St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province


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OF MAGNANIMITY* (EIGHT ARTICLES) [*Not in the ordinary restricted sense but as explained by the author]

   We must now consider each of the parts of fortitude, including, however, the other parts under those mentioned by Tully, with the exception of confidence, for which we shall substitute magnanimity, of which Aristotle treats. Accordingly we shall consider (1) Magnanimity; (2) Magnificence; (3) Patience; (4) Perseverance. As regards the first we shall treat (1) of magnanimity; (2) of its contrary vices. Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

    (1) Whether magnanimity is about honors?

    (2) Whether magnanimity is only about great honors?

    (3) Whether it is a virtue?

    (4) Whether it is a special virtue?

    (5) Whether it is a part of fortitude?

    (6) Of its relation to confidence;

    (7) Of its relation to assurance;

    (8) Of its relation to goods of fortune.


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Article: 1  [<< | >>]

Whether magnanimity is about honors?

  Objection 1: It seems that magnanimity is not about honors. For magnanimity is in the irascible faculty, as its very name shows, since "magnanimity" signifies greatness of mind, and "mind" denotes the irascible part, as appears from De Anima iii, 42, where the Philosopher says that "in the sensitive appetite are desire and mind," i.e. the concupiscible and irascible parts. But honor is a concupiscible good since it is the reward of virtue. Therefore it seems that magnanimity is not about honors.

  Objection 2: Further, since magnanimity is a moral virtue, it must needs be about either passions or operations. Now it is not about operations, for then it would be a part of justice: whence it follows that it is about passions. But honor is not a passion. Therefore magnanimity is not about honors.

  Objection 3: Further, the nature of magnanimity seems to regard pursuit rather than avoidance, for a man is said to be magnanimous because he tends to great things. But the virtuous are praised not for desiring honors, but for shunning them. Therefore magnanimity is not about honors.

  On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) that "magnanimity is about honor and dishonor."

  I answer that, Magnanimity by its very name denotes stretching forth of the mind to great things. Now virtue bears a relationship to two things, first to the matter about which is the field of its activity, secondly to its proper act, which consists in the right use of such matter. And since a virtuous habit is denominated chiefly from its act, a man is said to be magnanimous chiefly because he is minded to do some great act. Now an act may be called great in two ways: in one way proportionately, in another absolutely. An act may be called great proportionately, even if it consist in the use of some small or ordinary thing, if, for instance, one make a very good use of it: but an act is simply and absolutely great when it consists in the best use of the greatest thing.

   The things which come into man's use are external things, and among these honor is the greatest simply, both because it is the most akin to virtue, since it is an attestation to a person's virtue, as stated above (Question [103], Articles [1],2); and because it is offered to God and to the best; and again because, in order to obtain honor even as to avoid shame, men set aside all other things. Now a man is said to be magnanimous in respect of things that are great absolutely and simply, just as a man is said to be brave in respect of things that are difficult simply. It follows therefore that magnanimity is about honors.

  Reply to Objection 1: Good and evil absolutely considered regard the concupiscible faculty, but in so far as the aspect of difficult is added, they belong to the irascible. Thus it is that magnanimity regards honor, inasmuch, to wit, as honor has the aspect of something great or difficult.

  Reply to Objection 2: Although honor is neither a passion nor an operation, yet it is the object of a passion, namely hope, which tends to a difficult good. Wherefore magnanimity is immediately about the passions of hope, and mediately about honor as the object of hope: even so, we have stated (Question [123], Articles [4],5) with regard to fortitude that it is about dangers of death in so far as they are the object of fear and daring.

  Reply to Objection 3: Those are worthy of praise who despise riches in such a way as to do nothing unbecoming in order to obtain them, nor have too great a desire for them. If, however, one were to despise honors so as not to care to do what is worthy of honor, this would be deserving of blame. Accordingly magnanimity is about honors in the sense that a man strives to do what is deserving of honor, yet not so as to think much of the honor accorded by man.


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Question: 129  [<< | >>]
Article: 2  [<< | >>]

Whether magnanimity is essentially about great honors?

  Objection 1: It seems that magnanimity is not essentially about great honors. For the proper matter of magnanimity is honor, as stated above (Article [1]). But great and little are accidental to honor. Therefore it is not essential to magnanimity to be about great honors.

