QUESTION 108: OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE CONTAINED IN THE NEW LAW
We must now consider those things that are contained in the New Law:
under which head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the New Law ought to prescribe or to forbid any outward
(2) Whether the New Law makes sufficient provision in prescribing and
forbidding external acts?
(3) Whether in the matter of internal acts it directs man sufficiently?
(4) Whether it fittingly adds counsels to precepts?
Article 1: Whether the New Law ought to prescribe or prohibit any external acts?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law should not prescribe or prohibit
any external acts. For the New Law is the Gospel of the kingdom,
according to Mt. 24:14: "This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in
the whole world." But the kingdom of God consists not in exterior, but
only in interior acts, according to Lk. 17:21: "The kingdom of God is
within you"; and Rm. 14:17: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but justice and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost." Therefore the New Law
should not prescribe or forbid any external acts.
Objection 2: Further, the New Law is "the law of the Spirit" (Rm. 8:2). But
"where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17). Now
there is no liberty when man is bound to do or avoid certain external
acts. Therefore the New Law does not prescribe or forbid any external
Objection 3: Further, all external acts are understood as referable to the
hand, just as interior acts belong to the mind. But this is assigned as
the difference between the New and Old Laws that the "Old Law restrains
the hand, whereas the New Law curbs the will" [*Peter Lombard, Sent. iii,
D, 40]. Therefore the New Law should not contain prohibitions and
commands about exterior deeds, but only about interior acts.
On the contrary, Through the New Law, men are made "children of light":
wherefore it is written (Jn. 12:36): "Believe in the light that you may
be the children of light." Now it is becoming that children of the light
should do deeds of light and cast aside deeds of darkness, according to
Eph. 5:8: "You were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk
. . . as children of the light." Therefore the New Law had to forbid
certain external acts and prescribe others.
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Articles ,2), the New Law consists
chiefly in the grace of the Holy Ghost, which is shown forth by faith
that worketh through love. Now men become receivers of this grace through
God's Son made man, Whose humanity grace filled first, and thence flowed
forth to us. Hence it is written (Jn. 1:14): "The Word was made flesh,"
and afterwards: "full of grace and truth"; and further on: "Of His
fulness we all have received, and grace for grace." Hence it is added
that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Consequently it was becoming
that the grace flows from the incarnate Word should be given to us by
means of certain external sensible objects; and that from this inward
grace, whereby the flesh is subjected to the Spirit, certain external
works should ensue.
Accordingly external acts may have a twofold connection with grace. In
the first place, as leading in some way to grace. Such are the
sacramental acts which are instituted in the New Law, e.g. Baptism, the
Eucharist, and the like.
In the second place there are those external acts which ensue from the
promptings of grace: and herein we must observe a difference. For there
are some which are necessarily in keeping with, or in opposition to
inward grace consisting in faith that worketh through love. Such external
works are prescribed or forbidden in the New Law; thus confession of
faith is prescribed, and denial of faith is forbidden; for it is written
(Mt. 10:32,33) "(Every one) that shall confess Me before men, I will also
confess him before My Father . . . But he that shall deny Me before men,
I will also deny him before My Father." On the other hand, there are
works which are not necessarily opposed to, or in keeping with faith that
worketh through love. Such works are not prescribed or forbidden in the
New Law, by virtue of its primitive institution; but have been left by
the Lawgiver, i.e. Christ, to the discretion of each individual. And so
to each one it is free to decide what he should do or avoid; and to each
superior, to direct his subjects in such matters as regards what they
must do or avoid. Wherefore also in this respect the Gospel is called the
"law of liberty" [*Cf. Reply Objection ]: since the Old Law decided many
points and left few to man to decide as he chose.
Reply to Objection 1: The kingdom of God consists chiefly in internal acts: but
as a consequence all things that are essential to internal acts belong
also to the kingdom of God. Thus if the kingdom of God is internal
righteousness, peace, and spiritual joy, all external acts that are
incompatible with righteousness, peace, and spiritual joy, are in
opposition to the kingdom of God; and consequently should be forbidden in
the Gospel of the kingdom. On the other hand, those things that are
indifferent as regards the aforesaid, for instance, to eat of this or
that food, are not part of the kingdom of God; wherefore the Apostle says
before the words quoted: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink."
