Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q91

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Q90 Q92



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IIª-IIae q. 91 pr. Deinde considerandum est de assumptione divini nominis ad invocandum per orationem vel laudem. Et de oratione quidem iam dictum est. Unde nunc de laude restat dicendum. Circa quam quaeruntur duo. Primo, utrum Deus sit ore laudandus. Secundo, utrum in laudibus Dei sint cantus adhibendi. Question 91. Taking the divine name for the purpose of invoking it by means of praise 1. Should God be praised with the lips? 2. Should God be praised with song?
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod Deus non sit ore laudandus. Dicit enim philosophus, in I Ethic., optimorum non est laus, sed maius aliquid et melius. Sed Deus est super omnia optima. Ergo Deo non debetur laus, sed aliquid maius laude. Unde et Eccli. XLIII dicitur quod Deus maior est omni laude. Objection 1. It would seem that God should not be praised with the lips. The Philosopher says (Ethic. 1,12): "The best of men ere accorded not praise, but something greater." But God transcends the very best of all things. Therefore God ought to be given, not praise, but something greater than praise: wherefore He is said (Sirach 43:33) to be "above all praise."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, laus Dei ad cultum ipsius pertinet, est enim religionis actus. Sed Deus mente colitur magis quam ore, unde dominus, Matth. XV, contra quosdam inducit illud Isaiae, populus hic labiis me honorat, cor autem eorum longe est a me. Ergo laus Dei magis consistit in corde quam in ore. Objection 2. Further, divine praise is part of divine worship, for it is an act of religion. Now God is worshiped with the mind rather than with the lips: wherefore our Lord quoted against certain ones the words of Isaiah 29:13, "This people . . . honors [Vulgate: 'glorifies'] Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." Therefore the praise of God lies in the heart rather than on the lips.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, homines ad hoc ore laudantur ut ad meliora provocentur. Sicut enim mali ex suis laudibus superbiunt, ita boni ex suis laudibus ad meliora provocantur, unde dicitur Prov. XXVII, quomodo probatur in conflatorio argentum, sic probatur homo ore laudantium. Sed Deus per verba hominum non provocatur ad meliora, tum quia immutabilis est; tum quia summe bonus est, et non habet quo crescat. Ergo Deus non est laudandus ore. Objection 3. Further, men are praised with the lips that they may be encouraged to do better: since just as being praised makes the wicked proud, so does it incite the good to better things. Wherefore it is written (Proverbs 27:21): "As silver is tried in the fining-pot . . . so a man is tried by the mouth of him that praiseth." But God is not incited to better things by man's words, both because He is unchangeable, and because He is supremely good, and it is not possible for Him to grow better. Therefore God should not be praised with the lips.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur in Psalm., labiis exultationis laudabit os meum. On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 62:6): "My mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod verbis alia ratione utimur ad Deum, et alia ratione ad hominem. Ad hominem enim utimur verbis ut conceptum nostri cordis, quem non potest cognoscere, verbis nostris ei exprimamus. Et ideo laude oris ad hominem utimur ut vel ei vel aliis innotescat quod bonam opinionem de laudato habemus, ut per hoc et ipsum qui laudatur ad meliora provocemus; et alios, apud quos laudatur, in bonam opinionem et reverentiam et imitationem ipsius inducamus. Sed ad Deum verbis utimur non quidem ut ei, qui est inspector cordium, nostros conceptus manifestemus, sed ut nos ipsos et alios audientes ad eius reverentiam inducamus. Et ideo necessaria est laus oris, non quidem propter Deum, sed propter ipsum laudantem, cuius affectus excitatur in Deum ex laude ipsius, secundum illud Psalm., sacrificium laudis honorificabit me, et illic iter quo ostendam illi salutare Dei. Et inquantum homo per divinam laudem affectu ascendit in Deum, intantum per hoc retrahitur ab his quae sunt contra Deum, secundum illud Isaiae XLVIII, laude mea infrenabo te, ne intereas. Proficit etiam laus oris ad hoc quod aliorum affectus provocetur in Deum. Unde dicitur in Psalm., semper laus eius in ore meo, et postea subditur, audiant mansueti, et laetentur. Magnificate dominum mecum. I answer that, We use words, in speaking to God, for one reason, and in speaking to man, for another reason. For when speaking to man we use words in order to tell him our thoughts which are unknown to him. Wherefore we praise a man with our lips, in order that he or others may learn that we have a good opinion of him: so that in consequence we may incite him to yet better things; and that we may induce others, who hear him praised, to think well of him, to reverence him, and