  Objection 2: Further, just as magnanimity is about honor, so is meekness about anger. But it is not essential to meekness to be about either great or little anger. Therefore neither is it essential to magnanimity to be about great honor.

  Objection 3: Further, small honor is less aloof from great honor than is dishonor. But magnanimity is well ordered in relation to dishonor, and consequently in relation to small honors also. Therefore it is not only about great honors.

  On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7) that magnanimity is about great honors.

   I answer that According to the Philosopher (Phys. vii, 17, 18), virtue is a perfection, and by this we are to understand the perfection of a power, and that it regards the extreme limit of that power, as stated in De Coelo i, 116. Now the perfection of a power is not perceived in every operation of that power, but in such operations as are great or difficult: for every power, however imperfect, can extend to ordinary and trifling operations. Hence it is essential to a virtue to be about the difficult and the good, as stated in Ethic. ii, 3.

   Now the difficult and the good (which amount to the same) in an act of virtue may be considered from two points of view. First, from the point of view of reason, in so far as it is difficult to find and establish the rational means in some particular matter: and this difficulty is found only in the act of intellectual virtues, and also of justice. The other difficulty is on the part of the matter, which may involve a certain opposition to the moderation of reason, which moderation has to be applied thereto: and this difficulty regards chiefly the other moral virtues, which are about the passions, because the passions resist reason as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv, 4).

   Now as regards the passions it is to be observed that the greatness of this power of resistance to reason arises chiefly in some cases from the passions themselves, and in others from the things that are the objects of the passions. The passions themselves have no great power of resistance, unless they be violent, because the sensitive appetite, which is the seat of the passions, is naturally subject to reason. Hence the resisting virtues that are about these passions regard only that which is great in such passions: thus fortitude is about very great fear and daring; temperance about the concupiscence of the greatest pleasures, and likewise meekness about the greatest anger. On the other hand, some passions have great power of resistance to reason arising from the external things themselves that are the objects of those passions: such are the love or desire of money or of honor. And for these it is necessary to have a virtue not only regarding that which is greatest in those passions, but also about that which is ordinary or little: because things external, though they be little, are very desirable, as being necessary for human life. Hence with regard to the desire of money there are two virtues, one about ordinary or little sums of money, namely liberality, and another about large sums of money, namely "magnificence."

   In like manner there are two virtues about honors, one about ordinary honors. This virtue has no name, but is denominated by its extremes, which are {philotimia}, i.e. love of honor, and {aphilotimia}, i.e. without love of honor: for sometimes a man is commended for loving honor, and sometimes for not caring about it, in so far, to wit, as both these things may be done in moderation. But with regard to great honors there is "magnanimity." Wherefore we must conclude that the proper matter of magnanimity is great honor, and that a magnanimous man tends to such things as are deserving of honor.

  Reply to Objection 1: Great and little are accidental to honor considered in itself: but they make a great difference in their relation to reason, the mode of which has to be observed in the use of honor, for it is much more difficult to observe it in great than in little honors.

  Reply to Objection 2: In anger and other matters only that which is greatest presents any notable difficulty, and about this alone is there any need of a virtue. It is different with riches and honors which are things existing outside the soul.

  Reply to Objection 3: He that makes good use of great things is much more able to make good use of little things. Accordingly the magnanimous man looks upon great honors as a thing of which he is worthy, or even little honors as something he deserves, because, to wit, man cannot sufficiently honor virtue which deserves to be honored by God. Hence he is not uplifted by great honors, because he does not deem them above him; rather does he despise them, and much more such as are ordinary or little. In like manner he is not cast down by dishonor, but despises it, since he recognizes that he does not deserve it.


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Whether magnanimity is a virtue?