Reply to Objection 2: According to the Philosopher (Metaph. i, 2), what is "free
is cause of itself." Therefore he acts freely, who acts of his own
accord. Now man does of his own accord that which he does from a habit
that is suitable to his nature: since a habit inclines one as a second
nature. If, however, a habit be in opposition to nature, man would not
act according to his nature, but according to some corruption affecting
that nature. Since then the grace of the Holy Ghost is like an interior
habit bestowed on us and inclining us to act aright, it makes us do
freely those things that are becoming to grace, and shun what is opposed
Accordingly the New Law is called the law of liberty in two respects. First, because it does not bind us to do or avoid certain things, except such as are of themselves necessary or opposed to salvation, and come under the prescription or prohibition of the law. Secondly, because it also makes us comply freely with these precepts and prohibitions, inasmuch as we do so through the promptings of grace. It is for these two reasons that the New Law is called "the law of perfect liberty" (James 1:25).
Reply to Objection 3: The New Law, by restraining the mind from inordinate
movements, must needs also restrain the hand from inordinate acts, which
ensue from inward movements.
Article 2: Whether the New Law made sufficient ordinations about external acts?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law made insufficient ordinations
about external acts. Because faith that worketh through charity seems
chiefly to belong to the New Law, according to Gal. 5:6: "In Christ Jesus
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision: but faith
that worketh through charity." But the New Law declared explicitly
certain points of faith which were not set forth explicitly in the Old
Law; for instance, belief in the Trinity. Therefore it should also have
added certain outward moral deeds, which were not fixed in the Old Law.
Objection 2: Further, in the Old Law not only were sacraments instituted, but
also certain sacred things, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ).
But in the New Law, although certain sacraments are instituted by Our
Lord; for instance, pertaining either to the sanctification of a temple
or of the vessels, or to the celebration of some particular feast.
Therefore the New Law made insufficient ordinations about external
Objection 3: Further, in the Old Law, just as there were certain observances
pertaining to God's ministers, so also were there certain observances
pertaining to the people: as was stated above when we were treating of
the ceremonial of the Old Law (Question , Article ; Question , Article ). Now in the
New Law certain observances seem to have been prescribed to the ministers
of God; as may be gathered from Mt. 10:9: "Do not possess gold, nor
silver, nor money in your purses," nor other things which are mentioned
here and Lk. 9,10. Therefore certain observances pertaining to the
faithful should also have been instituted in the New Law.
Objection 4: Further, in the Old Law, besides moral and ceremonial precepts,
there were certain judicial precepts. But in the New Law there are no
judicial precepts. Therefore the New Law made insufficient ordinations
about external works.
On the contrary, Our Lord said (Mt. 7:24): "Every one . . . that heareth
these My words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built
his house upon a rock." But a wise builder leaves out nothing that is
necessary to the building. Therefore Christ's words contain all things
necessary for man's salvation.
I answer that, as stated above (Article ), the New Law had to make such
prescriptions or prohibitions alone as are essential for the reception
or right use of grace. And since we cannot of ourselves obtain grace, but
through Christ alone, hence Christ of Himself instituted the sacraments
whereby we obtain grace: viz. Baptism, Eucharist, Orders of the ministers
of the New Law, by the institution of the apostles and seventy-two
disciples, Penance, and indissoluble Matrimony. He promised Confirmation
through the sending of the Holy Ghost: and we read that by His
institution the apostles healed the sick by anointing them with oil (Mk.
6:13). These are the sacraments of the New Law.
The right use of grace is by means of works of charity. These, in so far
as they are essential to virtue, pertain to the moral precepts, which
also formed part of the Old Law. Hence, in this respect, the New Law had
nothing to add as regards external action. The determination of these
works in their relation to the divine worship, belongs to the ceremonial
precepts of the Law; and, in relation to our neighbor, to the judicial
precepts, as stated above (Question , Article ). And therefore, since these
determinations are not in themselves necessarily connected with inward
grace wherein the Law consists, they do not come under a precept of the
New Law, but are left to the decision of man; some relating to
inferiors---as when a precept is given to an individual; others, relating
to superiors, temporal or spiritual, referring, namely, to the common
Accordingly the New Law had no other external works to determine, by
prescribing or forbidding, except the sacraments, and those moral
precepts which have a necessary connection with virtue, for instance,
that one must not kill, or steal, and so forth.
