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263 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 6

it foUows that confidence may denote the hope of having
something, which hope we conceive through observing
something either in oneself — for instance, through observing
that he is healthy, a man is confident that he will live long;
or in another, for instance, through observing that another
is friendly to him and powerful, a man is confident that he
will receive help from him.

Now it has been stated above (A. i, 2 ad) that magnani-
mity is chiefly about the hope of something difficult. Where-
fore, since confidence denotes a certain strength of hope
arising from some observation which gives one a strong
opinion that one will obtain a certain good, it follows that
confidence belongs to magnanimity.

Reply Ohj. i. As the Philosopher says {Ethic, iv. 3), it
belongs to the magnanimous to need nothing, for need is a
mark of the deficient. But this is to be understood accord-
ing to the mode of a man, hence he adds or scarcely anything.
For it surpasses man to need nothing at all. For every
man needs, first, the Divine assistance, secondly, even human
assistance, since man is naturally a social animal, for he is
sufficient by himself to provide for his own life. Accordingly,
in so far as he needs others, it belongs to a magnanimous
man to have confidence in others, for it is also a point of
excellence in a man that he should have at hand those who
are able to be of service to him. And in so far as his own
ability goes, it belongs to a magnanimous man to be con-
fident in himself.

Reply Ohj. 2. As stated above (I.-II., Q. XXIII., A. 2:
Q. XL., A. 4), when we were treating of the passions, hope
is directly opposed to despair, because the latter is about
the same object, namely good. But as regards contrariety
of objects it is opposed to fear, because the latter's object
is evil. Now confidence denotes a certain strength of hope,
wherefore it is opposed to fear even as hope is. Since,
however, fortitude properly strengthens a man in respect
of evil, and magnanimity in respect of the obtaining of
good, it follows that confidence belongs more properly
to magnanimity than to fortitude. Yet because hope



Q. 129. Art. 7 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 264

causes daring, which belongs to fortitude, it follows in
consequence that confidence pertains to fortitude.

Reply Obj. 3. Confidence, as stated above, denotes a
certain mode of hope: for confidence is hope strengthened
by a strong opinion. Now the mode applied to an affection
may call for commendation of the act, so that it become
meritorious, yet it is not this that draws it to a species of
virtue, but its matter. Hence, properly speaking, confidence
cannot denote a virtue, though it may denote the conditions
of a virtue. For this reason it is reckoned among the parts
of fortitude, not as an annexed virtue, except as identified
with magnanimity by Tully {loc. cit.), but as an integral
part, as stated in the preceding Question.

Seventh Article,
whether security belongs to magnanimity?

We proceed thus to the Seventh Article : —

Objection i. It seems that security does not belong to
magnanimity. For security, as stated above (Q. CXXVIII.,
ad 6), denotes freedom from the disturbance of fear. But
fortitude does this most effectively. Wherefore security
is seemingly the same as fortitude. But fortitude does not
belong to magnanimity; rather the reverse is the case.
Neither therefore does security belong to magnanimity.

Obj. 2. Further, Isidore says [Etym. x.) that a man is
said to be secure because he is without care. But this seems
to be contrary to virtue, which has a care for honourable
things, according to 2 Tim. ii. 15, Carefully study to present
thyself approved unto God. Therefore security does not
belong to magnanimity, which does great things in all the
virtues.

Obj. 3. Further, Virtue is not its own reward. But
security is accounted the reward of virtue, according to
Job xi. 14, 18, If thou wilt put away from thee the iniquity
that is in thy hand being buried thou shall sleep secure. There-
fore security does not belong to magnanimity or to any
other virtue, as a part thereof.



265 MAGNANIMITY Q. 129. Art. 7

On the contrary, TuUy says [De Offic. i.) under the heading:
Magnanimity consists of two things, that it belongs to mag-
nanimity to give way neither to a troubled mind, nor to man,
nor to fortune. But a man's security consists in this.
Therefore security belongs to magnanimity.

I answer that, As the Philosopher says {Rhet. ii. 5), fear
makes a man take counsel, because, to wit, he takes care
to avoid what he fears. Now security takes its name from
the removal of this care, of which fear is the cause : where-
fore security denotes perfect freedom of the mind from fear,
just as confidence denotes strength of hope. Now, as hope
directly belongs to magnanimity, so fear directly regards
fortitude. Wherefore as confidence belongs immediately
to magnanimity, so security belongs immediately to for-
titude.

