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things and in a particular way, in respect of which the superior
stands between God and his subjects, whereas in respect
of other matters the subject is immediately under God, by
Whom he is taught either by the natural or by the written law.

Reply Ohj. 3. Religious profess obedience as to the regular
mode of life, in respect of which they are subject to their
superiors : wherefore they are bound to obey in those matters
only which may belong to the regular mode of life, and this
obedience suffices for salvation. If they be willing to obey
even in other matters, this will belong to the superabundance
of perfection; provided, however, such things be not contrary
to God or to the rule they profess, for obedience in this case
would be unlawful.

Accordingly we may distinguish a threefold obedience ; one,
sufficient for salvation, and consisting in obeying when
one is bound to obey: secondly, perfect obedience, which
obeys in all things lawful: thirdly, indiscreet obedience,
which obeys even in matters unlawful.

Q. 104. art.6 the "SUMMA THEOLOGICA*' 38

Sixth Article,
whether christians are bound to obey the secular


We proceed thus to the Sixth Article : —

Objection i. It seems that Christians are not bound to
obey the secular power. For a gloss on Matth. xvii. 25,
Then the children are free, says: // in every kingdom the
children of the king who holds sway over that kingdom are free,
then the children of that King, under Whose sway are all
kingdoms, should he free in every kingdom. Now Christians,
by their faith in Christ, are made children of God, according
to John i. 12 : He gave them power to he made the sons of God,
to them that helieve in His name. Therefore they are not
bound to obey the secular power.

Ohj. 2. Further, It is written (Rom. vii. 4) : You . . . are
become dead to the law by the body of Christ, and the law
mentioned here is the divine law of the Old Testament.
Now human law whereby men are subject to the secular
power is of less account than the divine law of the Old Testa-
ment. Much more, therefore, since they have become
members of Christ's body, are men freed from the law of
subjection, whereby they were under the power of secular

Ohj. 3. Further, Men are not bound to obey robbers, who
oppress them with violence. Now, Augustine says (De
Civ. Dei iv.): Without justice, what else is a kingdom but
a huge robbery? Since therefore the authority of secular
princes is frequently exercised with injustice, or owes its
origin to some unjust usurpation, it seems that Christians
ought not to obey secular princes.

On the contrary, It is written (Tit. iii. i): Admonish them
to be subject to princes and powers, and (i Pet. ii. 13, 14) : Be
ye subject . . . to every human creature for God's sake : whether
it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him.

I answer that. Faith in Christ is the origin and cause of
justice, according to Rom. iii. 22, The justice of God by

39 OBEDIENCE Q. 104. Art. 6

faith of Jesus Christ : wherefore faith in Christ does not
void the order of justice, but strengthens it. Now the order
of justice requires that subjects obey their superiors, else
the stabiHty of human affairs would cease. Hence faith in
Christ does not excuse the faithful from the obligation of
obeying secular princes.

Reply Ohj. i. As stated above (A. 5), the subjection
whereby one man is bound to another regards the body ; not
the soul, which retains its liberty. Now, in this state of life
we are freed by the grace of Christ from defects of the soul,
but not from defects of the body, as the Apostle declares by
saying of himself (Rom. vii. 23) that in his mind he served
the law of God, but in his flesh the law of sin. Wherefore
those that are made children of God by grace are free from
the spiritual bondage of sin, but not from the bodily
bondage, whereby they are held bound to earthly masters,
as a gloss observes on i Tim. vi. i, Whosoever are servants
under the yoke^ etc.

Reply Ohj. 2. The Old Law was a figure of the New Testa-
ment, and therefore it had to cease on the advent of truth.
And the comparison with human law does not stand, because
thereby one man is subject to another. Yet man is bound
by divine law to obey his fellow-man.

Reply Ohj. 3. Man is bound to obey secular princes in so
far as this is required by the order of justice. Wherefore if
the prince's authority is not just but usurped, or if he com-
mands what is unjust, his subjects are not bound to obey
him, except perhaps accidentally, in order to avoid scandal
or danger.



{In Two Articles.)

We must now consider disobedience, under which head there
are two points of inquiry: (i) Whether it is a mortal sin ?
(2) Whether it is the most grievous of sins ?

First Article,
whether disobedience is a mortal sin ?

