Deinde considerandum est de vitiis oppositis magnanimitati. Et primo, de illis quae opponuntur sibi per excessum, quae sunt tria, scilicet praesumptio, ambitio, inanis gloria. Secundo, de pusillanimitate, quae opponitur ei per modum defectus. Circa primum quaeruntur duo.
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. Second, we shall consider pusillanimity which is opposed to it by way of deficiency. Under the first head there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum praesumptio sit peccatum.
(1) Whether presumption is a sin?
Secundo, utrum opponatur magnanimitati per excessum.
(2) Whether it is opposed to magnanimity by excess?
Utrum praesumptio sit peccatum
Whether presumption is a sin?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod praesumptio non sit peccatum. Dicit enim apostolus, ad Philipp. III, quae retro sunt obliviscens, ad anteriora me extendo. Sed hoc videtur ad praesumptionem pertinere quod aliquis tendat in ea quae sunt supra seipsum. Ergo praesumptio non est peccatum.
Objection 1: It seems that presumption is not a sin. For the Apostle says: Forgetting the things that are behind, I stretch forth myself to those that are before. But it seems to savor of presumption that one should tend to what is above oneself. Therefore presumption is not a sin.
Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in X Ethic., quod oportet non secundum suadentes humana sapere hominem entem, neque mortalia mortalem, sed inquantum contingit immortale facere. Et in I Metaphys. dicit quod homo debet se trahere ad divina inquantum potest. Sed divina et immortalia maxime videntur esse supra hominem. Cum ergo de ratione praesumptionis sit quod aliquis tendat in ea quae sunt supra seipsum, videtur quod praesumptio non sit peccatum sed magis sit aliquid laudabile.
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 (Metaph. 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 in tending to what is above oneself, it seems that presumption is something praiseworthy, rather than a sin.
Praeterea, apostolus dicit, II ad Cor. III, non sumus sufficientes cogitare aliquid a nobis, quasi ex nobis. Si ergo praesumptio, secundum quam aliquis nititur in ea ad quae non sufficit, sit peccatum, videtur quod homo nec cogitare aliquod bonum licite possit. Quod est inconveniens. Non ergo praesumptio est peccatum.
Obj. 3: Further, the Apostle says (2 Cor 3:5): 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.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Eccli. XXXVII, o praesumptio nequissima, unde creata es? Ubi respondet Glossa, de mala scilicet voluntate creaturae. Sed omne quod procedit ex radice malae voluntatis est peccatum. Ergo praesumptio est peccatum.
On the contrary, It is written (Sir 37:3): O wicked presumption, whence camest 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.
Respondeo dicendum quod, cum ea quae sunt secundum naturam sint ordinata ratione divina, quam humana ratio debet imitari, quidquid secundum rationem humanam fit quod est contra ordinem communiter in naturalibus rebus inventum, est vitiosum et peccatum. Hoc autem communiter in omnibus rebus naturalibus invenitur, quod quaelibet actio commensuratur virtuti agentis, nec aliquod agens naturale nititur ad agendum id quod excedit suam facultatem. Et ideo vitiosum est et peccatum, quasi contra ordinem naturalem existens, quod aliquis assumat ad agendum ea quae praeferuntur suae virtuti. Quod pertinet ad rationem praesumptionis, sicut et ipsum nomen manifestat. Unde manifestum est quod praesumptio est peccatum.
I 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 presumption is a sin.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod nihil prohibet aliquid esse supra potentiam activam alicuius rei naturalis quod non est supra potentiam passivam eiusdem, inest enim aeri potentia passiva per quam potest transmutari in hoc quod habeat actionem et motum ignis, quae excedunt potentiam activam aeris. Sic etiam vitiosum esset et praesumptuosum quod aliquis in statu imperfectae virtutis existens attentaret statim assequi ea quae sunt perfectae virtutis, sed si quis ad hoc tendat ut proficiat in virtutem perfectam, hoc non est praesumptuosum nec vitiosum. Et hoc modo apostolus in anteriora se extendebat, scilicet per continuum profectum.
Reply Obj. 1: Nothing prevents something from being 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 endeavor to advance towards perfect virtue. In this way the Apostle stretched himself forth to the things that were before him, namely continually advancing forward.