It must be observed, however, that as hope is the cause
of daring, so is fear the cause of despair, as stated above
when we were treating of the passion (I. -II., Q. XLV., A. 2).
Wherefore as confidence belongs indirectly to fortitude, in
so far as it makes.use of daring, so security belongs indirectly
to magnanimity, in so far as it banishes despair.

Reply Obj. i. Fortitude is chiefly commended, not because
it banishes fear, which belongs to security, but because it
denotes a firmness of mind in the matter of the passion.
Wherefore security is not the same as fortitude, but is a
condition thereof.

Reply Obj. 2. Not all security is worthy of praise but only
when one puts care aside, as one ought, and in things when
one should not fear : in this way it is a condition of fortitude
and of magnanimity.

Reply Obj. 3. There is in the virtues a certain likeness
to, and participation of, future happiness, as stated above
(I. -II., Q. v., AA. 3, 7). Hence nothing hinders a certain
security from being a condition of a virtue, although perfect
security belongs to virtue's reward.



Q. 129. Art. 8 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 266



Eighth Article,
whether goods of fortune conduce to magnanimity?

We proceed thus to the Eighth Article: —

Objection i. It seems that goods of fortune do not conduce
to magnanimity. For according to Seneca (De Ira i.:
De vita heata xvi. ) : virtue suffices for itself. Now magnanimity
makes every virtue great, as stated above (A. 4, ad 3).
Therefore goods of fortune do not conduce to magna-
nimity.

Ohj. 2. Further, No virtuous man despises what is helpful
to him. But the magnanimous man despises whatever
pertains to goods of fortune: for Tully says {De Offic. i.)
under the heading: Magnanimity consists of two things,
that a great soul is commended for despising external things.
Therefore a magnanimous man is not helped by goods of
fortune.

Ohj. 3. Further, Tully adds {ihid.) that it belongs to a
great soul so to bear what seems troublesome, as nowise to
depart from his natural estate, or from the dignity of a wise
man. And Aristotle says {Ethic, iv. 3) that a magnanir/ious
man does not grieve at misfortune. Now troubles and mis-
fortunes are opposed to goods of fortune, for every one
grieves at the loss of what is helpful to him. Therefore
external goods of fortune do not conduce to magnanimity.

On the contrary, The Philosopher says {Ethic, iv. 3) that
goods of fortune seem to conduce to magnanimity.

I answer that, As stated above (A. i), magnanimity
regards two things : honour as its matter, and the accompHsh-
ment of something great as its end. Now goods of fortune
conduce to both these things. For since honour is conferred
on the virtuous, not only by the wise, but also by the multi-
tude who hold these goods of fortune in the highest esteem,
the result is that they show greater honour to those who
possess goods of fortune. Likewise goods of fortune are
useful organs or instruments of virtuous deeds: since we
can easily accomplish things by means of riches, power and



267 MAGNANIMITY Q. 120. Art. 8

friends. Hence it is evident that goods of fortune conduce
to magnanimity.

Reply Obj. 1. Virtue is said to be sufficient for itself,
because it can be without even these external goods; yet
it needs them in order to act more expeditiously.

Reply Obj. 2. The magnanimous man despises external
goods, inasmuch as he does not think them so great as to
be bound to do anything unbecoming for their sake. Yet
he does not despise them, but that he esteems them useful
for the accomphshment of virtuous deeds.

Reply Obj. 3. If a man does not think much of a thing,
he is neither very joyful at obtaining it, nor very grieved
at losing it. Wherefore, since the magnanimous man does
not think much of external goods, that is goods of fortune,
he is neither much uplifted by them if he has them, nor much
cast down by their loss.



QUESTION CXXX

OF PRESUMPTION.

{In Two Articles.)

We must now consider the vices opposed to magnanimity;
and in the first place, those that are opposed thereto by
excess. These are three, namely, presumption, ambition,
and vainglory. Secondly, we shall consider pusillanimity
which is opposed to it by way of deficiency. Under the
first head there are two points of inquiry: (i) Whether
presumption is a sin ? (2) Whether it is opposed to magna-
nimity by excess ?

First Article,
whether presumption is a sin ?

We proceed thus to the First Article: —

Objection i. It seems that presumption is not a sin. For
the Apostle says: Forgetting the things that are behind, I
stretch forth [Vulg., — and stretching forth) myself to those that
are before. But it seems to savour of presumption that one
should tend to what is above oneself. Therefore presump-
tion is not a sin.