We proceed thus to the First Article : —

Objection i. It seems that disobedience is not a mortal
sin. For every sin is a disobedience, as appears from
Ambrose's definition given above (0. CIV. A. 2, Obj. i).
Therefore if disobedience were a mortal sin, every sin would
be mortal.

Ohj. 2. Further, Gregory says [Moral, xxxi.) that dis-
obedience is born of vainglory. But vainglory is not a
mortal sin. Neither therefore is disobedience.

Ohj. 3. Further, A person is said to be disobedient when
he does not fulfil a superior's command. But superiors often
issue so many commands that it is seldom, if ever, possible
to fulfil them. Therefore if disobedience were a mortal sin,
it would follow that man cannot avoid mortal sin, which is
absurd. Wherefore disobedience is not a mortal sin.

On the contrary, Those who are disobedient to parents are
reckoned (Rom. i. 30: 2 Tim. iii. 2) among other mortal sins.

I answer that, As stated above (Q. XXIV., A. 12: I.-II.,
Q. LXXIL, A. 5: Q. LXXXVIIL, A. i), a mortal sin is one
that is contrary to charity which is the cause of spiritual


41 DISOBEDIENCE Q. 105. Art. i

life. Now by charity we love God and our neighbour. The
charity of God requires that we obey His commandments,
as stated above (Q. XXIV., A. 12). Therefore to be dis-
obedient to the commandments of God is a mortal sin,
because it is contrary to the love of God.

Again, the commandments of God contain the precept
of obedience to superiors. Wherefore also disobedience to
the commands of a superior is a mortal sin, as being contrary
to the love of God, according to Rom. xiii. 2, He that resisteth
the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. It is also contrary
to. the love of our neighbour, as it withdraws from the
superior who is our neighbour the obedience that is his due.

Reply Obj. i. The definition given by Ambrose refers to
mortal sin, which has the character of perfect sin. Venial sin
is not disobedience, because it is not contrary to a precept,
but beside it. Nor again is every mortal sin disobedience,
properly and essentially, but only when one contemns
a precept, since moral acts take their species from the end.
And when a thing is done contrary to a precept, not in con-
tempt of the precept, but with some other purpose, it is not
a sin of disobedience except materially, and belongs formally
to another species of sin.

Reply Obj. 2. Vainglory desires display of excellence.
x\nd since it seems to point to a certain excellence that one
be not subject to another's command, it follows that dis-
obedience arises from vainglory. But there is nothing to
hinder mortal sin from arising out of venial sin, since venial
sin is a disposition to mortal.

Reply Obj. 3. No one is bound to do the impossible:
wherefore if a superior makes a heap of precepts and lays
them upon his subjects, so that they are unable to fulfil
them, they are excused from sin. Wherefore superiors
should refrain from making a multitude of precepts.

Q. 105. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 42

Second Article,
whether disobedience is the most grievous of sins ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that disobedience is the most
grievous of sins. For it is written (i Kings xv. 23) : It is like
the sin of witchcraft to rebel, and like the crime of idolatry to
refuse to obey. But idolatry is the most grievous of sins,
as stated above (Q. XCIV., A. 3). Therefore disobedience
is the most grievous of sins.

Obj. 2. Further, The sin against the Holy Ghost is one
that removes the obstacles of sin, as stated above (Q. XIV.,
A. 2). Now disobedience makes a man contemn a precept
which, more than anything, prevents a man from sinning.
Therefore disobedience is a sin against the Holy Ghost,
and consequently is the most grievous of sins.

Obj. 3. Further, The Apostle says (Rom. v. 19) that by
the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners. Now
the cause is seemingly greater than its effect. Therefore
disobedience seems to be a more grievous sin than the others
that are caused thereby.

On the contrary, Contempt of the commander is a more
grievous sin than contempt of his command. Now some
sins are against the very person of the commander, such as
blasphemy and murder. Therefore disobedience is not the
most grievous of sins.

