Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.19 a.5
Objection: 1. It would seem that servile fear is substantially the same as filial fear. For filial fear is to servile fear the same apparently as living faith is to lifeless faith, since the one is accompanied by mortal sin and the other not. Now living faith and lifeless faith are substantially the same. Therefore servile and filial fear are substantially the same.
2. Further, habits are diversified by their objects. Now the same thing is the object of servile and of filial fear, since they both fear God. Therefore servile and filial fear are substantially the same.
3. Further, just as man hopes to enjoy God and to obtain favors from Him, so does he fear to be separated from God and to be punished by Him. Now it is the same hope whereby we hope to enjoy God, and to receive other favors from Him, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 2). Therefore filial fear, whereby we fear separation from God, is the same as servile fear whereby we fear His punishments.
On the contrary Augustine (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. ix) says that there are two fears, one servile, another filial or chaste fear.
I answer that The proper object of fear is evil. And since acts and habits are diversified by their objects, as shown above (I-II 54,2), it follows of necessity that different kinds of fear correspond to different kinds of evil.Now the evil of punishment, from which servile fear shrinks, differs specifically from evil of fault, which filial fear shuns, as shown above (Article ). Hence it is evident that servile and filial fear are not the same substantially but differ specifically.
Reply to Objection: 1. Living and lifeless faith differ, not as regards the object, since each of them believes God and believes in a God, but in respect of something extrinsic, viz. the presence or absence of charity, and so they do not differ substantially. On the other hand, servile and filial fear differ as to their objects: and hence the comparison fails.
2. Servile fear and filial fear do not regard God in the same light. For servile fear looks upon God as the cause of the infliction of punishment, whereas filial fear looks upon Him, not as the active cause of guilt, but rather as the term wherefrom it shrinks to be separated by guilt. Consequently the identity of object, viz. God, does not prove a specific identity of fear, since also natural movements differ specifically according to their different relationships to some one term, for movement from whiteness is not specifically the same as movement towards whiteness.
3. Hope looks upon God as the principle not only of the enjoyment of God, but also of any other favor whatever. This cannot be said of fear; and so there is no comparison.
Objection: 1. It would seem that servile fear does not remain with charity. For Augustine says (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. ix) that "when charity takes up its abode, it drives away fear which had prepared a place for it."
2. Further, "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, Who is given to us" (Rm 5,5). Now "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2Co 3,17). Since then freedom excludes servitude, it seems that servile fear is driven away when charity comes.
3. Further, servile fear is caused by self-love, in so far as punishment diminishes one's own good. Now love of God drives away self-love, for it makes us despise ourselves: thus Augustine testifies (De Civ. Dei xiv, 28) that "the love of God unto the contempt of self builds up the city of God." Therefore it seems that servile fear is driven out when charity comes.
On the contrary Servile fear is a gift of the Holy Ghost, as stated above (Article ). Now the gifts of the Holy Ghost are not forfeited through the advent of charity, whereby the Holy Ghost dwells in us. Therefore servile fear is not driven out when charity comes.
I answer that Servile fear proceeds from self-love, because it is fear of punishment which is detrimental to one's own good. Hence the fear of punishment is consistent with charity, in the same way as self-love is: because it comes to the same that a man love his own good and that he fear to be deprived of it.Now self-love may stand in a threefold relationship to charity. In one way it is contrary to charity, when a man places his end in the love of his own good. In another way it is included in charity, when a man loves himself for the sake of God and in God. In a third way, it is indeed distinct from charity, but is not contrary thereto, as when a man loves himself from the point of view of his own good, yet not so as to place his end in this his own good: even as one may have another special love for one's neighbor, besides the love of charity which is founded on God, when we love him by reason of usefulness, consanguinity, or some other human consideration, which, however, is referable to charity.Accordingly fear of punishment is, in one way, included in charity, because separation from God is a punishment, which charity shuns exceedingly; so that this belongs to chaste fear. In another way, it is contrary to charity, when a man shrinks from the punishment that is opposed to his natural good, as being the principal evil in opposition to the good which he loves as an end; and in this way fear of punishment is not consistent with charity. In another way fear of punishment is indeed substantially distinct from chaste fear, when, to wit, a man fears a penal evil, not because it separates him from God, but because it is hurtful to his own good, and yet he does not place his end in this good, so that neither does he dread this evil as being the principal evil. Such fear of punishment is consistent with charity; but it is not called servile, except when punishment is dreaded as a principal evil, as explained above (Articles ,4). Hence fear considered as servile, does not remain with charity, but the substance of servile fear can remain with charity, even as self-love can remain with charity.
Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine is speaking of fear considered as servile:
2. 3. and such is the sense of the two other objections.
Objection: 1. It would seem that fear is not the beginning of wisdom. For the beginning of a thing is a part thereof. But fear is not a part of wisdom, since fear is seated in the appetitive faculty, while wisdom is in the intellect. Therefore it seems that fear is not the beginning of wisdom.
2. Further, nothing is the beginning of itself. "Now fear of the Lord, that is wisdom," according to Jb 28,28. Therefore it seems that fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom.
3. Further, nothing is prior to the beginning. But something is prior to fear, since faith precedes fear. Therefore it seems that fear is not the beginning of wisdom.
On the contrary It is written in the Ps 110,10: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
I answer that A thing may be called the beginning of wisdom in two ways: in one way because it is the beginning of wisdom itself as to its essence; in another way, as to its effect. Thus the beginning of an art as to its essence consists in the principles from which that art proceeds, while the beginning of an art as to its effect is that wherefrom it begins to operate: for instance we might say that the beginning of the art of building is the foundation because that is where the builder begins his work.Now, since wisdom is the knowledge of Divine things, as we shall state further on (Question , Article ), it is considered by us in one way, and in another way by philosophers. For, seeing that our life is ordained to the enjoyment of God, and is directed thereto according to a participation of the Divine Nature, conferred on us through grace, wisdom, as we look at it, is considered not only as being cognizant of God, as it is with the philosophers, but also as directing human conduct; since this is directed not only by the human law, but also by the Divine law, as Augustine shows (De Trin. xii, 14). Accordingly the beginning of wisdom as to its essence consists in the first principles of wisdom, i.e. the articles of faith, and in this sense faith is said to be the beginning of wisdom. But as regards the effect, the beginning of wisdom is the point where wisdom begins to work, and in this way fear is the beginning of wisdom, yet servile fear in one way, and filial fear, in another. For servile fear is like a principle disposing a man to wisdom from without, in so far as he refrains from sin through fear of punishment, and is thus fashioned for the effect of wisdom, according to Si 1,27, "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin." On the other hand, chaste or filial fear is the beginning of wisdom, as being the first effect of wisdom. For since the regulation of human conduct by the Divine law belongs to wisdom, in order to make a beginning, man must first of all fear God and submit himself to Him: for the result will be that in all things he will be ruled by God.
Reply to Objection: 1. This argument proves that fear is not the beginning of wisdom as to the essence of wisdom.
2. The fear of God is compared to a man's whole life that is ruled by God's wisdom, as the root to the tree: hence it is written (Si 1,25): "The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord, for [Vulg.: 'and'] the branches thereof are longlived." Consequently, as the root is said to be virtually the tree, so the fear of God is said to be wisdom.
3. As stated above, faith is the beginning of wisdom in one way, and fear, in another. Hence it is written (Si 25,16): "The fear of God is the beginning of love: and the beginning of faith is to be fast joined to it."
Objection: 1. It would seem that initial fear differs substantially from filial fear. For filial fear is caused by love. Now initial fear is the beginning of love, according to Si 25,16, "The fear of God is the beginning of love." Therefore initial fear is distinct from filial fear.
2. Further, initial fear dreads punishment, which is the object of servile fear, so that initial and servile fear would seem to be the same. But servile fear is distinct from filial fear. Therefore initial fear also is substantially distinct from initial fear.
3. Further, a mean differs in the same ratio from both the extremes. Now initial fear is the mean between servile and filial fear. Therefore it differs from both filial and servile fear.
