelligibilis non potest a nobis cognosci nisi secundum quod iudicatur per aliqua signa imaginaria vel sensibilia. Et ideo ex diversitate imaginatorum perpenditur diversitas intellectualis luminis. Reply to Objection 1. We are unable to know how to distinguish the intellectual light, except by means of imaginary or sensible signs. Hence the difference in the intellectual light is gathered from the difference in the things presented to the imagination.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, prophetia non est per modum habitus immanentis, sed magis per modum passionis transeuntis. Unde non est inconveniens quod uni et eidem prophetae fiat revelatio prophetica diversis vicibus secundum diversos gradus. Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (Question 171, Article 2), prophecy is by way, not of an abiding habit, but of a transitory passion; wherefore there is nothing inconsistent if one and the same prophet, at different times, receive various degrees of prophetic revelation.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod dicta et facta de quibus ibi fit mentio, non pertinent ad revelationem prophetiae, sed ad denuntiationem, quae fit secundum dispositionem eorum quibus denuntiatur id quod prophetae revelatum est; et hoc fit quandoque per dicta, quandoque per facta. Denuntiatio autem et operatio miraculorum consequenter se habent ad prophetiam, ut supra dictum est. Reply to Objection 3. The words and deeds mentioned there do not pertain to the prophetic revelation, but to the announcement, which is made according to the disposition of those to whom that which is revealed to the prophet is announced; and this is done sometimes by words, sometimes by deeds. Now this announcement, and the working of miracles, are something consequent upon prophecy, as stated above (Question 171, Article 1).
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Moyses non fuerit excellentior omnibus prophetis. Dicit enim Glossa, in principio Psalterii, quod David dicitur propheta per excellentiam. Non ergo Moyses fuit excellentissimus omnium. Objection 1. It would seem that Moses was not the greatest of the prophets. For a gloss at the beginning of the Psalter says that "David is called the prophet by way of excellence." Therefore Moses was not the greatest of all.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, maiora miracula facta sunt per Iosue, qui fecit stare solem et lunam, ut habetur Iosue X, et per Isaiam, qui fecit retrocedere solem, ut habetur Isaiae XXXVIII, quam per Moysen, qui divisit mare rubrum. Similiter etiam per Eliam, de quo dicitur, Eccli. XLVIII, quis poterit tibi similiter gloriari, qui sustulisti mortuum ab Inferis? Non ergo Moyses fuit excellentissimus prophetarum. Objection 2. Further, greater miracles were wrought by Josue, who made the sun and moon to stand still (Joshua 10:12-14), and by Isaias, who made the sun to turn back (Isaiah 38:8), than by Moses, who divided the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). On like manner greater miracles were wrought by Elias, of whom it is written (Sirach 48:4-5): "Who can glory like to thee? Who raisedst up a dead man from below." Therefore Moses was not the greatest of the prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, Matth. XI dicitur quod inter natos mulierum non surrexit maior Ioanne Baptista. Non ergo Moyses fuit excellentior omnibus prophetis. Objection 3. Further, it is written (Matthew 11:11) that "there hath not risen, among them that are born of women, a greater than John the Baptist." Therefore Moses was not greater than all the prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Deut. ult., non surrexit propheta ultra in Israel sicut Moyses. On the contrary, It is written (Deuteronomy 34:10): "There arose no more a prophet in Israel like unto Moses."
