Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q176

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Q175 Q177

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IIª-IIae q. 176 pr. Deinde considerandum est de gratiis gratis datis quae pertinent ad locutionem. Et primo, de gratia linguarum; secundo, de gratia sermonis sapientiae seu scientiae. Circa primum quaeruntur duo. Primo, utrum per gratiam linguarum homo adipisceretur scientiam omnium linguarum. Secundo, de comparatione huius doni ad gratiam prophetiae. Question 176. The grace of tongues 1. Does a man, by the grace of tongues, acquire the knowledge of all languages? 2. The comparison between this gift and the grace of prophecy
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod illi qui consequebantur donum linguarum, non loquebantur omnibus linguis. Illud enim quod divina virtute aliquibus conceditur, optimum est in suo genere, sicut dominus aquam convertit in vinum bonum, sicut dicitur Ioan. II. Sed illi qui habuerunt donum linguarum, melius loquebantur in propria lingua, dicit enim Glossa, ad Heb. I, non esse mirandum quod epistola ad Hebraeos maiore relucet facundia quam aliae, cum naturale sit unicuique plus in sua quam in aliena lingua valere. Ceteras enim epistolas apostolus peregrino, idest Graeco sermone composuit, hanc autem scripsit Hebraica lingua. Non ergo per gratiam gratis datam apostoli acceperunt scientiam omnium linguarum. Objection 1. It seems that those who received the gift of tongues did not speak in every language. For that which is granted to certain persons by the divine power is the best of its kind: thus our Lord turned the water into good wine, as stated in John 2:10. Now those who had the gift of tongues spoke better in their own language; since a gloss on Hebrews 1, says that "it is not surprising that the epistle to the Hebrews is more graceful in style than the other epistles, since it is natural for a man to have more command over his own than over a strange language. For the Apostle wrote the other epistles in a foreign, namely the Greek, idiom; whereas he wrote this in the Hebrew tongue." Therefore the apostles did not receive the knowledge of all languages by a gratuitous grace.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, natura non facit per multa quod potest fieri per unum, et multo minus Deus, qui ordinatius quam natura operatur. Sed poterat Deus facere quod, unam linguam loquentes, eius discipuli ab omnibus intelligerentur, unde super illud Act. II, audiebat unusquisque linguam suam illos loquentes, dicit Glossa, quia linguis omnibus loquebantur, vel sua, idest Hebraica lingua loquentes, ab omnibus intelligebantur, ac si propriis singulorum loquerentur. Ergo videtur quod non habuerunt scientiam loquendi omnibus linguis. Objection 2. Further, nature does not employ many means where one is sufficient; and much less does God Whose work is more orderly than nature's. Now God could make His disciples to be understood by all, while speaking one tongue: hence a gloss on Acts 2:6, "Every man heard them speak in his own tongue," says that "they spoke in every tongue, or speaking in their own, namely the Hebrew language, were understood by all, as though they spoke the language proper to each." Therefore it would seem that they had not the knowledge to speak in all languages.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, omnes gratiae derivantur a Christo in corpus eius, quod est Ecclesia, secundum illud Ioan. I, de plenitudine eius omnes accepimus. Sed Christus non legitur fuisse locutus nisi una lingua. Nec etiam nunc fideles singuli nisi una lingua loquuntur. Ergo videtur quod discipuli Christi non acceperunt ad hoc gratiam, ut omnibus linguis loquerentur. Objection 3. Further, all graces flow from Christ to His body, which is the Church, according to John 1:16, "Of His fullness we all have received." Now we do not read that Christ spoke more than one language, nor does each one of the faithful now speak save in one tongue. Therefore it would seem that Christ's disciples did not receive the grace to the extent of speaking in all languages.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Act. II, quod repleti sunt omnes spiritu sancto, et coeperunt loqui variis linguis, prout spiritus sanctus dabat eloqui illis, ubi dicit Glossa Gregorii quod spiritus sanctus super discipulos in igneis linguis apparuit, et eis omnium linguarum scientiam dedit. On the contrary, It is written (Acts 2:4) that "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak"; on which passage a gloss of Gregory [Hom. xxx in Ev.] says that "the Holy Ghost appeared over the disciples under the form of fiery tongues, and gave them the knowledge of all tongues."