On the contrary Perfect and imperfect do not diversify the substance of a thing. Now initial and filial fear differ in respect of perfection and imperfection of charity, as Augustine states (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. ix). Therefore initial fear does not differ substantially from filial fear.
I answer that Initial fear is so called because it is a beginning [initium]. Since, however, both servile and filial fear are, in some way, the beginning of wisdom, each may be called in some way, initial.It is not in this sense, however, that we are to understand initial fear in so far as it is distinct from servile and filial fear, but in the sense according to which it belongs to the state of beginners, in whom there is a beginning of filial fear resulting from a beginning of charity, although they do not possess the perfection of filial fear, because they have not yet attained to the perfection of charity. Consequently initial fear stands in the same relation to filial fear as imperfect to perfect charity. Now perfect and imperfect charity differ, not as to essence but as to state. Therefore we must conclude that initial fear, as we understand it here, does not differ essentially from filial fear.
Reply to Objection: 1. The fear which is a beginning of love is servile fear, which is the herald of charity, just as the bristle introduces the thread, as Augustine states (Tract. ix in Ep. i Joan.). Or else, if it be referred to initial fear, this is said to be the beginning of love, not absolutely, but relatively to the state of perfect charity.
2. Initial fear does not dread punishment as its proper object, but as having something of servile fear connected with it: for this servile fear, as to its substance, remains indeed, with charity, its servility being cast aside; whereas its act remains with imperfect charity in the man who is moved to perform good actions not only through love of justice, but also through fear of punishment, though this same act ceases in the man who has perfect charity, which "casteth out fear," according to 1Jn 4,18.
3. Initial fear is a mean between servile and filial fear, not as between two things of the same genus, but as the imperfect is a mean between a perfect being and a non-being, as stated in Metaph. ii, for it is the same substantially as the perfect being, while it differs altogether from non-being.
Objection: 1. It would seem that fear is not a gift of the Holy Ghost. For no gift of the Holy Ghost is opposed to a virtue, which is also from the Holy Ghost; else the Holy Ghost would be in opposition to Himself. Now fear is opposed to hope, which is a virtue. Therefore fear is not a gift of the Holy Ghost.
2. Further, it is proper to a theological virtue to have God for its object. But fear has God for its object, in so far as God is feared. Therefore fear is not a gift, but a theological virtue.
3. Further, fear arises from love. But love is reckoned a theological virtue. Therefore fear also is a theological virtue, being connected with the same matter, as it were.
4. Further, Gregory says (Moral. ii, 49) that "fear is bestowed as a remedy against pride." But the virtue of humility is opposed to pride. Therefore again, fear is a kind of virtue.
5. Further, the gifts are more perfect than the virtues, since they are bestowed in support of the virtues as Gregory says (Moral. ii, 49). Now hope is more perfect than fear, since hope regards good, while fear regards evil. Since, then, hope is a virtue, it should not be said that fear is a gift.
On the contrary The fear of the Lord is numbered among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost (Is 11,3).
I answer that Fear is of several kinds, as stated above (Article ). Now it is not "human fear," according to Augustine (De Gratia et Lib. Arb. xviii), "that is a gift of God"---for it was by this fear that Peter denied Christ---but that fear of which it was said (Mt 10,28): "Fear Him that can destroy both soul and body into hell."Again servile fear is not to be reckoned among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, though it is from Him, because according to Augustine (De Nat. et Grat. lvii) it is compatible with the will to sin: whereas the gifts of the Holy Ghost are incompatible with the will to sin, as they are inseparable from charity, as stated above (I-II 68,5).It follows, therefore, that the fear of God, which is numbered among the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, is filial or chaste fear. For it was stated above (I-II 68,1 I-II 68,3) that the gifts of the Holy Ghost are certain habitual perfections of the soul's powers, whereby these are rendered amenable to the motion of the Holy Ghost, just as, by the moral virtues, the appetitive powers are rendered amenable to the motion of reason. Now for a thing to be amenable to the motion of a certain mover, the first condition required is that it be a non-resistant subject of that mover, because resistance of the movable subject to the mover hinders the movement. This is what filial or chaste fear does, since thereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from Him. Hence, according to Augustine (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4) filial fear holds the first place, as it were, among the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in the ascending order, and the last place, in the descending order.
