Disputed Question on the Cardinal Virtues

translated by Ralph McInerny
in Disputed Questions on Virtue,
St. Augustine’s Press, South Bend, Indiana, 1999

modified and html-edited by Joseph Kenny, O.P.


  1. Are prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance cardinal virtues?
  2. Whether the virtues are connected such that he who has one has all
  3. Whether all virtues in a man are equal
  4. Whether all the cardinal virtues remain in heaven

Article 1
Are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance cardinal virtues?

And it seems that they are not.

1. Things which are not distinct ought not to be numbered separately, since distinction is the cause of number, as Damascene says. But the virtues mentioned are not distinguished from one another, for Gregory says in the Morals on Job 22: Unless prudence is just and temperate and brave, it is not true prudence, nor is there perfect temperance which is not brave, just, and prudent, nor complete fortitude which is not prudent, temperate, and just, nor true justice which is not prudent, brave, and temperate. Therefore, these should not be called the four cardinal virtues.

2. Moreover, virtues seem to be called cardinal because they are principles of other virtues; hence, what some call cardinal, others call principal, as is clear in Gregory Morals on Job 22. But since the end is principal with respect to what is for the sake of the end, the theological virtues which have the ultimate end as their object would seem to have a better claim to be called principal than the virtues mentioned which bear on that which is for the sake of the end. Therefore, the virtues mentioned ought not be called the four cardinal virtues.

3. Moreover, things which belong to different genera ought not be placed in the same ordering. But prudence is in the genus of intellectual virtues, as is clear in Ethics 6 and the other three are moral virtues. Therefore, they are unfittingly called the four cardinal virtues.

4. Moreover, among the intellectual virtues wisdom is more principal than prudence, as the Philosopher proves in Ethics 6, because wisdom is concerned with divine things and prudence with human. Therefore, if any intellectual virtue is to be listed among the cardinal virtues, it should be the more principal one, that is, wisdom.

5. Moreover, other virtues ought to be reduced to the cardinal virtues. But the Philosopher in Ethics 2 opposes certain other virtues to fortitude and temperance, namely liberality and magnanimity and the like, which thus are not reduced to them. Therefore, the aforementioned are not cardinal virtues.

6. Moreover, what is not a virtue should not be put among the cardinal virtues. But temperance does not seem to be a virtue, for it is not had when other virtues are had, as is clear in Paul who had all the other virtues yet did not have temperance, for concupiscence remained in his members according to Romans 7:23: “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.” The temperate man differs from the continent in this, that the temperate man does not have depraved desires, but the continent does, though he

does not follow them, as is clear from the Philosopher in Ethics 6.

Therefore, the foregoing are improperly enumerated as four cardinal virtues.

7. Moreover, just as a man is well-ordered in himself by virtue, so too is he well-ordered to his neighbor. But by two of these virtues a man is ordered to himself, namely, fortitude and temperance. Therefore, there should be two virtues by which he is ordered to his neighbor, and not only justice.

8. Moreover, Augustine says in On the morals of the church that virtue is the order of love. But the love of grace is contained in two precepts, namely, love of God and love of neighbor. Therefore, there should be only two cardinal virtues.

9. Moreover, the diversity of matter due to extension causes only numerical diversity. But the diversity of matter which is due to the reception of different forms causes a generic difference, on account of which the corruptible and incorruptible differ in genus, as is said in Metaphysics 10. But the virtues mentioned differ insofar as matter has a different way of receiving form. For the mode of reason in the case of the matter of temperance is to refrain the passions, but in the matter of fortitude to struggle toward that from which reason pulls away. Therefore, the virtues mentioned differ in genus and ought away. not to be conjoined in one order of cardinal virtues.

10. Moreover, the definition of virtue is based on the fact that it has to do with reason, as is clear from the Philosopher in Ethics 2, who defines virtue as being in accord with right reason. But right reason is a measured measure that is measured by the first measure, God, from whom reason has the power of regulating. Therefore, moral virtues have the note of virtue chiefly insofar as they attain the first measure, God, but the theological virtues, which are concerned with God, are not called cardinal. Therefore, moral virtues ought not be called cardinal.

11. Moreover, reason is the chief part of the soul, but temperance and fortitude are not in reason but in the irrational part, as the Philosopher says in Ethics 3. Therefore, they ought not be put among the cardinal virtues.

12. Moreover, it is more laudable to use one’s own property than to give or take away another’s. But the first pertains to liberality and the second to justice. Therefore, liberality rather than justice ought rather to be called a cardinal virtue.

13. Moreover, that which is the basis of others ought especially to be called a cardinal virtue. But humility is that, for Gregory says that he who has the other virtues without humility carries them as ashes in the wind. Therefore, humility ought to be numbered among the cardinal virtues.

14. Virtue is a kind of perfection, as is clear from the Philosopher in Physics 6. But, as is said in James 1:4, patience has a perfect work. Therefore, as perfection patience ought to be numbered among the cardinal virtues.

15. Moreover, the Philosopher says in Ethics 6 that magnanimity does the most among the virtues and is as an ornament to the other virtues. But this especially seems to count toward a virtue’s being principal. Therefore, magnanimity seems to be a cardinal virtue and the foregoing are improperly accounted the four cardinal virtues.

ON THE CONTRARY. Ambrose says in commenting on Luke 6, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” that we know there are four cardinal virtues: temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.

RESPONSE. It should be said that ‘cardinal’ comes from the hinge on which a door swings, according to Proverb 26:14: “As a door turns on its hinges, so does the slothful on his bed.” Hence, cardinal virtues are those on which human life is founded, by which the gate may be entered; but human life is what is proportioned to man.

In man, however, there is found first a sensitive nature, in which he is like the brutes; then practical reason, which is proper to man according to his level; and speculative intellect, which is not found in man as perfectly as it is in the angels, but as a kind of participation on the part of the soul. Therefore, the contemplative life is not properly human but superhuman; the life of pleasure, however, by which one adheres to sensible goods, is not human but bestial.

The properly human life is the active which consists in the exercise of the moral virtues; therefore, those virtues are properly called cardinal on which the moral life somehow turns and is based, as the principles of such a life, which is why these virtues are also called principal.

There are four things involved in the virtuous act. First, that the substance of this act is modified in itself. This is why the act is called good, as bearing on fitting matter or clothed with fitting circumstances. Second, the act must relate fittingly to the subject, that is, be firmly rooted. Third, the act must be fittingly proportioned to something extrinsic to it as an end. These three all follow from the fact that the virtuous act is directed by reason, but a fourth is taken from directing reason, namely, deliberation.

The Philosopher touches on these four in Ethics 2 when he says that it does not suffice for virtue that things are justly or temperately done, which pertains to the modification of the act. Three other things are required from the side of the agent. First, that he be knowing, which refers to the directing knowledge; then, that he should will and choose for the sake of this: This refers to the rightness of the act as ordered to something extrinsic. Third, that it be stable, such that it firmly and changelessly characterizes the agent and his act. Now these four, namely, directive knowledge, rightness, stability, and moderation, although they are required of every virtuous act, each has a kind of special importance in certain matters and acts.

