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that magnanimity regards honour, inasmuch, to wit, as
honour has the aspect of something great or difficult.

Reply Ohj. 2. Although honour is neither a passion nor an
operation, yet it is the object of a passion, namely hope,
which tends to a difficult good. Wherefore magnanimity
is immediately about the passions of hope, and mediately
about honour as the object of hope: even so, we have stated
(Q. CXXIIL, AA. 4, 5) with regard to fortitude that it is
about dangers of death in so far as they are the object of
fear and daring.

Reply Ohj. 3. Those are worthy of praise who despise riches
in such a way as to do nothing unbecoming in order to obtain
them, nor have too great a desire for them. If, however,
one were to despise honours so as not to care to do what is
worthy of honour, this would be deserving of blame. Ac-
cordingly magnanimity is about honours in the sense that
a man strives to do what is deserving of honour, yet not so
as to think much of the honour accorded by man.

Second Article,
whether magnanimity is essentially about great


We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Ohjection i. It seems that magnanimity is not essentially
about great honours. For the proper matter of magna-
nimity is honour, as stated above (A. i). But great and little
are accidental to honour. Therefore it is not essential to
magnanimity to be about great honours.

Ohj. 2. Further, Just as magnanimity is about honour,
so is meekness about anger. But it is not essential to meek-
ness to be about either great or little anger. Therefore

Q. 129. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 252

neither is it essential to magnanimity to be about great

Ohj. 3. Further, Small honour is less aloof from great
honour than is dishonour. But magnanimity is well
ordered in relation to dishonour, and consequently in relation
to small honours also. Therefore it is not only about great

On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic, ii. 7) that
magnanimity is about great honours.

/ answer that, According to the Philosopher (Phys. vii.
17, 18), virtue is a perfection, and by this we are to under-
stand the perfection of a power, and that it regards the
extreme limit of that power, as stated in de Ccelo i. 116.
Now the perfection of a power is not perceived in every
operation of that power, but in such operations as are great
or difficult : for every power, however imperfect, can extend
to ordinary and trifling operations. Hence it is essential
to a virtue to be about the difficult and the good, as stated
in Ethic, ii. 3.

Now the difficult and the good (which amount to the same)
in an act of virtue may be considered from two points of
view. First, from the point of view of reason, in so far as it
is difficult to find and establish the rational means in some
particular matter: and this difficulty is found only in the
act of intellectual virtues, and also of justice. The other
difficulty is on the part of the m^atter, which may involve
a certain opposition to the moderation of reason, which
moderation has to be applied thereto: and this difficulty
regards chiefly the other moral virtues, which are about the
passions, because the passions resist reason as Dionysius
states {Div. Nom. iv. 4).

Now as regards the passions it is to be observed that
the greatness of this power of resistance to reason arises
chiefly in some cases from the passions themselves, and in
others from the things that are the objects of the passions.
The passions themselves have no great power of resistance,
unless they be violent, because the sensitive appetite,
which is the seat of the passions, is naturally subject to

253 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 2

reason. Hence the resisting virtues that are about these
passions regard only that which is great in such passions:
thus fortitude is about very great fear and daring; temper-
ance about the concupiscence of the greatest pleasures, and
likewise meekness about the greatest anger. On the other
hand, some passions have great power of resistance to reason
arising from the external things themselves that are the
objects of those passions : such are the love or desire of money
or of honour. And for these it is necessary to have a virtue
not only regarding that which is greatest in those passions,
but also about that which is ordinary or little : because things
external, though they be little, are very desirable, as being
necessary for human life. Hence with regard to the desire
of money there are two virtues, one about ordinary or little
sums of money, namely liberality, and another about large
sums of money, namely magnificence.

In like manner there are two virtues about honours, one
about ordinary honours. This virtue has no name, but
is denominated by its extremes, which are (jyiXoTL/jbla, i.e. love
of honour, and dcj^cXori/jLta, i.e. without love of honour: for
sometimes a man is commended for loving honour, and
sometimes for not caring about it, in so far, to wit, as both
these things may be done in moderation. But with regard
to great honours there is magnanimity. Wherefore we
must conclude that the proper matter of magnanimity is
great honour, and that a magnanimous man tends to such
things as are deserving of honour.