Reply to Objection 1: Matters of faith are above human reason, and so we cannot
attain to them except through grace. Consequently, when grace came to be
bestowed more abundantly, the result was an increase in the number of
explicit points of faith. On the other hand, it is through human reason
that we are directed to works of virtue, for it is the rule of human
action, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ). Wherefore in such
matters as these there was no need for any precepts to be given besides
the moral precepts of the Law, which proceed from the dictate of reason.
Reply to Objection 2: In the sacraments of the New Law grace is bestowed, which
cannot be received except through Christ: consequently they had to be
instituted by Him. But in the sacred things no grace is given: for
instance, in the consecration of a temple, an altar or the like, or,
again, in the celebration of feasts. Wherefore Our Lord left the
institution of such things to the discretion of the faithful, since they
have not of themselves any necessary connection with inward grace.
Reply to Objection 3: Our Lord gave the apostles those precepts not as ceremonial
observances, but as moral statutes: and they can be understood in two
ways. First, following Augustine (De Consensu Evang. 30), as being not
commands but permissions. For He permitted them to set forth to preach
without scrip or stick, and so on, since they were empowered to accept
their livelihood from those to whom they preached: wherefore He goes on
to say: "For the laborer is worthy of his hire." Nor is it a sin, but a
work of supererogation for a preacher to take means of livelihood with
him, without accepting supplies from those to whom he preaches; as Paul
did (1 Cor. 9:4, seqq.).
Secondly, according to the explanation of other holy men, they may be
considered as temporal commands laid upon the apostles for the time
during which they were sent to preach in Judea before Christ's Passion.
For the disciples, being yet as little children under Christ's care,
needed to receive some special commands from Christ, such as all subjects
receive from their superiors: and especially so, since they were to be
accustomed little by little to renounce the care of temporalities, so as
to become fitted for the preaching of the Gospel throughout the whole
world. Nor must we wonder if He established certain fixed modes of life,
as long as the state of the Old Law endured and the people had not as yet
achieved the perfect liberty of the Spirit. These statutes He abolished
shortly before His Passion, as though the disciples had by their means
become sufficiently practiced. Hence He said (Lk. 22:35,36) "When I sent
you without purse and scrip and shoes, did you want anything? But they
said: Nothing. Then said He unto them: But now, he that hath a purse, let
him take it, and likewise a scrip." Because the time of perfect liberty
was already at hand, when they would be left entirely to their own
judgment in matters not necessarily connected with virtue.
Reply to Objection 4: Judicial precepts also, are not essential to virtue in
respect of any particular determination, but only in regard to the common
notion of justice. Consequently Our Lord left the judicial precepts to
the discretion of those who were to have spiritual or temporal charge of
others. But as regards the judicial precepts of the Old Law, some of them
He explained, because they were misunderstood by the Pharisees, as we
shall state later on (Article , ad 2).
Article 3: Whether the New Law directed man sufficiently as regards interior actions?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law directed man insufficiently as
regards interior actions. For there are ten commandments of the decalogue
directing man to God and his neighbor. But Our Lord partly fulfilled only
three of them: as regards, namely, the prohibition of murder, of
adultery, and of perjury. Therefore it seems that, by omitting to fulfil
the other precepts, He directed man insufficiently.
Objection 2: Further, as regards the judicial precepts, Our Lord ordained nothing in the Gospel, except in the matter of divorcing of wife, of punishment by retaliation, and of persecuting one's enemies. But there are many other judicial precepts of the Old Law, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question ). Therefore, in this respect, He directed human life insufficiently.
Objection 3: Further, in the Old Law, besides moral and judicial, there were
ceremonial precepts about which Our Lord made no ordination. Therefore it
seems that He ordained insufficiently.
Objection 4: Further, in order that the mind be inwardly well disposed, man
should do no good deed for any temporal whatever. But there are many
other temporal goods besides the favor of man: and there are many other
good works besides fasting, alms-deeds, and prayer. Therefore Our Lord
unbecomingly taught that only in respect of these three works, and of no
other earthly goods ought we to shun the glory of human favor.
Objection 5: Further, solicitude for the necessary means of livelihood is by
nature instilled into man, and this solicitude even other animals share
with man: wherefore it is written (Prov. 6:6,8): "Go to the ant, O
sluggard, and consider her ways . . . she provideth her meat for herself
in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." But every command
issued against the inclination of nature is an unjust command, forasmuch
as it is contrary to the law of nature. Therefore it seems that Our Lord
unbecomingly forbade solicitude about food and raiment.
