QUESTION 18: OF THE SUBJECT OF HOPE
We must now consider the subject of hope, under which head there are
four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the virtue of hope is in the will as its subject?
(2) Whether it is in the blessed?
(3) Whether it is in the damned?
(4) Whether there is certainty in the hope of the wayfarer?
Article 1: Whether hope is in the will as its subject?
Objection 1: It would seem that hope is not in the will as its subject. For
the object of hope is an arduous good, as stated above (Question , Article ; FS,
Question , Article ). Now the arduous is the object, not of the will, but of the
irascible. Therefore hope is not in the will but in the irascible.
Objection 2: Further, where one suffices it is superfluous to add another. Now
charity suffices for the perfecting of the will, which is the most
perfect of the virtues. Therefore hope is not in the will.
Objection 3: Further, the one same power cannot exercise two acts at the same
time; thus the intellect cannot understand many things simultaneously.
Now the act of hope can be at the same time as an act of charity. Since,
then, the act of charity evidently belongs to the will, it follows that
the act of hope does not belong to that power: so that, therefore, hope
is not in the will.
On the contrary, The soul is not apprehensive of God save as regards the
mind in which is memory, intellect and will, as Augustine declares (De
Trin. xiv, 3,6). Now hope is a theological virtue having God for its
object. Since therefore it is neither in the memory, nor in the
intellect, which belong to the cognitive faculty, it follows that it is
in the will as its subject.
I answer that, As shown above (FP, Question , Article ), habits are known by
their acts. Now the act of hope is a movement of the appetitive faculty,
since its object is a good. And, since there is a twofold appetite in
man, namely, the sensitive which is divided into irascible and
concupiscible, and the intellective appetite, called the will, as stated
in the FP, Question , Article , those movements which occur in the lower
appetite, are with passion, while those in the higher appetite are
without passion, as shown above (FP, Question , Article , ad 1; FS, Question , Article , ad 3). Now the act of the virtue of hope cannot belong to the sensitive
appetite, since the good which is the principal object of this virtue, is
not a sensible but a Divine good. Therefore hope resides in the higher
appetite called the will, and not in the lower appetite, of which the
irascible is a part.
Reply to Objection 1: The object of the irascible is an arduous sensible: whereas
the object of the virtue of hope is an arduous intelligible, or rather
Reply to Objection 2: Charity perfects the will sufficiently with regard to one
act, which is the act of loving: but another virtue is required in order
to perfect it with regard to its other act, which is that of hoping.
Reply to Objection 3: The movement of hope and the movement of charity are mutually related, as was shown above (Question , Article ). Hence there is no reason why both movements should not belong at the same time to the same power: even as the intellect can understand many things at the same time if they be related to one another, as stated in the FP, Question , Article .
Article 2: Whether in the blessed there is hope?
Objection 1: It would seem that in the blessed there is hope. For Christ was a
perfect comprehensor from the first moment of His conception. Now He had
hope, since, according to a gloss, the words of Ps. 30:2, "In Thee, O
Lord, have I hoped," are said in His person. Therefore in the blessed
there can be hope.
Objection 2: Further, even as the obtaining of happiness is an arduous good,
so is its continuation. Now, before they obtain happiness, men hope to
obtain it. Therefore, after they have obtained it, they can hope to
continue in its possession.
Objection 3: Further, by the virtue of hope, a man can hope for happiness, not
only for himself, but also for others, as stated above (Question , Article ). But
the blessed who are in heaven hope for the happiness of others, else they
would not pray for them. Therefore there can be hope in them.
Objection 4: Further, the happiness of the saints implies not only glory of the soul but also glory of the body. Now the souls of the saints in heaven, look yet for the glory of their bodies (Apoc. 6:10; Augustine, Gen. ad lit. xii, 35). Therefore in the blessed there can be hope.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Rm. 8:24): "What a man seeth, why
doth he hope for?" Now the blessed enjoy the sight of God. Therefore hope
has no place in them.
I answer that, If what gives a thing its species be removed, the species
is destroyed, and that thing cannot remain the same; just as when a
natural body loses its form, it does not remain the same specifically.
Now hope takes its species from its principal object, even as the other
virtues do, as was shown above (Question , Articles ,6; FS, Question , Article ): and its
principal object is eternal happiness as being possible to obtain by the
assistance of God, as stated above (Question , Article ).
Since then the arduous possible good cannot be an object of hope except
in so far as it is something future, it follows that when happiness is no
longer future, but present, it is incompatible with the virtue of hope.
Consequently hope, like faith, is voided in heaven, and neither of them
can be in the blessed.
Reply to Objection 1: Although Christ was a comprehensor and therefore blessed as
to the enjoyment of God, nevertheless He was, at the same time, a
wayfarer, as regards the passibility of nature, to which He was still
subject. Hence it was possible for Him to hope for the glory of
impassibility and immortality, yet not so as to the virtue of hope, the
principal object of which is not the glory of the body but the enjoyment
Reply to Objection 2: The happiness of the saints is called eternal life,
because through enjoying God they become partakers, as it were, of God's
eternity which surpasses all time: so that the continuation of happiness
does not differ in respect of present, past and future. Hence the blessed
do not hope for the continuation of their happiness (for as regards this
there is no future), but are in actual possession thereof.
Reply to Objection 3: So long as the virtue of hope lasts, it is by the same hope
that one hopes for one's own happiness, and for that of others. But when
hope is voided in the blessed, whereby they hoped for their own
happiness, they hope for the happiness of others indeed, yet not by the
virtue of hope, but rather by the love of charity. Even so, he that has
Divine charity, by that same charity loves his neighbor, without having
the virtue of charity, but by some other love.
