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Nature And Grace by Aquinas

Article One Whether Hope is in the Will as its Subject

Whether Hope is in the Will as its Subject

We proceed to the first article thus:

1. It seems that hope is not in the will as its subject. It was said in the first article of the preceding question, and also in 12ae, Q.40, Art.1, that the object of hope is an arduous good. Now the arduous is not the object of the will, but of the irascible element. Hope is therefore not in the will, but in the irascible element.

2. Again, where one thing is sufficient, it is superfluous to add another. Now charity, which is the most perfect of the virtues, is sufficient to make the power of the will perfect. It follows that hope is not in the will.

3. Again, the same power cannot perform two acts simultaneously. The intellect, for example, cannot understand many things simultaneously. Now an act of hope can be simultaneous with an act of charity, and since the act of charity clearly belongs to the will, it follows that the act of hope does not belong to this same power. Thus hope is not in the will.

On the other hand: in 14 De Trin.3 and 6, Augustine makes it clear that it is only in so far as it is composed of memory, understanding, and will that the soul can apprehend God. Now hope is a theological virtue, having God as its object. But it is neither in the memory nor in the understanding. It remains that hope is in the will as its subject.

I answer: habits are known through their acts, as is plain from what we said in Q.4, Art.1, and in Pt. I, Q.87, Art.2. Now the act of hope is a movement of the appetitive part of the soul, since its object is the good. But there are two kinds of appetite in man. There is the sensitive appetite, which includes both the irascible and concupiscible elements, and there is also the intellectual appetite which we call the will, as we said in Q.82, Art.5. The movements which belong to the lower appetite are mixed with passion, while the movements of the higher appetite are free from passion, as we said in Pt. I, Q.85, Art.5 ad 1, and in 12ae, Q.22, Art.3 ad 3. The act of the virtue of hope cannot belong to the sensitive appetite, since the good which is its principal object is not a sensible good, but a divine good. The subject of hope is therefore the higher appetite which we call the will, not the lower appetite to which the irascible element pertains.

On the first point: the object of the irascible element is something which is sensible and arduous. The object of hope is something which is intelligible and arduous, or rather, something which transcends the intellect.

On the second point: charity is sufficient to perfect the will in respect of one action, which is to love. But another virtue is required to perfect it in respect of its other action, which is to hope.

On the third point: it is clear from what we said in Q.17, Art.8, that the movement of hope and the movement of charity relate to the same thing. There is therefore no reason why both movements should not belong to the same power simultaneously. The intellect can likewise understand many things simultaneously, provided that they relate to the same thing, as we said in Pt. I, Q.85, Art.4.

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