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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[1] Out. Para. 1/4 - SECOND PART OF THE SECOND PART (SS) (QQ[1]-189)
      • Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE GIFT OF COUNSEL (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE GIFT OF COUNSEL (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the gift of counsel which corresponds to prudence.
Under this head there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether counsel should be reckoned among the seven gifts of the Holy
Ghost?

(2) Whether the gift of counsel corresponds to prudence?

(3) Whether the gift of counsel remains in heaven?

(4) Whether the fifth beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful," etc.
corresponds to the gift of counsel?



Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether counsel should be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that counsel should not be reckoned among the gifts
of the Holy Ghost. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are given as a help to the
virtues, according to Gregory (Moral. ii, 49). Now for the purpose of
taking counsel, man is sufficiently perfected by the virtue of prudence,
or even of {euboulia} (deliberating well), as is evident from what has
been said (Q[47], A[1], ad 2; Q[51], AA[1],2). Therefore counsel should
not be reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, the difference between the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost
and the gratuitous graces seems to be that the latter are not given to
all, but are divided among various people, whereas the gifts of the Holy
Ghost are given to all who have the Holy Ghost. But counsel seems to be
one of those things which are given by the Holy Ghost specially to
certain persons, according to 1 Macc. 2:65: "Behold . . . your brother
Simon is a man of counsel." Therefore counsel should be numbered among
the gratuitous graces rather than among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it is written (Rm. 8:14): "Whosoever are led by the
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." But counselling is not
consistent with being led by another. Since then the gifts of the Holy
Ghost are most befitting the children of God, who "have received the
spirit of adoption of sons," it would seem that counsel should not be
numbered among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Is. 11:2): "(The Spirit of the Lord)
shall rest upon him . . . the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (FS, Q[68], A[1]), the gifts of the Holy
Ghost are dispositions whereby the soul is rendered amenable to the
motion of the Holy Ghost. Now God moves everything according to the mode
of the thing moved: thus He moves the corporeal creature through time and
place, and the spiritual creature through time, but not through place, as
Augustine declares (Gen. ad lit. viii, 20,22). Again, it is proper to the
rational creature to be moved through the research of reason to perform
any particular action, and this research is called counsel. Hence the
Holy Ghost is said to move the rational creature by way of counsel,
wherefore counsel is reckoned among the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Prudence or {euboulia} (deliberating well), whether
acquired or infused, directs man in the research of counsel according to
principles that the reason can grasp; hence prudence or {euboulia}
(deliberating well) makes man take good counsel either for himself or for
another. Since, however, human reason is unable to grasp the singular and
contingent things which may occur, the result is that "the thoughts of
mortal men are fearful, and our counsels uncertain" (Wis. 9:14). Hence in
the research of counsel, man requires to be directed by God who
comprehends all things: and this is done through the gift of counsel,
whereby man is directed as though counseled by God, just as, in human
affairs, those who are unable to take counsel for themselves, seek
counsel from those who are wiser.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: That a man be of such good counsel as to counsel others,
may be due to a gratuitous grace; but that a man be counselled by God as
to what he ought to do in matters necessary for salvation is common to
all holy persons.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The children of God are moved by the Holy Ghost according
to their mode, without prejudice to their free-will which is the "faculty
of will and reason" [*Sent. iii, D, 24]. Accordingly the gift of counsel
is befitting the children of God in so far as the reason is instructed by
the Holy Ghost about what we have to do.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the gift of counsel corresponds to the virtue of prudence?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the gift of counsel does not fittingly
correspond to the virtue of prudence. For "the highest point of that which is underneath touches that which is above," as Dionysius observes
(Div. Nom. vii), even as a man comes into contact with the angel in
respect of his intellect. Now cardinal virtues are inferior to the gifts,
as stated above (FS, Q[68], A[8]). Since, then, counsel is the first and
lowest act of prudence, while command is its highest act, and judgment
comes between, it seems that the gift corresponding to prudence is not
counsel, but rather a gift of judgment or command.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, one gift suffices to help one virtue, since the higher a
thing is the more one it is, as proved in De Causis. Now prudence is
helped by the gift of knowledge, which is not only speculative but also
practical, as shown above (Q[9], A[3]). Therefore the gift of counsel
does not correspond to the virtue of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, it belongs properly to prudence to direct, as stated
above (Q[47], A[8]). But it belongs to the gift of counsel that man
should be directed by God, as stated above (A[1]). Therefore the gift of
counsel does not correspond to the virtue of prudence.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The gift of counsel is about what has to be done for
the sake of the end. Now prudence is about the same matter. Therefore
they correspond to one another.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, A lower principle of movement is helped chiefly, and is
perfected through being moved by a higher principle of movement, as a
body through being moved by a spirit. Now it is evident that the
rectitude of human reason is compared to the Divine Reason, as a lower
motive principle to a higher: for the Eternal Reason is the supreme rule
of all human rectitude. Consequently prudence, which denotes rectitude of
reason, is chiefly perfected and helped through being ruled and moved by
the Holy Ghost, and this belongs to the gift of counsel, as stated above
(A[1]). Therefore the gift of counsel corresponds to prudence, as helping
and perfecting it.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: To judge and command belongs not to the thing moved, but to
the mover. Wherefore, since in the gifts of the Holy Ghost, the position
of the human mind is of one moved rather than of a mover, as stated above
(A[1]; FS, Q[68], A[1]), it follows that it would be unfitting to call
the gift corresponding to prudence by the name of command or judgment
rather than of counsel whereby it is possible to signify that the
counselled mind is moved by another counselling it.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The gift of knowledge does not directly correspond to
prudence, since it deals with speculative matters: yet by a kind of
extension it helps it. On the other hand the gift of counsel corresponds
to prudence directly, because it is concerned about the same things.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The mover that is moved, moves through being moved. Hence
the human mind, from the very fact that it is directed by the Holy Ghost,
is enabled to direct itself and others.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the gift of counsel remains in heaven?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the gift of counsel does not remain in heaven.
For counsel is about what has to be done for the sake of an end. But in
heaven nothing will have to be done for the sake of an end, since there
man possesses the last end. Therefore the gift of counsel is not in
heaven.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, counsel implies doubt, for it is absurd to take counsel in matters that are evident, as the Philosopher observes (Ethic. iii, 3).
Now all doubt will cease in heaven. Therefore there is no counsel in
heaven.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the saints in heaven are most conformed to God,
according to 1 Jn. 3:2, "When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him."
But counsel is not becoming to God, according to Rm. 11:34, "Who hath
been His counsellor?" Therefore neither to the saints in heaven is the
gift of counsel becoming.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xvii, 12): "When either the guilt
or the righteousness of each nation is brought into the debate of the
heavenly Court, the guardian of that nation is said to have won in the
conflict, or not to have won."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, As stated above (A[2]; FS, Q[68], A[1]), the gifts of the
Holy Ghost are connected with the motion of the rational creature by God.
Now we must observe two points concerning the motion of the human mind by
God. First, that the disposition of that which is moved, differs while it
is being moved from its disposition when it is in the term of movement.
Indeed if the mover is the principle of the movement alone, when the
movement ceases, the action of the mover ceases as regards the thing
moved, since it has already reached the term of movement, even as a
house, after it is built, ceases being built by the builder. On the other
hand, when the mover is cause not only of the movement, but also of the
form to which the movement tends, then the action of the mover does not
cease even after the form has been attained: thus the sun lightens the
air even after it is lightened. In this way, then, God causes in us
virtue and knowledge, not only when we first acquire them, but also as
long as we persevere in them: and it is thus that God causes in the
blessed a knowledge of what is to be done, not as though they were
ignorant, but by continuing that knowledge in them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Body Para. 2/3