Obj. 2. Further, The Philosopher says {Ethic, i. 7) we
should not listen to those who would persuade us to relish
human things because we are men, or mortal things because
we are mortal, but we should relish those that make us immortal:
and {Met. i.) that man should pursue divine things as far as
possible. Now divine and immortal things are seemingly
far above man. Since then presumption consists essentially

268



269 PRESUMPTION Q. 130. Art. t

in tending to what is above oneself, it seems that presump-
tion is something praiseworthy, rather than a sin.

Ohj. 3. Further, The Apostle says (2 Cor. iii. 5): Not
that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of
ourselves. If then presumption, by which one strives at
that for which one is not sufficient, be a sin, it seems that
man cannot lawfully even think of anything good: which
is absurd. Therefore presumption is not a sin.

On the contrary, It is written (Ecclus. xxxvii. 3) : wicked
presumption, whence earnest thou ? and a gloss answers :
From a creature s evil will. Now all that comes of the root
of an evil will is a sin. Therefore presumption is a sin.

/ answer that. Since whatever is according to nature, is
ordered by the Divine Reason, which human reason ought
to imitate, whatever is done in accordance with human
reason in opposition to the order established in general
throughout natural things is vicious and sinful. Now
it is established throughout all natural things, that every
action is commensurate with the power of the agent, nor
does any natural agent strive to do what exceeds its
ability. Hence it is vicious and sinful, as being contrary
to the natural order, that any one should assume to do what
is above his power : and this is what is meant by presumption,
as its very name shows. Wherefore it is evident that pre-
sumption is a sin.

Reply Ohj. i. Nothing hinders that which is above the
active power of a natural thing, and yet not above the
passive power of that same thing: thus the air is possessed
of a passive power by reason of which it can be so changed
as to obtain the action and movement of fire, which surpass
the active power of air. Thus too it would be sinful and
presumptuous for a man while in a state of imperfect virtue
to attempt the immediate accomplishment of what belongs
to perfect virtue. But it is not presumptuous or sinful for a
man to endeavour to advance towards perfect virtue. In
this way the Apostle stretched himself forth to the things
that were before him, namely continually advancing forward.

Reply Ohj. 2. Divine and immortal things surpass man



Q. 130. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 270

according to the order of nature. Yet man is possessed
of a natural power, namely the intellect, whereby he can
be united to immortal and Divine things. In this respect
the Philosopher says that man ought to pursue immortal
and divine things, not that he should do what it becomes
God to do, but that he should be united to Him in intellect
and will.

Reply Ohj. 3. As the Philosopher says [Ethic, iii. 3), what
we can do by the help of others we can do by ourselves in a
sense. Hence since we can think and do good by the help
of God, this is not altogether above our ability. Hence
it is not presumptuous for a man to attempt the accomplish-
ment of a virtuous deed: but it would be presumptuous
if one were to make the attempt without confidence in God's
assistance.

Second Article.

whether presumption is opposed to magnanimity

by excess ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that presumption is not opposed
to magnanimity by excess. For presumption is accounted
a species of the sin against the Holy Ghost, as stated above
(Q. XIV., A. 2 : Q. XXL, A. i). But the sin against the Holy
Ghost is not opposed to magnanimity, but to charity.
Neither therefore is presumption opposed to magnanimity.

Ohj. 2. Further, It belongs to magnanimity that one should
deem oneself worthy of great things. But a man is said to
be presumptuous even if he deem himself worthy of small
things, if they surpass his ability. Therefore presumption
is not directly opposed to magnanimity.

Obj. 3. Further, The magnanimous man looks upon
external goods as little things. Now according to the
Philosopher {Ethic, iv. 3), on account of external fortune
the presumptuous disdain and wrong others, because they
deem external goods as something great. Therefore presump-
tion is opposed to magnanimity, not by excess, but only
by deficiency.



271 PRESUMPTION Q. 130. Art. 2

On the contrary, The Philosopher says [Ethic, ii. 7; iv. 3)
that the vain man, i.e. a vapourer or a wind-bag, which
with us denotes a presumptuous man, is opposed to the
magnanimous man by excess.

I answer that. As stated above (Q. CXXIX., A. 3, ad. i),
magnanimity observes the means, not as regards the quantity
of that to which it tends, but in proportion to our own
abiHty: for it does not tend to anything greater than is
becoming to us.

