Deinde considerandum est de speciebus modestiae. Et primo, de humilitate, et superbia, quae ei opponitur; secundo, de studiositate, et curiositate sibi opposita; tertio, de modestia secundum quod est in verbis vel factis; quarto, de modestia secundum quod est circa exteriorem cultum.
We must consider next the species of modesty: (1) Humility, and pride which is opposed to it; (2) Studiousness, and its opposite, Curiosity; (3) Modesty as affecting words or deeds; (4) Modesty as affecting outward attire.
Circa humilitatem quaeruntur sex.
Concerning humility there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum humilitas sit virtus.
(1) Whether humility is a virtue?
Secundo, utrum consistat in appetitu, vel in iudicio rationis.
(2) Whether it resides in the appetite, or in the judgment of reason?
Tertio, utrum aliquis per humilitatem se debeat omnibus subiicere.
(3) Whether by humility one ought to subject oneself to all men?
Quarto, utrum sit pars modestiae vel temperantiae.
(4) Whether it is a part of modesty or temperance?
Quinto, de comparatione eius ad alias virtutes.
(5) Of its comparison with the other virtues;
Sexto, de gradibus humilitatis.
(6) Of the degrees of humility.
Utrum humilitas sit virtus
Whether humility is a virtue?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod humilitas non sit virtus. Virtus enim importat rationem boni. Sed humilitas videtur importare rationem mali poenalis, secundum illud Psalmi. Humiliaverunt in compedibus pedes eius. Ergo humilitas non est virtus.
Objection 1: It would seem that humility is not a virtue. For virtue conveys the notion of a good. But humility conveys the notion of a penal evil, according to Ps. 104:18, They humbled his feet in fetters. Therefore humility is not a virtue.
Praeterea, virtus et vitium opponuntur. Sed humilitas quandoque sonat in vitium, dicitur enim Eccli. XIX, est qui nequiter se humiliat. Ergo humilitas non est virtus.
Obj. 2: Further, virtue and vice are mutually opposed. Now humility seemingly denotes a vice, for it is written (Sir 19:23): There is one that humbleth himself wickedly. Therefore humility is not a virtue.
Praeterea, nulla virtus opponitur alii virtuti. Sed humilitas videtur opponi virtuti magnanimitatis, quae tendit in magna, humilitas autem ipsa refugit. Ergo videtur quod humilitas non sit virtus.
Obj. 3: Further, no virtue is opposed to another virtue. But humility is apparently opposed to the virtue of magnanimity, which aims at great things, whereas humility shuns them. Therefore it would seem that humility is not a virtue.
Praeterea, virtus est dispositio perfecti, ut dicitur in VII Physic. Sed humilitas videtur esse imperfectorum, unde et Deo non convenit humiliari, qui nulli subiici potest. Ergo videtur quod humilitas non sit virtus.
Obj. 4: Further, virtue is the disposition of that which is perfect (Phys. vii, text. 17). But humility seemingly belongs to the imperfect: wherefore it becomes not God to be humble, since He can be subject to none. Therefore it seems that humility is not a virtue.
Praeterea, omnis virtus moralis est circa actiones vel passiones, ut dicitur in II Ethic. Sed humilitas non connumeratur a philosopho inter virtutes quae sunt circa passiones, nec etiam continetur sub iustitia, quae est circa actiones. Ergo videtur quod non sit virtus.
Obj. 5: Further, every moral virtue is about actions and passions, according to Ethic. ii, 3. But humility is not reckoned by the Philosopher among the virtues that are about passions, nor is it comprised under justice which is about actions. Therefore it would seem not to be a virtue.
Sed contra est quod Origenes dicit, exponens illud Luc. I, respexit humilitatem ancillae suae, proprie in Scripturis una de virtutibus humilitas praedicatur, ait quippe salvator, discite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis corde.
On the contrary, Origen commenting on Luke 1:48, He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid, says (Hom. viii in Luc.): One of the virtues, humility, is particularly commended in Holy Writ; for our Savior said: ‘Learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart.’
