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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 (Q, A; Q). 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 earth.
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 (Mat. 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 (Q, A, 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 (Q, A, 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" (Mat. 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 (Mat. 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 (Mat. 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 (Mat. 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.
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