Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q56

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Q55 Q57



Latin English
IIª-IIae q. 56 pr. Deinde considerandum est de praeceptis ad prudentiam pertinentibus. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo. Primo, de praeceptis pertinentibus ad prudentiam. Secundo, de praeceptis pertinentibus ad vitia opposita. Question 56. The precepts relating to prudence 1. The precepts of prudence 2. The precepts relating to the opposite vices
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod de prudentia fuerit dandum aliquod praeceptum inter praecepta Decalogi. De principaliori enim virtute principaliora praecepta dari debent. Sed principaliora praecepta legis sunt praecepta Decalogi. Cum ergo prudentia sit principalior inter virtutes morales, videtur quod de prudentia fuerit dandum aliquod praeceptum inter praecepta Decalogi. Objection 1. It would seem that the precepts of the decalogue should have included a precept of prudence. For the chief precepts should include a precept of the chief virtue. Now the chief precepts are those of the decalogue. Since then prudence is the chief of the moral virtues, it seems that the precepts of the decalogue should have included a precept of prudence.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, in doctrina evangelica continetur lex maxime quantum ad praecepta Decalogi. Sed in doctrina evangelica datur praeceptum de prudentia, ut patet Matth. X, estote prudentes sicut serpentes. Ergo inter praecepta Decalogi debuit praecipi actus prudentiae. Objection 2. Further, the teaching of the Gospel contains the Law especially with regard to the precepts of the decalogue. Now the teaching of the Gospel contains a precept of prudence (Matthew 10:16): "Be ye . . . prudent [Douay: 'wise'] as serpents." Therefore the precepts of the decalogue should have included a precept of prudence.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, alia documenta veteris testamenti ad praecepta Decalogi ordinantur, unde et Malach. ult. dicitur, mementote legis Moysi, servi mei, quam mandavi ei in Horeb. Sed in aliis documentis veteris testamenti dantur praecepta de prudentia, sicut Prov. III, ne innitaris prudentiae tuae; et infra, IV cap., palpebrae tuae praecedant gressus tuos. Ergo et in lege debuit aliquod praeceptum de prudentia dari, et praecipue inter praecepta Decalogi. Objection 3. Further, the other lessons of the Old Testament are directed to the precepts of the decalogue: wherefore it is written (Malachi 4:4): "Remember the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb." Now the other lessons of the Old Testament include precepts of prudence; for instance (Proverbs 3:5): "Lean not upon thy own prudence"; and further on (Proverbs 4:25): "Let thine eyelids go before thy steps." Therefore the Law also should have contained a precept of prudence, especially among the precepts of the decalogue.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 s. c. Sed contrarium patet enumeranti praecepta Decalogi. The contrary however appears to anyone who goes through the precepts of the decalogue.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est cum de praeceptis ageretur, praecepta Decalogi, sicut data sunt omni populo, ita etiam cadunt in aestimatione omnium, quasi ad naturalem rationem pertinentia. Praecipue autem sunt de dictamine rationis naturalis fines humanae vitae, qui se habent in agendis sicut principia naturaliter cognita in speculativis, ut ex supradictis patet. Prudentia autem non est circa finem, sed circa ea quae sunt ad finem, ut supra dictum est. Et ideo non fuit conveniens ut inter praecepta Decalogi aliquod praeceptum poneretur ad prudentiam directe pertinens. Ad quam tamen omnia praecepta Decalogi pertinent secundum quod ipsa est directiva omnium virtuosorum actuum. I answer that, As stated above (I-II, 100, 3; 5, ad 1) when we were treating of precepts, the commandments of the decalogue being given to the whole people, are a matter of common knowledge to all, as coming under the purview of natural reason. Now foremost among the things dictated by natural reason are the ends of human life, which are to the practical order what naturally known principles are to the speculative order, as shown above (Question 47, Article 6). Now prudence is not about the end, but about the means, as stated above (Question 47, Article 6). Hence it was not fitting that the precepts of the decalogue should include a precept relating directly to prudence. And yet all the precepts of the decalogue are related to prudence, in so far as it directs all virtuous acts.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod licet prudentia sit simpliciter principalior virtus aliis virtutibus moralibus, iustitia tamen principalius respicit rationem debiti, quod requiritur ad praeceptum, ut supra dictum est. Et ideo principalia praecepta legis, quae sunt praecepta Decalogi, magis debuerunt ad iustitiam quam ad prudentiam pertinere. Reply to Objection 1. Although prudence is simply foremost among all the moral virtues, yet justice, more than any other virtue, regards its object under the aspect of something due, which is a necessary condition for a precept, as stated above (44, 1; I-II, 99, 1,5). Hence it behooved the chief precepts of the Law, which are those of the decalogue, to refer to justice rather than to prudence.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod doctrina evangelica est doctrina perfectionis, et ideo oportuit quod in ipsa perfecte instrueretur homo de omnibus quae pertinent ad rectitudinem vitae, sive sint fines sive ea quae sunt ad finem. Et propter hoc oportuit in doctrina evangelica etiam de prudentia praecepta dari. Reply to Objection 2. The teaching of the Gospel is the doctrine of perfection. Therefore it needed to instruct man perfectly in all matters relating to right conduct, whether ends or means: wherefore it behooved the Gospel teaching to contain precepts also of prudence.