Ad secundum dicendum quod divina et immortalia secundum ordinem naturae sunt supra hominem, homini tamen inest quaedam naturalis potentia, scilicet intellectus, per quam potest coniungi immortalibus et divinis. Et secundum hoc philosophus dicit quod oportet hominem se attrahere ad immortalia et divina, non quidem ut ea operetur quae decet Deum facere, sed ut ei uniatur per intellectum et voluntatem.
Reply Obj. 2: Divine and immortal things surpass man 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.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, in III Ethic., quae per alios possumus, aliqualiter per nos possumus. Et ideo, quia cogitare et facere bonum possumus cum auxilio divino, non totaliter hoc excedit facultatem nostram. Et ideo non est praesumptuosum si aliquis ad aliquod opus virtuosum faciendum intendat. Esset autem praesumptuosum si ad hoc aliquis tenderet absque fiducia divini auxilii.
Reply Obj. 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 accomplishment of a virtuous deed: but it would be presumptuous if one were to make the attempt without confidence in God’s assistance.
Utrum praesumptio opponatur magnanimitati per excessum
Whether presumption is opposed to magnanimity by excess?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod praesumptio non opponatur magnanimitati per excessum. Praesumptio enim ponitur species peccati in spiritum sanctum, ut supra habitum est. Sed peccatum in spiritum sanctum non opponitur magnanimitati, sed magis caritati. Ergo etiam neque praesumptio opponitur magnanimitati.
Objection 1: It seems that presumption is not opposed to magnanimity by excess. For presumption is accounted a species of the sin against the Holy Spirit, as stated above (Q. 14, A. 2; Q. 21, A. 1). But the sin against the Holy Spirit is not opposed to magnanimity, but to charity. Neither therefore is presumption opposed to magnanimity.
Praeterea, ad magnanimitatem pertinet quod aliquis se magnis dignificet. Sed aliquis dicitur praesumptuosus etiam si se parvis dignificet, dummodo hoc excedat propriam facultatem. Non ergo directe praesumptio magnanimitati opponitur.
Obj. 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.
Praeterea, magnanimus exteriora bona reputat quasi parva. Sed secundum philosophum, in IV Ethic., praesumptuosi propter exteriorem fortunam fiunt despectores et iniuriatores aliorum, quasi magnum aliquid aestimantes exteriora bona. Ergo praesumptio non opponitur magnanimitati per excessum, sed solum per defectum.
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 presumption is opposed to magnanimity, not by excess, but only by deficiency.
Sed contra est quod philosophus, in II et IV Ethic., dicit quod magnanimo per excessum opponitur chaunus, idest furiosus vel ventosus, quem nos dicimus praesumptuosum.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7; iv, 3) that the vain man, i.e., a vaporer or a wind-bag, which with us denotes a presumptuous man, is opposed to the magnanimous man by excess.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, magnanimitas consistit in medio, non quidem secundum quantitatem eius in quod tendit, quia tendit in maximum, sed constituitur in medio secundum proportionem ad propriam facultatem; non enim in maiora tendit quam sibi conveniant.
I answer that, As stated above (Q. 129, A. 3, ad 1), magnanimity observes the means, not as regards the quantity of that to which it tends, but in proportion to our own ability: for it does not tend to anything greater than is becoming to us.
Praesumptuosus autem, quantum ad id in quod tendit, non excedit magnanimum, sed multum quandoque ab eo deficit. Excedit autem secundum proportionem suae facultatis, quam magnanimus non transcendit. Et hoc modo praesumptio opponitur magnanimitati per excessum.
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.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod non quaelibet praesumptio ponitur peccatum in spiritum sanctum, sed illa qua quis divinam iustitiam contemnit ex inordinata confidentia divinae misericordiae. Et talis praesumptio, ratione materiae, inquantum scilicet per eam contemnitur aliquid divinum, opponitur caritati, vel potius dono timoris, cuius est Deum revereri. Inquantum tamen talis contemptus excedit proportionem propriae facultatis, potest opponi magnanimitati.