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, cum de passionibus ageretur, bonum arduum habet aliquid unde attrahit appetitum, scilicet ipsam rationem boni, et habet aliquid retrahens, scilicet ipsam difficultatem adipiscendi, secundum quorum primum insurgit motus spei, et secundum aliud motus desperationis. Dictum est autem supra quod circa motus appetitivos qui se habent per modum impulsionis, oportet esse virtutem moralem moderantem et refrenantem, circa illos autem qui se habent per modum retractionis, oportet esse virtutem moralem firmantem et impellentem. Et ideo circa appetitum boni ardui necessaria est duplex virtus. Una quidem quae temperet et refrenet animum, ne immoderate tendat in excelsa, et hoc pertinet ad virtutem humilitatis. Alia vero quae firmat animum contra desperationem, et impellit ipsum ad prosecutionem magnorum secundum rationem rectam, et haec est magnanimitas. Et sic patet quod humilitas est quaedam virtus.
I answer that, As stated above (I-II, Q. 23, A. 2) when we were treating of the passions, the difficult good has something attractive to the appetite, namely the aspect of good, and likewise something repulsive to the appetite, namely the difficulty of obtaining it. In respect of the former there arises the movement of hope, and in respect of the latter, the movement of despair. Now it has been stated above (I-II, Q. 61, A. 2) that for those appetitive movements which are a kind of impulse towards an object, there is need of a moderating and restraining moral virtue, while for those which are a kind of recoil, there is need, on the part of the appetite, of a moral virtue to strengthen it and urge it on. Wherefore a twofold virtue is necessary with regard to the difficult good: one, to temper and restrain the mind, lest it tend to high things immoderately; and this belongs to the virtue of humility: and another to strengthen the mind against despair, and urge it on to the pursuit of great things according to right reason; and this is magnanimity. Therefore it is evident that humility is a virtue.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., humilis dicitur quasi humi acclinis, idest, imis inhaerens. Quod quidem contingit dupliciter. Uno modo, ex principio extrinseco, puta cum aliquis ab alio deiicitur. Et sic humilitas est poena. Alio modo, a principio intrinseco. Et hoc potest fieri quandoque quidem bene, puta cum aliquis, considerans suum defectum, tenet se in infimis secundum suum modum; sicut Abraham dixit ad dominum, Gen. XVIII, loquar ad dominum meum, cum sim pulvis et cinis. Et hoc modo humilitas ponitur virtus. Quandoque autem potest fieri male, puta cum homo, honorem suum non intelligens, comparat se iumentis insipientibus, et fit similis illis.
Reply Obj. 1: As Isidore observes (Etym. x), a humble man is so called because he is, as it were, humo acclinis, i.e., inclined to the lowest place. This may happen in two ways. First, through an extrinsic principle, for instance when one is cast down by another, and thus humility is a punishment. Second, through an intrinsic principle: and this may be done sometimes well, for instance when a man, considering his own failings, assumes the lowest place according to his mode: thus Abraham said to the Lord (Gen 18:27), I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes. In this way humility is a virtue. Sometimes, however, this may be ill-done, for instance when man, not understanding his honor, compares himself to senseless beasts, and becomes like to them (Ps 48:13).
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, humilitas, secundum quod est virtus, in sui ratione importat quandam laudabilem deiectionem ad ima. Hoc autem quandoque fit solum secundum signa exteriora, secundum fictionem. Unde haec est falsa humilitas, de qua Augustinus dicit, in quadam epistola, quod est magna superbia, quia scilicet videtur tendere ad excellentiam gloriae. Quandoque autem fit secundum interiorem motum animae. Et secundum hoc humilitas proprie ponitur virtus, quia virtus non consistit in exterioribus, sed principaliter in interiori electione mentis, ut patet per philosophum, in libro Ethicorum.