  Objection 1: It seems that magnanimity is not a virtue. For every moral virtue observes the mean. But magnanimity observes not the mean but the greater extreme: because the "magnanimous man deems himself worthy of the greatest things" (Ethic. iv, 3). Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

  Objection 2: Further, he that has one virtue has them all, as stated above (FS, Question [65], Article [1]). But one may have a virtue without having magnanimity: since the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) that "whosoever is worthy of little things and deems himself worthy of them, is temperate, but he is not magnanimous." Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

  Objection 3: Further, "Virtue is a good quality of the mind," as stated above (FS, Question [55], Article [4]). But magnanimity implies certain dispositions of the body: for the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) of "a magnanimous man that his gait is slow, his voice deep, and his utterance calm." Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

  Objection 4: Further, no virtue is opposed to another virtue. But magnanimity is opposed to humility, since "the magnanimous deems himself worthy of great things, and despises others," according to Ethic. iv, 3. Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

  Objection 5: Further, the properties of every virtue are praiseworthy. But magnanimity has certain properties that call for blame. For, in the first place, the magnanimous is unmindful of favors; secondly, he is remiss and slow of action; thirdly, he employs irony [*Cf. Question [113]] towards many; fourthly, he is unable to associate with others; fifthly, because he holds to the barren things rather than to those that are fruitful. Therefore magnanimity is not a virtue.

  On the contrary, It is written in praise of certain men (2 Macc. 15:18): "Nicanor hearing of the valor of Judas' companions, and the greatness of courage [animi magnitudinem] with which they fought for their country, was afraid to try the matter by the sword." Now, only deeds of virtue are worthy of praise. Therefore magnanimity which consists in greatness of courage is a virtue.

  I answer that, The essence of human virtue consists in safeguarding the good of reason in human affairs, for this is man's proper good. Now among external human things honors take precedence of all others, as stated above (Article [1]; FS, Question [11], Article [2], Objection [3]). Therefore magnanimity, which observes the mode of reason in great honors, is a virtue.

  Reply to Objection 1: As the Philosopher again says (Ethic. iv, 3), "the magnanimous in point of quantity goes to extremes," in so far as he tends to what is greatest, "but in the matter of becomingness, he follows the mean," because he tends to the greatest things according to reason, for "he deems himself worthy in accordance with his worth" (Ethic. iv, 3), since his aims do not surpass his deserts.

  Reply to Objection 2: The mutual connection of the virtues does not apply to their acts, as though every one were competent to practice the acts of all the virtues. Wherefore the act of magnanimity is not becoming to every virtuous man, but only to great men. on the other hand, as regards the principles of virtue, namely prudence and grace, all virtues are connected together, since their habits reside together in the soul, either in act or by way of a proximate disposition thereto. Thus it is possible for one to whom the act of magnanimity is not competent, to have the habit of magnanimity, whereby he is disposed to practice that act if it were competent to him according to his state.

  Reply to Objection 3: The movements of the body are differentiated according to the different apprehensions and emotions of the soul. And so it happens that to magnanimity there accrue certain fixed accidents by way of bodily movements. For quickness of movement results from a man being intent on many things which he is in a hurry to accomplish, whereas the magnanimous is intent only on great things; these are few and require great attention, wherefore they call for slow movement. Likewise shrill and rapid speaking is chiefly competent to those who are quick to quarrel about anything, and this becomes not the magnanimous who are busy only about great things. And just as these dispositions of bodily movements are competent to the magnanimous man according to the mode of his emotions, so too in those who are naturally disposed to magnanimity these conditions are found naturally.

  Reply to Objection 4: There is in man something great which he possesses through the gift of God; and something defective which accrues to him through the weakness of nature. Accordingly magnanimity makes a man deem himself worthy of great things in consideration of the gifts he holds from God: thus if his soul is endowed with great virtue, magnanimity makes him tend to perfect works of virtue; and the same is to be said of the use of any other good, such as science or external fortune. On the other hand, humility makes a man think little of himself in consideration of his own deficiency, and magnanimity makes him despise others in so far as they fall away from God's gifts: since he does not think so much of others as to do anything wrong for their sake. Yet humility makes us honor others and esteem them better than ourselves, in so far as we see some of God's gifts in them. Hence it is written of the just man (Ps. 14:4): "In his sight a vile person is contemned [*Douay: 'The malignant is brought to nothing, but he glorifieth,' etc.]," which indicates the contempt of magnanimity, "but he honoreth them that fear the Lord," which points to the reverential bearing of humility. It is therefore evident that magnanimity and humility are not contrary to one another, although they seem to tend in contrary directions, because they proceed according to different considerations.