Three things are required of practical knowledge. The first of which is deliberation, the second is judgment of what has been deliberated; of course, discovery, inquiry and judgment are also found in speculative reason. But because practical reason commands flight or pursuit, something speculative intellect does not do, a point made in On the Soul 3, a third note characterizes practical reason, namely, to ponder things which must be done. The other two are ordered to this as to what is principal in practical reason. What Aristotle calls eubulia – deliberating well – perfects a man in the first respect, and synesis and gnome enable a man to judge well, as is said in Ethics 6. But it is through prudence that reason is able to command well, as is said in that same place; so it is clear that what is most important in directive knowledge pertains to prudence, and this is why prudence is numbered among the cardinal virtues.

Similarly, the rectitude of the act in comparison to something extrinsic has the note of the good and laudable even in things which pertain to oneself, but is especially praised in the things that pertain to others: that is, when a man makes his act right not only with respect to himself but also with respect to what he has in common with others. For the Philosopher says in Ethics 5 that many can use virtue in what concerns themselves but cannot in what concerns others; justice is the principal virtue in this regard, since by it a man is adapted and made equal in a fitting way to those with whom he lives. Hence, those things are commonly called just which are adapted in certain way.

Moderation, or restraining, commands praise and has the note of the good chiefly when passion is intense and the restraint of reason is needed if the mean of virtue is to be achieved. Passions are most intense with respect to the greatest pleasures, that is, the pleasures of touch. Temperance is called a cardinal virtue because it restrains the desire for tactile pleasures.

Firmness deserves praise and has the note of the good chiefly when passions induce us to flee, especially in the greatest perils which involve mortal danger. Fortitude is called a cardinal virtue because by it one is intrepid in the face of mortal danger.

Of these four virtues, prudence is in reason, justice in will, fortitude in the irascible, and temperance in the concupiscible, which are the only powers that can be the principles of a human or a voluntary act.

Thus, the meaning of cardinal virtue is clear, both on the side of the modes of virtue, which are its formal notes, and on the side of matter, and on the side of the subject.

Ad 1. It should be said that people speak in two ways of the four cardinal virtues mentioned, for some use these four names to signify general modes of the virtues, for example, calling any directive knowledge prudence, any rectitude that equalizes human acts justice, any moderation that restrains man’s appetite for temporal goods temperance, and all firmness of soul stabilizing man in the good against the assault of whatever evils, fortitude. It is in this way that Augustine seems to use these words in On the morals of the church, and in this way too that the remark of Gregory can be understood, because only one of the conditions of the true virtue does not suffice: All the conditions must be satisfied. On this basis the four are called virtues not because of different species of habits drawn from diverse objects, but according to different formal notions.

Others however, like Aristotle in the Ethics, speak of the four virtues mentioned as special virtues determined to proper matters, and Gregory’s remark is true in this sense as well, for by a certain redundancy, these virtues bear on matters in which the four cardinal virtues are most powerfully needed. In this way, fortitude is temperate and temperance brave since one who can restrain his appetite for pleasure, the task of temperance, will more easily restrain the impulse to recklessness before mortal danger; and similarly he who can stand firm against the dangers of death, can all the more easily stand firm against the allurements of desire. On this basis, what belongs principally to temperance passes on to fortitude and vice versa. And the same can be said of the others.

Ad 2. It should be said that man’s appetite rests in the end, and, therefore, the principality of the theological virtues, which bear on the ultimate end, is not compared to a hinge, which moves, but rather to a foundation or root, which is standing and at rest, according to Ephesians 3, 17: “rooted and grounded in love.”

Ad 3. It should be said that, according to the Philosopher in Ethics 6, prudence is right reason with respect to things to be done. But things to be done are called moral works, as is clear from what is said there. Therefore, prudence agrees with the moral virtues because of its matter, and on account of this is numbered among them, although with respect to its essence or subject it is an intellectual virtue.

Ad 4. It should be said that wisdom, because it is concerned with the divine and not the human, does not have its matter in common with the moral virtues, and hence is not numbered among them as if together with them it might be called a cardinal virtue. The notion of hinge is repugnant to contemplation, which is not like a door, whereby one enters into something else, but moral action is the door through which entry is made to the contemplation of wisdom.

Ad 5. It should be said that if the foregoing four virtues are taken to signify the general conditions of virtue, then all the special virtues of which the Philosopher treats in the Ethics are reduced to these four as species to genera. But if they be taken as special virtues dealing with the most basic matters, the others are reduced to them as the secondary to the principal; for example, eutrapelia, which moderates the pleasure of play, can be reduced to temperance which moderates the pleasures of touch. Hence, Cicero in Rhetoric 2 says that the other virtues are parts of these four. That can be understood in two ways: They are subjective parts if these virtues are taken in the first way, whereas they are potential parts if they are taken in the second way. Thus, sense is a potential part of the soul because it does not name the whole power of the soul, but something of it.

Ad 6. It should be said that it is not of the meaning of temperance that it excludes all depraved desires, but that the temperate person does not experience as vehement and strong desires as those who do not try to restrain them. Therefore, Paul suffered inordinate desires because of the corruption of lust, but not strongly or vehemently, because he sought to repress them by castigating his own body and bring it into subjection. Hence, he was truly temperate.

Ad 7. It should be said that justice, by which we are related to the other, does not deal with one’s own passions but with the activities by which we communicate with others, such as buying and selling and the like: But temperance and fortitude are concerned with one’s own passions and therefore, Just as there is one appetitive power without passion, namely, will, and two with passion, namely, the concupiscible and irascible, so there is one cardinal virtue ordered to the neighbor, and two ordering a man to himself.

Ad 8. It should be said that charity is called the whole of virtue not essentially but causally, because charity is the mother of all the virtues. But the effect is always more multiplied than the cause, and therefore the other virtues must be greater in number than charity.

Ad 9. It should be said that the different senses of reception can be taken either from the side of the matter which is receptive of form, and such diversity causes diversity of genus, or from the side of the form which is diversely receivable in matter, and such diversity causes diversity of species. And so it is in the objection.

Ad 10. It should be said that the moral virtues involve reason as their proximate measure, but God as their first measure. Things are specified according to proper and proximate principles, not according to first principles.

Ad 11. It should be said that the rational is the principal part of man, but something is rational in two ways, essentially or by way of participation and, just as reason itself is more principal that the powers participating in reason, so prudence is more principal than the other virtues.

Ad 12. It should be said that the cardinal virtues are called more principal, not because they are more perfect than all the other virtues, but because human life more principally turns on them and the other virtues are based on them. But it is manifest that human life turns more on justice than on liberality, for we use justice in regard to all, but liberality in regard to a few. And liberality itself is founded on justice, for there would not be a liberal gift if one did not give of his own, but one’s own is distinguished from that of others through justice.

Ad 13. It should be said that humility strengthens all virtues indirectly by removing what can undermine the good works of the virtues and cause them to perish; but the other virtues are directly strengthened by the cardinal virtues.

Ad 14. It should be said that patience is included in fortitude, for the brave person has what the patient person has, but adds even more, namely, that he drives off imminent evils in the way that he should.

Ad 15. It should be said that, from the fact that magnanimity adorns the other virtues, it is clear that it presupposes the other virtues in which it is grounded, and from this it is also clear that the others are more principal than it.

Article 2
Whether the virtues are connected such that he who has one has all

And it seems not.