Reply Obj. 2: As stated (ad 1), humility, insofar as it is a virtue, conveys the notion of a praiseworthy self-abasement to the lowest place. Now this is sometimes done merely as to outward signs and pretense: wherefore this is false humility, of which Augustine says in a letter (Ep. cxlix) that it is grievous pride, since to wit, it would seem to aim at excellence of glory. Sometimes, however, this is done by an inward movement of the soul, and in this way, properly speaking, humility is reckoned a virtue, because virtue does not consist in externals, but chiefly in the inward choice of the mind, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. ii, 5).
Ad tertium dicendum quod humilitas reprimit appetitum, ne tendat in magna praeter rationem rectam. Magnanimitas autem animum ad magna impellit secundum rationem rectam. Unde patet quod magnanimitas non opponitur humilitati, sed conveniunt in hoc quod utraque est secundum rationem rectam.
Reply Obj. 3: Humility restrains the appetite from aiming at great things against right reason: while magnanimity urges the mind to great things in accord with right reason. Hence it is clear that magnanimity is not opposed to humility: indeed they concur in this, that each is according to right reason.
Ad quartum dicendum quod perfectum dicitur aliquid dupliciter. Uno modo, simpliciter, in quo scilicet nullus defectus invenitur, nec secundum suam naturam, nec per respectum ad aliquid aliud. Et sic solus Deus est perfectus, cui secundum naturam divinam non competit humilitas, sed solum secundum naturam assumptam. Alio modo potest dici aliquid perfectum secundum quid, puta secundum suam naturam, vel secundum statum aut tempus. Et hoc modo homo virtuosus est perfectus. Cuius tamen perfectio in comparatione ad Deum deficiens invenitur, secundum illud Isaiae XL, omnes gentes, quasi non sint, sic sunt coram eo. Et sic cuilibet homini potest convenire humilitas.
Reply Obj. 4: A thing is said to be perfect in two ways. First absolutely; such a thing contains no defect, neither in its nature nor in respect of anything else, and thus God alone is perfect. To Him humility is fitting, not as regards His Divine nature, but only as regards His assumed nature. Second, a thing may be said to be perfect in a restricted sense, for instance in respect of its nature or state or time. Thus a virtuous man is perfect: although in comparison with God his perfection is found wanting, according to the word of Isa. 40:17, All nations are before Him as if they had no being at all. In this way humility may be competent to every man.
Ad quintum dicendum quod philosophus intendebat agere de virtutibus secundum quod ordinantur ad vitam civilem, in qua subiectio unius hominis ad alterum secundum legis ordinem determinatur, et ideo continetur sub iustitia legali. Humilitas autem, secundum quod est specialis virtus, praecipue respicit subiectionem hominis ad Deum, propter quem etiam aliis humiliando se subiicit.
Reply Obj. 5: The Philosopher intended to treat of virtues as directed to civic life, wherein the subjection of one man to another is defined according to the ordinance of the law, and consequently is a matter of legal justice. But humility, considered as a special virtue, regards chiefly the subjection of man to God, for Whose sake he humbles himself by subjecting himself to others.
Utrum humilitas consistat circa appetitum
Whether humility has to do with the appetite?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod humilitas non consistat circa appetitum, sed magis circa iudicium rationis. Humilitas enim superbiae opponitur. Sed superbia maxime consistit in his quae pertinent ad cognitionem. Dicit enim Gregorius, XXXIV Moral., quod superbia, cum exterius usque ad corpus extenditur, prius per oculos indicatur; unde etiam in Psalmo dicitur, domine, non est exaltatum cor meum, neque elati sunt oculi mei, oculi autem maxime deserviunt cognitioni. Ergo videtur quod humilitas maxime sit circa cognitionem, quam de se aliquis aestimat parvam.
Objection 1: It would seem that humility concerns, not the appetite but the judgment of reason. Because humility is opposed to pride. Now pride concerns things pertaining to knowledge: for Gregory says (Moral. xxxiv, 22) that pride, when it extends outwardly to the body, is first of all shown in the eyes: wherefore it is written (Ps 130:1), Lord, my heart is not exalted, nor are my eyes lofty. Now eyes are the chief aids to knowledge. Therefore it would seem that humility is chiefly concerned with knowledge, whereby one thinks little of oneself.