Reply to Objection: 1. Filial fear is not opposed to the virtue of hope: since thereby we fear, not that we may fail of what we hope to obtain by God's help, but lest we withdraw ourselves from this help. Wherefore filial fear and hope cling together, and perfect one another.
2. The proper and principal object of fear is the evil shunned, and in this way, as stated above (Article ), God cannot be an object of fear. Yet He is, in this way, the object of hope and the other theological virtues, since, by the virtue of hope, we trust in God's help, not only to obtain any other goods, but, chiefly, to obtain God Himself, as the principal good. The same evidently applies to the other theological virtues.
3. From the fact that love is the origin of fear, it does not follow that the fear of God is not a distinct habit from charity which is the love of God, since love is the origin of all the emotions, and yet we are perfected by different habits in respect of different emotions. Yet love is more of a virtue than fear is, because love regards good, to which virtue is principally directed by reason of its own nature, as was shown above (I-II 55,3 I-II 55,4); for which reason hope is also reckoned as a virtue; whereas fear principally regards evil, the avoidance of which it denotes, wherefore it is something less than a theological virtue.
4. According to Si 10,14, "the beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God," that is to refuse submission to God, and this is opposed to filial fear, which reveres God. Thus fear cuts off the source of pride for which reason it is bestowed as a remedy against pride. Yet it does not follow that it is the same as the virtue of humility, but that it is its origin. For the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the origin of the intellectual and moral virtues, as stated above (I-II 68,4), while the theological virtues are the origin of the gifts, as stated above (I-II 69,4, ad 3).
5. This suffices for the Reply to the Fifth Objection.
Objection: 1. It seems that fear decreases when charity increases. For Augustine says (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. ix): "The more charity increases, the more fear decreases."
2. Further, fear decreases when hope increases. But charity increases when hope increases, as stated above (Question , Article ). Therefore fear decreases when charity increases.
3. Further, love implies union, whereas fear implies separation. Now separation decreases when union increases. Therefore fear decreases when the love of charity increases.
On the contrary Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 36) that "the fear of God not only begins but also perfects wisdom, whereby we love God above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves."
I answer that Fear is twofold, as stated above (Articles ,4); one is filial fear, whereby a son fears to offend his father or to be separated from him; the other is servile fear, whereby one fears punishment.Now filial fear must needs increase when charity increases, even as an effect increases with the increase of its cause. For the more one loves a man, the more one fears to offend him and to be separated from him.On the other hand servile fear, as regards its servility, is entirely cast out when charity comes, although the fear of punishment remains as to its substance, as stated above (Article ). This fear decreases as charity increases, chiefly as regards its act, since the more a man loves God, the less he fears punishment; first, because he thinks less of his own good, to which punishment is opposed; secondly, because, the faster he clings, the more confident he is of the reward, and, consequently the less fearful of punishment.
Reply to Objection: 1. Augustine speaks there of the fear of punishment.
2. It is fear of punishment that decreases when hope increases; but with the increase of the latter filial fear increases, because the more certainly a man expects to obtain a good by another's help, the more he fears to offend him or to be separated from him.
3. Filial fear does not imply separation from God, but submission to Him, and shuns separation from that submission. Yet, in a way, it implies separation, in the point of not presuming to equal oneself to Him, and of submitting to Him, which separation is to be observed even in charity, in so far as a man loves God more than himself and more than aught else. Hence the increase of the love of charity implies not a decrease but an increase in the reverence of fear.
Objection: 1. It would seem that fear does not remain in heaven. For it is written (Pr 1,33): "He . . . shall enjoy abundance, without fear of evils," which is to be understood as referring to those who already enjoy wisdom in everlasting happiness. Now every fear is about some evil, since evil is the object of fear, as stated above (Articles ,5; I-II 42,1). Therefore there will be no fear in heaven.