I answer that, Not every disobedience is equally a sin : for
one disobedience may be greater than another, in two ways.
First, on the part of the superior commanding, since,
although a man should take every care to obey each superior,
yet it is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority,
in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set
aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority.
Consequently the higher the person who commands, the more
grievous is it to disobey him: so that it is more grievous to
disobey God than man. Secondly, on the part of the things
commanded. For the person commanding does not equally

43 DISOBEDIENCE Q. 105. Art. 2

desire the fulfilment of all his commands: since every such
person desires above all the end, and that which is nearest
to the end. Wherefore disobedience is the more grievous,
according as the unfulfilled commandment is more in the
intention of the person commanding. As to the command-
ments of God, it is evident that the greater the good com-
manded, the more grievous the disobedience of that com-
mandment, because since God's will is essentially directed
to the good, the greater the good, the more does God wish
it to be fulfilled. Consequently he that disobeys the com-
mandment of the love of God sins more grievously than one
who disobeys the commandment of the love of our neighbour.
On the other hand, man's will is not always directed to the
greater good : hence, when we are bound by a mere precept
of man, a sin is more grievous, not through setting aside a
greater good, but through setting aside that which is more
in the intention of the person commanding.

Accordingly the various degrees of disobedience must
correspond with the various degrees of precepts: because
the disobedience in which there is contempt of God's precept,
from the very nature of disobedience is more grievous than
a sin committed against a man, apart from the latter being
a disobedience to God. And I say this because whoever
sins against his neighbour acts also against God's command-
ment. — ^And if the divine precept be contemned in a yet
graver matter, the sin is still more grievous. The dis-
obedience that contains contempt of a man's precept is less
grievous than the sin which contemns the man who made
the precept, because reverence for the person commanding
should give rise to reverence for his command. In like
manner a sin that directly involves contempt of God, such
as blasphemy, or the like, is more grievous (even if we
mentally separate the disobedience from the sin) than would
be a sin involving contempt of God's commandment alone.

Reply Ohj. i. This comparison of Samuel's is one, not of
equality but of likeness, because disobedience redounds to
the contempt of God, just as idolatry does, though the latter
does so more.

Q. 105. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 44

Reply Ohj. 2. Not every disobedience is a sin against the
Holy Ghost, but only that to which obstinacy is added : for
it is not the contempt of any obstacle to sin that constitutes
sin against the Holy Ghost, else the contempt of any good
would be a sin against the Holy Ghost, since any good may
hinder a man from committing sin. The sin against the
Holy Ghost consists in the contempt of those goods which
lead directly to repentance and the remission of sins.

Reply Ohj. 3. The first sin of our first parent, from which
sin was transmitted to all men, was not disobedience con-
sidered as a special sin, but pride, from which the man pro-
ceeded to disobey. Hence the Apostle in these words seems
to take disobedience in its relation to every sin.



{In Six Articles.)

We must now consider thankfulness or gratitude, and
ingratitude. Concerning thankfulness there are six points of
inquiry: (i) Whether thankfulness is a special virtue distinct
from other virtues ? (2) Who owes more thanks to God,
the innocent or the penitent ? (3) Whether man is always
bound to give thanks for human favours ? (4) Whether
thanksgiving should be deferred ? (5) Whether thanks-
giving should be measured according to the favour received
or the disposition of the giver ? (6) Whether one ought to
pay back more than one has received ?

First Article.

whether thankfulness is a special virtue,
distinct from other virtues ?

We proceed thus to the First Article : —

Objection i. It seems that thankfulness is not a special
virtue, distinct from other virtues. For we have received
the greatest benefits from God, and from our parents. Now
the honour which we pay to God in return belongs to the
virtue of religion, and the honour with which we repay our
parents belongs to the virtue of piety. Therefore thank-
fulness or gratitude is not distinct from the other virtues.

Ohj. 2. Further, Proportionate repayment belongs to com-
mutative justice, according to the Philosopher (Ethic, v. 4).
Now the purpose of giving thanks is repayment [ibid.).
Therefore thanksgiving, which belongs to gratitude, is an



act of justice. Therefore gratitude is not a special virtue,
distinct from other virtues.

Ohj. 3. Further, Acknowledgement of favour received is
requisite for the preservation of friendship, according to the
Philosopher {Ethic.wiii. 13 ; ix. i). Now friendship is associated
with all the virtues, since they are the reason for which man
is loved. Therefore thankfulness or gratitude, to which
it belongs to repay favours received, is not a special virtue.

On the contrary, Tully reckons thankfulness a special part
of justice [De Inv. Rhet. ii.).