Nevertheless there are things which the blessed, whether angels or men,
do not know: such things are not essential to blessedness, but concern
the government of things according to Divine Providence. As regards
these, we must make a further observation, namely, that God moves the
mind of the blessed in one way, and the mind of the wayfarer, in another.
For God moves the mind of the wayfarer in matters of action, by soothing
the pre-existing anxiety of doubt; whereas there is simple nescience in
the mind of the blessed as regards the things they do not know. From this
nescience the angel's mind is cleansed, according to Dionysius (Coel.
Hier. vii), nor does there precede in them any research of doubt, for
they simply turn to God; and this is to take counsel of God, for as
Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. v, 19) "the angels take counsel of God about
things beneath them": wherefore the instruction which they receive from
God in such matters is called "counsel."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] Body Para. 3/3

Accordingly the gift of counsel is in the blessed, in so far as God
preserves in them the knowledge that they have, and enlightens them in
their nescience of what has to be done.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Even in the blessed there are acts directed to an end, or
resulting, as it were, from their attainment of the end, such as the acts
of praising God, or of helping on others to the end which they themselves
have attained, for example the ministrations of the angels, and the
prayers of the saints. In this respect the gift of counsel finds a place
in them.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Doubt belongs to counsel according to the present state of
life, but not to that counsel which takes place in heaven. Even so
neither have the theological virtues quite the same acts in heaven as on
the way thither.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Counsel is in God, not as receiving but as giving it: and
the saints in heaven are conformed to God, as receivers to the source
whence they receive.


Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the fifth beatitude, which is that of mercy, corresponds to the
gift of counsel?

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the fifth beatitude, which is that of mercy,
does not correspond to the gift of counsel. For all the beatitudes are
acts of virtue, as stated above (FS, Q[69], A[1]). Now we are directed by
counsel in all acts of virtue. Therefore the fifth beatitude does not
correspond more than any other to counsel.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, precepts are given about matters necessary for
salvation, while counsel is given about matters which are not necessary
for salvation. Now mercy is necessary for salvation, according to James
2:13, "Judgment without mercy to him that hath not done mercy." On the
other hand poverty is not necessary for salvation, but belongs to the
life of perfection, according to Mt. 19:21. Therefore the beatitude of
poverty corresponds to the gift of counsel, rather than to the beatitude
of mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the fruits result from the beatitudes, for they denote a
certain spiritual delight resulting from perfect acts of virtue. Now none
of the fruits correspond to the gift of counsel, as appears from Gal.
5:22, 23. Therefore neither does the beatitude of mercy correspond to the
gift of counsel.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. iv): "Counsel is
befitting the merciful, because the one remedy is to be delivered from
evils so great, to pardon, and to give."

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Counsel is properly about things useful for an end. Hence
such things as are of most use for an end, should above all correspond to
the gift of counsel. Now such is mercy, according to 1 Tim. 4:8,
"Godliness [*'Pietas,' which our English word 'pity,' which is the same
as mercy; see note on SS, Q[30], A[1]] is profitable to all things."
Therefore the beatitude of mercy specially corresponds to the gift of
counsel, not as eliciting but as directing mercy.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Although counsel directs in all the acts of virtue, it does
so in a special way in works of mercy, for the reason given above.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Counsel considered as a gift of the Holy Ghost guides us in
all matters that are directed to the end of eternal life whether they be
necessary for salvation or not, and yet not every work of mercy is
necessary for salvation.

Aquin.: SMT SS Q[52] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Fruit denotes something ultimate. Now the ultimate in
practical matters consists not in knowledge but in an action which is the
end. Hence nothing pertaining to practical knowledge is numbered among
the fruits, but only such things as pertain to action, in which practical
knowledge is the guide. Among these we find "goodness" and "benignity"
which correspond to mercy.





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