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod primi discipuli Christi ad hoc fuerunt ab ipso electi ut, per universum orbem discurrentes, fidem eius ubique praedicarent, secundum illud Matth. ult., euntes, docete omnes gentes. Non autem erat conveniens ut qui mittebantur ad alios instruendos, indigerent ab aliis instrui qualiter aliis loquerentur, vel qualiter quae alii loquebantur intelligerent. Praesertim quia isti qui mittebantur erant unius gentis, scilicet Iudaeae, secundum illud Isaiae XXVII, qui egredientur impetu a Iacob, implebunt faciem orbis semine. Illi etiam qui mittebantur pauperes et impotentes erant, nec de facili a principio reperissent qui eorum verba aliis fideliter interpretarentur, vel verba aliorum eis exponerent, maxime quia ad infideles mittebantur. Et ideo necessarium fuit ut super hoc eis divinitus provideretur per donum linguarum, ut sicut, gentibus ad idololatriam declinantibus, introducta est diversitas linguarum sicut dicitur Gen. XI; ita etiam, quando erant gentes ad cultum unius Dei revocandae, contra huiusmodi diversitatem remedium adhiberetur per donum linguarum. I answer that, Christ's first disciples were chosen by Him in order that they might disperse throughout the whole world, and preach His faith everywhere, according to Matthew 28:19, "Going . . . teach ye all nations." Now it was not fitting that they who were being sent to teach others should need to be taught by others, either as to how they should speak to other people, or as to how they were to understand those who spoke to them; and all the more seeing that those who were being sent were of one nation, that of Judea, according to Isaiah 27:6, "When they shall rush out from Jacob [Vulgate: 'When they shall rush in unto Jacob,' etc.] . . . they shall fill the face of the world with seed." Moreover those who were being sent were poor and powerless; nor at the outset could they have easily found someone to interpret their words faithfully to others, or to explain what others said to them, especially as they were sent to unbelievers. Consequently it was necessary, in this respect, that God should provide them with the gift of tongues; in order that, as the diversity of tongues was brought upon the nations when they fell away to idolatry, according to Genesis 11, so when the nations were to be recalled to the worship of one God a remedy to this diversity might be applied by the gift of tongues.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut dicitur I ad Cor. XII, manifestatio spiritus datur ad utilitatem. Et ideo sufficienter et Paulus et alii apostoli fuerunt instructi divinitus in linguis omnium gentium, quantum requirebatur ad fidei doctrinam. Sed quantum ad quaedam quae superadduntur humana arte ad ornatum et elegantiam locutionis, apostolus instructus erat in propria lingua, non autem in aliena. Sicut etiam et in sapientia et scientia fuerunt sufficienter instructi quantum requirebat doctrina fidei, non autem quantum ad omnia quae per scientiam acquisitam cognoscuntur, puta de conclusionibus arithmeticae vel geometriae. Reply to Objection 1. As it is written (1 Corinthians 12:7), "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit"; and consequently both Paul and the other apostles were divinely instructed in the languages of all nations sufficiently for the requirements of the teaching of the faith. But as regards the grace and elegance of style which human art adds to a language, the Apostle was instructed in his own, but not in a foreign tongue. Even so they were sufficiently instructed in wisdom and scientific knowledge, as required for teaching the faith, but not as to all things known by acquired science, for instance the conclusions of arithmetic and geometry.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, quamvis utrumque fieri potuisset, scilicet quod per unam linguam loquentes ab omnibus intelligerentur, aut quod omnibus loquerentur; tamen convenientius fuit quod ipsi omnibus linguis loquerentur, quia hoc pertinebat ad perfectionem scientiae ipsorum, per quam non solum loqui, sed intelligere poterant quae ab aliis dicebantur. Si autem omnes unam eorum linguam intellexissent, hoc vel fuisset per scientiam illorum qui eos loquentes intelligerent, vel fuisset quasi quaedam illusio, dum aliorum verba aliter ad aliorum aures perferrentur quam ipsi ea proferrent. Et ideo Glossa dicit, Act. II, quod maiori miraculo factum est quod ipsi omnium linguarum generibus loquerentur. Et Paulus dicit, I ad Cor. XIV, gratias Deo, quod omnium vestrum lingua loquor. Reply to Objection 2. Although either was possible, namely that, while speaking in one tongue they should be understood by all, or that they should speak in all tongues, it was more fitting that they should speak in all tongues, because this pertained to the perfection of their knowledge, whereby they were able not only to speak, but also to understand what was said by others. Whereas if their one language were intelligible to all, this would either have been due to the knowledge of those who understood their speech, or it would have amounted to an illusion, since a man's words would have had a different sound in another's ears, from that with which they were uttered. Hence a gloss says on Acts 2:6 that "it was a greater miracle that they should speak all kinds of tongues"; and Paul says (1 Corinthians 14:18): "I thank my God I speak with all your tongues."