/ answer that, As stated above (I.-IL, Q. LX., A. 3), the
nature of the debt to be paid must needs vary according to
various causes giving rise to the debt, yet so that the greater
always includes the lesser. Now the cause of debt is found
primarily and chiefly in God, in that He is the first principle
of all our goods : secondarily it is found in our father, because
he is the proximate principle of our begetting and upbring-
ing : thirdl}^ it is found in the person that excels in dignity,
from whom general favours proceed; fourthly it is found in
a benefactor, from whom we have received particular and
private favours, on account of which we are under par-
ticular obligation to him.

Accordingly, since what we owe God, or our father, or a
person excelling in dignity, is not the same as what we owe
a benefactor from whom we have received some particular
favour, it follows that after religion, whereby we pay God
due worship, and piety, whereby we worship our parents,
and observance, whereby we worship persons excelling in
dignity, there is thankfulness or gratitude, whereby we give
thanks to our benefactors. And it is distinct from the
foregoing virtues, just as each of these is distinct from the
one that precedes, as falling short thereof.

Reply Ohj. i. Just as religion is super excelling piety, so
is it excelling thankfulness or gratitude: wherefore giving
thanks to God was reckoned above (Q. LXXXHL, A. 17)
among things pertaining to religion.

Reply Ohj. 2. Proportionate repayment belongs to commu-
tative justice, when it answers to the legal due; for instance

47 THANKFULNESS Q. io6.Art.2

when it is contracted that so much be paid for so much.
But the repayment that belongs to the virtue of thankful-
ness or gratitude answers to the moral debt, and is paid
spontaneously. Hence thanksgiving is less thankful when
compelled, as Seneca observes {De Beneficiis iii.).

Reply Ohj. 3. Since true friendship is based on virtue,
whatever there is contrary to virtue in a friend is an obstacle
to friendship, and whatever in him is virtuous is an incentive
to friendship. In this way friendship is preserved by re-
payment of favours, although repayment of favours belongs
specially to the virtue of gratitude.

Second Article.

whether the innocent is more bound to give
thanks to god than the penitent ?

We proceed thus to the Second Article : —

Objection i. It seems that the innocent is more bound
to give thanks to God than the penitent. For the greater
the gift one has received from God, the more is one bound
to give Him thanks. Now the gift of innocence is greater
than that of justice restored. Therefore it seems that the
innocent is more bound to give thanks to God than the

Ohj. 2. Further, A man owes love to his benefactor
just as he owes him gratitude. Now Augustine says
{Conf. ii.) : What man, weighing his own infirmity, would dare
to ascribe his purity and innocence to his own strength; that
so he should love Thee the less, as if he had less needed Thy
mercy, whereby Thou remittest sins to those that turn to Thee ?
And farther on he says: And for this let him love Thee as
much, yea and more, since by Whom he sees me to have been
recovered from such deep torpor of sin, by Kim he sees himself
to have been from the like torpor of sin preserved. Therefore
the innocent is also more bound to give thanks than the

Obj. 3. Further, The more a gratuitous favour is con-
tinuous, the greater the thanksgiving due for it. Now the

Q. io6. Art. 2 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 48

favour of divine grace is more continuous in the innocent
than in the penitent. For Augustine says {ibid.): To Thy
grace I ascribe it, and to Thy mercy, that Thou hast melted
away my sins as it were icp. To Thy grace I ascribe also what-
soever I have not done of evil ; for what might I not have done ?
. . . Yea, all I confess to have been forgiven me, both iii>hat
evils I committed by my own wilfulness, and what by Thy
guidance I committed not. Therefore the innocent is more
bound to give thanks than the penitent.

On the contrary, It is written (Luke vii. 47) : To whom
more is forgiven, he loveth more.'^ Therefore for the same
reason he is bound to greater thanksgiving.

/ answer that, Thanksgiving [gratiarum actio) in the
recipient corresponds to the favour (gratia) of the giver:
so that when there is greater favour on the part of the giver,
greater thanks are due on the part of the recipient. Now
a favour is something bestowed gratis : wherefore on the
part of the giver the favour may be greater on two counts.
First, owing to the quantity of the thing given : and in this
way the innocent owes greater thanksgiving, because he
receives a greater gift from God, also, absolutely speaking,
a more continuous gift, other things being equal. Secondly,
a favour may be said to be greater, because it is given more
gratuitously ; and in this sense the penitent is more bound to
give thanks than the innocent, because what he receives
from God is more gratuitously given : since, whereas he was
deserving of punishment, he has received grace. Where-
fore, although the gift bestowed on the innocent is, con-
sidered absolutely, greater, 3/et the gift bestowed on the
penitent is greater in relation to him : even as a small gift
bestowed on a poor man is greater to him than a great gift
is to a rich man. And since actions are about singulars,
in matters of action, we have to take note of what is such
here and now, rather than of what is such absolutely, as the
Philosopher observes [Ethic, iii.) in treating of the voluntary
and the involuntary.