1. In commenting on Luke, Bede says that the saints are more humbled by the virtues they do not have than extolled for those they have. Therefore, they have some and lack others, and the virtues are not connected.

2. Moreover, a man is in the state of charity after penance, and yet he experiences difficulty in certain matters because of his earlier practice, as Augustine says against Julian. But a difficulty of this kind seems to arise from a habit contrary to virtue, due to an acquired bad inclination incompatible with the contrary virtue. Therefore, someone can have one virtue, namely, charity, and lack others.

3. Moreover, charity is found in all those who have been baptized, but some of the baptized do not have prudence, as is particularly evident in the retarded and insane, who cannot be prudent, according to the Philosopher, and even in some simple adults who do not seem to be prudent, since they do not deliberate well, which is a work of prudence. Therefore, he who has one virtue, namely charity, does not have all the others.

4. Moreover, according to the Philosopher in Ethics 6, prudence is right reason concerning things to be done, as art is right reason regarding things to be made. But a man can have right reason with regard to one sort of makeable things, for example, tools, and not with respect to other artificial things. Therefore, he can also have prudence concerning one sort of act, for example, just acts, and not have it concerning another, for example, brave acts. Thus, he will have one virtue without the others.

5. Moreover, the Philosopher says in Ethics 6 that not every liberal person is magnificent, yet both liberality and magnificence are virtues; similarly he says that some are moderate and not magnanimous. Therefore, it is not the case that whoever has one virtue has them all.

6. Moreover, the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 12:4: “There are varieties of gifts;” and afterwards (8:9) adds: “To one through the Spirit is given the utterance of wisdom; and to another the utterance of knowledge” (which are intellectual virtues), “to another faith” (which is a theological virtue). Therefore, one can have one virtue and not another.

7. Moreover, virginity is a virtue, as Cyprian says. But many have other virtues and do not have virginity. Therefore, not everyone who has one virtue has them all.

8. Moreover, the Philosopher says in Ethics 6 that although we call Anaxagoras and Thales wise we do not call them prudent. But wisdom and prudence are intellectual virtues. Therefore, a person can have one virtue without the others.

9. Moreover, in the same book the Philosopher says that some have an inclination to one virtue but not to another. It can happen,

ere ore, at someone practices the acts of one virtue and not those of another. But from the performance of acts virtues are acquired, as is clear from the Philosopher in Ethics 2. Therefore, the acquired virtues at least are not connected.

10. Moreover, although the aptitude for virtue comes from nature it cannot be perfected by nature, as is said in Ethics 2. It is manifest as well that it is not from fortune, because the goods of fortune are outside the realm of choice. It follows, therefore, that we acquire virtue either by putting our minds to it or from God. But it seems that one virtue can be acquired intentionally without another since one can have the intention of acquiring one virtue but not another. Similarly, someone can ask God for one virtue and not another. Therefore, in whatever way it be considered, one virtue can be without others.

11. Moreover, in moral matters, the end is related to the acts of the virtues, as principles are to conclusions in demonstrative matters. But a man can have one conclusion without others. Therefore, he can have one virtue without others.

12. Moreover, Augustine says in a letter about the judgment of Jacob that it is not a divine judgment that he who has one virtue has them all, and that a man can have one virtue without the others, for example, mercy and not continence, much as in the body one member can be well, handsome, or healthy, and another not. Therefore, the virtues are not connected.

13. Moreover, things are connected either by reason or principle or subject or object. But the virtues cannot be connected by reason of their principle, God, because then it would follow that all the goods that are from God are connected. Nor by reason of their subject, the soul, because not all are connected on that basis. And not by reason of object, because they are distinguished from one another by their objects and the principle of distinction and connection cannot be the same. Therefore...

14. Moreover, the intellectual virtues are not connected with the moral virtues, as is most evident in the understanding of principles, which can be had without the moral virtues. But prudence is an intellectual virtue, which is numbered among the cardinal virtues. Therefore, it does not have a connection with the other cardinal virtues, which are moral virtues.

15. Moreover, in heaven there will be neither faith nor hope, but only charity. Therefore, even in the most perfect state the virtues are not connected.

16. Moreover, angels and separated souls, which are perpetual and immortal, do not have sense powers, and they have charity and justice but not temperance and fortitude because these are virtues of the irrational parts, as is said in Ethics 3. Therefore, the virtues are not connected.

17. Moreover, some virtues are of the soul, but there are also virtues of body. But there is no connection among the bodily powers, since one can have sight and not hearing. Therefore, neither is there a connection among the virtues of the soul.

18. Moreover, Gregory says on Ezechiel that no one suddenly becomes the best, and in Psalm 83, 8, it is said: “They shall go from strength to strength.” Therefore, a man does not acquire the virtues simultaneously, but successively, and thus the virtues are not connected.

ON THE CONTRARY. 1. Ambrose says in commenting on Luke that they are connected and interlocked such that he who has one is seen to have them all.

2. Moreover, Gregory says in morals on Job 23 that if one virtue could be had without the others, either it is not a virtue or it is not perfect. But perfection is of the very notion of virtue. “For virtue is a certain perfection,” as is said in Physics 7. Therefore, the virtues are connected.

3. Moreover, with respect to Ezekiel 1:11: “Two wings of every one were joined,” the Gloss says the virtues are conjoined such that he who lacks one, lacks the others.

RESPONSE. It should be said that we can speak of virtues in two ways, as perfect and as imperfect. Perfect virtues are connected to one another, but imperfect virtues are not necessarily connected.

In evidence of which it should be noted that since virtue is that which makes a man and his work good, the virtue that makes a man’s work and himself good is perfect virtue, whereas the imperfect does not make a man and his work good simply speaking, but only in a certain respect.

Human acts are good simply speaking when they attain to the rule of human acts, one of which is, as it were, homogeneous and proper to man, namely, right reason, and the other a first transcendent measure, which is God. A man attains right reason through prudence, which is right reason concerning what is to be done, as the Philosopher says in Ethics 6. A man attains to God through charity, according to John 4, 16: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

There is then a threefold grade of virtue. For there are some wholly imperfect virtues which exist without prudence, not attaining right reason, such as the inclinations which some have to certain works of virtue even from their birth, according to Job 31:18: “For from my infancy mercy grew up with me: and it came out with me from my mother’s womb.” Such inclinations are not all at once in everybody, but some have an inclination to one and others to another. Such inclinations do not have the mark of virtue, however, because no one uses a virtue badly, according to Augustine, but a person can use such inclinations badly and harmfully if he acts without discretion, much as a horse if it lacks vision will run faster the harder it is beaten. Hence, Gregory in Morals on Job 22 says that other virtues, unless those who desire act prudently, cannot be called virtues at all. Hence, these inclinations without prudence do not fulfill the definition of virtue.

The second grade of virtues are those that attain right reason but do not attain God through charity. These are in a sense perfect with respect to the human good, but not simply speaking perfect, because they do not attain the first rule, which is the ultimate end, as Augustine says against Julianus. Hence, they fall short of the true definition of virtue much as moral inclinations without prudence fall short of the true definition of virtue.