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, licet quantum ad aliquid aliquis alius prophetarum fuerit maior Moyse, simpliciter tamen Moyses fuit omnibus maior. In prophetia enim, sicut ex praedictis patet, consideratur et cognitio, tam secundum visionem intellectualem quam secundum visionem imaginariam; et denuntiatio; et confirmatio per miracula. Moyses ergo fuit aliis excellentior, primo quidem, quantum ad visionem intellectualem, eo quod vidit ipsam Dei essentiam, sicut Paulus in raptu; sicut Augustinus dicit, XII super Gen. ad Litt. Unde dicitur, Num. XII, quod palam, non per aenigmata Deum videt. Secundo, quantum ad imaginariam visionem, quam quasi ad nutum habebat, non solum audiens verba, sed etiam videns loquentem, etiam in specie Dei, non solum in dormiendo, sed etiam in vigilando. Unde dicitur Exod. XXXIII, quod loquebatur ei dominus facie ad faciem, sicut homo solet loqui cum amico suo. Tertio, quantum ad denuntiationem, quia loquebatur toti populo fidelium ex persona Dei quasi de novo legem proponens; alii vero prophetae loquebantur ad populum in persona Dei quasi inducentes ad observantiam legis Moysi, secundum illud Malach. IV, mementote legis Moysi, servi mei. Quarto, quantum ad operationem miraculorum, quae fecit toti uni populo infidelium. Unde dicitur Deut. ult., non surrexit ultra propheta in Israel sicut Moyses, quem nosset dominus facie ad faciem, in omnibus signis atque portentis quae per eum misit ut faceret in terra Aegypti, Pharaoni et omnibus servis eius, universaeque terrae illius. I answer that, Although in some respect one or other of the prophets was greater than Moses, yet Moses was simply the greatest of all. For, as stated above (3; 171, 1), in prophecy we may consider not only the knowledge, whether by intellectual or by imaginary vision, but also the announcement and the confirmation by miracles. Accordingly Moses was greater than the other prophets. First, as regards the intellectual vision, since he saw God's very essence, even as Paul in his rapture did, according to Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 27). Hence it is written (Numbers 12:8) that he saw God "plainly and not by riddles." Secondly, as regards the imaginary vision, which he had at his call, as it were, for not only did he hear words, but also saw one speaking to him under the form of God, and this not only while asleep, but even when he was awake. Hence it is written (Exodus 33:11) that "the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man is wont to speak to his friend." Thirdly, as regards the working of miracles which he wrought on a whole nation of unbelievers. Wherefore it is written (Deuteronomy 34:10-11): "There arose no more a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face: in all the signs and wonders, which He sent by him, to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to his whole land."
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod prophetia David ex propinquo attingit visionem Moysi quantum ad visionem intellectualem, quia uterque accepit revelationem intelligibilis et supernaturalis veritatis absque imaginaria visione. Visio tamen Moysi fuit excellentior quantum ad cognitionem divinitatis, sed David plenius cognovit et expressit mysteria incarnationis Christi. Reply to Objection 1. The prophecy of David approaches near to the vision of Moses, as regards the intellectual vision, because both received a revelation of intelligible and supernatural truth, without any imaginary vision. Yet the vision of Moses was more excellent as regards the knowledge of the Godhead; while David more fully knew and expressed the mysteries of Christ's incarnation.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod illa signa illorum prophetarum fuerunt maiora secundum substantiam facti, sed tamen miracula Moysi fuerunt maiora secundum modum faciendi, quia sunt facta toti populo. Reply to Objection 2. These signs of the prophets mentioned were greater as to the substance of the thing done; yet the miracles of Moses were greater as regards the way in which they were done, since they were wrought on a whole people.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Ioannes pertinet ad novum testamentum, cuius ministri praeferuntur etiam ipsi Moysi, quasi magis revelate speculantes, ut habetur II ad Cor. III. Reply to Objection 3. John belongs to the New Testament, whose ministers take precedence even of Moses, since they are spectators of a fuller revelation, as stated in 2 Corinthians 3.