Praeterea, Augustinus dicit, in libro de Virginit., quod humilitas pene tota disciplina Christiana est. Nihil ergo quod in disciplina Christiana continetur, repugnat humilitati. Sed in disciplina Christiana admonemur ad appetendum meliora, secundum illud I ad Cor. XII, aemulamini charismata meliora. Ergo ad humilitatem non pertinet reprimere appetitum arduorum, sed magis aestimationem.
Obj. 2: Further, Augustine says (De Virginit. xxxi) that almost the whole of Christian teaching is humility. Consequently nothing contained in Christian teaching is incompatible with humility. Now Christian teaching admonishes us to seek the better things, according to 1 Cor. 12:31, Be zealous for the better gifts. Therefore it belongs to humility to restrain not the desire of difficult things but the estimate thereof.
Praeterea, ad eandem virtutem pertinet refrenare superfluum motum, et firmare animum contra superfluam retractionem, sicut eadem fortitudo est quae refrenat audaciam, et quae firmat animum contra timorem. Sed magnanimitas firmat animum contra difficultates quae accidunt in prosecutione magnorum. Si ergo humilitas refrenaret appetitum magnorum, sequeretur quod humilitas non esset virtus distincta a magnanimitate. Quod patet esse falsum. Non ergo humilitas consistit circa appetitum magnorum, sed magis circa aestimationem.
Obj. 3: Further, it belongs to the same virtue both to restrain excessive movement, and to strengthen the soul against excessive withdrawal: thus fortitude both curbs daring and fortifies the soul against fear. Now it is magnanimity that strengthens the soul against the difficulties that occur in the pursuit of great things. Therefore if humility were to curb the desire of great things, it would follow that humility is not a distinct virtue from magnanimity, which is evidently false. Therefore humility is concerned, not with the desire but with the estimate of great things.
Praeterea, Andronicus ponit humilitatem circa exteriorem cultum, dicit enim quod humilitas est habitus non superabundans sumptibus et praeparationibus. Ergo non est circa motum appetitus.
Obj. 4: Further, Andronicus assigns humility to outward show; for he says that humility is the habit of avoiding excessive expenditure and parade. Therefore it is not concerned with the movement of the appetite.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, in libro de Poenit., quod humilis est qui eligit abiici in domo domini, magis quam habitare in tabernaculis peccatorum. Sed electio pertinet ad appetitum. Ergo humilitas consistit circa appetitum, magis quam circa aestimationem.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Poenit.) that the humble man is one who chooses to be an abject in the house of the Lord, rather than to dwell in the tents of sinners. But choice concerns the appetite. Therefore humility has to do with the appetite rather than with the estimative power.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, ad humilitatem proprie pertinet ut aliquis reprimat seipsum, ne feratur in ea quae sunt supra se. Ad hoc autem necessarium est ut aliquis cognoscat id in quo deficit a proportione eius quod suam virtutem excedit. Et ideo cognitio proprii defectus pertinet ad humilitatem sicut regula quaedam directiva appetitus. Sed in ipso appetitu consistit humilitas essentialiter. Et ideo dicendum est quod humilitas proprie est moderativa motus appetitus.
I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), it belongs properly to humility, that a man restrain himself from being borne towards that which is above him. For this purpose he must know his disproportion to that which surpasses his capacity. Hence knowledge of one’s own deficiency belongs to humility, as a rule guiding the appetite. Nevertheless humility is essentially in the appetite itself; and consequently it must be said that humility, properly speaking, moderates the movement of the appetite.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod extollentia oculorum est quoddam signum superbiae, inquantum excludit reverentiam et timorem. Consueverunt enim timentes et verecundati maxime oculos deprimere, quasi non audentes se aliis comparare. Non autem ex hoc sequitur quod humilitas essentialiter circa cognitionem consistat.
Reply Obj. 1: Lofty eyes are a sign of pride, inasmuch as it excludes respect and fear: for fearing and respectful persons are especially wont to lower the eyes, as though not daring to compare themselves with others. But it does not follow from this that humility is essentially concerned with knowledge.