The third grade is of virtues that are perfect simply speaking, because they are with charity. These virtues make a man’s act simply good, as attaining the ultimate end. It should be considered further

that just as moral virtues cannot exist without prudence, for the reason already given, so prudence cannot exist without the moral virtues, for prudence is right reason about things to be done. For right reason in any genus one must have estimation and judgment of principles, from which reason proceeds, as in geometry one cannot have a correct estimate unless his reason is right concerning geometrical principles. But ends are the principles in things to be done and from them is drawn the reason for acting. But a person has a right estimate of the end thanks to the habit of moral virtue because, as the Philosopher says in Ethics 3, as a person is, so does the end appear to him. For to the virtuous that which is the good according to virtue seems desirable as an end, but to the vicious the desirable is that which pertains to his vice. And it is the same with healthy and unhealthy taste. Hence it is necessary that whoever has prudence also has moral virtues.

Similarly, whoever has charity, must have all the other virtues. But charity is in man by a divine infusion, according to Romans 5:5: “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” But to whomever God gives an inclination he also gives certain forms which are the principles of action and motion to the things God inclines him to, just as he gives lightness to fire so that it can quickly and easily leap upward. Hence, it is said in Wisdom 8:1: “and orders all things sweetly.”

So it is necessary that, along with charity, there should be infused habitual forms for expeditiously producing the acts to which charity inclines. But charity inclines to the acts of all the virtues: Since it is concerned with the ultimate end, it implies the acts of all virtues. But any art or virtue which pertains to the end commands those which are for the sake of the end, as the general commands the cavalryman and the cavalryman the maker of harness, as is said in Ethics 1. Hence, according to the fittingness of divine wisdom and goodness, along with charity, the habits of all virtues are infused along with charity, and therefore it is said in 1 Corinthians 13, 5: “Charity is patient, is kind,” etc.

Therefore, if we mean simply perfect virtues, they are connected because of charity, because no such virtue can be had without charity and, if charity is had, all of them are had. If we understand virtues perfect in the second grade, with respect to the human good, they are connected through prudence, because no moral virtue can be had without prudence nor can prudence be had if one is lacking moral virtue. But if we understand the four cardinal virtues insofar as they imply the general conditions of virtue, in this way they are connected in the sense that it does not suffice to the act of virtue that one of these conditions be present if all are not, and this is the reason Gregory gave for their connection in Morals on Job 21.

Ad 1. It should be said that because of an inclination one has to the work of one virtue rather than another, which is either natural or a gift of grace, it happens that one more promptly performs the act of one virtue than another; and in this way the saints are said to have some virtues on which they are prompt to act and not to have others on which they are less prompt to act.

Ad 2. It should be said that although habits as such make someone act promptly and with pleasure, this can be impeded by something supervening, as one having the habit of science is sometimes impeded from using it by sleepiness or drunkenness or something of the like. Therefore, one who repents receives by grace charity and all the other virtues but because of the lingering dispositions from his prior sins he experiences difficulty in the performance of virtues which he has received habitually. This does not happen with virtues acquired through the practice of acts, which at the same time remove contrary dispositions and generate the habits of the virtues.

Ad 3. It should be said that those who are baptized receive prudence along with charity and all the other virtues too, but it is not of the necessity of prudence that a man deliberate well in everything, for example, in trade and military matters and the like, but only in the things necessary for salvation, which are not lacking to those in grace, however simple they be, according to 1 John 2:27: “But his anointing teaches you concerning all things”; unless perhaps in some of the baptized the act of prudence be impeded on account of the bodily defect of age, as in children or those of deformed dispositions, such as the retarded and mad.

Ad 4. It should be said that artifacts of different types have wholly different principles, so nothing prevents someone having one kind of art and not another. But the principles of morals are so interrelated to one another that the failure of one would entail the failure in others. For example, if one were weak on the principle that concupiscence is not to be followed, which pertains to desire, then sometimes in pursuing concupiscence, he would do injury and thus violate justice. So too in one and the same art or science, for example, geometry, an error about one principle leads to error in the whole science. Thence it is that one cannot be sufficiently prudent with regard to the matter of one virtue unless he is prudent with regard to them all.

Ad 5. It should be said that it happens that someone can be called liberal but not high-minded with respect to an act, because someone having little can use what he has to perform an act of liberality but not of magnificence, although he might have the virtue by which he could also perform the act of magnificence if he had the wherewithal. Similarly, it must be said of moderation and magnanimity. This solution is to be held without reservation in the case of infused virtues, but in virtues acquired through acts it can be said that he who acquired the habit of liberality in the use of little, not yet having acquired the habit of magnificence but actually having the habit of liberality, is in proximate potency to acquiring the habit of magnificence with but slight effort. Therefore, because what is close to being had seems the same as being had, what is lacking only a little seems not to be lacking at all, as is said Physics 2.

Ad 6. It should be said that in those words of the Apostle wisdom and knowledge are understood neither as intellectual virtues, which, however, have no connection, as will be said below, nor as gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are connected through charity, but insofar as they are of grace freely given: namely, insofar as someone abounds in knowledge and wisdom so that he can spur others to the end and to the knowledge of God, convincing those who object. Hence, the Apostle does not say that to one is given wisdom and to another knowledge, but to one is given the utterance of wisdom, to other the utterance of knowledge. Hence, Augustine, in On the Trinity 14, says that many believers are not strong in such knowledge although they might be strong in faith itself. Faith does not mean here unformed faith, as some say, because the gift of faith is common to all, but means the constancy of faith or its certitude, which sometimes abounds even in sinners.

Ad 7. It should be said that some hold that virginity is not the name of a virtue so much as of a more perfect state of virtue. But it is not necessary that anyone who has a virtue have it in its perfect grade. Therefore, chastity and the other virtues can be had without virginity. Or, if virginity is taken to be a virtue, this will be insofar as it implies a habit of mind by which one chooses to preserve virginity for the sake of Christ. And this habit can exist even in those who are not intact in the flesh, just as the habit of magnificence can be without a lot of wealth.

Ad 8. It should be said that the intellectual virtues are not interconnected and this for three reasons. First, because virtues concerned with different kinds of things are not related to one another, as has been said of the arts. Second, because in the sciences principles and conclusions are not convertible, such that whoever has the principles has the conclusions, as has been said about moral matters. Third, because intellectual virtue is not related to charity by which man is ordered to his ultimate end. Therefore, such virtues are concerned with particular goods, for example, geometry with measuring abstract entities, Physics with mobile things, and so on with the others. Hence, they are not connected for the same reason that imperfect virtues are not, as was said about in the body of the article.

Ad 9. It should be said that there are some virtues which order man with respect to the things that occur in human fife, such as temperance, justice, patience, and the like, and with them a man Must either, while actually performing the act of a virtue, simultaneously perform the acts of the other virtues and thus acquires all habits of the virtues together, or he must be good in the one and bad in the others. But in the latter case, he acquires a habit contrary to a virtue and consequently the corruption of prudence without which, as has been said above in the body of the article, the disposition acquired through the act of any virtue cannot properly be called a virtue. Such acquired habits bearing on things that commonly occur in fife are already virtually had as it were in proximate disposition if one has other virtues whose acts frequently occur in human intercourse, as was said of magnificence and magnanimity in the solution of argument 5.