  Reply to Objection 5: These properties in so far as they belong to a magnanimous man call not for blame, but for very great praise. For in the first place, when it is said that the magnanimous is not mindful of those from whom he has received favors, this points to the fact that he takes no pleasure in accepting favors from others unless he repay them with yet greater favor; this belongs to the perfection of gratitude, in the act of which he wishes to excel, even as in the acts of other virtues. Again, in the second place, it is said that he is remiss and slow of action, not that he is lacking in doing what becomes him, but because he does not busy himself with all kinds of works, but only with great works, such as are becoming to him. He is also said, in the third place, to employ irony, not as opposed to truth, and so as either to say of himself vile things that are not true, or deny of himself great things that are true, but because he does not disclose all his greatness, especially to the large number of those who are beneath him, since, as also the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3), "it belongs to a magnanimous man to be great towards persons of dignity and affluence, and unassuming towards the middle class." In the fourth place, it is said that he cannot associate with others: this means that he is not at home with others than his friends: because he altogether shuns flattery and hypocrisy, which belong to littleness of mind. But he associates with all, both great and little, according as he ought, as stated above (ad 1). It is also said, fifthly, that he prefers to have barren things, not indeed any, but good, i.e. virtuous; for in all things he prefers the virtuous to the useful, as being greater: since the useful is sought in order to supply a defect which is inconsistent with magnanimity.


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Question: 129  [<< | >>]
Article: 4  [<< | >>]

Whether magnanimity is a special virtue?

  Objection 1: It seems that magnanimity is not a special virtue. For no special virtue is operative in every virtue. But the Philosopher states (Ethic. iv, 3) that "whatever is great in each virtue belongs to the magnanimous." Therefore magnanimity is not a special virtue.

  Objection 2: Further, the acts of different virtues are not ascribed to any special virtue. But the acts of different virtues are ascribed to the magnanimous man. For it is stated in Ethic. iv, 3 that "it belongs to the magnanimous not to avoid reproof" (which is an act of prudence), "nor to act unjustly" (which is an act of justice), "that he is ready to do favors" (which is an act of charity), "that he gives his services readily" (which is an act of liberality), that "he is truthful" (which is an act of truthfulness), and that "he is not given to complaining" (which is an act of patience). Therefore magnanimity is not a special virtue.

  Objection 3: Further, every virtue is a special ornament of the soul, according to the saying of Is. 61:10, "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation," and afterwards he adds, "and as a bride adorned with her jewels." But magnanimity is the ornament of all the virtues, as stated in Ethic. iv. Therefore magnanimity is a general virtue.

  On the contrary, The Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7) distinguishes it from the other virtues.

  I answer that, As stated above (Question [123], Article [2]), it belongs to a special virtue to establish the mode of reason in a determinate matter. Now magnanimity establishes the mode of reason in a determinate matter, namely honors, as stated above (Articles [1],2): and honor, considered in itself, is a special good, and accordingly magnanimity considered in itself is a special virtue.

   Since, however, honor is the reward of every virtue, as stated above (Question [103], Article [1], ad 2), it follows that by reason of its matter it regards all the virtues.

  Reply to Objection 1: Magnanimity is not about any kind of honor, but great honor. Now, as honor is due to virtue, so great honor is due to a great deed of virtue. Hence it is that the magnanimous is intent on doing great deeds in every virtue, in so far, to wit, as he tends to what is worthy of great honors.

  Reply to Objection 2: Since the magnanimous tends to great things, it follows that he tends chiefly to things that involve a certain excellence, and shuns those that imply defect. Now it savors of excellence that a man is beneficent, generous and grateful. Wherefore he shows himself ready to perform actions of this kind, but not as acts of the other virtues. on the other hand, it is a proof of defect, that a man thinks so much of certain external goods or evils, that for their sake he abandons and gives up justice or any virtue whatever. Again, all concealment of the truth indicates a defect, since it seems to be the outcome of fear. Also that a man be given to complaining denotes a defect, because by so doing the mind seems to give way to external evils. Wherefore these and like things the magnanimous man avoids under a special aspect, inasmuch as they are contrary to his excellence or greatness.

  Reply to Objection 3: Every virtue derives from its species a certain luster or adornment which is proper to each virtue: but further adornment results from the very greatness of a virtuous deed, through magnanimity which makes all virtues greater as stated in Ethic. iv, 3.


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Question: 129  [<< | >>]
Article: 5  [<< | >>]

Whether magnanimity is a part of fortitude?