to imitate him. On the other hand we employ words, in speaking to God, not indeed to make known our thoughts to Him Who is the searcher of hearts, but that we may bring ourselves and our hearers to reverence Him. Consequently we need to praise God with our lips, not indeed for His sake, but for our own sake; since by praising Him our devotion is aroused towards Him, according to Psalm 49:23: "The sacrifice of praise shall glorify Me, and there is the way by which I will show him the salvation of God." And forasmuch as man, by praising God, ascends in his affections to God, by so much is he withdrawn from things opposed to God, according to Isaiah 48:9, "For My praise I will bridle thee lest thou shouldst perish." The praise of the lips is also profitable to others by inciting their affections towards God, wherefore it is written (Psalm 33:2): "His praise shall always be in my mouth," and farther on: "Let the meek hear and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod de Deo dupliciter possumus loqui. Uno modo, quantum ad eius essentiam. Et sic, cum sit incomprehensibilis et ineffabilis, maior est omni laude. Debetur autem ei secundum hanc comparationem reverentia et latriae honor. Unde in Psalterio Hieronymi dicitur, tibi silet laus, Deus, quantum ad primum; et, tibi reddetur votum, quantum ad secundum. Alio modo, secundum effectus ipsius, qui in nostram utilitatem ordinantur. Et secundum hoc debetur Deo laus. Unde dicitur Isaiae LXIII, miserationum domini recordabor, laudem domini super omnibus quae reddidit nobis dominus. Et Dionysius dicit, I cap. de Div. Nom., omnem sanctum theologorum hymnum, idest divinam laudem, invenies ad bonos thearchiae, idest divinitatis, processus manifestative et laudative Dei nominationes dividentem. Reply to Objection 1. We may speak of God in two ways. First, with regard to His essence; and thus, since He is incomprehensible and ineffable, He is above all praise. On this respect we owe Him reverence and the honor of latria; wherefore Psalm 64:2 is rendered by Jerome in his Psalter [Translated from the Hebrew]: "Praise to Thee is speechless, O God," as regards the first, and as to the second, "A vow shall be paid to Thee." Secondly, we may speak of God as to His effects which are ordained for our good. On this respect we owe Him praise; wherefore it is written (Isaiah 63:7): "I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed upon us." Again, Dionysius says (Div. Nom. 1): "Thou wilt find that all the sacred hymns," i.e. divine praises "of the sacred writers, are directed respectively to the Blessed Processions of the Thearchy," i.e. of the Godhead, "showing forth and praising the names of God."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod laus oris inutilis est laudanti si sit sine laude cordis, quod loquitur Deo laudem dum magnalia eius operum recogitat cum affectu. Valet tamen exterior laus oris ad excitandum interiorem affectum laudantis, et ad provocandum alios ad Dei laudem, sicut dictum est. Reply to Objection 2. It profits one nothing to praise with the lips if one praise not with the heart. For the heart speaks God's praises when it fervently recalls "the glorious things of His works" [Cf. Sirach 17:7-8. Yet the outward praise of the lips avails to arouse the inward fervor of those who praise, and to incite others to praise God, as stated above.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod Deum non laudamus propter utilitatem suam, sed propter utilitatem nostram, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 3. We praise God, not for His benefit, but for ours as stated.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod cantus non sint assumendi ad laudem divinam. Dicit enim apostolus, ad Coloss. III, docentes et commonentes vosmetipsos in Psalmis et hymnis et canticis spiritualibus. Sed nihil assumere debemus in divinum cultum praeter ea quae nobis auctoritate Scripturae traduntur. Ergo videtur quod non debemus uti in divinis laudibus canticis corporalibus, sed solum spiritualibus. Objection 1. It would seem that God should not be praised with song. For the Apostle says (Colossians 3:16): "Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles." Now we should employ nothing in the divine worship, save what is delivered to us on the authority of Scripture. Therefore it would seem that, in praising God, we should employ, not corporal but spiritual canticles.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, Hieronymus, super illud ad Ephes. V, cantantes et psallentes in cordibus vestris domino, dicit, audiant haec adolescentuli quibus in Ecclesia est psallendi officium, Deo non voce, sed corde cantandum, nec in tragoediarum modum guttur et fauces medicamine liniendae sunt, ut in Ecclesia theatrales moduli audiantur et cantica. Non ergo in laudes Dei sunt cantus assumendi. Objection 2. Further, Jerome in his commentary on Ephesians 5:19, "Singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord," says: "Listen, young men whose duty it is to recite the office in church: God is to be sung not with the voice but with the heart. Nor should you, like play-actors, ease your throat and jaws with medicaments, and make the church resound with theatrical measures and airs." Therefore God should not be praised with song.