Now the presumptuous man, as regards that to which
he tends, does not exceed the magnanimous, but sometimes
falls far short of him: but he does exceed in proportion
to his own ability, whereas the magnanimous man does not
exceed his. It is in this way that presumption is opposed
to magnanimity by excess.

Reply Obj. i. It is not every presumption that is accounted
a sin against the Holy Ghost, but that by which one con-
temns the Divine justice through inordinate confidence
in the Divine mercy. The latter kind of presumption, by
reason of its matter, inasmuch, to wit, as it implies con-
tempt of something Divine, is opposed to charity, or rather
to the gift of fear, whereby we revere God. Nevertheless,
in so far as this contempt exceeds the proportion to one's
own ability, it can be opposed to magnanimity.

Reply Obj. 2. Presumption, like magnanimity, seems to
tend to something great. For we are not, as a rule, wont
to call a man presumptuous for going beyond his powers
in something small. If, however, such a man be called
presumptuous, this kind of presumption is not opposed
to magnanimity, but to that virtue which is about ordinary
honour, as stated above (Q. CXXIX., A. 2).

Reply Obj. 3. No one attempts what is above his ability,
except in so far as he deems his ability greater than it is.
In this one may err in two ways. First only as regards
quantity, as when a man thinks he has greater virtue, or
knowledge, or the like, than he has. Secondly, as regards
the kind of thing, as when he thinks himself great, and
worthy of great things, by reason of something that does



Q. 130. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 272

not make him so, for instance by reason of riches or goods
of fortune. For, as the Philosopher says {Ethic, iv. 3),
those who have these things without virtue, neither justly
deem themselves worthy of great things, nor are rightly called
magnanimous.

Again, the thing to which a man sometimes tends in
excess of his abihty, is sometimes in very truth something
great, simply as in the case of Peter, whose intent was to
suffer for Christ, which has exceeded his power; while some-
times it is something great, not simply, but only in the
opinion of fools, such as wearing costly clothes, despising
and wronging others. This savours of an excess of
magnanimity, not in any truth, but in people's opinion.
Hence Seneca says [De Quat. Virtut.) that when magna-
nimity exceeds its measure, it makes a man high-handed,
proud, haughty, restless, and bent on excelling in all things,
whether in words or in deeds, without any considerations of
virtue. Thus it is evident that the presumptuous man
sometimes falls short of the magnanimous in reality, although
in appearance he surpasses him.



QUESTION CXXXI.

OF AMBITION.

{In Two Articles.)

We must now consider ambition: and under this head
there are two points of inquiry: (i) Whether it is a sin ?
(2) Whether it is opposed to magnanimity by excess ?

First Article,
whether ambition is a sin ?

We proceed thus to the First Article : —

Objection i. It seems that ambition is not a sin. For
ambition denotes the desire of honour. Now honour is
in itself a good thing, and the greatest of external goods:
wherefore those who care not for honour are reproved.
Therefore ambition is not a sin; rather is it something
deserving of praise, in so far as a good is laudably desired.

Ohj. 2. Further, Anyone may, without sin, desire what
is due to him as a reward. Now honour is the reward of
virtue, as the Philosopher si2it^s>[ Ethic, i. 12; iv. 3; viii. 14).
Therefore ambition of honour is not a sin.

Ohj. 3. Further, That which heartens a man to do good
and disheartens him from doing evil, is not a sin. Now
honour heartens men to do good and to avoid evil; thus
the Philosopher says [Ethic, iii. 8) that with the bravest men,
cowards are held in dishonour, and the brave in honour: and
Tully says [De Tusc. Qucest. i.) that honour fosters the arts.
Therefore ambition is not a sin.

On the contrary, It is written (i Cor. xiii. 5) that charity is
II. ii. 4 273 18



Q. 131. Art. i THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 274

not ambitious, seeketh not her own. Now nothing is contrary
to charity, except sin. Therefore ambition is a sin.

/ answer that, As stated above (Q. CIII., AA. i, 2), honour
denotes reverence shown to a person in witness of his ex-
cellence. Now two things have to be considered with
regard to man's honour. The first is that a man has not
from himself the thing in which he excels, for this is, as it
were, something Divine in him, wherefore on this count
honour is due principally, not to him but to God. The
second point that calls for observation is that the thing in
which man excels is given to him by God, that he may
profit others thereby: wherefore a man ought so far to be
pleased that others bear witness to his excellence, as this
enables him to profit others.