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 arg. 1 Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod etiam aliquis gradus prophetiae est in beatis. Moyses enim, ut dictum est, vidit divinam essentiam. Qui tamen propheta dicitur. Ergo, pari ratione, beati possunt dici prophetae. Objection 1. It would seem that there is a degree of prophecy in the blessed. For, as stated above (Article 4), Moses saw the Divine essence, and yet he is called a prophet. Therefore in like manner the blessed can be called prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 arg. 2 Praeterea, prophetia est divina revelatio. Sed divinae revelationes fiunt etiam Angelis beatis. Ergo etiam Angeli beati possunt dici prophetae. Objection 2. Further, prophecy is a "divine revelation." Now divine revelations are made even to the blessed angels. Therefore even blessed angels can be prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 arg. 3 Praeterea, Christus ab instanti conceptionis fuit comprehensor. Et tamen ipse prophetam se nominat, Matth. XIII, ubi dicit, non est propheta sine honore nisi in patria sua. Ergo etiam comprehensores et beati possunt dici prophetae. Objection 3. Further, Christ was a comprehensor from the moment of His conception; and yet He calls Himself a prophet (Matthew 13:57), when He says: "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country." Therefore even comprehensors and the blessed can be called prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 arg. 4 Praeterea, de Samuele dicitur, Eccli. XLVI, exaltavit vocem eius de terra in prophetia, delere impietatem gentis. Ergo, eadem ratione, alii sancti post mortem possunt dici prophetae. Objection 4. Further, it is written of Samuel (Sirach 46:23): "He lifted up his voice from the earth in prophecy to blot out the wickedness of the nation." Therefore other saints can likewise be called prophets after they have died.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 s. c. Sed contra est quod II Pet. I, sermo propheticus comparatur lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco. Sed in beatis nulla est caligo. Ergo non possunt dici prophetae. On the contrary, The prophetic word is compared (2 Peter 1:19) to a "light that shineth in a dark place." Now there is no darkness in the blessed. Therefore they cannot be called prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 co. Respondeo dicendum quod prophetia importat visionem quandam alicuius supernaturalis veritatis ut procul existentis. Quod quidem contingit esse dupliciter. Uno modo, ex parte ipsius cognitionis, quia videlicet veritas supernaturalis non cognoscitur in seipsa, sed in aliquibus suis effectibus. Et adhuc erit magis procul si hoc fit per figuras corporalium rerum, quam per intelligibiles effectus. Et talis maxime est visio prophetica quae fit per similitudines corporalium rerum. Alio modo visio est procul ex parte ipsius videntis, qui scilicet non est totaliter in ultimam perfectionem adductus, secundum illud II ad Cor. V, quandiu in corpore sumus, peregrinamur a domino. Neutro autem modo beati sunt procul. Unde non possunt dici prophetae. I answer that, Prophecy denotes vision of some supernatural truth as being far remote from us. This happens in two ways. First, on the part of the knowledge itself, because, to wit, the supernatural truth is not known in itself, but in some of its effects; and this truth will be more remote if it be known by means of images of corporeal things, than if it be known in its intelligible effects; and such most of all is the prophetic vision, which is conveyed by images and likenesses of corporeal things. Secondly, vision is remote on the part of the seer, because, to wit, he has not yet attained completely to his ultimate perfection, according to 2 Corinthians 5:6, "While we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord." Now in neither of these ways are the blessed remote; wherefore they cannot be called prophets.