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Christus in propria persona uni soli genti praedicaturus erat, scilicet Iudaeis. Et ideo, quamvis ipse absque dubio perfectissime haberet scientiam omnium linguarum, non tamen oportuit quod omnibus linguis loqueretur. Ideo autem, ut Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., cum et modo spiritus sanctus accipiatur, nemo loquitur linguis omnium gentium, quia iam ipsa Ecclesia linguis omnium gentium loquitur, in qua qui non est, non accipit spiritum sanctum. Reply to Objection 3. Christ in His own person purposed preaching to only one nation, namely the Jews. Consequently, although without any doubt He possessed most perfectly the knowledge of all languages, there was no need for Him to speak in every tongue. And therefore, as Augustine says (Tract. xxxii in Joan.), "whereas even now the Holy Ghost is received, yet no one speaks in the tongues of all nations, because the Church herself already speaks the languages of all nations: since whoever is not in the Church, receives not the Holy Ghost."
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod donum linguarum sit excellentius quam gratia prophetiae. Quae enim sunt melioribus propria, videntur esse meliora, secundum philosophum, in III Topic. Sed donum linguarum est proprium novi testamenti, unde cantatur in sequentia Pentecostes, ipse hodie apostolos Christi donans munere insolito et cunctis inaudito saeculis. Prophetia autem magis competit veteri testamento, secundum illud Heb. I, multifariam multisque modis olim Deus loquens patribus in prophetis. Ergo videtur quod donum linguarum sit excellentius quam donum prophetiae. Objection 1. It would seem that the gift of tongues is more excellent than the grace of prophecy. For, seemingly, better things are proper to better persons, according to the Philosopher (Topic. iii, 1). Now the gift of tongues is proper to the New Testament, hence we sing in the sequence of Pentecost [The sequence: 'Sancti Spiritus adsit nobis gratia' ascribed to King Robert of France, the reputed author of the 'Veni Sancte Spiritus.' Cf. Migne, Patr. Lat. tom. CXLI]: "On this day Thou gavest Christ's apostles an unwonted gift, a marvel to all time": whereas prophecy is more pertinent to the Old Testament, according to Hebrews 1:1, "God Who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets." Therefore it would seem that the gift of tongues is more excellent than the gift of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, illud per quod ordinamur ad Deum, videtur excellentius esse eo per quod ordinamur ad homines. Sed per donum linguarum homo ordinatur ad Deum, per prophetiam autem ad homines, dicitur enim I ad Cor. XIV, qui loquitur lingua, non hominibus loquitur, sed Deo, qui autem prophetat, hominibus loquitur ad aedificationem. Ergo videtur quod donum linguarum sit excellentius quam donum prophetiae. Objection 2. Further, that whereby we are directed to God is seemingly more excellent than that whereby we are directed to men. Now, by the gift of tongues, man is directed to God, whereas by prophecy he is directed to man; for it is written (1 Corinthians 14:2-3): "He that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God . . . but he that prophesieth, speaketh unto men unto edification." Therefore it would seem that the gift of tongues is more excellent than the gift of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, donum linguarum habitualiter permanet in habente ipsum, et habet homo in potestate uti eo cum voluerit, unde dicitur I ad Cor. XIV, gratias ago Deo meo quod omnium vestrum lingua loquor. Non autem sic est de dono prophetiae, ut supra dictum est. Ergo donum linguarum videtur esse excellentius quam donum prophetiae. Objection 3. Further, the gift of tongues abides like a habit in the person who has it, and "he can use it when he will"; wherefore it is written (1 Corinthians 14:18): "I thank my God I speak with all your tongues." But it is not so with the gift of prophecy, as stated above (Question 171, Article 2). Therefore the gift of tongues would seem to be more excellent than the gift of prophecy.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 arg. 4 Praeterea, interpretatio sermonum videtur contineri sub prophetia, quia Scripturae eodem spiritu exponuntur quo sunt editae. Sed interpretatio sermonum, I ad Cor. XII, ponitur post genera linguarum. Ergo videtur quod donum linguarum sit excellentius quam donum prophetiae, maxime quantum ad aliquam eius partem. Objection 4. Further, the "interpretation of speeches" would seem to be contained under prophecy, because the Scriptures are expounded by the same Spirit from Whom they originated. Now the interpretation of speeches is placed after "divers kinds of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:10). Therefore it seems that the gift of tongues is more excellent than the gift of prophecy, particularly as regards a part of the latter.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. XIV, maior est qui prophetat quam qui loquitur linguis. On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Corinthians 14:5): "Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues."
