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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CEREMONIAL PRECEPTS IN THEMSELVES (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CEREMONIAL PRECEPTS IN THEMSELVES (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the ceremonial precepts: and first we must consider
them in themselves; secondly, their cause; thirdly, their duration. Under
the first head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) The nature of the ceremonial precepts;

(2) Whether they are figurative?

(3) Whether there should have been many of them?

(4) Of their various kinds.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the nature of the ceremonial precepts consists in their
pertaining to the worship of God?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the nature of the ceremonial precepts does not
consist in their pertaining to the worship of God. Because, in the Old
Law, the Jews were given certain precepts about abstinence from food
(Lev. 11); and about refraining from certain kinds of clothes, e.g. (Lev.
19:19): "Thou shalt not wear a garment that is woven of two sorts"; and
again (Num. 15:38): "To make to themselves fringes in the corners of
their garments." But these are not moral precepts; since they do not
remain in the New Law. Nor are they judicial precepts; since they do not
pertain to the pronouncing of judgment between man and man. Therefore
they are ceremonial precepts. Yet they seem in no way to pertain to the
worship of God. Therefore the nature of the ceremonial precepts does not
consist in their pertaining to Divine worship.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, some state that the ceremonial precepts are those which
pertain to solemnities; as though they were so called from the "cerei"
[candles] which are lit up on those occasions. But many other things
besides solemnities pertain to the worship of God. Therefore it does not
seem that the ceremonial precepts are so called from their pertaining to
the Divine worship.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, some say that the ceremonial precepts are patterns, i.e.
rules, of salvation: because the Greek {chaire} is the same as the Latin
"salve." But all the precepts of the Law are rules of salvation, and not
only those that pertain to the worship of God. Therefore not only those
precepts which pertain to Divine worship are called ceremonial.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, Rabbi Moses says (Doct. Perplex. iii) that the
ceremonial precepts are those for which there is no evident reason. But
there is evident reason for many things pertaining to the worship of God;
such as the observance of the Sabbath, the feasts of the Passover and of
the Tabernacles, and many other things, the reason for which is set down
in the Law. Therefore the ceremonial precepts are not those which pertain
to the worship of God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Ex. 18:19,20): "Be thou to the people in
those things that pertain to God . . . and . . . shew the people the
ceremonies and the manner of worshipping."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[99], A[4]), the ceremonial precepts
are determinations of the moral precepts whereby man is directed to God,
just as the judicial precepts are determinations of the moral precepts
whereby he is directed to his neighbor. Now man is directed to God by the
worship due to Him. Wherefore those precepts are properly called
ceremonial, which pertain to the Divine worship. The reason for their
being so called was given above (Q[99], A[3]), when we established the
distinction between the ceremonial and the other precepts.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Divine worship includes not only sacrifices and the
like, which seem to be directed to God immediately, but also those things
whereby His worshippers are duly prepared to worship Him: thus too in
other matters, whatever is preparatory to the end comes under the science
whose object is the end. Accordingly those precepts of the Law which
regard the clothing and food of God's worshippers, and other such
matters, pertain to a certain preparation of the ministers, with the view
of fitting them for the Divine worship: just as those who administer to a
king make use of certain special observances. Consequently such are
contained under the ceremonial precepts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The alleged explanation of the name does not seem very
probable: especially as the Law does not contain many instances of the
lighting of candles in solemnities; since, even the lamps of the
Candlestick were furnished with "oil of olives," as stated in Lev. 24:2.
Nevertheless we may say that all things pertaining to the Divine worship
were more carefully observed on solemn festivals: so that all ceremonial
precepts may be included under the observance of solemnities.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Neither does this explanation of the name appear to be very
much to the point, since the word "ceremony" is not Greek but Latin. We
may say, however, that, since man's salvation is from God, those precepts
above all seem to be rules of salvation, which direct man to God: and
accordingly those which refer to Divine worship are called ceremonial
precepts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[1] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: This explanation of the ceremonial precepts has a certain
amount of probability: not that they are called ceremonial precisely
because there is no evident reason for them; this is a kind of
consequence. For, since the precepts referring to the Divine worship
must needs be figurative, as we shall state further on (A[2]), the
consequence is that the reason for them is not so very evident.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the ceremonial precepts are figurative?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the ceremonial precepts are not figurative.
For it is the duty of every teacher to express himself in such a way as
to be easily understood, as Augustine states (De Doctr. Christ. iv, 4,10)
and this seems very necessary in the framing of a law: because precepts
of law are proposed to the populace; for which reason a law should be
manifest, as Isidore declares (Etym. v, 21). If therefore the precepts of
the Law were given as figures of something, it seems unbecoming that
Moses should have delivered these precepts without explaining what they
signified.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whatever is done for the worship of God, should be
entirely free from unfittingness. But the performance of actions in
representation of others, seems to savor of the theatre or of the drama:
because formerly the actions performed in theatres were done to represent
the actions of others. Therefore it seems that such things should not be
done for the worship of God. But the ceremonial precepts are ordained to
the Divine worship, as stated above (A[1]). Therefore they should not be
figurative.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, Augustine says (Enchiridion iii, iv) that "God is
worshipped chiefly by faith, hope, and charity." But the precepts of
faith, hope, and charity are not figurative. Therefore the ceremonial
precepts should not be figurative.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, Our Lord said (Jn. 4:24): "God is a spirit, and they
that adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth." But a figure is
not the very truth: in fact one is condivided with the other. Therefore
the ceremonial precepts, which refer to the Divine worship, should not be
figurative.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The Apostle says (Col. 2:16,17): "Let no man . . .
judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival day, or of the
new moon, or of the sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, As stated above (A[1]; Q[99], AA[3],4), the ceremonial
precepts are those which refer to the worship of God. Now the Divine
worship is twofold: internal, and external. For since man is composed of
soul and body, each of these should be applied to the worship of God; the
soul by an interior worship; the body by an outward worship: hence it is
written (Ps. 83:3): "My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living
God." And as the body is ordained to God through the soul, so the outward
worship is ordained to the internal worship. Now interior worship
consists in the soul being united to God by the intellect and affections.
Wherefore according to the various ways in which the intellect and
affections of the man who worships God are rightly united to God, his
external actions are applied in various ways to the Divine worship.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Body Para. 2/3