This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.

* Vulg., — To whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.

49 THANKFULNESS Q. io6. Art. 3

Third Article.

whether a man is bound to give thanks to every

benefactor ?

We proceed thus to the Third Article : —

Objection i. It seems that a man is not bound to give
thanks to every benefactor. For a man may benefit himself
just as he may harm himself, according to Ecclus. xiv. 5,
He that is evil to himself, to whom will he be good ? But a
man cannot thank himself, since thanksgiving seems to
pass from one person to another. Therefore thanksgiving
is not due to every benefactor.

Obj. 2. Further, Gratitude is a repayment of an act of
grace. But some favours are granted without grace, and
are rudely, slowly and grudgingly given. Therefore grati-
tude is not always due to a benefactor.

Obj. 3. Further, No thanks are due to one who works for
his own profit. But sometimes people bestow favours
for their own profit. Therefore thanks are not due to

Obj. 4. Further, No thanks are due to a slave, for all
that he is belongs to his master. Yet sometimes a slave does
a good turn to his master. Therefore gratitude is not due
to every benefactor.

Obj. 5. Further, No one is bound to do what he cannot
do equitabty and advantageously. Now it happens at times
that the benefactor is very well off, and it would be of no
advantage to him to be repaid for a favour he has bestowed.
Again it happens sometimes that the benefactor from being
virtuous has become wicked, so that it would not seem
equitable to repay him. Also the recipient of a favour may
be a poor man, and is quite unable to repay. Therefore
seemingly a man is not always bound to repayment for
favours received.

Obj. 6. Further, No one is bound to do for another what
is inexpedient and hurtful to him. Now sometimes it
happens that repayment of a favour would be hurtful or

II. ii. 4 4

Q. io6. Art. 3 THE " SUMMA THEOLOGICA " 50

useless to the person repaid. Therefore favours are not
always to be repaid by gratitude.

On the contrary, It is written (i Thess. v. 18) : In all things
give thanks.

I answer that, Every effect turns naturally to its cause;
wherefore Dionysius says (Div. Nom. i.) that God turns all
things to Himself, because He is the cause of all : for the effect
must needs alwaj^s be directed to the end of the agent.
Now it is evident that a benefactor, as such, is cause of the
beneficiary. Hence the natural order requires that he who
has received a favour should, by repaying the favour, turn
to his benefactor according to the mode of each. And, as
stated above with regard to a father (Q. XXXI. , A. 3:
Q. CI., A. 2), a man owes his benefactor, as such, honour and
reverence, since the latter stands to him in the relation of
principle ; but accidentally he owes him assistance or support,
if he need it.

Reply Obj. i. In the words of Seneca {De Benef. v.),
just as a man is liberal who gives not to himself but to others,
and gracious who forgives not himself but others, and merciful
who is moved, not by his own misfortunes but by another's^
so too, no man confers a favour on himself, he is but following
the bent of his nature, which moves him to resist what hurts
him, and to seek what is profitable. Wherefore in things that
one does for oneself, there is no place for gratitude or
mgratitude, since a man cannot deny himself a thing except
by keeping it. Nevertheless things which are properly
spoken of in relation to others are spoken of metaphorically
in relation to oneself, as the Philosopher states regarding
justice (Ethic, v. 11), in so far, to wit, as the various parts of
man are considered as though the^^ were various persons.

Reply Obj. 2. It is the mark of a happy disposition to see
good rather than evil. Wherefore if someone has conferred
a favour, not as he ought to have conferred it, the recipient
should not for that reason withhold his thanks. Yet he owes
less thanks, than if the favour had been conferred duly,
since in fact the favour is less, for, as Seneca remarks [De
Benef. ii.) promptness enhances, delay discounts a favour.

51 • THANKFULNESS Q. io6. Art. 3

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