Reply Obj. 1: It is not every presumption that is accounted a sin against the Holy Spirit, but that by which one contemns 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 contempt of something Divine, is opposed to charity, or rather to the gift of fear, whereby we revere God. Nevertheless, insofar as this contempt exceeds the proportion to one’s own ability, it can be opposed to magnanimity.
Ad secundum dicendum quod sicut magnanimitas, ita et praesumptio in aliquid magnum tendere videtur, non enim multum consuevit dici aliquis praesumptuosus si in aliquo modico vires proprias transcendat. Si tamen praesumptuosus talis dicatur, haec praesumptio non opponitur magnanimitati, sed illi virtuti quae est circa mediocres honores, ut dictum est.
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 honor, as stated above (Q. 129, A. 2).
Ad tertium dicendum quod nullus attentat aliquid supra suam facultatem nisi inquantum facultatem suam aestimat maiorem quam sit. Circa quod potest esse error dupliciter. Uno modo, secundum solam quantitatem, puta cum aliquis aestimat se habere maiorem virtutem vel scientiam, vel aliquid aliud huiusmodi, quam habeat. Alio modo, secundum genus rei, puta cum aliquis ex hoc aestimat se magnum et magnis dignum ex quo non est, puta propter divitias vel propter aliqua bona fortunae; ut enim philosophus dicit, in IV Ethic., qui sine virtute talia bona habent, neque iuste magnis seipsos dignificant, neque recte magnanimi dicuntur.
Reply Obj. 3: No one attempts what is above his ability, except insofar 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. Second, as regards the kind of thing, as when he thinks himself great, and worthy of great things, by reason of something that does 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.
Similiter etiam illud ad quod aliquis tendit supra vires suas, quandoque quidem secundum rei veritatem est magnum simpliciter, sicut patet de Petro, qui tendebat ad hoc quod pro Christo pateretur, quod erat supra virtutem suam. Quandoque vero non est aliquid magnum simpliciter, sed solum secundum stultorum opinionem, sicut pretiosis vestibus indui, despicere et iniuriari aliis. Quod quidem pertinet ad excessum magnanimitatis non secundum rei veritatem, sed secundum opinionem. Unde Seneca dicit, in libro de quatuor Virtut., quod magnanimitas, si se extra modum suum extollat, faciet virum minacem, inflatum, turbidum, inquietum, et in quascumque excellentias dictorum factorumque, neglecta honestate, festinum. Et sic patet quod praesumptuosus secundum rei veritatem quandoque deficit a magnanimo, sed secundum apparentiam in excessu se habet.
Again, the thing to which a man sometimes tends in excess of his ability, 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 sometimes it is something great, not simply, but only in the opinion of fools, such as wearing costly clothes, despising and wronging others. This savors of an excess of magnanimity, not in any truth, but in people’s opinion. Hence Seneca says (De Quat. Virtut.) that when magnanimity 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.
Deinde considerandum est de ambitione. Et circa hoc quaeruntur duo:
We must now consider ambition: and under this head there are two points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum ambitio sit peccatum.
(1) Whether it is a sin?
Secundo, utrum opponatur magnanimitati per excessum.
(2) Whether it is opposed to magnanimity by excess?
Utrum ambitio sit peccatum
Whether ambition is a sin?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod ambitio non sit peccatum. Importat enim ambitio cupiditatem honoris. Honor autem de se quoddam bonum est, et maximum inter exteriora bona, unde et illi qui de honore non curant, vituperantur. Ergo ambitio non est peccatum, sed magis aliquid laudabile, secundum quod bonum laudabiliter appetitur.
Objection 1: It seems that ambition is not a sin. For ambition denotes the desire of honor. Now honor is in itself a good thing, and the greatest of external goods: wherefore those who care not for honor are reproved. Therefore ambition is not a sin; rather is it something deserving of praise, insofar as a good is laudably desired.
Praeterea, quilibet absque vitio potest appetere id quod sibi debetur pro praemio. Sed honor est praemium virtutis, ut philosophus dicit, in I et VIII Ethic. Ergo ambitio honoris non est peccatum.
Obj. 2: Further, anyone may, without sin, desire what is due to him as a reward. Now honor is the reward of virtue, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. i, 12; iv, 3; viii, 14). Therefore ambition of honor is not a sin.