For in the state of future bliss, the human intellect will gaze on the
Divine Truth in Itself. Wherefore the external worship will not consist
in anything figurative, but solely in the praise of God, proceeding from
the inward knowledge and affection, according to Is. 51:3: "Joy and
gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of praise."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] Body Para. 3/3

But in the present state of life, we are unable to gaze on the Divine
Truth in Itself, and we need the ray of Divine light to shine upon us
under the form of certain sensible figures, as Dionysius states (Coel.
Hier. i); in various ways, however, according to the various states of
human knowledge. For under the Old Law, neither was the Divine Truth
manifest in Itself, nor was the way leading to that manifestation as yet
opened out, as the Apostle declares (Heb. 9:8). Hence the external
worship of the Old Law needed to be figurative not only of the future
truth to be manifested in our heavenly country, but also of Christ, Who
is the way leading to that heavenly manifestation. But under the New Law
this way is already revealed: and therefore it needs no longer to be
foreshadowed as something future, but to be brought to our minds as
something past or present: and the truth of the glory to come, which is
not yet revealed, alone needs to be foreshadowed. This is what the
Apostle says (Heb. 11:1): "The Law has [Vulg.: 'having'] a shadow of the
good things to come, not the very image of the things": for a shadow is
less than an image; so that the image belongs to the New Law, but the
shadow to the Old.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The things of God are not to be revealed to man except in
proportion to his capacity: else he would be in danger of downfall, were
he to despise what he cannot grasp. Hence it was more beneficial that the
Divine mysteries should be revealed to uncultured people under a veil of
figures, that thus they might know them at least implicitly by using
those figures to the honor of God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Just as human reason fails to grasp poetical expressions on
account of their being lacking in truth, so does it fail to grasp Divine
things perfectly, on account of the sublimity of the truth they contain:
and therefore in both cases there is need of signs by means of sensible
figures.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/2

Reply OBJ 3: Augustine is speaking there of internal worship; to which,
however, external worship should be ordained, as stated above.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 2/2