Objection 6: Further, no act of virtue should be the subject of a prohibition.
Now judgment is an act of justice, according to Ps. 18:15: "Until justice
be turned into judgment." Therefore it seems that Our Lord unbecomingly
forbade judgment: and consequently that the New Law directed man
insufficiently in the matter of interior acts.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 1): We should
take note that, when He said: "'He that heareth these My words,' He
indicates clearly that this sermon of the Lord is replete with all the
precepts whereby a Christian's life is formed."
I answer that, As is evident from Augustine's words just quoted, the
sermon, contains the whole process of forming the life of a Christian.
Therein man's interior movements are ordered. Because after declaring
that his end is Beatitude; and after commending the authority of the
apostles, through whom the teaching of the Gospel was to be promulgated,
He orders man's interior movements, first in regard to man himself,
secondly in regard to his neighbor.
This he does in regard to man himself, in two ways, corresponding to
man's two interior movements in respect of any prospective action, viz.
volition of what has to be done, and intention of the end. Wherefore, in
the first place, He directs man's will in respect of the various precepts
of the Law: by prescribing that man should refrain not merely from those
external works that are evil in themselves, but also from internal acts,
and from the occasions of evil deeds. In the second place He directs
man's intention, by teaching that in our good works, we should seek
neither human praise, nor worldly riches, which is to lay up treasures on
Afterwards He directs man's interior movement in respect of his
neighbor, by forbidding us, on the one hand, to judge him rashly,
unjustly, or presumptuously; and, on the other, to entrust him too
readily with sacred things if he be unworthy.
Lastly, He teaches us how to fulfil the teaching of the Gospel; viz. by
imploring the help of God; by striving to enter by the narrow door of
perfect virtue; and by being wary lest we be led astray by evil
influences. Moreover, He declares that we must observe His commandments,
and that it is not enough to make profession of faith, or to work
miracles, or merely to hear His words.
Reply to Objection 1: Our Lord explained the manner of fulfilling those precepts
which the Scribes and Pharisees did not rightly understand: and this
affected chiefly those precepts of the decalogue. For they thought that
the prohibition of adultery and murder covered the external act only, and
not the internal desire. And they held this opinion about murder and
adultery rather than about theft and false witness, because the movement
of anger tending to murder, and the movement of desire tending to
adultery, seem to be in us from nature somewhat, but not the desire of
stealing or bearing false witness. They held a false opinion about
perjury, for they thought that perjury indeed was a sin; but that oaths
were of themselves to be desired and to be taken frequently, since they
seem to proceed from reverence to God. Hence Our Lord shows that an oath
is not desirable as a good thing; and that it is better to speak without
oaths, unless necessity forces us to have recourse to them.
Reply to Objection 2: The Scribes and Pharisees erred about the judicial precepts
in two ways. First, because they considered certain matters contained in
the Law of Moses by way of permission, to be right in themselves: namely,
divorce of a wife, and the taking of usury from strangers. Wherefore Our
Lord forbade a man to divorce his wife (Mt. 5:32); and to receive usury
(Lk. 6:35), when He said: "Lend, hoping for nothing thereby."
In another way they erred by thinking that certain things which the Old
Law commanded to be done for justice's sake, should be done out of desire
for revenge, or out of lust for temporal goods, or out of hatred of one's
enemies; and this in respect of three precepts. For they thought that
desire for revenge was lawful, on account of the precept concerning
punishment by retaliation: whereas this precept was given that justice
might be safeguarded, not that man might seek revenge. Wherefore, in
order to do away with this, Our Lord teaches that man should be prepared
in his mind to suffer yet more if necessary. They thought that movements
of covetousness were lawful on account of those judicial precepts which
prescribed restitution of what had been purloined, together with
something added thereto, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 9); whereas
the Law commanded this to be done in order to safeguard justice, not to
encourage covetousness. Wherefore Our Lord teaches that we should not
demand our goods from motives of cupidity, and that we should be ready to
give yet more if necessary. They thought that the movement of hatred was
lawful, on account of the commandments of the Law about the slaying of
one's enemies: whereas the Law ordered this for the fulfilment of
justice, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 4), not to satisfy hatred.
Wherefore Our Lord teaches us that we ought to love our enemies, and to
be ready to do good to them if necessary. For these precepts are to be
taken as binding "the mind to be prepared to fulfil them," as Augustine
says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 19).