  Objection 1: It seems that magnanimity is not a part of fortitude. For a thing is not a part of itself. But magnanimity appears to be the same as fortitude. For Seneca says (De Quat. Virtut.): "If magnanimity, which is also called fortitude, be in thy soul, thou shalt live in great assurance": and Tully says (De Offic. i): "If a man is brave we expect him to be magnanimous, truth-loving, and far removed from deception." Therefore magnanimity is not a part of fortitude.

  Objection 2: Further, the Philosopher (Ethic. iv, 3) says that a magnanimous man is not {philokindynos}, that is, a lover of danger. But it belongs to a brave man to expose himself to danger. Therefore magnanimity has nothing in common with fortitude so as to be called a part thereof.

  Objection 3: Further, magnanimity regards the great in things to be hoped for, whereas fortitude regards the great in things to be feared or dared. But good is of more import than evil. Therefore magnanimity is a more important virtue than fortitude. Therefore it is not a part thereof.

  On the contrary, Macrobius (De Somn. Scip. i) and Andronicus reckon magnanimity as a part of fortitude.

  I answer that, As stated above (FS, Question [61], Article [3]), a principal virtue is one to which it belongs to establish a general mode of virtue in a principal matter. Now one of the general modes of virtue is firmness of mind, because "a firm standing is necessary in every virtue," according to Ethic. ii. And this is chiefly commended in those virtues that tend to something difficult, in which it is most difficult to preserve firmness. Wherefore the more difficult it is to stand firm in some matter of difficulty, the more principal is the virtue which makes the mind firm in that matter.

   Now it is more difficult to stand firm in dangers of death, wherein fortitude confirms the mind, than in hoping for or obtaining the greatest goods, wherein the mind is confirmed by magnanimity, for, as man loves his life above all things, so does he fly from dangers of death more than any others. Accordingly it is clear that magnanimity agrees with fortitude in confirming the mind about some difficult matter; but it falls short thereof, in that it confirms the mind about a matter wherein it is easier to stand firm. Hence magnanimity is reckoned a part of fortitude, because it is annexed thereto as secondary to principal.

  Reply to Objection 1: As the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 1,3), "to lack evil is looked upon as a good," wherefore not to be overcome by a grievous evil, such as the danger of death, is looked upon as though it were the obtaining of a great good, the former belonging to fortitude, and the latter to magnanimity: in this sense fortitude and magnanimity may be considered as identical. Since, however, there is a difference as regards the difficulty on the part of either of the aforesaid, it follows that properly speaking magnanimity, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. ii, 7), is a distinct virtue from fortitude.

  Reply to Objection 2: A man is said to love danger when he exposes himself to all kinds of dangers, which seems to be the mark of one who thinks "many" the same as "great." This is contrary to the nature of a magnanimous man, for no one seemingly exposes himself to danger for the sake of a thing that he does not deem great. But for things that are truly great, a magnanimous man is most ready to expose himself to danger, since he does something great in the act of fortitude, even as in the acts of the other virtues. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7) that the magnanimous man is not {mikrokindynos}, i.e. endangering himself for small things, but {megalokindynos}, i.e. endangering himself for great things. And Seneca says (De Quat. Virtut.): "Thou wilt be magnanimous if thou neither seekest dangers like a rash man, nor fearest them like a coward. For nothing makes the soul a coward save the consciousness of a wicked life."

  Reply to Objection 3: Evil as such is to be avoided: and that one has to withstand it is accidental; in so far, to wit, as one has to suffer an evil in order to safeguard a good. But good as such is to be desired, and that one avoids it is only accidental, in so far, to wit, as it is deemed to surpass the ability of the one who desires it. Now that which is so essentially is always of more account than that which is so accidentally. Wherefore the difficult in evil things is always more opposed to firmness of mind than the difficult in good things. Hence the virtue of fortitude takes precedence of the virtue of magnanimity. For though good is simply of more import than evil, evil is of more import in this particular respect.


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Question: 129  [<< | >>]
Article: 6  [<< | >>]

Whether confidence belongs to magnanimity?

  Objection 1: It seems that confidence does not belong to magnanimity. For a man may have assurance not only in himself, but also in another, according to 2 Cor. 3:4,5, "Such confidence we have, through Christ towards God, not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves." But this seems inconsistent with the idea of magnanimity. Therefore confidence does not belong to magnanimity.