Ad 10. It should be said that acquired virtues are caused purposely, and must be all caused together in a man who proposes to himself to acquire one of them, nor are they acquired unless at the same time one acquires prudence with which all are had, as was said in the body of the article. But infused virtues are caused immediately by God, and they are also caused by charity as by their common root, as was said in the body of the article.

Ad 11. It should be said that in speculative sciences principles and conclusions are not convertible as they are in morals, as was said in the body of the article. Therefore, he who has one conclusion does not necessarily have another. If this were the case, it would be necessary that whoever has the principles has the conclusions, as the objection assumes.

Ad 12. It should be said that Augustine is speaking there of imperfect virtues which are dispositions to the acts of virtues; hence, he himself proves their connection in On the Trinity 6.

Ad 13. It should be said that virtues are connected by reason of the proximate principle of their genus, which is either prudence or charity, not by reason of the remote and common, which is God.

Ad 14. It should be said that among the intellectual virtues prudence has a special connection with the [moral] virtues by reason of its matter, for it is concerned with changeable things.

Ad 15. It should be said that in heaven where hope and faith disappear certain more perfect things succeed them, namely, vision and comprehension, which are connected with charity.

Ad 16. It should be said that In the angels and separated souls there is not temperance or fortitude with respect to such acts as are performed in this life, namely, moderating the passions of the sensible part, but to other acts, as is evident in Augustine On the Trinity 14.

Ad 17. It should be said that the powers of the soul are not convertible with its essence, for although no power of the soul can exist apart from essence, yet the essence of the soul can exist without some powers, for example, without sight and hearing because of the corruption of the organs of which such powers are properly the acts.

Ad 18. It should be said that a man is not the best because he has all the virtues but because he has them to the greatest degree.

Article 3
Whether all virtues in a man are equal

And it seems that they are not.

1. For it is said in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “So there abide faith, hope and charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.” But greatest excludes equality. Therefore, the virtues in a man are not equal.

2. But it will be said that charity is greatest in its act but not as a habit. On the contrary, Augustine says in On the trinio that in things that are not quantitatively large, to be greater is the same as to be better. But the habit of charity is better than the habits of the other virtues, because it attains God more, according to 1 John 4:16, “God abides in him, and he in God.” Therefore, charity as a habit is greater than the other virtues.

3. Moreover, perfection precedes the perfectible, but charity is the perfection of the other virtues, according to Colossians 3:14: “But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection,” and in 1 Timothy 1:5, we read that “the purpose of this charge is charity.” Therefore, it is greater than the other virtues.

4. Moreover, that which has nothing of imperfection connected with it is more perfect or greater, because the whiter is that which has no black in it. But the habit of charity has no imperfection mixed with it, because faith is of things unseen and hope of what is not had. Therefore, charity, even as a habit, is more perfect and greater than faith and hope.

5. Moreover, Augustine, in The City of God 19 says that, unless virtues are referred to God, they are vices. From which can be gathered that the notion of virtue is perfected by an ordering to God. But charity more proximately orders man to God than the other virtues, because it unites man to God, according to 1 Corinthians 6:17: “But he who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit with him.” Therefore, charity is a greater virtue than the others.

6. Moreover, the infused virtues have their origin in grace which is their perfection. But charity participates in grace more perfectly than the other virtues do, because charity and grace inseparably accompany one another, but faith and hope can be without grace. Therefore, since charity is greater than the other virtues, not all virtues are equal.

7. Moreover, Bernard says in On consideration 1 that prudence is the matter of fortitude, because without prudence fortitude is precipitous. But that which is the principle and cause of something is greater and more powerful than it. Therefore prudence is greater than fortitude. Therefore, not all virtues are equal.

8. Moreover, the Philosopher in Ethics 5 says that justice is the whole of virtue, and the other virtues are by way of being parts. But the whole is greater than its part. Therefore, justice is greater than the other virtues, so not all virtues are equal.

9. Moreover, Augustine, in his Literal commentary on Genesis 6, says that if everything in the universe were equal, not all of them would exist. But the virtues are all had at once because they are connected, as the preceding article showed. Therefore, not all virtues are equal.

10: Moreover, the vices are opposed to the virtues, but not all vices are equal. Therefore, neither are the virtues equal.

11. Moreover, the acts of virtue ought to be praised, but some people are more praised for one virtue than for another. Hence, Cassian says in On the Cenobitic constitution 5: One is adorned with the flowers of knowledge; another by reason of an uncommonly robust discretion; another is founded on the gravity of patience; another of humility; another is preferred for the virtue of continence. Therefore, not all the virtues in a man are equal.

12. But it will be said that this is an inequality on the side of acts, not of habits. On the contrary, according to the Philosopher in Posterior Analytics 1, things which are for the sake of something are intended at the same time as the end. But habit by definition is related to act. For habit is that by which one acts when the time is ripe, as Augustine says in On the conjugal good. Therefore, if the act of one virtue in a man is greater than the act of another, it follows that the habits too are unequal.

13. Moreover, Hugh of St. Victor says that acts augment habits. Therefore, if the acts of virtues are unequal, their habits too will be unequal.

14. Moreover, in morals the habit of virtue relates to its proper act just as in natural things form relates to its proper motion or action. But the more of form a natural thing has, the more it has of activity or motion; for example what is heavier falls more swiftly, and what is warmer heats better. Therefore, in morals too the acts of virtues can only be unequal if the habits of the virtues are unequal.

15. Moreover, perfections are proportionate to the things perfected. But virtues are perfections of powers of the soul which are unequal, since reason excels the lower powers which it commands. Therefore, the virtues are unequal.

16. Moreover, Gregory in Morals on Job 22 and in his fifteenth homily on Ezekiel says that blessed Job, because he saw how differently the highest gift was distributed among men, called the increments of virtues steps, since by them they rise and come to attain celestial things. But where there is increment and grades there is no equality. Therefore, the virtues are not equal.

17. Moreover, things so related that the increase of one causes the decrease of another must be unequal. But when charity increases something else seems to decrease, because the condition of heaven, where charity is perfected, is opposed to the condition of the wayfarer where faith plays a role. When one of opposites increases the other decreases. Therefore charity and faith cannot be equal, so not all virtues are equal.


1. Apocalypse 21:16, says: “And the city stands foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth.” The virtues are meant by the walls of the city, according to the gloss. Therefore the virtues are equal.

2. Moreover, as Augustine says in On the Trinity 6, 4: “Those who are equal in fortitude are equal in prudence and temperance. For if you should say that some are equal in fortitude but prudence is greater than fortitude, it follows that the fortitude of one is less prudent. And then they will not be equal in fortitude since this one’s fortitude is more prudent. And you will find the same in the other virtues, if you apply the same consideration to all.” Thus, those who are equal in one virtue need not be equal in others, unless all virtues in the same man are equal.

3. Moreover, Gregory says in commenting on Ezekiel that faith, hope, and action are equal. Therefore, by parity of reasoning, the other virtues are equal.

4. Moreover, Ezekiel 46:22, says that there are four measures of one thing, that is, of the way we advance to virtue, according to the gloss. But things that have the same measure are equal. Therefore, all are equal.

5. Moreover, Damascene says that virtues are natural, and are equally in everyone in the mode of being of accident. Therefore, virtues insofar as they are accidents are equal.

