QUESTION 70: OF THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST
We must now consider the Fruits of the Holy Ghost: under which head
there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the fruits of the Holy Ghost are acts?
(2) Whether they differ from the beatitudes?
(3) Of their number?
(4) Of their opposition to the works of the flesh.
Article 1: Whether the fruits of the Holy Ghost which the Apostle enumerates (Gal. 5) are acts?
Objection 1: It would seem that the fruits of the Holy Ghost, enumerated by
the Apostle (Gal. 5:22,23), are not acts. For that which bears fruit,
should not itself be called a fruit, else we should go on indefinitely.
But our actions bear fruit: for it is written (Wis. 3:15): "The fruit of
good labor is glorious," and (Jn. 4:36): "He that reapeth receiveth
wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting." Therefore our actions
are not to be called fruits.
Objection 2: Further, as Augustine says (De Trin. x, 10), "we enjoy
[*'Fruimur', from which verb we have the Latin 'fructus' and the English
'fruit'] the things we know, when the will rests by rejoicing in them."
But our will should not rest in our actions for their own sake. Therefore
our actions should not be called fruits.
Objection 3: Further, among the fruits of the Holy Ghost, the Apostle numbers
certain virtues, viz. charity, meekness, faith, and chastity. Now virtues
are not actions but habits, as stated above (Question , Article ). Therefore the
fruits are not actions.
On the contrary, It is written (Mt. 12:33): "By the fruit the tree is
known"; that is to say, man is known by his works, as holy men explain
the passage. Therefore human actions are called fruits.
I answer that, The word "fruit" has been transferred from the material
to the spiritual world. Now fruit, among material things, is the product
of a plant when it comes to perfection, and has a certain sweetness. This
fruit has a twofold relation: to the tree that produces it, and to the
man who gathers the fruit from the tree. Accordingly, in spiritual
matters, we may take the word "fruit" in two ways: first, so that the
fruit of man, who is likened to the tree, is that which he produces;
secondly, so that man's fruit is what he gathers.
Yet not all that man gathers is fruit, but only that which is last and
gives pleasure. For a man has both a field and a tree, and yet these are
not called fruits; but that only which is last, to wit, that which man
intends to derive from the field and from the tree. In this sense man's
fruit is his last end which is intended for his enjoyment.
If, however, by man's fruit we understand a product of man, then human
actions are called fruits: because operation is the second act of the
operator, and gives pleasure if it is suitable to him. If then man's
operation proceeds from man in virtue of his reason, it is said to be the
fruit of his reason: but if it proceeds from him in respect of a higher
power, which is the power of the Holy Ghost, then man's operation is said
to be the fruit of the Holy Ghost, as of a Divine seed, for it is written
(1 Jn. 3:9): "Whosoever is born of God, committeth no sin, for His seed
abideth in him."
Reply to Objection 1: Since fruit is something last and final, nothing hinders
one fruit bearing another fruit, even as one end is subordinate to
another. And so our works, in so far as they are produced by the Holy
Ghost working in us, are fruits: but, in so far as they are referred to
the end which is eternal life, they should rather be called flowers:
hence it is written (Ecclus. 24:23): "My flowers are the fruits of honor
Reply to Objection 2: When the will is said to delight in a thing for its own
sake, this may be understood in two ways. First, so that the expression
"for the sake of" be taken to designate the final cause; and in this way,
man delights in nothing for its own sake, except the last end. Secondly,
so that it expresses the formal cause; and in this way, a man may delight
in anything that is delightful by reason of its form. Thus it is clear
that a sick man delights in health, for its own sake, as in an end; in a
nice medicine, not as in an end, but as in something tasty; and in a
nasty medicine, nowise for its own sake, but only for the sake of
something else. Accordingly we must say that man must delight in God for
His own sake, as being his last end, and in virtuous deeds, not as being
his end, but for the sake of their inherent goodness which is delightful
to the virtuous. Hence Ambrose says (De Parad. xiii) that virtuous deeds
are called fruits because "they refresh those that have them, with a holy
and genuine delight."