The same answer applies to the Fourth Objection: because men were taught
by Him to practice more perfectly the spiritual worship of God.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether there should have been man ceremonial precepts?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that there should not have been many ceremonial
precepts. For those things which conduce to an end should be
proportionate to that end. But the ceremonial precepts, as stated above
(AA[1],2), are ordained to the worship of God, and to the foreshadowing
of Christ. Now "there is but one God, of Whom are all things . . . and
one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things" (1 Cor. 8:6). Therefore
there should not have been many ceremonial precepts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the great number of the ceremonial precepts was an
occasion of transgression, according to the words of Peter (Acts 15:10):
"Why tempt you God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which
neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" Now the transgression
of the Divine precepts is an obstacle to man's salvation. Since,
therefore, every law should conduce to man's salvation, as Isidore says
(Etym. v, 3), it seems that the ceremonial precepts should not have been
given in great number.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the ceremonial precepts referred to the outward and
bodily worship of God, as stated above (A[2]). But the Law should have
lessened this bodily worship: since it directed men to Christ, Who taught
them to worship God "in spirit and in truth," as stated in Jn. 4:23.
Therefore there should not have been many ceremonial precepts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, (Osee 8:12): "I shall write to them [Vulg.: 'him'] My
manifold laws"; and (Job 11:6): "That He might show thee the secrets of
His wisdom, and that His Law is manifold."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[96], A[1]), every law is given to a
people. Now a people contains two kinds of men: some, prone to evil, who
have to be coerced by the precepts of the law, as stated above (Q[95],
A[1]); some, inclined to good, either from nature or from custom, or
rather from grace; and the like have to be taught and improved by means
of the precepts of the law. Accordingly, with regard to both kinds of the
law. Accordingly, with regard to both kinds of men it was expedient that
the Old Law should contain many ceremonial precepts. For in that people
there were many prone to idolatry; wherefore it was necessary to recall
them by means of ceremonial precepts from the worship of idols to the
worship of God. And since men served idols in many ways, it was necessary
on the other hand to devise many means of repressing every single one:
and again, to lay many obligations on such like men, in order that being
burdened, as it were, by their duties to the Divine worship, they might
have no time for the service of idols. As to those who were inclined to
good, it was again necessary that there should be many ceremonial
precepts; both because thus their mind turned to God in many ways, and
more continually; and because the mystery of Christ, which was
foreshadowed by these ceremonial precepts, brought many boons to the
world, and afforded men many considerations, which needed to be signified
by various ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: When that which conduces to an end is sufficient to conduce
thereto, then one such thing suffices for one end: thus one remedy, if it
be efficacious, suffices sometimes to restore men to health, and then the
remedy needs not to be repeated. But when that which conduces to an end
is weak and imperfect, it needs to be multiplied: thus many remedies are
given to a sick man, when one is not enough to heal him. Now the
ceremonies of the Old Law were weak and imperfect, both for representing
the mystery of Christ, on account of its surpassing excellence; and for
subjugating men's minds to God. Hence the Apostle says (Heb. 7:18,19):
"There is a setting aside of the former commandment because of the
weakness and unprofitableness thereof, for the law brought nothing to
perfection." Consequently these ceremonies needed to be in great number.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: A wise lawgiver should suffer lesser transgressions, that
the greater may be avoided. And therefore, in order to avoid the sin of
idolatry, and the pride which would arise in the hearts of the Jews, were
they to fulfil all the precepts of the Law, the fact that they would in
consequence find many occasions of disobedience did not prevent God from
giving them many ceremonial precepts.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The Old Law lessened bodily worship in many ways. Thus it
forbade sacrifices to be offered in every place and by any person. Many
such like things did it enact for the lessening of bodily worship; as
Rabbi Moses, the Egyptian testifies (Doct. Perplex. iii). Nevertheless it
behooved not to attenuate the bodily worship of God so much as to allow
men to fall away into the worship of idols.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the ceremonies of the Old Law are suitably divided into
sacrifices, sacred things, sacraments, and observances?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the ceremonies of the Old Law are unsuitably
divided into "sacrifices, sacred things, sacraments, and observances."
For the ceremonies of the Old Law foreshadowed Christ. But this was done
only by the sacrifices, which foreshadowed the sacrifice in which Christ
"delivered Himself an oblation and a sacrifice to God" (Eph. 5:2).
Therefore none but the sacrifices were ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the Old Law was ordained to the New. But in the New Law
the sacrifice is the Sacrament of the Altar. Therefore in the Old Law
there should be no distinction between "sacrifices" and "sacraments."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, a "sacred thing" is something dedicated to God: in which
sense the tabernacle and its vessels were said to be consecrated. But all
the ceremonial precepts were ordained to the worship of God, as stated
above (A[1]). Therefore all ceremonies were sacred things. Therefore
"sacred things" should not be taken as a part of the ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, "observances" are so called from having to be observed.
But all the precepts of the Law had to be observed: for it is written
(Dt. 8:11): "Observe [Douay: 'Take heed'] and beware lest at any time
thou forget the Lord thy God, and neglect His commandments and judgments
and ceremonies." Therefore the "observances" should not be considered as
a part of the ceremonies.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Obj. 5 Para. 1/1

