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Article Six

Whether Hope is Distinct from the other Theological Virtues

We proceed to the sixth article thus:

1. It seems that hope is not distinct from the other theological virtues. It was said in 12ae, Q. 54, Art. 2, that a habit is distinguished by its object. But the object of hope is identical with that of the other theological virtues. It follows that hope is not distinct from the other theological virtues.

2. Again, in the symbol of the faith, by which we profess our faith, it is said: “And I look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the life of the world to come.” Now it was said in the preceding article that to look for future blessedness pertains to hope. It follows that hope is not distinct from faith.

3. Again, by hope man tends to God. But this properly pertains to charity. It follows that hope is not distinct from charity.

On the other hand: where there is no distinction, there is no number. But hope is numbered with the other theological virtues. For Gregory says that there are three virtues: hope, faith, and charity (1 Moral. 16). Hope is therefore a virtue distinct from other theological virtues.

I answer: a virtue is said to be theological on the ground that it has God as the object to which it adheres. Now there are two 301ways in which one may adhere to something. One may adhere to it for its own sake. One may also adhere to it for the sake of something else which is thereby attained. Charity causes a man to adhere to God for his own sake, uniting his mind to God through the affection of love. Hope and faith, on the other hand, cause him to adhere to God as the principle whereby other things are vouchsafed to us. For it is through God that we have knowledge of the truth, and through God that we attain to the perfection of goodness. Faith causes a man to adhere to God as the principle whereby we know the truth, since we believe those things to be true which God tells us. Hope causes him to adhere to God as the principle whereby we attain to the perfection of goodness, since by hope we depend on God’s help in order to obtain blessedness.

On the first point: as we have said, God is the object of these virtues under different aspects. A different aspect of its object suffices to distinguish a habit, as we maintained in 12ae, Q. 54, Art. 2.

On the second point: expectation is mentioned in the symbol not because it is the proper act of faith, but inasmuch as the act of hope presupposes faith, as we shall show in the next article. The act of faith is manifest in the act of hope.

On the third point: hope causes a man to tend to God as the final good to be obtained, and as a helper strong to aid; whereas charity properly causes him to tend to God by uniting his affection to God, so that he lives for God and not for himself.

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