6. Moreover, the greater the virtue, the greater the reward. Therefore, if in man there were one virtue greater than another, it would follow that the same man is owed greater and lesser praise, which is absurd.

7. Moreover, if simply follows on simply, then more follows on more. But when one virtue is had, all are had, because the virtues are connected, as was said above in the preceding article. Therefore, if one virtue were had more, it would follow that all were had more. Therefore, it is necessary that all virtues are equal.

RESPONSE. It should be said that things are called equal or unequal with reference to quantity. For things one in quantity are called equal, things one in quality, similar, and things one in substance, the same, as is clear from Metaphysics 5. But quantity implies the note of measure, which is found first in numbers, secondarily in magnitudes, and in a different manner in the other genera, as is clear from Metaphysics 9.

For in every genus that which is most simple and perfect is the measure of all else, as whiteness in colors and diurnal motion in movements, because a thing is more perfect to the degree that it approaches the first principle of its genus. From this it is evident that insofar as a thing’s perfection pertains to its measurement it is from the first principle; and so too its quantity; and this is what Augustine says in On the Trinity 8 that in things which are not great in quantity, the better and the greater are the same. But since the existence of any non-subsistent form consists in its being in a subject or matter, the perfection of its quantity is of two kinds: one, according to the proper notion of the species; another, according to the existence it has in the matter or subject.

With respect to the proper notion of species, the forms of different species are unequal, but in the same species some forms can indeed be equals and some not. The specific principle must be taken from something indivisible. For the difference in such a principle causes the species to vary and therefore by the addition or subtraction of this principle the species necessarily vary. Hence, the Philosopher says in Metaphysics 8 that the species of things are like numbers, in which a unit added or taken away changes the species.

There are some forms that are specified by something of their essence, such as all absolute forms, whether substantial or accidental, and in such it is impossible that in this mode one form be greater than another of the same species, for there is not one whiteness which, considered in itself, could be greater than another. But other forms are specified by something extrinsic to which they are ordered, as motion is specified by its term. Hence, one motion is greater than another as it is closer to or more distant from the term. Similarly, there are some qualities which are dispositions related to something, as health is a certain commensuration of humors ordered to the nature of the animal. Therefore, what is called healthy in a lion would be illness in a man.

Health is not specified by the degree of commensuration but by the nature of the animal to which it is ordered, and it also happens that the same animal is at some times healthier than at others, as is said in Etbi. cs 10, insofar, that is, as there can be different degrees of commensuration of humors which realize what is fitting to human nature. And the same is true of science which derives its unity from the unity of the subject, so that geometry can be greater in one person than another insofar as the former knows more conclusions conveying knowledge of the subject of geometry, which is extension.

Similarly too according to the quantity of perfection such forms have insofar as they are in a matter or subject, forms of the same species can be unequal insofar as they inhere more or less, because, as has been said, the specific principle should consist in something indivisible. That is why substantial form is more or less.

Similarly, if a form is specified by something indivisible in its notion, it will not admit of more or less. No more does two or any other species of number specified by the addition of a unit admit of more and less; nor do figures which are specified by number, like triangle and quadrilateral; nor determined quantities like the cube and pyramid; nor finally numerical relations, such as double and triple.

But forms which neither give species to their subject nor take their species from something indivisible in its notion, can inhere more or less; e.g., whiteness and blackness and the like.

From all this it is evident that there are two ways in which equality and inequality pertain to forms.

Forms specifically the same are unequal neither in themselves, as if one form could be greater than another of the same species, nor according to existence, such that it inheres more in the subject. This is the case with all substantial forms. Other forms do not admit inequality as such but only insofar as they are in a subject, like whiteness and blackness.

Some forms admit inequality in themselves but not as they exist in a subject; for example, one triangle is greater than another, because the base of one is larger than that the other, although they are specified in the same way so the one surface is not more of a triangle than another.

There are some forms that admit inequality both in themselves and insofar as they exist in a subject, for example, health, knowledge, motion. Motions are unequal either because they cover more or less space, or because the moved moves more swiftly. Similarly too one person’s knowledge is greater than another’s either because he knows more conclusions or because he knows the same things better. So too health can be unequal either because the level of commensuration in one is closer to fitting and perfect equality than in another, and better.

Speaking of the equality and inequality of virtues against this background, we can say that, considered in themselves, specifically different virtues can be unequal. For since virtue is a disposition of the perfect to the best, as is said in Ethics 7, that virtue is more perfect and greater which is ordered to the greater good. Given this, the theological virtues, whose object is God, are stronger than the others, and among them charity is the greatest because it unites us more closely to God, and hope is greater than faith, because hope moves the will to God, whereas by faith God is in a man by way of knowledge.

Among all the other virtues prudence is the greatest because it governs the others, and after it comes justice by which a man is well ordered not only in himself but also with respect to others. After this comes fortitude by which a man disregards the perils of death for the sake of the good. Then comes temperance which disregards the greatest of bodily pleasures.

But the kind of inequality found in science cannot be found within a species of virtue. Although it is not of the definition of science that anyone having the science should know all its conclusions, it is of the definition of virtue that one having it is well ordered with respect to everything pertaining to that virtue.

As to the perfection or quantity of virtue insofar as it exists in a subject, there can be inequality even in the same species of virtue when one of those having the virtue is better related than others to the things pertaining to that virtue; and this because of a better natural disposition, or greater exercise, or a better judgment of reason, or a gift of grace. Virtue does not give species to its subject, nor does it have anything indivisible in its notion,pace the Stoics who taught that no one has a virtue unless he has it to the maximum, so everyone would have the same virtue equally.

But this does not seem to be the meaning of any virtue, because diversity in the manner of participating in the virtue is gauged by the factors just mentioned, which do not enter into the definition of any particular virtue, for example, chastity and the like.

Therefore, virtues can be unequal in different people, not only with respect to specifically different virtues but also to virtues specifically the same according as they exist in the subject.

But in one and the same man virtues are unequal according to the quantity or perfection a virtue has of itself; but according to the virtue’s quantity and perfection as existing in a subject, all virtues must, simply speaking, be equal for the same reason that they are connected, since equality is a kind of connection in quantity. Hence, some give as the reason for equality that the four cardinal virtues are understood as general modes of virtue, and this is the reason of Augustine in On the Trinity 6. It can be otherwise assigned according to the dependence of moral virtues on prudence and of all virtues on charity. Hence, where charity is equal, all virtues must be equal according to the formal perfection of virtue, and for the same reason prudence with respect to the moral virtues.

In a certain respect, however, virtues in one and the same person can be called unequal and not connected because of the power’s inclination to act, which is from nature or some other cause. Because of this some call them unequal in act, but this must be understood only as an inequality of inclination to act.

Ad 1. This argument, it should be said, is based on the inequality of the virtues themselves, not of the inequality in the way they inhere, of which we are now speaking. For charity, as has been said, taken as such, is greater than all other virtues, and yet, as it grows in a person, all the other virtues grow proportionately, as the fingers of the hand are unequal to one another, yet grow proportionately.

Ad 2-7. Similarly, it should be replied to the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, and the seventh too, which in the same fashion argued that fortitude was greater than the other virtues.

Ad 8. Similarly to the eighth, which proceeds in the same way concerning justice; although justice is the whole of virtue, it is not justice in that sense that is called a cardinal virtue.