Reply Ohj. i. Great and little are accidental to honour
considered in itself: but they make a great difference in
their relation to reason, the mode of which has to be observed
in the use of honour, for it is much more difficult to observe
it in great than in little honours.

Reply Ohj. 2. In anger and other matters only that which
is greatest presents any notable difficulty, and about this
alone is there any need of a virtue. It is different with
riches and honours which are things existing outside the

Reply Ohj. 3. He that makes good use of great things

Q. 129. Art. 3 THE '' SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 254

is much more able to make good use of little things. Ac-
cordingly the magnanimous man looks upon great honours
as a thing of which he is worthy, or even little honours
as something he deserves, because, to wit, man cannot
sufficiently honour virtue which deserves to be honoured
by God. Hence he is not uplifted by great honours, because
he does not deem them above him; rather does he despise
them, and much more such as are ordinary or little. In like
manner he is not cast down by dishonour, but despises it,
since he recognizes that he does not deserve it.

Third Article,
whether magnanimity is a virtue ?

We proceed thus to the Third Article : —

Objection i. It seems that magnanimity is not a virtue.
For every moral virtue observes the mean. But magna-
nimity observes not the mean but the greater extreme:
because the magnanimous man deems himself worthy of the
greatest things {Ethic, iv. 3). Therefore magnanimity is
not a virtue.

Ohj. 2. Further, He that has one virtue has them all,
as stated above (I.-II., Q. LXV., A. i). But one may have a
virtue without having magnanimity : since the Philosopher
says [Ethic, iv. 3) that whosoever is worthy of little things
and deems himself worthy of them, is temperate, hut he is not
magnanimous. Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

Ohj. 3. Further, Virtue is a good quality of the mind, as
stated above (I.-II., Q. LV., A. 4). But magnanimity implies
certain dispositions of the body: for the Philosopher says
[Ethic, iv. 3) of a magnanimous man that his gait is slow,
his voice deep, and his utterance calm. Therefore magna-
nimity is not a virtue.

Ohj. 4. Further, No virtue is opposed to another virtue.
But magnanimity is opposed to humility, since the magnani-
mous deems himself worthy of great things, and despises others,
according to Ethic, iv. {loc, cit.). Therefore magnanimity is
not a virtue.

255 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 3

Ohj. 5. Further, The properties of every virtue are praise-
worthy. But magnanimity has certain properties that call
for blame. For, in the first place, the magnanimous is
unmindful of favours; secondly, he is remiss and slow of
action; thirdly, he employs irony* towards many; fourthly,
he is unable to associate with others; fifthly, because he
holds to the barren things rather than to those that are
fruitful. Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

On the contrary, It is written in praise of certain men
(2 Machab. xv. 18) : Nicanor hearing of the valour of Judas
companions, and the greatness of courage (animi magnitudi-
nem) with which they fought for their country, was afraid to
try the matter by the sword. Now, only deeds of virtue are
worthy of praise. Therefore magnanimity which consists
in greatness of courage is a virtue.

/ answer that, The essence of human virtue consists in
safeguarding the good of reason in human affairs, for this is
man's proper good. Now among external human things
honours take precedence of all others, as stated above
(A. i: I.-IL, Q. II, A. 2., Ohj. 3). Therefore magnanimity,
which observes the mode of reason in great honours, is a

Reply Ohj. i. As the Philosopher again says [Ethic, iv. 3),
the magnanimous in point of quantity goes to extremes, in so
far as he tends to what is greatest, but in the matter of becom-
ingness, he follows the mean, because he tends to the greatest
things according to reason, for he deems himself worthy
in accordance with his worth [ibid.), since his aims do not
surpass his deserts.

Reply Ohj. 2. The mutual connexion of the virtues does
not apply to their acts, as though every one were competent
to practise the acts of all the virtues. Wherefore the act
of magnanimity is not becoming to every virtuous man,
but only to great men. On the other hand, as regards the
principles of virtue, namely prudence and grace, all virtues
are connected together, since their habits reside together
in the soul, either in act or by way of a proximate disposition

* Cf. Q. CXIII.

Q. 129. Art. 3 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 256

thereto. Thus it is possible for one to whom the act of
magnanimity is not competent, to have the habit of magna-
nimity, whereby he is disposed to practise that act if it were
competent to him according to his state.