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, laudare Deum convenit parvis et magnis, secundum illud Apoc. XIX, laudem dicite Deo nostro, omnes servi eius et qui timetis illum, pusilli et magni. Sed maiores qui sunt in Ecclesia non decet cantare, dicit enim Gregorius, et habetur in decretis, dist. XCII, cap. in sancta Romana Ecclesia, praesenti decreto constituo ut in sede hac sacri altaris ministri cantare non debeant. Ergo cantus non conveniunt divinis laudibus. Objection 3. Further, the praise of God is competent to little and great, according to Apocalypse 14, "Give praise to our God, all ye His servants; and you that fear Him, little and great." But the great, who are in the church, ought not to sing: for Gregory says (Regist. iv, ep. 44): "I hereby ordain that in this See the ministers of the sacred altar must not sing" (Cf. Decret., dist. xcii., cap. On sancta Romana Ecclesia). Therefore singing is unsuitable to the divine praises.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 arg. 4 Praeterea, in veteri lege laudabatur Deus in musicis instrumentis et humanis cantibus, secundum illud Psalm., confitemini domino in cithara; in Psalterio decem chordarum psallite illi; cantate ei canticum novum. Sed instrumenta musica, sicut citharas et Psalteria, non assumit Ecclesia in divinas laudes, ne videatur iudaizare. Ergo, pari ratione, nec cantus in divinas laudes sunt assumendi. Objection 4. Further, in the Old Law God was praised with musical instruments and human song, according to Psalm 32:2-3: "Give praise to the Lord on the harp, sing to Him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new canticle." But the Church does not make use of musical instruments such as harps and psalteries, in the divine praises, for fear of seeming to imitate the Jews. Therefore in like manner neither should song be used in the divine praises.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 arg. 5 Praeterea, principalior est laus mentis quam laus oris. Sed laus mentis impeditur per cantus, tum quia cantantium intentio abstrahitur a consideratione eorum quae cantant, dum circa cantum student; tum etiam quia ea quae cantantur minus ab aliis intelligi possunt quam si sine cantu proferrentur. Ergo cantus non sunt divinis laudibus adhibendi. Objection 5. Further, the praise of the heart is more important than the praise of the lips. But the praise of the heart is hindered by singing, both because the attention of the singers is distracted from the consideration of what they are singing, so long as they give all their attention to the chant, and because others are less able to understand the thing that are sung than if they were recited without chant. Therefore chants should not be employed in the divine praises.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod beatus Ambrosius in Ecclesia Mediolanensi cantus instituit, ut Augustinus refert, in IX Confess. On the contrary, Blessed Ambrose established singing in the Church of Milan, a Augustine relates (Confess. ix).
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, laus vocalis ad hoc necessaria est ut affectus hominis provocetur in Deum. Et ideo quaecumque ad hoc utilia esse possunt, in divinas laudes congruenter assumuntur. Manifestum est autem quod secundum diversas melodias sonorum animi hominum diversimode disponuntur, ut patet per philosophum, in VIII Polit., et per Boetium, in prologo musicae. Et ideo salubriter fuit institutum ut in divinas laudes cantus assumerentur, ut animi infirmorum magis provocarentur ad devotionem. Unde Augustinus dicit, in X Confess., adducor cantandi consuetudinem approbare in Ecclesia, ut per oblectamenta aurium infirmorum animus in affectum pietatis assurgat. Et de seipso dicit, in IX Confess., flevi in hymnis et canticis tuis, suave sonantis Ecclesiae tuae vocibus commotus acriter. I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the praise of the voice is necessary in order to arouse man's devotion towards God. Wherefore whatever is useful in conducing to this result is becomingly adopted in the divine praises. Now it is evident that the human soul is moved in various ways according to various melodies of sound, as the Philosopher state (Polit. viii, 5), and also Boethius (De Musica, prologue). Hence the use of music in the divine praises is a salutary institution, that the souls of the faint-hearted may be the more incited to devotion. Wherefore Augustine say (Confess. x, 33): "I am inclined to approve of the usage of singing in the church, that so by the delight of the ears the faint-hearted may rise to the feeling of devotion": and he says of himself (Confess. ix, 6): "I wept in Thy hymns and canticles, touched to the quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned Church."