Ad 9. And we should answer the ninth objection in the same way, because it is insofar as the virtues are in man that greater or less perfection of a species of virtue is distinguished.

Ad 10. Similarly it should be replied to the tenth, because in this way the vices too are unequal.

Ad 11. It should be said that a person is more praised for one virtue than for another because of a greater promptitude to act.

Ad 12. It should be said that where there is a greater habit there should be a greater act according to the inclination of the habit. But there can be something in a man that either impedes action or disposes to it yet is incidentally related to the habit, as one might be impeded from exercising the habit of science because of drunkenness. Therefore, with respect to such impediments or aids to action there can sometimes be an increase in the act without an increase in the habit.

Ad 13. It should be said that in acquired habits greater exercise causes a greater habit; however, a habit acquired through many acts can still be incidentally impeded and not produce its act, as was said in the body of the article.

Ad 14. It should be said that in natural things where there is equal form there can be inequality of act due to some incidental impediment.

Ad 15. It should be said that powers are unequal in themselves, insofar as one power is more perfect than another according to its proper definition. And it has been said that virtues are unequal in this way too.

Ad 16. It should be said that virtues inhere proportionately, as has been said; hence, the condition of heaven is opposed to faith by reason of open vision which one does not attain through an increase of charity; so it does not follow that faith decreases as charity increases.

Responses to arguments advanced On the Contrary:

Ad 1-4. The answers are evident from what has been said.

Ad 5. It should be said that Damascene understands the virtues to be equally in all.

Ad 6. It should be said that the essential reward responds to the root of charity; therefore, even if it be granted that the virtues are not equal, still the same reward is owed to a given man because of the identity of charity.

Ad 7. We concede this point.

Article 4
Whether all the cardinal virtues remain in heaven

And it seems that they do not.

1. For Gregory says in Morals on Job 16 that the accidents disposed for life pass away with the body. Therefore, they do not remain in heaven.

2. Moreover, once the end is attained, that which was for the sake of the end is no longer necessary: When one has come to port the ship is no longer necessary. But the cardinal virtues are distinct from the theological virtues in this, that the theological virtues have the ultimate end for their object whereas the cardinal virtues are concerned with what is for the sake of the end. Therefore, when the ultimate end has been attained in heaven, the cardinal virtues will no longer be necessary.

3. Moreover, take away the end and that which is for the sake of the end ceases. But the cardinal virtues are ordered to the civil good, which is not in heaven. Therefore, the cardinal virtues will not remain in heaven.

4. Moreover, that which does not remain according to its proper species but only according to some common notion of the genus is said not to remain in heaven, as faith is said to disappear although knowledge, which is its genus, remains. But cardinal virtues do not remain in heaven according to their distinct proper species, for Augustine says in the Literal commentary on Genesis 12 that the one and complete virtue there is to love what you see. Therefore, the cardinal virtues do not remain in heaven, but pass away.

5. Moreover, virtues are specified by their objects. But the objects of the cardinal virtues do not remain in heaven, for prudence is concerned with the doubtful matters on which counsel is taken, justice with contracts and judgments, fortitude with deadly perils, and temperance with desires for food and sex, none of which obtain in heaven.

6. It might be said that in heaven they will have other acts. On the contrary, the difference of a thing, which enters into its definition, specifies it, but act enters into the definition of habit, for Augustine says, in On the conjugal good, that a habit is that thanks to which one acts when the time is propitious. Therefore, if their acts are different, the habits will be specifically different.

7. Moreover, according to Plotinus, as reported by Macrobius, the virtues of the purged soul differ from political virtues. But the virtues of the purged soul would seem especially to be found in heaven, while the virtues of here below are the political virtues. Therefore virtues of this life win not remain but disappear.

8. Moreover, the condition of the blessed differs from that of wayfarers more than do those of master and slave or of husband and wife in the present life. But, according to the Philosopher in Politics 1, the virtues of the master differ from the virtues of the servant, and similarly the husband’s from the wife’s. Therefore, the virtues of wayfarers and of those in heaven must differ even more.

9. Moreover, virtuous habits are needed to facilitate the possibility of acting. But this comes about sufficiently through glory. Therefore, virtuous habits are not necessary.

10. Moreover, in 1 Corinthians 13:8, the Apostle proves that charity is more excellent than the others because it does not pass away. But faith and hope, which pass away, are more noble than the cardinal virtues because they have a more noble object, namely, God. Therefore, the cardinal virtues pass away.

11. Moreover, the intellectual virtues are more noble than the moral, as is evident in Ethics 6. But the intellectual virtues do not remain, because science is destroyed, as is said in 1 Corinthians 13:8. Therefore, the cardinal virtues will not remain in heaven.

12. Moreover, as is said in James 1:4, “And let patience have its perfect work.” But patience remains in heaven only as a reward, as Augustine says in On the city of God 14. Much less then will the cardinal virtues remain.

13. Moreover, some cardinal virtues, namely temperance and fortitude, are in the sense powers of the soul, for, as the Philosopher says in Ethics 3, they are of the irrational parts of the soul, as is evident from what the Philosopher says in Ethics 3. But the sense parts of soul are neither in angels nor in the separated soul. Therefore, such virtues are not in heaven, neither in the angels nor in the separated souls.

14. Moreover, Augustine says in On the city of God 13 that in heaven we will have leisure, will see, will love and praise. But to have leisure is an act of wisdom, seeing of intellect, loving of charity, praising of worship. Therefore, only these remain in heaven and not the cardinal virtues.

15. Moreover, in heaven men win be like angels, as is said in Matthew 22:30, but men do not become like angels by sobriety, since they do not use food and drink. Therefore, sobriety will not be in heaven, and by parity of reasoning no other such virtues.


1. There is what is said in Wisdom 1:15: “For justice is perpetual and immortal.”

2. Moreover, Wisdom 7:7, says, “Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and 1 called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me.” But nothing is more useful for men in this life and in heaven there will be the fullest participation in wisdom. Therefore, such virtues will be more fully had in heaven.

3. Moreover, virtues are spiritual riches. But there is a greater treasury of spiritual riches in heaven than in this fife. Therefore, such virtues abound in heaven.

RESPONSE. it should he said that the cardinal virtues remain in heaven and will there have other acts than here, as Augustine says in On the Trinity 13, 8 & 9: “What justice now does in succoring the miserable, what prudence does in forestalling harm, what fortitude in resisting evils, what temperance in restraining depraved pleasures, win not be there where there is no evil at all, but by justice one will be subject to the ruling God, by prudence one will neither prefer nor equate any other good to God, by fortitude adhere to him most firmly, by temperance taking delight in no harmful desire.”

In evidence of which it should be known that, as the Philosopher says in On the heavens 1, virtue implies the ultimate of a power. Obviously there is a different ultimate in power in different natures, since higher natures have higher powers extending to more and greater things. Therefore, what is a virtue in one is not a virtue in another. For example, virtue in man bears on the most important things in human life; human temperance lies in not departing from reason because of great pleasures, but rather moderating them according to reason; human fortitude consists of standing firm against the greatest perils, deadly perils, for the sake of the good of reason.