  Objection 2: Further, confidence seems to be opposed to fear, according to Is. 12:2, "I will deal confidently and will not fear." But to be without fear seems more akin to fortitude. Therefore confidence also belongs to fortitude rather than to magnanimity.

  Objection 3: Further, reward is not due except to virtue. But a reward is due to confidence, according to Heb. 3:6, where it is said that we are the house of Christ, "if we hold fast the confidence and glory of hope unto the end." Therefore confidence is a virtue distinct from magnanimity: and this is confirmed by the fact that Macrobius enumerates it with magnanimity (In Somn. Scip. i).

  On the contrary, Tully (De Suv. Rhet. ii) seems to substitute confidence for magnanimity, as stated above in the preceding Question (ad 6) and in the prologue to this.

  I answer that, Confidence takes its name from "fides" [faith]: and it belongs to faith to believe something and in somebody. But confidence belongs to hope, according to Job 11:18, "Thou shalt have confidence, hope being set before thee." Wherefore confidence apparently denotes chiefly that a man derives hope through believing the word of one who promises to help him. Since, however, faith signifies also a strong opinion, and since one may come to have a strong opinion about something, not only on account of another's statement, but also on account of something we observe in another, it follows that confidence may denote the hope of having something, which hope we conceive through observing something either in oneself---for instance, through observing that he is healthy, a man is confident that he will live long. or in another, for instance, through observing that another is friendly to him and powerful, a man is confident that he will receive help from him.

   Now it has been stated above (Article [1], ad 2) that magnanimity is chiefly about the hope of something difficult. Wherefore, since confidence denotes a certain strength of hope arising from some observation which gives one a strong opinion that one will obtain a certain good, it follows that confidence belongs to magnanimity.

  Reply to Objection 1: As the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3), it belongs to the "magnanimous to need nothing," for need is a mark of the deficient. But this is to be understood according to the mode of a man, hence he adds "or scarcely anything." For it surpasses man to need nothing at all. For every man needs, first, the Divine assistance, secondly, even human assistance, since man is naturally a social animal, for he is sufficient by himself to provide for his own life. Accordingly, in so far as he needs others, it belongs to a magnanimous man to have confidence in others, for it is also a point of excellence in a man that he should have at hand those who are able to be of service to him. And in so far as his own ability goes, it belongs to a magnanimous man to be confident in himself.

  Reply to Objection 2: As stated above (FS, Question [23], Article [2]; FS, Question [40], Article [4]), when we were treating of the passions, hope is directly opposed to despair, because the latter is about the same object, namely good. But as regards contrariety of objects it is opposed to fear, because the latter's object is evil. Now confidence denotes a certain strength of hope, wherefore it is opposed to fear even as hope is. Since, however, fortitude properly strengthens a man in respect of evil, and magnanimity in respect of the obtaining of good, it follows that confidence belongs more properly to magnanimity than to fortitude. Yet because hope causes daring, which belongs to fortitude, it follows in consequence that confidence pertains to fortitude.

  Reply to Objection 3: Confidence, as stated above, denotes a certain mode of hope: for confidence is hope strengthened by a strong opinion. Now the mode applied to an affection may call for commendation of the act, so that it become meritorious, yet it is not this that draws it to a species of virtue, but its matter. Hence, properly speaking, confidence cannot denote a virtue, though it may denote the conditions of a virtue. For this reason it is reckoned among the parts of fortitude, not as an annexed virtue, except as identified with magnanimity by Tully (De Suv. Rhet. ii), but as an integral part, as stated in the preceding Question.


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Question: 129  [<< | >>]
Article: 7  [<< | >>]

Whether security belongs to magnanimity?

  Objection 1: It seems that security does not belong to magnanimity. For security, as stated above (Question [128], ad 6), denotes freedom from the disturbance of fear. But fortitude does this most effectively. Wherefore security is seemingly the same as fortitude. But fortitude does not belong to magnanimity; rather the reverse is the case. Neither therefore does security belong to magnanimity.

  Objection 2: Further, Isidore says (Etym. x) that a man "is said to be secure because he is without care." But this seems to be contrary to virtue, which has a care for honorable things, according to 2 Tim. 2:15, "Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God." Therefore security does not belong to magnanimity, which does great things in all the virtues.