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod sicut alia doctrina veteris testamenti ordinatur ad praecepta Decalogi ut ad finem, ita etiam conveniens fuit ut in subsequentibus documentis veteris testamenti homines instruerentur de actu prudentiae, qui est circa ea quae sunt ad finem. Reply to Objection 3. Just as the rest of the teaching of the Old Testament is directed to the precepts of the decalogue as its end, so it behooved man to be instructed by the subsequent lessons of the Old Testament about the act of prudence which is directed to the means.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in veteri lege fuerint inconvenienter praecepta prohibitiva proposita de vitiis oppositis prudentiae. Opponuntur enim prudentiae non minus illa quae habent directam oppositionem ad ipsam, sicut imprudentia et partes eius, quam illa quae cum ipsa similitudinem habent, sicut astutia et quae ad ipsam pertinent. Sed haec vitia prohibentur in lege, dicitur enim Lev. XIX, non facies calumniam proximo tuo; et Deut. XXV, non habebis in sacculo tuo diversa pondera, maius et minus. Ergo et de illis vitiis quae directe opponuntur prudentiae aliqua praecepta prohibitiva dari debuerunt. Objection 1. It would seem that the prohibitive precepts relating to the vices opposed to prudence are unfittingly propounded in the Old Law. For such vices as imprudence and its parts which are directly opposed to prudence are not less opposed thereto, than those which bear a certain resemblance to prudence, such as craftiness and vices connected with it. Now the latter vices are forbidden in the Law: for it is written (Leviticus 19:13): "Thou shalt not calumniate thy neighbor," and (Deuteronomy 25:13): "Thou shalt not have divers weights in thy bag, a greater and a less." Therefore there should have also been prohibitive precepts about the vices directly opposed to prudence.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, in multis aliis rebus potest fraus fieri quam in emptione et venditione. Inconvenienter igitur fraudem in sola emptione et venditione lex prohibuit. Objection 2. Further, there is room for fraud in other things than in buying and selling. Therefore the Law unfittingly forbade fraud solely in buying and selling.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, eadem ratio est praecipiendi actum virtutis et prohibendi actum vitii oppositi. Sed actus prudentiae non inveniuntur in lege praecepti. Ergo nec aliqua opposita vitia debuerunt in lege prohiberi. Objection 3. Further, there is the same reason for prescribing an act of virtue as for prohibiting the act of a contrary vice. But acts of prudence are not prescribed in the Law. Therefore neither should any contrary vices have been forbidden in the Law.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 s. c. Sed contrarium patet per praecepta legis inducta. The contrary, however, appears from the precepts of the Law which are quoted in the first objection.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, iustitia maxime respicit rationem debiti, quod requiritur ad praeceptum, quia iustitia est ad reddendum debitum alteri, ut infra dicetur. Astutia autem quantum ad executionem maxime committitur in his circa quae est iustitia, ut dictum est. Et ideo conveniens fuit ut praecepta prohibitiva darentur in lege de executione astutiae inquantum ad iniustitiam pertinet, sicut cum dolo vel fraude aliquis alicui calumniam ingerit, vel eius bona surripit. I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), justice, above all, regards the aspect of something due, which is a necessary condition for a precept, because justice tends to render that which is due to another, as we shall state further on (58, 2). Now craftiness, as to its execution, is committed chiefly in matters of justice, as stated above (Question 55, Article 8): and so it was fitting that the Law should contain precepts forbidding the execution of craftiness, in so far as this pertains to injustice, as when a man uses guile and fraud in calumniating another or in stealing his goods.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illa vitia quae directe opponuntur prudentiae manifesta contrarietate non ita pertinent ad iniustitiam sicut executio astutiae. Et ideo non ita prohibentur in lege sicut fraus et dolus, quae ad iniustitiam pertinent. Reply to Objection 1. Those vices that are manifestly opposed to prudence, do not pertain to injustice in the same way as the execution of craftiness, and so they are not forbidden in the Law, as fraud and guile are, which latter pertain to injustice
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod omnis fraus vel dolus commissa in his quae ad iustitiam pertinent potest intelligi esse prohibita, Lev. XIX, in prohibitione calumniae. Praecipue autem solet fraus exerceri et dolus in emptione et venditione, secundum illud Eccli. XXVI, non iustificabitur caupo a peccato labiorum. Propter hoc specialiter praeceptum prohibitivum datur in lege de fraude circa emptiones et venditiones commissa. Reply to Objection 2. All guile and fraud committed in matters of injustice, can be understood to be forbidden in the prohibition of calumny (Leviticus 19:13). Yet fraud and guile are wont to be practiced chiefly in buying and selling, according to Sirach 26:28, "A huckster shall not be justified from the sins of the lips": and it is for this reason that the Law contained a special precept forbidding fraudulent buying and selling.
IIª-IIae q. 56 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod omnia praecepta de actibus iustitiae in lege data pertinent ad executionem prudentiae, sicut et praecepta prohibitiva data de furto, calumnia et fraudulenta venditione pertinent ad executionem astutiae. Reply to Objection 3. All the precepts of the Law that relate to acts of justice pertain to the execution of prudence, even as the precepts prohibitive of stealing, calumny and fraudulent selling pertain to the execution of craftiness.

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