Reply to Objection 3: Sometimes the names of the virtues are applied to their
actions: thus Augustine writes (Tract. xl in Joan.): "Faith is to believe
what thou seest not"; and (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 10): "Charity is the
movement of the soul in loving God and our neighbor." It is thus that the
names of the virtues are used in reckoning the fruits.
Article 2: Whether the fruits differ from the beatitudes?
Objection 1: It would seem that the fruits do not differ from the beatitudes.
For the beatitudes are assigned to the gifts, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 1). But the gifts perfect man in so far as he is moved by the
Holy Ghost. Therefore the beatitudes themselves are fruits of the Holy
Objection 2: Further, as the fruit of eternal life is to future beatitude
which is that of actual possession, so are the fruits of the present life
to the beatitudes of the present life, which are based on hope. Now the
fruit of eternal life is identified with future beatitude. Therefore the
fruits of the present life are the beatitudes.
Objection 3: Further, fruit is essentially something ultimate and delightful.
Now this is the very nature of beatitude, as stated above (Question , Article ; Question , Article ). Therefore fruit and beatitude have the same nature, and
consequently should not be distinguished from one another.
On the contrary, Things divided into different species, differ from one
another. But fruits and beatitudes are divided into different parts, as
is clear from the way in which they are enumerated. Therefore the fruits
differ from the beatitudes.
I answer that, More is required for a beatitude than for a fruit.
Because it is sufficient for a fruit to be something ultimate and
delightful; whereas for a beatitude, it must be something perfect and
excellent. Hence all the beatitudes may be called fruits, but not vice
versa. For the fruits are any virtuous deeds in which one delights:
whereas the beatitudes are none but perfect works, and which, by reason
of their perfection, are assigned to the gifts rather than to the
virtues, as already stated (Question , Article , ad 1).
Reply to Objection 1: This argument proves the beatitudes to be fruits, but not
that all the fruits are beatitudes.
Reply to Objection 2: The fruit of eternal life is ultimate and perfect simply: hence it nowise differs from future beatitude. On the other hand the fruits of the present life are not simply ultimate and perfect; wherefore not all the fruits are beatitudes.
Reply to Objection 3: More is required for a beatitude than for a fruit, as
Article 3: Whether the fruits are suitably enumerated by the Apostle?
Objection 1: It would seem that the fruits are unsuitably enumerated by the
Apostle (Gal. 5:22,23). Because, elsewhere, he says that there is only
one fruit of the present life; according to Rm. 6:22: "You have your
fruit unto sanctification." Moreover it is written (Is. 27:9): "This is
all the fruit . . . that the sin . . . be taken away." Therefore we
should not reckon twelve fruits.
Objection 2: Further, fruit is the product of spiritual seed, as stated (Article ). But Our Lord mentions (Mt. 13:23) a threefold fruit as growing from a
spiritual seed in a good ground, viz. "hundredfold, sixtyfold," and
"thirtyfold." Therefore one should not reckon twelve fruits.
Objection 3: Further, the very nature of fruit is to be something ultimate and
delightful. But this does not apply to all the fruits mentioned by the
Apostle: for patience and long-suffering seem to imply a painful object,
while faith is not something ultimate, but rather something primary and
fundamental. Therefore too many fruits are enumerated.
Objection 4: On the other hand, It seems that they are enumerated
insufficiently and incompletely. For it has been stated (Article ) that all
the beatitudes may be called fruits; yet not all are mentioned here. Nor
is there anything corresponding to the acts of wisdom, and of many other
virtues. Therefore it seems that the fruits are insufficiently enumerated.