  Objection 3: Further, virtue is not its own reward. But security is accounted the reward of virtue, according to Job 11:14,18, "If thou wilt put away from thee the iniquity that is in thy hand . . . being buried thou shalt sleep secure." Therefore security does not belong to magnanimity or to any other virtue, as a part thereof.

  On the contrary, Tully says (De Offic. i) under the heading: "Magnanimity consists of two things," that "it belongs to magnanimity to give way neither to a troubled mind, nor to man, nor to fortune." But a man's security consists in this. Therefore security belongs to magnanimity.

  I answer that, As the Philosopher says (Rhet. ii, 5), "fear makes a man take counsel," because, to wit he takes care to avoid what he fears. Now security takes its name from the removal of this care, of which fear is the cause: wherefore security denotes perfect freedom of the mind from fear, just as confidence denotes strength of hope. Now, as hope directly belongs to magnanimity, so fear directly regards fortitude. Wherefore as confidence belongs immediately to magnanimity, so security belongs immediately to fortitude.

   It must be observed, however, that as hope is the cause of daring, so is fear the cause of despair, as stated above when we were treating of the passion (FS, Question [45], Article [2]). Wherefore as confidence belongs indirectly to fortitude, in so far as it makes use of daring, so security belongs indirectly to magnanimity, in so far as it banishes despair.

  Reply to Objection 1: Fortitude is chiefly commended, not because it banishes fear, which belongs to security, but because it denotes a firmness of mind in the matter of the passion. Wherefore security is not the same as fortitude, but is a condition thereof.

  Reply to Objection 2: Not all security is worthy of praise but only when one puts care aside, as one ought, and in things when one should not fear: in this way it is a condition of fortitude and of magnanimity.

  Reply to Objection 3: There is in the virtues a certain likeness to, and participation of, future happiness, as stated above (FS, Question [5], Articles [3],7). Hence nothing hinders a certain security from being a condition of a virtue, although perfect security belongs to virtue's reward.


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Whether goods of fortune conduce to magnanimity?

  Objection 1: It seems that goods of fortune do not conduce to magnanimity. For according to Seneca (De Ira i: De vita beata xvi): "virtue suffices for itself." Now magnanimity takes every virtue great, as stated above (Article [4], ad 3). Therefore goods of fortune do not conduce to magnanimity.

  Objection 2: Further, no virtuous man despises what is helpful to him. But the magnanimous man despises whatever pertains to goods of fortune: for Tully says (De Offic. i) under the heading: "Magnanimity consists of two things," that "a great soul is commended for despising external things." Therefore a magnanimous man is not helped by goods of fortune.

  Objection 3: Further, Tully adds (De Offic. i) that "it belongs to a great soul so to bear what seems troublesome, as nowise to depart from his natural estate, or from the dignity of a wise man." And Aristotle says (Ethic. iv, 3) that "a magnanimous man does not grieve at misfortune." Now troubles and misfortunes are opposed to goods of fortune, for every one grieves at the loss of what is helpful to him. Therefore external goods of fortune do not conduce to magnanimity.

  On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 3) that "good fortune seems to conduce to magnanimity."

  I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]), magnanimity regards two things: honor as its matter, and the accomplishment of something great as its end. Now goods of fortune conduce to both these things. For since honor is conferred on the virtuous, not only by the wise, but also by the multitude who hold these goods of fortune in the highest esteem, the result is that they show greater honor to those who possess goods of fortune. Likewise goods of fortune are useful organs or instruments of virtuous deeds: since we can easily accomplish things by means of riches, power and friends. Hence it is evident that goods of fortune conduce to magnanimity.

  Reply to Objection 1: Virtue is said to be sufficient for itself, because it can be without even these external goods; yet it needs them in order to act more expeditiously.

  Reply to Objection 2: The magnanimous man despises external goods, inasmuch as he does not think them so great as to be bound to do anything unbecoming for their sake. Yet he does not despise them, but that he esteems them useful for the accomplishment of virtuous deeds.

  Reply to Objection 3: If a man does not think much of a thing, he is neither very joyful at obtaining it, nor very grieved at losing it. Wherefore, since the magnanimous man does not think much of external goods, that is goods of fortune, he is neither much uplifted by them if he has them, nor much cast down by their loss.

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