Reply Ohj. 3. The movements of the body are differen-
tiated according to the different apprehensions and emotions
of the soul. And so it happens that to magnanimity there
accrue certain fixed accidents by way of bodily movements.
For quickness of movement results from a man being intent
on many things which he is in a hurry to accomplish,
whereas the magnanimous is intent only on great things;
these are few and require great attention, wherefore they
call for slow movement. Likewise shrill and rapid speaking
is chiefly competent to those who are quick to quarrel about
anything, and this becomes not the magnanimous who are
busy only about great things. And just as these disposi-
tions of bodily movements are competent to the magnani-
mous man according to the mode of his emotions, so too
in those who are naturally disposed to magnanimity these
conditions are found naturally.

Reply Ohj. 4. There is in man something great which he
possesses through the gift of God; and something defective
which accrues to him through the weakness of nature.
Accordingly magnanimity makes a man deem himself
worthy of great things in consideration of the gifts he holds
from God: thus if his soul is endowed with great virtue,
magnanimity makes him tend to perfect works of virtue;
and the same is to be said of the use of any other good, such
as science or external fortune. On the other hand, humility
makes a man think little of himself in consideration of his
own deficiency, and magnanimity makes him despise others
in so far as they fall away from God's gifts : since he does not
think so much of others as to do anything wrong for their
sake. Yet humility makes us honour others and esteem them
better than ourselves, in so far as we see some of God's gifts
in them. Hence it is written of the just man (Ps. xiv. 4):
In his sight a vile person is contemned, "^ which indicates

* Douay. The malignant is brought to nothing, but he glorifieth, etc.

257 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 3

the contempt of magnanimity, hut he honoureth them that
fear the Lord, which points to the reverential bearing of
humility. It is therefore evident that magnanimity and
humihty are not contrary to one another, although they seem
to tend in contrary directions, because they proceed accord-
ing to different considerations.

Reply Ohj. 5. These properties in so far as they belong to a
magnanimous man call not for blame, but for very great
praise. For in the first place, when it is said that the
magnanimous is not mindful of those from whom he has
received favours, this points to the fact that he takes no
pleasure in accepting favours from others unless he repay
them with yet greater favour; this belongs to the perfection
of gratitude, in the act of which he wishes to excel, even as in
the acts of other virtues. Again, in the second place, it is
said that he is remiss and slow of action, not that he is lacking
in doing what becomes him, but because he does not busy
himself with all kinds of works, but only with great works,
such as are becoming to him. He is also said, in the third
place, to employ irony, not as opposed to truth, and so as
either to say of himself vile things that are not true, or deny
of himself great things that are true, but because he does not
disclose all his greatness, especially to the large number of
those who are beneath him, since, as also the Philosopher says
(Ethic, iv. 3), it belongs to a magnanimous man to be great
towards persons of dignity and affluence, and unassuming
towards the middle class. In the fourth place, it is said that
he cannot associate with others : this means that he is not at
home with others than his friends: because he altogether
shuns flattery and hypocrisy, which belong to Httleness of
mind. But he associates with all, both great and httle,
according as he ought, as stated above {ad 1). It is also said,
fifthly, that he prefers to have barren things, not indeed
any, but good, i.e. virtuous; for in all things he prefers the
virtuous to the useful, as being greater: since the useful is
sought in order to supply a defect which is inconsistent with

II. ii. 4 17

Q. 129. Art. 4 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 258

Fourth Article,
whether magnanimity is a special virtue ?

We proceed thus to the Fourth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that magnanimity is not a special
virtue. For no special virtue is operative in every virtue.
But the Philosopher states {Ethic, iv. 3) that whatever is
great in each virtue belongs to the magnanimoiis. Therefore
magnanimity is not a special virtue.

Obj. 2. Further, The acts of different virtues are not
ascribed to any special virtue. But the acts of different
virtues are ascribed to the magnanimous man. For it is
stated in Ethic, iv. {loc. cit.) that it belongs to the magnanimous
not to avoid reproof (which is an act of prudence), nor to act
unjustly (which is an act of justice), that he is ready to do
favours (which is an act of charity), that he gives his services
readily (which is an act of UberaHty), that he is truthful (which
is an act of truthfulness), and that he is not given to complain-
ing (which is an act of patience). Therefore magnanimity
is not a special virtue.