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod visio illa Moysi fuit raptim, per modum passionis, non autem permanens, per modum beatitudinis. Unde adhuc videns erat procul. Propter hoc, non totaliter talis visio amittit rationem prophetiae. Reply to Objection 1. This vision of Moses was interrupted after the manner of a passion, and was not permanent like the beatific vision, wherefore he was as yet a seer from afar. For this reason his vision did not entirely lose the character of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod Angelis fit revelatio divina non sicut procul existentibus, sed sicut iam totaliter Deo coniunctis. Unde talis revelatio non habet rationem prophetiae. Reply to Objection 2. The divine revelation is made to the angels, not as being far distant, but as already wholly united to God; wherefore their revelation has not the character of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Christus simul erat comprehensor et viator. Inquantum ergo erat comprehensor, non competit sibi ratio prophetiae, sed solum inquantum erat viator. Reply to Objection 3. Christ was at the same time comprehensor and wayfarer [Cf. III, 9, seqq.]. Consequently the notion of prophecy is not applicable to Him as a comprehensor, but only as a wayfarer.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 5 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod etiam Samuel nondum pervenerat ad statum beatitudinis. Unde et, si voluntate Dei ipsa anima Samuelis Sauli eventum belli praenuntiavit, Deo sibi hoc revelante, pertinet ad rationem prophetiae. Non est autem eadem ratio de sanctis qui sunt modo in patria. Nec obstat quod arte Daemonum hoc dicitur factum. Quia etsi Daemones animam alicuius sancti evocare non possunt, neque cogere ad aliquid agendum; potest tamen hoc fieri divina virtute ut, dum Daemon consulitur, ipse Deus per suum nuntium veritatem enuntiat, sicut per Eliam veritatem respondit nuntiis regis qui mittebantur ad consulendum Deum Accaron, ut habetur IV Reg. I. Quamvis etiam dici possit quod non fuerit anima Samuelis, sed Daemon ex persona eius loquens, quem sapiens Samuelem nominat, et eius praenuntiationem prophetiam, secundum opinionem Saulis et adstantium, qui ita opinabantur. Reply to Objection 4. Samuel had not yet attained to the state of blessedness. Wherefore although by God's will the soul itself of Samuel foretold to Saul the issue of the war as revealed to him by God, this pertains to the nature of prophecy. It is not the same with the saints who are now in heaven. Nor does it make any difference that this is stated to have been brought about by the demons' art, because although the demons are unable to evoke the soul of a saint, or to force it to do any particular thing, this can be done by the power of God, so that when the demon is consulted, God Himself declares the truth by His messenger: even as He gave a true answer by Elias to the King's messengers who were sent to consult the god of Accaron (2 Kings 1). It might also be replied [The Book of Ecclesiasticus was not as yet declared by the Church to be Canonical Scripture; Cf. I, 89, 8, ad 2] that it was not the soul of Samuel, but a demon impersonating him; and that the wise man calls him Samuel, and describes his prediction as prophetic, in accordance with the thoughts of Saul and the bystanders who were of this opinion.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 arg. 1 Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod gradus prophetiae varientur secundum temporis processum. Prophetia enim ordinatur ad cognitionem divinorum, ut ex dictis patet. Sed sicut Gregorius dicit, per successiones temporum crevit divinae cognitionis augmentum. Ergo et gradus prophetiae secundum processum temporum debent distingui. Objection 1. It would seem that the degrees of prophecy change as time goes on. For prophecy is directed to the knowledge of Divine things, as stated above (Article 2). Now according to Gregory (Hom. in Ezech.), "knowledge of God went on increasing as time went on." Therefore degrees of prophecy should be distinguished according to the process of time.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 arg. 2 Praeterea, revelatio prophetica fit per modum divinae allocutionis ad hominem, a prophetis autem ea quae sunt eis revelata denuntiantur et verbo et scripto. Dicitur autem I Reg. III, quod ante Samuelem, sermo domini erat pretiosus, idest rarus, qui tamen postea ad multos factus est. Similiter etiam non inveniuntur libri prophetarum esse conscripti ante tempus Isaiae, cui dictum est, sume tibi librum grandem, et scribe in eo stylo hominis, ut patet Isaiae VIII, post quod tempus plures prophetae suas prophetias conscripserunt. Ergo videtur quod secundum processum temporum profecerit prophetiae gradus. Objection 2. Further, prophetic revelation is conveyed by God speaking to man; while the prophets declared both in words and in writing the things revealed to them. Now it is written (1 Samuel 3:1) that before the time of Samuel "the word of the Lord was precious," i.e. rare; and yet afterwards it was delivered to many. On like manner the books of the prophets do not appear to have been written before the time of Isaias, to whom it was said (Isaiah 8:1): "Take thee a great book and write in it with a man's pen," after which many prophets wrote their prophecies. Therefore it would seem that in course of time the degree of prophecy made progress.