Reply to Objection 3: The moral precepts necessarily retained their force under
the New Law, because they are of themselves essential to virtue: whereas
the judicial precepts did not necessarily continue to bind in exactly the
same way as had been fixed by the Law: this was left to man to decide in
one way or another. Hence Our Lord directed us becomingly with regard to
these two kinds of precepts. On the other hand, the observance of the
ceremonial precepts was totally abolished by the advent of the reality;
wherefore in regard to these precepts He commanded nothing on this
occasion when He was giving the general points of His doctrine.
Elsewhere, however, He makes it clear that the entire bodily worship
which was fixed by the Law, was to be changed into spiritual worship: as
is evident from Jn. 4:21,23, where He says: "The hour cometh when you
shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem adore the Father . . .
but . . . the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth."
Reply to Objection 4: All worldly goods may be reduced to three---honors, riches,
and pleasures; according to 1 Jn. 2:16: "All that is in the world is the
concupiscence of the flesh," which refers to pleasures of the flesh, "and
the concupiscence of the eyes," which refers to riches, "and the pride of
life," which refers to ambition for renown and honor. Now the Law did not
promise an abundance of carnal pleasures; on the contrary, it forbade
them. But it did promise exalted honors and abundant riches; for it is
written in reference to the former (Dt. 28:1): "If thou wilt hear the
voice of the Lord thy God . . . He will make thee higher than all the
nations"; and in reference to the latter, we read a little further on
(Dt. 28:11): "He will make thee abound with all goods." But the Jews so
distorted the true meaning of these promises, as to think that we ought
to serve God, with these things as the end in view. Wherefore Our Lord
set this aside by teaching, first of all, that works of virtue should not
be done for human glory. And He mentions three works, to which all others
may be reduced: since whatever a man does in order to curb his desires,
comes under the head of fasting; and whatever a man does for the love of
his neighbor, comes under the head of alms-deeds; and whatever a man does
for the worship of God, comes under the head of prayer. And He mentions
these three specifically, as they hold the principal place, and are most
often used by men in order to gain glory. In the second place He taught
us that we must not place our end in riches, when He said: "Lay not up
to yourselves treasures on earth" (Mt. 6:19).
Reply to Objection 5: Our Lord forbade, not necessary, but inordinate solicitude.
Now there is a fourfold solicitude to be avoided in temporal matters.
First, we must not place our end in them, nor serve God for the sake of
the necessities of food and raiment. Wherefore He says: "Lay not up for
yourselves," etc. Secondly, we must not be so anxious about temporal
things, as to despair of God's help: wherefore Our Lord says (Mt. 6:32):
"Your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things." Thirdly, we
must not add presumption to our solicitude; in other words, we must not
be confident of getting the necessaries of life by our own efforts
without God's help: such solicitude Our Lord sets aside by saying that a
man cannot add anything to his stature (Mt. 6:27). We must not anticipate
the time for anxiety; namely, by being solicitous now, for the needs, not
of the present, but of a future time: wherefore He says (Mt. 6:34): "Be
not . . . solicitous for tomorrow."
Reply to Objection 6: Our Lord did not forbid the judgment of justice, without
which holy things could not be withdrawn from the unworthy. But he
forbade inordinate judgment, as stated above.
Article 4: Whether certain definite counsels are fittingly proposed in the New Law?
Objection 1: It would seem that certain definite counsels are not fittingly
proposed in the New Law. For counsels are given about that which is
expedient for an end, as we stated above, when treating of counsel (Question , Article ). But the same things are not expedient for all. Therefore certain
definite counsels should not be proposed to all.
Objection 2: Further, counsels regard a greater good. But there are no
definite degrees to the greater good. Therefore definite counsels should
not be given.
Objection 3: Further, counsels pertain to the life of perfection. But
obedience pertains to the life of perfection. Therefore it was unfitting
that no counsel of obedience should be contained in the Gospel.
Objection 4: Further, many matters pertaining to the life of perfection are
found among the commandments, as, for instance, "Love your enemies" (Mt. 5:44), and those precepts which Our Lord gave His apostles (Mt. 10).