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod donum prophetiae excedit donum linguarum tripliciter. Primo quidem, quia donum linguarum refertur ad diversas voces proferendas, quae sunt signa alicuius intelligibilis veritatis, cuius etiam signa sunt quaedam ipsa phantasmata quae secundum imaginariam visionem apparent; unde et Augustinus, XII super Gen. ad Litt., comparat donum linguarum visioni imaginariae. Dictum est autem supra quod donum prophetiae consistit in ipsa illuminatione mentis ad cognoscendum intelligibilem veritatem. Unde sicut prophetica illuminatio excellentior est quam imaginaria visio, ut supra habitum est; ita etiam excellentior est prophetia quam donum linguarum secundum se consideratum. Secundo, quia donum prophetiae pertinet ad rerum notitiam, quae est nobilior quam notitia vocum, ad quam pertinet donum linguarum. Tertio, quia donum prophetiae est utilius. Et hoc quidem probat apostolus, I ad Cor. XIV, tripliciter. Primo quidem, quia prophetia est utilior ad aedificationem Ecclesiae, ad quam qui loquitur linguis nihil prodest, nisi expositio subsequatur. Secundo, quantum ad ipsum loquentem, qui si acciperet ut loqueretur diversis linguis sine hoc quod intelligeret (quod pertinet ad propheticum donum), mens eius non aedificaretur. Tertio, quantum ad infideles, propter quos praecipue videtur esse datum donum linguarum, qui quidem forte eos qui loquerentur linguis reputarent insanos; sicut et Iudaei reputaverunt ebrios apostolos linguis loquentes, ut dicitur Act. II. Per prophetias autem infidelis convinceretur, manifestatis absconditis cordis eius. I answer that, The gift of prophecy surpasses the gift of tongues, in three ways. First, because the gift of tongues regards the utterance of certain words, which signify an intelligible truth, and this again is signified by the phantasms which appear in an imaginary vision; wherefore Augustine compares (Gen. ad lit. xii, 8) the gift of tongues to an imaginary vision. On the other hand, it has been stated above (Question 173, Article 2) that the gift of prophecy consists in the mind itself being enlightened so as to know an intelligible truth. Wherefore, as the prophetic enlightenment is more excellent than the imaginary vision, as stated above (Question 174, Article 2), so also is prophecy more excellent than the gift of tongues considered in itself. Secondly, because the gift of prophecy regards the knowledge of things, which is more excellent than the knowledge of words, to which the gift of tongues pertains. Thirdly, because the gift of prophecy is more profitable. The Apostle proves this in three ways (1 Corinthians 14); first, because prophecy is more profitable to the edification of the Church, for which purpose he that speaketh in tongues profiteth nothing, unless interpretation follow (1 Corinthians 14:4-5). Secondly, as regards the speaker himself, for if he be enabled to speak in divers tongues without understanding them, which pertains to the gift of prophecy, his own mind would not be edified (1 Corinthians 14:7-14). Thirdly, as to unbelievers for whose especial benefit the gift of tongues seems to have been given; since perchance they might think those who speak in tongues to be mad (1 Corinthians 14:23), for instance the Jews deemed the apostles drunk when the latter spoke in various tongues (Acts 2:13): whereas by prophecies the unbeliever is convinced, because the secrets of his heart are made manifest (Acts 2:25).