Now the desire of honour may be inordinate in three
ways. First, when a man desires recognition of an excel-
lence which he has not : this is to desire more than his share
of honour. Secondly, when a man desires honour for him-
self without referring it to God. Thirdly, when a man's
appetite rests in honour itself, without referring it to the
profit of others. Since then ambition denotes inordinate
desire of honour, it is evident that it is always a sin.

Reply Ohj. i. The desire for good should be regulated
according to reason, and if it exceed this rule it will be
sinful. In this way it is sinful to desire honour in disaccord
with the order of reason. Now those are reproved who
care not for honour in accordance with reason's dictate that
they should avoid what is contrary to honour.

Reply Ohj. 2. Honour is not the reward of virtue, as
regards the virtuous man, in this sense that he should seek
for it as his reward: since the reward he seeks is happiness,
which is the end of virtue. But it is said to be the reward
of virtue as regards others, who have nothing greater than
honour whereby to reward the virtuous; which honour
deceives greatness from the very fact that it bears witness
to virtue. Hence it is evident that it is not an adequate
reward, as stated in Ethic, iv. 3.

Reply Ohj. 3. Just as some are heartened to do good and



275 AMBITION Q. 131. Art. 2

disheartened from doing evil, by the desire of honour,
if this be desired in due measure; so, if it be desired inordin-
ately, it may become to man an occasion of doing many
evil things, as when a man cares not by what means he
obtains honour. Wherefore Sallust says (Catilin.) that
the good as well as the wicked covet honours for themselves, hut
the one, i.e. the good, go about it in the right way, whereas
the other, i.e. the wicked, through lack of the good acts, make
use of deceit and falsehood. Yet they who, merely for the
sake of honour, either do good or avoid evil, are not virtuous,
according to the Philosopher [Ethic, iii. 8), where he says
that they who do brave things for the sake of honour are
not truly brave.

Second Article.

whether ambition is opposed to magnanimity

by excess ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that ambition is not opposed to
magnanimity by excess. For one mean has only one
extreme opposed to it on the one side. Now presumption
is opposed to magnanimity by excess as stated above
(Q. CXXX., A. 2). Therefore ambition is not opposed to
it by excess.

Obj. 2. Further, Magnanimity is about honours; whereas
ambition seems to regard positions of dignity: for it is
written (2 Machab. iv. 7) that Jason ambitiously sought
the high priesthood. Therefore ambition is not opposed to
magnanimity.

Obj. 3. Further, Ambition seems to regard outward show:
for it is written (Acts xxv. 27) that Agrippa and Berenice
. . . with great pomp (ambitione) . . . had entered into the
hall of audience,* and (2 Para. xvi. 14) that when Asa died
they burnt spices and . . . ointments over his body with very
great pomp (ambitio7ie). But magnanimity is not about

* Praetorium. The Vulgate has auditorium, but the meaning is
the same.



Q. 131. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 276

outward show. Therefore ambition is not opposed to
magnanimity.

On the contrary, Tully says {De Offic. i.) that the more a
man exceeds in magnanimity, the more he desires himself
alone to dominate others. But this pertains to ambition.
Therefore ambition denotes an excess of magnanimity.

I answer that. As stated above (A. i), ambition signifies
inordinate love of honour. Now magnanimity is about
honours and makes use of them in a becoming manner.
Wherefore it is evident that ambition is opposed to magna-
nimity as the inordinate to that which is well ordered.

Reply Ohj. i. Magnanimity regards two things. It
regards one as its end, in so far as it is some great deed that
the magnanimous man attempts in proportion to his ability.
In this way presumption is opposed to magnanimity by
excess: because the presumptuous man attempts great
deeds beyond his ability. The other thing that magnani-
mity regards is its matter, viz. honour, of which it makes
right use: and in this way ambition is opposed to magna-
nimity by excess. Nor is it impossible for one mean to be
exceeded in various respects.

Reply Ohj. 2. Honour is due to those who are in a position
of dignity, on account of a certain excellence of their estate :
and accordingly inordinate desire for positions of dignity
pertains to ambition. For if a man were to have an inor-
dinate desire for a position of dignity, not for the sake of
honour, but for the sake of a right use of a dignity exceeding
his ability, he would not be ambitious but presumptuous.

Reply Ohj. 3. The very solemnity of outward worship
is a kind of honour, wherefore in such cases honour is wont
to be shown. This is signified by the words of James


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