Therefore the counsels are unfittingly given in the New Law: both because
they are not all mentioned; and because they are not distinguished from
On the contrary, The counsels of a wise friend are of great use,
according to Prov. (27:9): "Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart: and
the good counsels of a friend rejoice the soul." But Christ is our
wisest and greatest friend. Therefore His counsels are supremely useful
I answer that, The difference between a counsel and a commandment is
that a commandment implies obligation, whereas a counsel is left to the
option of the one to whom it is given. Consequently in the New Law, which
is the law of liberty, counsels are added to the commandments, and not in
the Old Law, which is the law of bondage. We must therefore understand
the commandments of the New Law to have been given about matters that are
necessary to gain the end of eternal bliss, to which end the New Law
brings us forthwith: but that the counsels are about matters that render
the gaining of this end more assured and expeditious.
Now man is placed between the things of this world, and spiritual goods
wherein eternal happiness consists: so that the more he cleaves to the
one, the more he withdraws from the other, and conversely. Wherefore he
that cleaves wholly to the things of this world, so as to make them his
end, and to look upon them as the reason and rule of all he does, falls
away altogether from spiritual goods. Hence this disorder is removed by
the commandments. Nevertheless, for man to gain the end aforesaid, he
does not need to renounce the things of the world altogether: since he
can, while using the things of this world, attain to eternal happiness,
provided he does not place his end in them: but he will attain more
speedily thereto by giving up the goods of this world entirely: wherefore
the evangelical counsels are given for this purpose.
Now the goods of this world which come into use in human life, consist
in three things: viz. in external wealth pertaining to the "concupiscence
of the eyes"; carnal pleasures pertaining to the "concupiscence of the
flesh"; and honors, which pertain to the "pride of life," according to 1
Jn. 2:16: and it is in renouncing these altogether, as far as possible,
that the evangelical counsels consist. Moreover, every form of the
religious life that professes the state of perfection is based on these
three: since riches are renounced by poverty; carnal pleasures by
perpetual chastity; and the pride of life by the bondage of obedience.
Now if a man observe these absolutely, this is in accordance with the
counsels as they stand. But if a man observe any one of them in a
particular case, this is taking that counsel in a restricted sense,
namely, as applying to that particular case. For instance, when anyone
gives an alms to a poor man, not being bound so to do, he follows the
counsels in that particular case. In like manner, when a man for some
fixed time refrains from carnal pleasures that he may give himself to
prayer, he follows the counsel for that particular time. And again, when
a man follows not his will as to some deed which he might do lawfully, he
follows the counsel in that particular case: for instance, if he do good
to his enemies when he is not bound to, or if he forgive an injury of
which he might justly seek to be avenged. In this way, too, all
particular counsels may be reduced to these three general and perfect
Reply to Objection 1: The aforesaid counsels, considered in themselves, are
expedient to all; but owing to some people being ill-disposed, it happens
that some of them are inexpedient, because their disposition is not
inclined to such things. Hence Our Lord, in proposing the evangelical
counsels, always makes mention of man's fitness for observing the
counsels. For in giving the counsel of perpetual poverty (Mt. 19:21), He
begins with the words: "If thou wilt be perfect," and then He adds: "Go,
sell all [Vulg.: 'what'] thou hast." In like manner when He gave the
counsel of perpetual chastity, saying (Mt. 19:12): "There are eunuchs who
have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven," He adds
straightway: "He that can take, let him take it." And again, the Apostle
(1 Cor. 7:35), after giving the counsel of virginity, says: "And this I
speak for your profit; not to cast a snare upon you."
Reply to Objection 2: The greater goods are not definitely fixed in the
individual; but those which are simply and absolutely the greater good in
general are fixed: and to these all the above particular goods may be
reduced, as stated above.
Reply to Objection 3: Even the counsel of obedience is understood to have been
given by Our Lord in the words: "And [let him] follow Me." For we follow
Him not only by imitating His works, but also by obeying His
commandments, according to Jn. 10:27: "My sheep hear My voice . . . and
they follow Me."
Reply to Objection 4: Those things which Our Lord prescribed about the true love
of our enemies, and other similar sayings (Mt. 5; Lk. 6), may be referred
to the preparation of the mind, and then they are necessary for
salvation; for instance, that man be prepared to do good to his enemies,
and other similar actions, when there is need. Hence these things are
placed among the precepts. But that anyone should actually and promptly
behave thus towards an enemy when there is no special need, is to be
referred to the particular counsels, as stated above. As to those matters
which are set down in Mt. 10 and Lk. 9 and 10, they were either
disciplinary commands for that particular time, or concessions, as stated
above (Article , ad 3). Hence they are not set down among the counsels.