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 arg. 3 Praeterea, dominus dicit, Matth. XI, lex et prophetae usque ad Ioannem prophetaverunt. Postmodum autem fuit donum prophetiae in discipulis Christi multo excellentius quam fuerit in antiquis prophetis, secundum illud Ephes. III, aliis generationibus non est agnitum filiis hominum, scilicet mysterium Christi, sicut nunc revelatum est sanctis apostolis eius et prophetis in spiritu. Ergo videtur quod secundum processum temporis creverit prophetiae gradus. Objection 3. Further, our Lord said (Matthew 11:13): "The prophets and the law prophesied until John"; and afterwards the gift of prophecy was in Christ's disciples in a much more excellent manner than in the prophets of old, according to Ephesians 3:5, "In other generations" the mystery of Christ "was not known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit." Therefore it would seem that in course of time the degree of prophecy advanced.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 s. c. Sed contra est quia Moyses fuit excellentissimus prophetarum, ut dictum est, qui tamen alios prophetas praecessit. Ergo gradus prophetiae non profecit secundum temporis processum. On the contrary, As stated above (Article 4), Moses was the greatest of the prophets, and yet he preceded the other prophets. Therefore prophecy did not advance in degree as time went on.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, prophetia ordinatur ad cognitionem divinae veritatis, per cuius contemplationem non solum in fide instruimur, sed etiam in nostris operibus gubernamur, secundum illud Psalmi, emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam, ipsa me deduxerunt. Fides autem nostra in duobus principaliter consistit, primo quidem in vera Dei cognitione, secundum illud Heb. XI, accedentem ad Deum oportet credere quia est; secundo, in mysterio incarnationis Christi, secundum illud Ioan. XIV, creditis in Deum, et in me credite. Si ergo de prophetia loquamur inquantum ordinatur ad fidem deitatis, sic quidem crevit secundum tres temporum distinctiones, scilicet ante legem, sub lege, et sub gratia. Nam ante legem, Abraham et alii patres prophetice sunt instructi de his quae pertinent ad fidem deitatis. Unde et prophetae nominantur, secundum illud Psalmi, in prophetis meis nolite malignari, quod specialiter dicitur propter Abraham et Isaac. Sub lege autem, facta est revelatio prophetica de his quae pertinent ad fidem deitatis excellentius quam ante, quia iam oportebat circa hoc instrui non solum speciales personas aut quasdam familias, sed totum populum. Unde dominus dicit Moysi, Exod. VI, ego dominus, qui apparui Abraham, Isaac et Iacob in Deo omnipotente, et nomen meum Adonai non indicavi eis, quia scilicet praecedentes patres fuerunt instructi in communi de omnipotentia unius Dei, sed Moyses postea plenius fuit instructus de simplicitate divinae essentiae, cum dictum est ei, Exod. III, ego sum qui sum; quod quidem nomen significatur a Iudaeis per hoc nomen Adonai, propter venerationem illius ineffabilis nominis. Postmodum vero, tempore gratiae, ab ipso filio Dei revelatum est mysterium Trinitatis, secundum illud Matth. ult., euntes, docete omnes gentes, baptizantes eos in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. In singulis tamen statibus prima revelatio excellentior fuit. Prima autem revelatio ante legem facta est Abrahae, cuius tempore coeperunt homines a fide unius Dei deviare, ad idololatriam declinando, ante autem non erat necessaria talis revelatio, omnibus in cultu unius Dei persistentibus. Isaac vero facta est inferior revelatio, quasi fundata super revelatione facta Abrahae, unde dictum est ei, Gen. XXVI, ego sum Deus patris tui Abraham. Et similiter ad Iacob dictum, Gen. XXVIII, ego sum Deus Abraham, patris tui, et Deus Isaac. Similiter etiam in statu legis, prima revelatio facta Moysi fuit excellentior, supra