BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Compendium of the summa theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas

by Saint Thomas (Aquinas)

Excerpt:

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

PARS PRIMA
CHAPTER I

OF SACRED DOCTRINE: ITS NATURE AND EXTENT

It is necessary for the salvation of man that, besides the natural sciences, there should exist some doctrine received by revelation; for many__things are made known by revelation which, IranscencL reason. Moreover, that which is djscovexable about God by human reason could be. known only to a few, and that after much time, and not without a large admixture of error. It was good, therefore, for man to be taught by means of a doctrine divinely revealed; for salvation, which is in God, depends upon_a knowledge of the truth.

This doctrine is a_s^kn^e_3^cee^inj^roni^rin^ipJes made known by the light of a higher science, as music ^V^JJJL^K proceeds from principles explained by arithmetic. For J^^q^x^ Sacred Doctrine proceeds from principles made known'

by the light of a higher knowledge, namely, the Divine Knowledge, and in it certain particulars are treated of, both as an example of life and in order that we may know clearly by what instrumentality this revelation is made.

Sacred Doctrine takes account of all things only in so far as they belong to the formal order of Divine revelation. This science is one, ndtherjwhollyjractical nor wholly speculative; but beinp^of a higher order it includes both, yet rejnains_one, as God knows both Himself and what He does with the same knowledge. It is, however, more speculative than practical, for it treatsjjnore of Divine things than of human actions, being concerned with the latter only in so far as they are intended to lead man to the perfect knowledge of ,God, in which eternal beatitude consists.

And this science is higher in dignity than other speculative sciences, for these derive their certainty from human reason, which may err, while Sacred Doctrine, owing to the light of Divine Knowledge, can. neverbe deceived; moreover, they consider only things which are below reason, while she treats principally of such as transcend reason. Sacred Doctrine is also higher in dignity than other practical sciences, for, among such, that science is accounted the more honourable which is not subordinated to a further end, as military science is to civil; but the end of this doctrine, in as far as it is practical, is eternal beatitude, to which all other ends of the practical sciences are subordinate.

And since it treats most properly of God as the First Cansp, it is wisdom in the highest sense; for he

is accounted wise in any department of knowledge who ^

studies the highest cause in that department. Seeing, '<

i

therefore, that Sacred Doctrine determines concerning V ^ t ,\ God, not only as He may be known by creatures, but , \s, .' also as He is known by Himself alone, and by others , _ y' through revelation, it is properly called wisdom in the highest sense; and God is the subject of it, for all things are considered with reference to Him, alljhings being related to Him either as their beginning or their end.

Sacred Doctrine does not employ argument to prove its principles, which are articles of faith, but proceeds from them to demonstrate something else, as~~the Apostle argues from the resurrection of Christ to that of others. The inferior sciences, indeed, do not prove their first principles or argue with those who deny them, but leave them to be proved by a higher science, f while metaphysics, which is the highest among them,\,,' only disputes with those who deny its first principles if VA * the adversary grant something; if he grant nothing it x v. cannot argue with him, but can still solve his objections. iT In like manner, Sacred Doctrine, having no superior, disputes with those who deny its principles provided the adversary grant something, and proceeds to argue from one article of faith against those who impugn others, as in the case of heretics. If, however, the adversary believe none of those things which are revealed, it is no longer possible to prove the articles of faith by reason, but only to solve objections brought against a faith which is rooted in infallible


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