Obj. 3. Further, Every virtue is a special ornament of
the soul, according to the saying of Isaias (Ixi. 10), He
hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and after-
wards he adds, and as a bride adorned with her jewels.
But magnanimity is the ornament of all the virtues, as
stated in Ethic, iv. Therefore magnanimity is a general

On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic, ii. 7) distinguishes
it from the other virtues.

/ answer that, As stated above (Q. CXXIIL, A. 2), it belongs
to a special virtue to estabhsh the mode of reason in a
determinate matter. Now magnanimity establishes the
mode of reason in a determinate matter, namely honours,
as stated above (AA. i, 2) : and honour, considered in itself,
is a special good, and accordingly magnanimity considered
in itself is a special virtue.

Since, however, honour is the reward of every virtue, as

259 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 4

stated above (Q. CIIL, A. i, ad 2), it foUows that by reason
of its matter it regards all the virtues.

Reply Ohj. i. Magnanimity is not about any kind of
honour, but great honour. Now, as honour is due to virtue,
so great honour is due to a great deed of virtue. Hence
it is that the magnanimous is intent on doing great deeds in
every virtue, in so far, to wit, as he tends to what is worthy
of great honours.

Reply Ohj. 2. Since the magnanimous tends to great
things, it follows that he tends chiefly to things that involve
a certain excellence, and shuns those that imply defect.
Now it savours of excellence that a man is beneficent,
generous and grateful. Wherefore he shows himself ready
to perform actions of this kind, but not as acts of the other
virtues. On the other hand., it is a proof of defect, that a
man thinks so much of certain external goods or evils,
that for their sake he abandons and gives up justice or any
virtue whatever. Again, all concealment of the truth
indicates a defect, since it seems to be the outcome of fear.
Also that a man be given to complaining denotes a defect,
because by so doing the mind seems to give way to external
evils. Wherefore these and like things the magnanimous
man avoids under a special aspect, inasmuch as they are
contrary to his excellence or greatness.

Reply Ohj. 3. Every virtue derives from its species a
certain lustre or adornment which is proper to each virtue:
but further adornment results from the very greatness of
a virtuous deed, through magnanimity which makes all
virtues greater as stated in Ethic, iv. 3.

Fifth Article,
whether magnanimity is a part of fortitude ?

We proceed thus to the Fifth Article : —

Ohjection i. It seems that magnanimity is not a part of
fortitude. For a thing is not a part of itself. But magna-
nimity appears to be the same as fortitude. For Seneca
says [De Quat. Virtut. ) : If magnanimity, which is also called

Q. 129. Art. 5 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 260

fortitude, he in thy soul, thou shalt live in great assurance:
and TuUy says [Be Offic. i.): If a man is brave we expect him
to he magnanimous, truth-loving, and far removed from decep-
tion. Therefore magnanimity is not a part of fortitude.

Ohj. 2. Further, The Philosopher {Ethic, iv. 3) says that
a magnanimous man is not (f:>LKoKivhvvo^, that is, a lover of
danger. But it belongs to a brave man to expose himself
to danger. Therefore magnanimity has nothing in common
with fortitude so as to be called a part thereof.

Ohj. 3. Further, Magnanimity regards the great in things
to be hoped for, whereas fortitude regards the great in
things to be feared or dared. But good is of more import
than evil. Therefore magnanimity is a more important
virtue than fortitude. Therefore it is not a part thereof.

On the contrary, Macrobius {De Somn. Scip. i.) and
Andronicus reckon magnanimity as a part of fortitude.

I answer that, As stated above (I. -II., Q. LXL, A. 3), a
principal virtue is one to which it belongs to establish a
general mode of virtue in a principal matter. Now one of
the general modes of virtue is firmness of mind, because
a firm standing is necessary in every virtue, according to
Ethic, ii. And this is chiefly commended in those virtues
that tend to something difficult, in which it is most difficult
to preserve firmness. Wherefore the more difiicult it is to
stand firm in some matter of difficulty, the more principal
is the virtue which makes the mind firm in that matter.