quam fundatur omnis alia prophetarum revelatio. Ita etiam in tempore gratiae, super revelatione facta apostolis de fide unitatis et Trinitatis fundatur tota fides Ecclesiae, secundum illud Matth. XVI, super hanc petram, scilicet confessionis tuae, aedificabo Ecclesiam meam. Quantum vero ad fidem incarnationis Christi, manifestum est quod quanto fuerunt Christo propinquiores, sive ante sive post, ut plurimum, plenius de hoc instructi fuerunt. Post tamen plenius quam ante, ut apostolus dicit, ad Ephes. III. Quantum vero ad directionem humanorum actuum, prophetica revelatio diversificata est, non secundum temporis processum, sed secundum conditionem negotiorum, quia, ut dicitur Prov. XXIX, cum defecerit prophetia, dissipabitur populus. Et ideo quolibet tempore instructi sunt homines divinitus de agendis, secundum quod erat expediens ad salutem electorum. I answer that, As stated above (Article 2), prophecy is directed to the knowledge of Divine truth, by the contemplation of which we are not only instructed in faith, but also guided in our actions, according to Psalm 42:3, "Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me." Now our faith consists chiefly in two things: first, in the true knowledge of God, according to Hebrews 11:6, "He that cometh to God must believe that He is"; secondly, in the mystery of Christ's incarnation, according to John 14:1, "You believe in God, believe also in Me." Accordingly, if we speak of prophecy as directed to the Godhead as its end, it progressed according to three divisions of time, namely before the law, under the law, and under grace. For before the law, Abraham and the other patriarchs were prophetically taught things pertinent to faith in the Godhead. Hence they are called prophets, according to Psalm 104:15, "Do no evil to My prophets," which words are said especially on behalf of Abraham and Isaac. Under the Law prophetic revelation of things pertinent to faith in the Godhead was made in a yet more excellent way than hitherto, because then not only certain special persons or families but the whole people had to be instructed in these matters. Hence the Lord said to Moses (Exodus 6:2-3): "I am the Lord that appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God almighty, and My name Adonai I did not show to them"; because previously the patriarchs had been taught to believe in a general way in God, one and Almighty, while Moses was more fully instructed in the simplicity of the Divine essence, when it was said to him (Exodus 3:14): "I am Who am"; and this name is signified by Jews in the word "Adonai" on account of their veneration for that unspeakable name. Afterwards in the time of grace the mystery of the Trinity was revealed by the Son of God Himself, according to Matthew 28:19: "Going . . . teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In each state, however, the most excellent revelation was that which was given first. Now the first revelation, before the Law, was given to Abraham, for it was at that time that men began to stray from faith in one God by turning aside to idolatry, whereas hitherto no such revelation was necessary while all persevered in the worship of one God. A less excellent revelation was made to Isaac, being founded on that which was made to Abraham. Wherefore it was said to him (Genesis 26:24): "I am the God of Abraham thy father," and in like manner to Jacob (Genesis 28:13): "I am the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac." Again in the state of the Law the first revelation which was given to Moses was more excellent, and on this revelation all the other revelations to the prophets were founded. And so, too, in the time of grace the entire faith of the Church is founded on the revelation vouchsafed to the apostles, concerning the faith in one God and three Persons, according to Matthew 16:18, "On this rock," i.e. of thy confession, "I will build My Church." As to the faith in Christ's incarnation, it is evident that the nearer men were to Christ, whether before or after Him, the more fully, for the most part, were they instructed on this point, and after Him more fully than before, as the Apostle declares (Ephesians 3:5). As regards the guidance of human acts, the prophetic revelation varied not according to the course of time, but according as circumstances required, because as it is written (Proverbs 29:18), "When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered abroad." Wherefore at all times men were divinely instructed about what they were to do, according as it was expedient for the spiritual welfare of the elect.