Ad secundum dicendum quod tendere in aliqua maiora ex propriarum virium confidentia, humilitati contrariatur. Sed quod aliquis ex confidentia divini auxilii in maiora tendat, hoc non est contra humilitatem, praesertim cum ex hoc aliquis magis apud Deum exaltetur quod ei se magis per humilitatem subiicit. Unde Augustinus dicit, in libro de Poenit., aliud est levare se ad Deum, aliud est levare se contra Deum. Qui ante illum se proiicit, ab illo erigitur, qui adversus illum se erigit, ab illo proiicitur.
Reply Obj. 2: It is contrary to humility to aim at greater things through confiding in one’s own powers: but to aim at greater things through confidence in God’s help, is not contrary to humility; especially since the more one subjects oneself to God, the more is one exalted in God’s sight. Hence Augustine says (De Virginit. xxxi): It is one thing to raise oneself to God, and another to raise oneself up against God. He that abases himself before Him, him He raiseth up; he that raises himself up against Him, him He casteth down.
Ad tertium dicendum quod in fortitudine invenitur eadem ratio refrenandi audaciam et firmandi animum contra timorem, utriusque enim ratio est ex hoc quod homo debet bonum rationis periculis mortis praestare. Sed in refrenando praesumptionem spei, quod pertinet ad humilitatem, et in firmando animum contra desperationem, quod pertinet ad magnanimitatem, est alia et alia ratio. Nam ratio firmandi animum contra desperationem est adeptio proprii boni, ne scilicet, desperando, homo se indignum reddat bono quod sibi competebat. Sed in reprimendo praesumptionem spei, ratio praecipua sumitur ex reverentia divina, ex qua contingit ut homo non plus sibi attribuat quam sibi competat secundum gradum quem est a Deo sortitus. Unde humilitas praecipue videtur importare subiectionem hominis ad Deum. Et propter hoc Augustinus, in libro de Serm. Dom. in monte, humilitatem, quam intelligit per paupertatem spiritus, attribuit dono timoris, quo homo Deum reveretur. Et inde est quod fortitudo aliter se habet ad audaciam quam humilitas ad spem. Nam fortitudo plus utitur audacia quam eam reprimat, unde superabundantia est ei similior quam defectus. Humilitas autem plus reprimit spem vel fiduciam de seipso quam ea utatur, unde magis opponitur sibi superabundantia quam defectus.
Reply Obj. 3: In fortitude there is the same reason for restraining daring and for strengthening the soul against fear: since the reason in both cases is that man should set the good of reason before dangers of death. But the reason for restraining presumptuous hope which pertains to humility is not the same as the reason for strengthening the soul against despair. Because the reason for strengthening the soul against despair is the acquisition of one’s proper good lest man, by despair, render himself unworthy of a good which was competent to him; while the chief reason for suppressing presumptuous hope is based on divine reverence, which shows that man ought not to ascribe to himself more than is competent to him according to the position in which God has placed him. Wherefore humility would seem to denote in the first place man’s subjection to God; and for this reason Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4) ascribes humility, which he understands by poverty of spirit, to the gift of fear whereby man reveres God. Hence it follows that the relation of fortitude to daring differs from that of humility to hope. Because fortitude uses daring more than it suppresses it: so that excess of daring is more like fortitude than lack of daring is. On the other hand, humility suppresses hope or confidence in self more than it uses it; wherefore excessive self-confidence is more opposed to humility than lack of confidence is.
Ad quartum dicendum quod superabundantia in exterioribus sumptibus et praeparationibus solet ad quandam iactantiam fieri, quae per humilitatem reprimitur. Et quantum ad hoc, secundario consistit in exterioribus, prout sunt signa interioris appetitivi motus.
Reply Obj. 4: Excess in outward expenditure and parade is wont to be done with a view of boasting, which is suppressed by humility. Accordingly humility has to do, in a secondary way, with externals, as signs of the inward movement of the appetite.