I answer that, The number of the twelve fruits enumerated by the Apostle
is suitable, and that there may be a reference to them in the twelve
fruits of which it is written (Apoc. 22:2): "On both sides of the river
was the tree bearing twelve fruits." Since, however, a fruit is something
that proceeds from a source as from a seed or root, the difference
between these fruits must be gathered from the various ways in which the
Holy Ghost proceeds in us: which process consists in this, that the mind
of man is set in order, first of all, in regard to itself; secondly, in
regard to things that are near it; thirdly, in regard to things that are
Accordingly man's mind is well disposed in regard to itself when it has
a good disposition towards good things and towards evil things. Now the
first disposition of the human mind towards the good is effected by love,
which is the first of our emotions and the root of them all, as stated
above (Question , Article ). Wherefore among the fruits of the Holy Ghost, we
reckon "charity," wherein the Holy Ghost is given in a special manner, as
in His own likeness, since He Himself is love. Hence it is written (Rm. 5:5): "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy
Ghost, Who is given to us." The necessary result of the love of charity
is joy: because every lover rejoices at being united to the beloved. Now
charity has always actual presence in God Whom it loves, according to 1
Jn. 4:16: "He that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in Him":
wherefore the sequel of charity is "joy." Now the perfection of joy is
peace in two respects. First, as regards freedom from outward
disturbance; for it is impossible to rejoice perfectly in the beloved
good, if one is disturbed in the enjoyment thereof; and again, if a man's
heart is perfectly set at peace in one object, he cannot be disquieted by
any other, since he accounts all others as nothing; hence it is written
(Ps. 118:165): "Much peace have they that love Thy Law, and to them there
is no stumbling-block," because, to wit, external things do not disturb
them in their enjoyment of God. Secondly, as regards the calm of the
restless desire: for he does not perfectly rejoice, who is not satisfied
with the object of his joy. Now peace implies these two things, namely,
that we be not disturbed by external things, and that our desires rest
altogether in one object. Wherefore after charity and joy, "peace" is
given the third place. In evil things the mind has a good disposition, in
respect of two things. First, by not being disturbed whenever evil
threatens: which pertains to "patience"; secondly, by not being
disturbed, whenever good things are delayed; which belongs to "long
suffering," since "to lack good is a kind of evil" (Ethic. v, 3).
Man's mind is well disposed as regards what is near him, viz. his
neighbor, first, as to the will to do good; and to this belongs
"goodness." Secondly, as to the execution of well-doing; and to this
belongs "benignity," for the benign are those in whom the salutary flame
[bonus ignis] of love has enkindled the desire to be kind to their
neighbor. Thirdly, as to his suffering with equanimity the evils his
neighbor inflicts on him. To this belongs "meekness," which curbs anger.
Fourthly, in the point of our refraining from doing harm to our neighbor
not only through anger, but also through fraud or deceit. To this
pertains "faith," if we take it as denoting fidelity. But if we take it
for the faith whereby we believe in God, then man is directed thereby to
that which is above him, so that he subject his intellect and,
consequently, all that is his, to God.
Man is well disposed in respect of that which is below him, as regards
external action, by "modesty," whereby we observe the "mode" in all our
words and deeds: as regards internal desires, by "contingency" and
"chastity": whether these two differ because chastity withdraws man from
unlawful desires, contingency also from lawful desires: or because the
continent man is subject to concupiscence, but is not led away; whereas
the chaste man is neither subject to, nor led away from them.
Reply to Objection 1: Sanctification is effected by all the virtues, by which
also sins are taken away. Consequently fruit is mentioned there in the
singular, on account of its being generically one, though divided into
many species which are spoken of as so many fruits.
Reply to Objection 2: The hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold fruits do not
differ as various species of virtuous acts, but as various degrees of
perfection, even in the same virtue. Thus contingency of the married
state is said to be signified by the thirtyfold fruit; the contingency of
widowhood, by the sixtyfold; and virginal contingency, by the hundredfold
fruit. There are, moreover, other ways in which holy men distinguish
three evangelical fruits according to the three degrees of virtue: and
they speak of three degrees, because the perfection of anything is
considered with respect to its beginning, its middle, and its end.