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod dictum Gregorii est intelligendum de tempore ante Christi incarnationem, quantum ad cognitionem huius mysterii. Reply to Objection 1. The saying of Gregory is to be referred to the time before Christ's incarnation, as regards the knowledge of this mystery.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod sicut Augustinus dicit, XVIII de Civ. Dei, quemadmodum regni Assyriorum primo tempore extitit Abraham, cui promissiones apertissimae fierent; ita in Occidentalis Babylonis, idest Romanae urbis, exordio qua imperante fuerat Christus venturus, in quo implerentur illa promissa, oracula prophetarum, non solum loquentium verum etiam scribentium, in tantae rei futurae testimonium, solverentur, scilicet promissiones Abrahae factae. Cum enim prophetae nunquam fere defuissent populo Israel ex quo ibi reges esse coeperunt, in usum tantummodo eorum fuere, non gentium. Quando autem Scriptura manifestius prophetica condebatur, quae gentibus quandoque prodesset, tunc condebatur haec civitas, scilicet Romana, quae gentibus imperaret. Ideo autem maxime tempore regum oportuit prophetas in illo populo abundare, quia tunc populus non opprimebatur ab alienigenis, sed proprium regem habebat, et ideo oportebat per prophetas eum instrui de agendis, quasi libertatem habentem. Reply to Objection 2. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xviii, 27), "just as in the early days of the Assyrian kingdom promises were made most explicitly to Abraham, so at the outset of the western Babylon," which is Rome, "and under its sway Christ was to come, in Whom were to be fulfilled the promises made through the prophetic oracles testifying in word and writing to that great event to come," the promises, namely, which were made to Abraham. "For while prophets were scarcely ever lacking to the people of Israel from the time that they began to have kings, it was exclusively for their benefit, not for that of the nations. But when those prophetic writings were being set up with greater publicity, which at some future time were to benefit the nations, it was fitting to begin when this city," Rome to wit, "was being built, which was to govern the nations." The reason why it behooved that nation to have a number of prophets especially at the time of the kings, was that then it was not over-ridden by other nations, but had its own king; wherefore it behooved the people, as enjoying liberty, to have prophets to teach them what to do.
IIª-IIae q. 174 a. 6 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod prophetae praenuntiantes Christi adventum non potuerunt durare nisi usque ad Ioannem, qui praesentialiter Christum digito demonstravit. Et tamen, ut Hieronymus ibidem dicit, non hoc dicitur ut post Ioannem excludat prophetas, legimus enim in actibus apostolorum et Agabum prophetasse, et quatuor virgines filias Philippi. Ioannes etiam librum propheticum conscripsit de fine Ecclesiae. Et singulis temporibus non defuerunt aliqui prophetiae spiritum habentes, non quidem ad novam doctrinam fidei depromendam, sed ad humanorum actuum directionem, sicut Augustinus refert, V de Civ. Dei, quod Theodosius Augustus ad Ioannem in Aegypti eremo constitutum, quem prophetandi spiritu praeditum fama crebrescente didicerat, misit, et ab eo nuntium victoriae certissimum accepit. Reply to Objection 3. The prophets who foretold the coming of Christ could not continue further than John, who with his finger pointed to Christ actually present. Nevertheless as Jerome says on this passage, "This does not mean that there were no more prophets after John. For we read in the Acts of the Apostles that Agabus and the four maidens, daughters of Philip, prophesied." John, too, wrote a prophetic book about the end of the Church; and at all times there have not been lacking persons having the spirit of prophecy, not indeed for the declaration of any new doctrine of faith, but for the direction of human acts. Thus Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 26) that "the emperor Theodosius sent to John who dwelt in the Egyptian desert, and whom he knew by his ever-increasing fame to be endowed with the prophetic spirit: and from him he received a message assuring him of victory."

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