But the ultimate of divine power is not in terms of these but of something higher pertaining to the infinity of his power. Therefore, divine fortitude is his changelessness; temperance, the turning of the divine mind on itself; prudence is the divine mind itself; and the justice of God is his perennial law.

It must be noticed that the difference in ultimates can be understood in two ways. First, when they are in the same series of motion; second, when they are wholly disparate, and not ordered to one another. If different ultimates are understood in the first sense, they will cause different species of motion, but they will not diversify the species of the first motor because the same principle of motion moves from beginning to end. Take the example from building where the ultimate term is the completed form of the house; but other ultimates occur as different parts of the house are completed. Hence, as the Philosopher says in Ethics 10, one kind of movement terminates in the foundation of the house, another in the superstructure, and another in the complete edifice, yet the building art is one and the same and is the principle of these three changes. And it is the same with other movements.

But if we understand different ultimates, not in a continuous change, but wholly disparate, then both the changes and the moving principles are specifically different. For example, the art of building a house is different from the art of building a ship.

Therefore, where the ultimate is specifically the same, there is the same species of virtue, and the same act or movement of the virtue. Clearly, the ultimate that temperance achieves in me and in you is specifically the same, namely, the moderating of the pleasures of touch. Hence, neither temperance nor its act is specifically different in me and in you. But where the ultimate that a virtue attains is neither specifically the same nor in the same series of movement, there must be a specific difference not only in the act of the virtue but also in the virtue itself. This is clear insofar as these virtues are said to be from God and from man. But where the ultimate of a virtue is specifically different (yet it s contained in the same series of movements, so that by the one another is achieved), the acts are specifically different but the virtue is the same. For example, the act of fortitude aims at one ultimate before the battle and another during battle and at yet another in victory: It is one kind of act to go to war, another to stand bravely in battle, and yet another to rejoice in the victory achieved. But it is the same fortitude, just as to love, desire, and rejoice are acts of the same power.

It is clear from what has been said in this article that, since our state in heaven is higher than our state in this life, the former attains something that is more perfectly the utmost. If then the utmost attained by virtues in this fife is ordered to the utmost attained by the virtues in heaven, they must be specifically the same virtues, although their acts will be different. If they are not taken as ordered one to the other, then they will not be the same virtues nor the same act nor the same habit.

But it is obvious that the acquired virtues, of which the philosophers spoke, are ordered only to perfecting men in civil fife, not as they are ordered to achieving celestial glory. Therefore, they taught that such virtues do not remain after this life, as Augustine reports of Cicero.

But the cardinal virtues, insofar as they are gratuitous and infused, as we speak of them now, perfect man in the present fife as ordered to celestial glory. Therefore, we must say that the habit of these virtues is the same here and there, but that the acts differ, for here they have acts appropriate to those striving for the ultimate end, but there they have acts which are appropriate to those who are already at rest in the ultimate end.

Ad 1. It should be said that such virtues perfect man in the active life, as on a kind of path leading to the term of contemplation in heaven; and they remain in heaven in the acts consummated by the end.

Ad 2. It should be said that the cardinal virtues deal with what is for the sake of the end, notas if these might be their ultimate term, as the ultimate term of the ship is navigation, but insofar as they are ordered to the ultimate end by way of the things that are for the sake of the end. The temperance infused by grace does not have for its ultimate end the moderation of the pleasures of touch, but does this for the sake of celestial similitude.

Ad 3. It should be said that the civil good is not the ultimate end of the infused cardinal virtues, of which we speak, but of the acquired virtues of which philosophers spoke, as was said in the body of the article.

Ad 4. It should be said that nothing prevents one and the same thing from being the end of different virtues or arts. The preservation of the civil good is the end and term of both the army and of positive law; hence both arts and virtues have acts concerned with it as a final good, but the military provides for the preservation of the civil good insofar as brave battles bring it about, whereas positive law rejoices in the same end insofar as the civil good is preserved by the ordinances of law. Therefore, the enjoyment of God in heaven is the end of all the cardinal virtues, and there each rejoices in it, insofar as it is the end of his acts. That is why it is said that in heaven there win be one virtue, inasmuch as one subject will have that in which all the virtues rejoice; however, there will be different acts and different virtues according to the different reasons for rejoicing.

Ad 5. It should be said that something is called the object of a virtue in two ways. In one way, as that to which the virtue is ordered as to its end, as the highest good is the object of charity and eternal happiness the object of hope. In another way, as the matter on which it acts, as tending from it to another, and in this way the pleasures of coition are the object of temperance, for temperance does not intend attachment to such pleasures but intends the good of reason by constraining them. Similarly, fortitude does not intend to dwell on perils but by overcoming them to attain the good of reason, and the same is the case with reason with respect to doubts, and of justice in respect to the necessities of this fife. Therefore, the greater the distance from these as the spiritual fife develops, the more perfect the acts of these virtues, because the foregoing words refer to these virtues by way of a term from which rather than of a term toward which, which specifies the act.

Ad 6. It should be said that not every difference in acts points to a diversity of habits, as has already been said in the body of the article.

Ad 7. It should be said that the virtues of the purged soul that Plotinus defined can belong to the blessed, for there prudence only intuits the divine, temperance forgets desire, fortitude ignores the passions, and justice consists in a perpetual covenant with God. But the political virtues of which he speaks are ordered only to the civil good of the present life, as was said in the body of the article.

Ad 8. It should be said that the ultimate of the virtues of master and servant and of husband and wife are ordered to one another, such that from one there can be a transition to the other, so the case is not similar.

Ad 9. It should be said that facilitation of the works of the virtues, that comes about or is perfected by glory, pertains to these habits of virtue.

Ad 10. It should be said that faith is ordered to a truth that is not seen and hope to something arduous not yet had, and these specify them. Therefore, although they are more excellent than the cardinal virtues with respect to their higher object, nonetheless they pass away because they are specified by what does not remain.

Ad 11. It should be said that knowledge is not destroyed as a habit but it has another act.

Ad 12. It should be said that patience does not remain in heaven according to the act that it has in this life, namely, tolerating tribulations, but remains according to an act appropriate to the end, as was said of the other virtues in the body of the article.

Ad 13. It should be said that some teach that the irascible and concupiscible, the subjects of temperance and fortitude, are in the higher part, not in the sensitive part of the soul. But this conflicts with what the Philosopher says in Ethics 3, namely, that virtues are in the irrational parts.

Others say that the powers of the sensitive part remain in the separated soul either according to potency alone or according to act. But this cannot be because the acts of the sensitive power cannot exist without the body; otherwise the sensitive soul of the brutes would be incorruptible, which is erroneous.

The object of the act is the object of the power; hence, such powers are connected; and thus after death they do not remain in the actually separated soul, save virtually, as in a root because the powers of the soul flow from its essence. But these virtues are in the irascible so far as their derivation goes, but according to origin and beginning they are in reason and will, because choice is the principle act of moral virtue and it is an act of rational appetite. But by a kind of application this choice terminates in the passions of the irascible and concupiscible because of temperance and fortitude.

Ad 14. It should be said that all four of these pertain to each act of the cardinal virtues in the manner of end, insofar as celestial happiness consists of them.

Ad 15. It should be said that sobriety does not make us like the angels according to the act of this life which bears on the matter of food and drink, but according to the act of heaven where it bears on the ultimate end, like the other virtues.