Reply to Objection 3: The fact of not being disturbed by painful things is
something to delight in. And as to faith, if we consider it as the
foundation, it has the aspect of being ultimate and delightful, in as
much as it contains certainty: hence a gloss expounds thus: "Faith, which
is certainly about the unseen."
Reply to Objection 4: As Augustine says on Gal. 5:22,23, "the Apostle had no
intention of teaching us how many [either works of the flesh, or fruits
of the Spirit] there are; but to show how the former should be avoided,
and the latter sought after." Hence either more or fewer fruits might
have been mentioned. Nevertheless, all the acts of the gifts and virtues
can be reduced to these by a certain kind of fittingness, in so far as
all the virtues and gifts must needs direct the mind in one of the
above-mentioned ways. Wherefore the acts of wisdom and of any gifts
directing to good, are reduced to charity, joy and peace. The reason why
he mentions these rather than others, is that these imply either
enjoyment of good things, or relief from evils, which things seem to
belong to the notion of fruit.
Article 4: Whether the fruits of the Holy Ghost are contrary to the works of the flesh?
Objection 1: It would seem that the fruits of the Holy Ghost are not contrary
to the works of the flesh, which the Apostle enumerates (Gal. 5:19, seqq.). Because contraries are in the same genus. But the works of the
flesh are not called fruits. Therefore the fruits of the Spirit are not
contrary to them.
Objection 2: Further, one thing has a contrary. Now the Apostle mentions more
works of the flesh than fruits of the Spirit. Therefore the fruits of the
Spirit and the works of the flesh are not contrary to one another.
Objection 3: Further, among the fruits of the Spirit, the first place is given
to charity, joy, and peace: to which, fornication, uncleanness, and
immodesty, which are the first of the works of the flesh are not opposed.
Therefore the fruits of the Spirit are not contrary to the works of the
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Gal. 5:17) that "the flesh lusteth
against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh."
I answer that, The works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit may
be taken in two ways. First, in general: and in this way the fruits of
the Holy Ghost considered in general are contrary to the works of the
flesh. Because the Holy Ghost moves the human mind to that which is in
accord with reason, or rather to that which surpasses reason: whereas the
fleshly, viz. the sensitive, appetite draws man to sensible goods which
are beneath him. Wherefore, since upward and downward are contrary
movements in the physical order, so in human actions the works of the
flesh are contrary to the fruits of the Spirit.
Secondly, both fruits and fleshly works as enumerated may be considered
singly, each according to its specific nature. And in this they are not
of necessity contrary each to each: because, as stated above (Article , ad 4), the Apostle did not intend to enumerate all the works, whether
spiritual or carnal. However, by a kind of adaptation, Augustine,
commenting on Gal. 5:22,23, contrasts the fruits with the carnal works,
each to each. Thus "to fornication, which is the love of satisfying lust
outside lawful wedlock, we may contrast charity, whereby the soul is
wedded to God: wherein also is true chastity. By uncleanness we must
understand whatever disturbances arise from fornication: and to these the
joy of tranquillity is opposed. Idolatry, by reason of which war was
waged against the Gospel of God, is opposed to peace. Against
witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths and quarrels,
there is longsuffering, which helps us to bear the evils inflicted on us
by those among whom we dwell; while kindness helps us to cure those
evils; and goodness, to forgive them. In contrast to heresy there is
faith; to envy, mildness; to drunkenness and revellings, contingency."
Reply to Objection 1: That which proceeds from a tree against the tree's nature,
is not called its fruit, but rather its corruption. And since works of
virtue are connatural to reason, while works of vice are contrary to
nature, therefore it is that works of virtue are called fruits, but not
so works of vice.
Reply to Objection 2: "Good happens in one way, evil in all manner of ways," as
Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv): so that to one virtue many vices are
contrary. Consequently we must not be surprised if the works of the flesh
are more numerous than the fruits of the spirit.
The Reply to the Third Objection is clear from what has been said.