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, ad excellentiam prophetiae pertinet quod aliquis non solum illuminetur intelligibili lumine, sed etiam percipiat imaginariam visionem. Ita etiam ad perfectionem operationis spiritus sancti pertinet quod non solum impleat mentem lumine prophetico et phantasiam imaginaria visione, sicut erat in veteri testamento, sed etiam exterius linguam erudiat ad varia signa locutionum proferenda. Quod totum fit in novo testamento, secundum illud I ad Cor. XIV, unusquisque vestrum Psalmum habet, doctrinam habet, linguam habet, Apocalypsim, idest propheticam revelationem, habet. Reply to Objection 1. As stated above (174, 3, ad 1), it belongs to the excellence of prophecy that a man is not only enlightened by an intelligible light, but also that he should perceive an imaginary vision: and so again it belongs to the perfection of the Holy Ghost's operation, not only to fill the mind with the prophetic light, and the imagination with the imaginary vision, as happened in the Old Testament, but also to endow the tongue with external erudition, in the utterance of various signs of speech. All this is done in the New Testament, according to 1 Corinthians 14:26, "Every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation," i.e. a prophetic revelation.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod per donum prophetiae homo ordinatur ad Deum secundum mentem, quod est nobilius quam ordinari ad eum secundum linguam. Dicitur autem quod ille qui loquitur lingua non loquitur hominibus, idest, ad intellectum hominum vel utilitatem eorum, sed ad intellectum solius Dei et ad laudem eius. Sed per prophetiam ordinatur aliquis et ad Deum et ad proximum. Unde est perfectius donum. Reply to Objection 2. By the gift of prophecy man is directed to God in his mind, which is more excellent than being directed to Him in his tongue. "He that speaketh in a tongue "is said to speak "not unto men," i.e. to men's understanding or profit, but unto God's understanding and praise. On the other hand, by prophecy a man is directed both to God and to man; wherefore it is the more perfect gift.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod revelatio prophetica se extendit ad omnia supernaturalia cognoscenda. Unde ex eius perfectione contingit quod in statu imperfectionis huius vitae non potest haberi perfecte per modum habitus, sed imperfecte per modum passionis cuiusdam. Sed donum linguarum se extendit ad cognitionem quandam particularem, scilicet vocum humanarum. Et ideo non repugnat imperfectioni huius vitae quod perfecte et habitualiter habeatur. Reply to Objection 3. Prophetic revelation extends to the knowledge of all things supernatural; wherefore from its very perfection it results that in this imperfect state of life it cannot be had perfectly by way of habit, but only imperfectly by way of passion. on the other hand, the gift of tongues is confined to a certain particular knowledge, namely of human words; wherefore it is not inconsistent with the imperfection of this life, that it should be had perfectly and by way of habit.
IIª-IIae q. 176 a. 2 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod interpretatio sermonum potest reduci ad donum prophetiae, inquantum scilicet mens illuminatur ad intelligendum et exponendum quaecumque sunt in sermonibus obscura, sive propter difficultatem rerum significatarum, sive etiam propter ipsas voces ignotas quae proferuntur, sive etiam propter similitudines rerum adhibitas; secundum illud Dan. V, audivi de te quod possis obscura interpretari et ligata dissolvere. Unde interpretatio sermonum est potior quam donum linguarum, ut patet per id quod apostolus dicit, I ad Cor. XIV, maior est qui prophetat quam qui loquitur linguis, nisi forte interpretetur. Postponitur autem interpretatio sermonum dono linguarum, quia etiam ad interpretandum diversa linguarum genera interpretatio sermonum se extendit. Reply to Objection 4. The interpretation of speeches is reducible to the gift of prophecy, inasmuch as the mind is enlightened so as to understand and explain any obscurities of speech arising either from a difficulty in the things signified, or from the words uttered being unknown, or from the figures of speech employed, according to Daniel 5:16, "I have heard of thee, that thou canst interpret obscure things, and resolve difficult things." Hence the interpretation of speeches is more excellent than the gift of tongues, as appears from the saying of the Apostle (1 Corinthians 14:5), "Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues; unless perhaps he interpret." Yet the interpretation of speeches is placed after the gift of tongues, because the interpretation of speeches extends even to the interpretation of divers kinds of tongues.


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