OBJ 5: Further, the solemn festivals are reckoned as part of the
ceremonial: since they were a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:16,17):
and the same may be said of the oblations and gifts, as appears from the
words of the Apostle (Heb. 9:9): and yet these do not seem to be inclined
in any of those mentioned above. Therefore the above division of
ceremonies is unsuitable.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, In the Old Law each of the above is called a ceremony.
For the sacrifices are called ceremonies (Num. 15:24): "They shall offer
a calf . . . and the sacrifices and libations thereof, as the ceremonies
require." Of the sacrament of Order it is written (Lev. 7:35): "This is
the anointing of Aaron and his sons in the ceremonies." Of sacred things
also it is written (Ex. 38:21): "These are the instruments of the
tabernacle of the testimony . . . in the ceremonies of the Levites." And
again of the observances it is written (3 Kgs. 9:6): "If you . . . shall
turn away from following Me, and will not observe [Douay: 'keep'] My . .
. ceremonies which I have set before you."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (AA[1],2), the ceremonial precepts are
ordained to the Divine worship. Now in this worship we may consider the
worship itself, the worshippers, and the instruments of worship. The
worship consists specially in "sacrifices," which are offered up in honor
of God. The instruments of worship refer to the "sacred things," such as
the tabernacle, the vessels and so forth. With regard to the worshippers
two points may be considered. The first point is their preparation for
Divine worship, which is effected by a sort of consecration either of the
people or of the ministers; and to this the "sacraments" refer. The
second point is their particular mode of life, whereby they are
distinguished from those who do not worship God: and to this pertain the
"observances," for instance, in matters of food, clothing, and so forth.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: It was necessary for the sacrifices to be offered both in
some certain place and by some certain men: and all this pertained to the
worship of God. Wherefore just as their sacrifices signified Christ the
victim, so too their sacraments and sacred things of the New Law; while
their observances foreshadowed the mode of life of the people under the
New Law: all of which things pertain to Christ.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The sacrifice of the New Law, viz. the Eucharist, contains
Christ Himself, the Author of our Sanctification: for He sanctified "the
people by His own blood" (Heb. 13:12). Hence this Sacrifice is also a
sacrament. But the sacrifices of the Old Law did not contain Christ, but
foreshadowed Him; hence they are not called sacraments. In order to
signify this there were certain sacraments apart from the sacrifices of
the Old Law, which sacraments were figures of the sanctification to come.
Nevertheless to certain consecrations certain sacrifices were united.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The sacrifices and sacraments were of course sacred things.
But certain things were sacred, through being dedicated to the Divine
worship, and yet were not sacrifices or sacraments: wherefore they
retained the common designation of sacred things.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Those things which pertained to the mode of life of the
people who worshipped God, retained the common designation of
observances, in so far as they fell short of the above. For they were not
called sacred things, because they had no immediate connection with the
worship of God, such as the tabernacle and its vessels had. But by a sort
of consequence they were matters of ceremony, in so far as they affected
the fitness of the people who worshipped God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[101] A[4] R.O. 5 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 5: Just as the sacrifices were offered in a fixed place, so
were they offered at fixed times: for which reason the solemn festivals
seem to be reckoned among the sacred things. The oblations and gifts are
counted together with the sacrifices; hence the Apostle says (Heb. 5:1):
"Every high-priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things
that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices."





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