Reply to Objection 4: Since hope is a theological virtue having God for its
object, its principal object is the glory of the soul, which consists in
the enjoyment of God, and not the glory of the body. Moreover, although
the glory of the body is something arduous in comparison with human
nature, yet it is not so for one who has the glory of the soul; both
because the glory of the body is a very small thing as compared with the
glory of the soul, and because one who has the glory of the soul has
already the sufficient cause of the glory of the body.
Article 3: Whether hope is in the damned?
Objection 1: It would seem that there is hope in the damned. For the devil is
damned and prince of the damned, according to Mt. 25:41: "Depart . . .
you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and
his angels." But the devil has hope, according to Job 40:28, "Behold his
hope shall fail him." Therefore it seems that the damned have hope.
Objection 2: Further, just as faith is either living or dead, so is hope. But
lifeless faith can be in the devils and the damned, according to James
2:19: "The devils . . . believe and tremble." Therefore it seems that
lifeless hope also can be in the damned.
Objection 3: Further, after death there accrues to man no merit or demerit
that he had not before, according to Eccles. 11:3, "If the tree fall to
the south, or to the north, in what place soever it shall fall, there
shall it be." Now many who are damned, in this life hoped and never
despaired. Therefore they will hope in the future life also.
On the contrary, Hope causes joy, according to Rm. 12:12, "Rejoicing in hope." Now the damned have no joy, but sorrow and grief, according to Is. 65:14, "My servants shall praise for joyfulness of heart, and you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for grief of spirit." Therefore no hope is in the damned.
I answer that, Just as it is a condition of happiness that the will
should find rest therein, so is it a condition of punishment, that what
is inflicted in punishment, should go against the will. Now that which is
not known can neither be restful nor repugnant to the will: wherefore
Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xi, 17) that the angels could not be
perfectly happy in their first state before their confirmation, or
unhappy before their fall, since they had no foreknowledge of what would
happen to them. For perfect and true happiness requires that one should
be certain of being happy for ever, else the will would not rest.
In like manner, since the everlastingness of damnation is a necessary
condition of the punishment of the damned, it would not be truly penal
unless it went against the will; and this would be impossible if they
were ignorant of the everlastingness of their damnation. Hence it belongs
to the unhappy state of the damned, that they should know that they
cannot by any means escape from damnation and obtain happiness. Wherefore
it is written (Job 15:22): "He believeth not that he may return from
darkness to light." It is, therefore, evident that they cannot apprehend
happiness as a possible good, as neither can the blessed apprehend it as
a future good. Consequently there is no hope either in the blessed or in
the damned. On the other hand, hope can be in wayfarers, whether of this
life or in purgatory, because in either case they apprehend happiness as
a future possible thing.
Reply to Objection 1: As Gregory says (Moral. xxxiii, 20) this is said of the
devil as regards his members, whose hope will fail utterly: or, if it be
understood of the devil himself, it may refer to the hope whereby he
expects to vanquish the saints, in which sense we read just before (Job 40:18): "He trusteth that the Jordan may run into his mouth": this is
not, however, the hope of which we are speaking.
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says (Enchiridion viii), "faith is about
things, bad or good, past, present, or future, one's own or another's;
whereas hope is only about good things, future and concerning oneself."
Hence it is possible for lifeless faith to be in the damned, but not
hope, since the Divine goods are not for them future possible things, but
far removed from them.
Reply to Objection 3: Lack of hope in the damned does not change their demerit,
as neither does the voiding of hope in the blessed increase their merit:
but both these things are due to the change in their respective states.
Article 4: Whether there is certainty in the hope of a wayfarer?
Objection 1: It would seem that there is no certainty in the hope of a wayfarer. For hope resides in the will. But certainty pertains not to the will but to the intellect. Therefore there is no certainty in hope.
Objection 2: Further, hope is based on grace and merits, as stated above
(Question , Article ). Now it is impossible in this life to know for certain that
we are in a state of grace, as stated above (FS, Question , Article ). Therefore
there is no certainty in the hope of a wayfarer.
Objection 3: Further, there can be no certainty about that which may fail. Now
many a hopeful wayfarer fails to obtain happiness. Therefore wayfarer's
hope has no certainty.
On the contrary, "Hope is the certain expectation of future happiness,"
as the Master states (Sent. iii, D, 26): and this may be gathered from 2
Tim. 1:12, "I know Whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able
to keep that which I have committed to Him."
I answer that, Certainty is found in a thing in two ways, essentially
and by participation. It is found essentially in the cognitive power; by
participation in whatever is moved infallibly to its end by the cognitive
power. In this way we say that nature works with certainty, since it is
moved by the Divine intellect which moves everything with certainty to
its end. In this way too, the moral virtues are said to work with greater
certainty than art, in as much as, like a second nature, they are moved
to their acts by the reason: and thus too, hope tends to its end with
certainty, as though sharing in the certainty of faith which is in the
This suffices for the Reply to the First Objection.
Reply to Objection 2: Hope does not trust chiefly in grace already received, but
on God's omnipotence and mercy, whereby even he that has not grace, can
obtain it, so as to come to eternal life. Now whoever has faith is
certain of God's omnipotence and mercy.
Reply to Objection 3: That some who have hope fail to obtain happiness, is due to
a fault of the free will in placing the obstacle of sin, but not to any
deficiency in God's power or mercy, in which hope places its trust. Hence
this does not prejudice the certainty of hope.