Now it is more difficult to stand firm in dangers of death,
wherein fortitude confirms the mind, than in hoping for
or obtaining the greatest goods, wherein the mind is con-
firmed by magnanimity, for, as man loves his life above all
things, so does he fly from dangers of death more than any
others. Accordingly it is clear that magnanimity agrees
with fortitude in confirming the mind about some difficult
matter; but it falls short thereof, in that it confirms the
mind about a matter wherein it is easier to stand firm.
Hence magnanimity is reckoned a part of fortitude, because
it is annexed thereto as secondary to principal.

Reply Ohj. i. As the Philosopher says {Ethic, v. i, 3),

26i MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 5

to lack evil is looked upon as a good, wherefore not to be
overcome by a grievous evil, such as the danger of death,
is looked upon as though it were the obtaining of a great
good, the former belonging to fortitude, and the latter to
magnanimity: in this sense fortitude and magnanimity
may be considered as identical. Since, however, there is a
difference as regards the difficulty on the part of either of
the aforesaid, it follows that properly speaking magnani-
mity, according to the Philosopher (Ethic, ii. 7), is a distinct
virtue from fortitude.

Reply Obj. 2. A man is said to love danger when he
exposes himself to all kinds of dangers, which seems to be
the mark of one who thinks many the same as great. This
is contrary to the nature of a magnanimous man, for no
one seemingly exposes himself to danger for the sake of a
thing that he does not deem great. But for things that are
truly great, a magnanimous man is most ready to expose
himself to danger, since he does something great in the act
of fortitude, even as in the acts of the other virtues. Hence
the Philosopher says (ibid.) that the magnanimous man
is not fiiKpoKLvSwof;, i.e. endangering himself for small
things, but /neydXodvSwo^, i.e. endangering himself for
great things. And Seneca says {De Quot. Virtut.): Thou
wilt be magnanimous if thou neither seekest dangers like a
rash man, nor fear est them like a coward. For nothing makes
the soul a coward save the consciousness of a wicked life.

Reply Obj. 3. Evil as such is to be avoided : and that one
has to withstand it is accidental, in so far, to wit, as one
has to suffer an evil in order to safeguard a good. But
good as such is to be desired, and that one avoids it is only
accidental, in so far, to wit, as it is deemed to surpass the
ability of the one who desires it. Now that which is so
essentially is always of more account than that which is
so accidentally. Wherefore the difficult in evil things is
always more opposed to firmness of mind than the difficult
in good things. Hence the virtue of fortitude takes pre-
cedence of the virtue of magnanimity. For though good
is simply of more import than evil, evil is of more import in
this particular respect.

Q. 129. Art. 6 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 262

Sixth Article,
whether confidence belongs to magnanimity?

We proceed thus to the Sixth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that confidence does not belong to
magnanimity. For a man may have assurance not only
in himself, but also in another, according to 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5,
Such confidence we have, through Christ towards God, not that
we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of our-
selves. But this seems inconsistent with the idea of
magnanimity. Therefore confidence does not belong to

Ohj. 2. Further, Confidence seems to be opposed to fear,
according to Isa. xii. 2, / will deal confidently and will not
fear. But to be without fear seems more akin to fortitude.
Therefore confidence also belongs to fortitude rather than
to magnanimity.

Ohj. 3. Further, Reward is not due except to virtue.
But a reward is due to confidence, according to Heb. iii. 6,
where it is said that we are the house of Christ, if we hold
fast the confidence and glory of hope unto the end. Therefore
confidence is a virtue distinct from magnanimity: and this
is confirmed by the fact that Macrobius condivides it with
magnanimity {De Somn. Scip. i.).

On the contrary, TuUy [De Suv. Rhet. ii.) seems to substi-
tute confidence for magnanimity, as stated above in the
preceding Question [ad 6) and in the prologue to this.

I answer that, Confidence takes its name from^^^s (faith) :
and it belongs to faith to believe something and in somebody.
But confidence belongs to hope, according to Job xi. 18,
Thou shalt have confidence, hope being set before thee. Where-
fore confidence apparently denotes chiefly that a man
derives hope through believing the word of one who promises
to help him. Since, however, faith signifies also a strong
opinion, and since one may come to have a strong opinion
about something, not only on account of another's state-
ment, but also on account of something we observe in another,

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