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod cantica spiritualia possunt dici non solum ea quae interius canuntur in spiritu, sed etiam ea quae exterius ore cantantur, inquantum per huiusmodi cantica spiritualis devotio provocatur. Reply to Objection 1. The name of spiritual canticle may be given not only to those that are sung inwardly in spirit, but also to those that are sung outwardly with the lips, inasmuch as such like canticles arouse spiritual devotion.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod Hieronymus non vituperat simpliciter cantum, sed reprehendit eos qui in Ecclesia cantant more theatrico, non propter devotionem excitandam, sed propter ostentationem vel delectationem provocandam. Unde Augustinus dicit, in X Confess., cum mihi accidit ut me amplius cantus quam res quae canitur moveat, poenaliter me peccare confiteor, et tunc mallem non audire cantantem. Reply to Objection 2. Jerome does not absolutely condemn singing, but reproves those who sing theatrically in church not in order to arouse devotion, but in order to show off, or to provoke pleasure. Hence Augustine says (Confess. x, 33): "When it befalls me to be more moved by the voice than by the words sung, I confess to have sinned penally, and then had rather not hear the singer."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod nobilior modus est provocandi homines ad devotionem per doctrinam et praedicationem quam per cantum. Et ideo diaconi et praelati, quibus competit per praedicationem et doctrinam animos hominum provocare in Deum, non debent cantibus insistere, ne per hoc a maioribus retrahantur. Unde ibidem Gregorius dicit, consuetudo est valde reprehensibilis ut in diaconatus ordine constituti modulationi vocis inserviant, quos ad praedicationis officium et eleemosynarum studium vacare congruebat. Reply to Objection 3. To arouse men to devotion by teaching and preaching is a more excellent way than by singing. Wherefore deacons and prelates, whom it becomes to incite men's minds towards God by means of preaching and teaching, ought not to be instant in singing, lest thereby they be withdrawn from greater things. Hence Gregory says (Regist. iv, ep. 44): "It is a most discreditable custom for those who have been raised to the diaconate to serve as choristers, for it behooves them to give their whole time to the duty of preaching and to taking charge of the alms."
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in VIII Polit., neque fistulas ad disciplinam est adducendum, neque aliquod aliud artificiale organum, puta citharam et si quid tale alterum est, sed quaecumque faciunt auditores bonos. Huiusmodi enim musica instrumenta magis animum movent ad delectationem quam per ea formetur interius bona dispositio. In veteri autem testamento usus erat talium instrumentorum, tum quia populus erat magis durus et carnalis, unde erat per huiusmodi instrumenta provocandus, sicut et per promissiones terrenas. Tum etiam quia huiusmodi instrumenta corporalia aliquid figurabant. Reply to Objection 4. As the Philosopher says (Polit. viii, 6), "Teaching should not be accompanied with a flute or any artificial instrument such as the harp or anything else of this kind: but only with such things as make good hearers." For such like musical instruments move the soul to pleasure rather than create a good disposition within it. On the Old Testament instruments of this description were employed, both because the people were more coarse and carnal--so that they needed to be aroused by such instruments as also by earthly promises--and because these material instruments were figures of something else.
IIª-IIae q. 91 a. 2 ad 5 Ad quintum dicendum quod per cantum quo quis studiose ad delectandum utitur, abstrahitur animus a consideratione eorum quae cantantur. Sed si aliquis cantet propter devotionem, attentius considerat quae dicuntur, tum quia diutius moratur super eodem; tum quia, ut Augustinus dicit, in X Confess., omnes affectus spiritus nostri pro sua diversitate habent proprios modos in voce atque cantu, quorum occulta familiaritate excitantur. Et eadem est ratio de audientibus, in quibus, etsi aliquando non intelligant quae cantantur, intelligunt tamen propter quid cantantur, scilicet ad laudem Dei; et hoc sufficit ad devotionem excitandam. Reply to Objection 5. The soul is distracted from that which is sung by a chant that is employed for the purpose of giving pleasure. But if the singer chant for the sake of devotion, he pays more attention to what he says, both because he lingers more thereon, and because, as Augustine remarks (Confess. x, 33), "each affection of our spirit, according to its variety, has its own appropriate measure in the voice, and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith it is stirred." The same applies to the hearers, for even if some of them understand not what is sung, yet they understand why it is sung, namely, for God's glory: and this is enough to arouse their devotion.

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