2. Further, in heaven men will be conformed to God, according to 1Jn 3,2, "When He shall appear, we shall be like to Him." But God fears nothing. Therefore, in heaven, men will have no fear.
3. Further, hope is more perfect than fear, since hope regards good, and fear, evil. Now hope will not be in heaven. Therefore neither will there be fear in heaven.
On the contrary It is written (Ps 18,10): "The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever."
I answer that Servile fear, or fear of punishment, will by no means be in heaven, since such a fear is excluded by the security which is essential to everlasting happiness, as stated above (I-II 5,4).But regard to filial fear, as it increases with the increase of charity, so is it perfected when charity is made perfect; hence, in heaven, it will not have quite the same act as it has now.In order to make this clear, we must observe that the proper object of fear is a possible evil, just as the proper object of hope is a possible good: and since the movement of fear is like one of avoidance, fear implies avoidance of a possible arduous evil, for little evils inspire no fear. Now as a thing's good consists in its staying in its own order, so a thing's evil consists in forsaking its order. Again, the order of a rational creature is that it should be under God and above other creatures. Hence, just as it is an evil for a rational creature to submit, by love, to a lower creature, so too is it an evil for it, if it submit not to God, by presumptuously revolt against Him or contemn Him. Now this evil is possible to a rational creature considered as to its nature on account of the natural flexibility of the free-will; whereas in the blessed, it becomes impossible, by reason of the perfection of glory. Therefore the avoidance of this evil that consists in non-subjection to God, and is possible to nature, but impossible in the state of bliss, will be in heaven; while in this life there is avoidance of this evil as of something altogether possible. Hence Gregory, expounding the words of Jb 26,11), "The pillars of heaven tremble, and dread at His beck," says (Moral. xvii, 29): "The heavenly powers that gaze on Him without ceasing, tremble while contemplating: but their awe, lest it should be of a penal nature, is one not of fear but of wonder," because, to wit, they wonder at God's supereminence and incomprehensibility. Augustine also (De Civ. Dei xiv, 9) in this sense, admits fear in heaven, although he leaves the question doubtful. "If," he says, "this chaste fear that endureth for ever and ever is to be in the future life, it will not be a fear that is afraid of an evil which might possibly occur, but a fear that holds fast to a good which we cannot lose. For when we love the good which we have acquired, with an unchangeable love, without doubt, if it is allowable to say so, our fear is sure of avoiding evil. Because chaste fear denotes a will that cannot consent to sin, and whereby we avoid sin without trembling lest, in our weakness, we fall, and possess ourselves in the tranquillity born of charity. Else, if no kind of fear is possible there, perhaps fear is said to endure for ever and ever, because that which fear will lead us to, will be everlasting."
Reply to Objection: 1. The passage quoted excludes from the blessed, the fear that denotes solicitude, and anxiety about evil, but not the fear which is accompanied by security.
2. As Dionysius says (Div. Nom. ix) "the same things are both like and unlike God. They are like by reason of a variable imitation of the Inimitable"---that is, because, so far as they can, they imitate God Who cannot be imitated perfectly---"they are unlike because they are the effects of a Cause of Whom they fall short infinitely and immeasurably." Hence, if there be no fear in God (since there is none above Him to whom He may be subject) it does not follow that there is none in the blessed, whose happiness consists in perfect subjection to God.
3. Hope implies a certain defect, namely the futurity of happiness, which ceases when happiness is present: whereas fear implies a natural defect in a creature, in so far as it is infinitely distant from God, and this defect will remain even in heaven. Hence fear will not be cast out altogether.
Objection: 1. It would seem that poverty of spirit is not the beatitude corresponding to the gift of fear. For fear is the beginning of the spiritual life, as explained above (Article ): whereas poverty belongs to the perfection of the spiritual life, according to Mt 19,21, "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor." Therefore poverty of spirit does not correspond to the gift of fear.
2. Further, it is written (Ps 118,120): "Pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear," whence it seems to follow that it belongs to fear to restrain the flesh. But the curbing of the flesh seems to belong rather to the beatitude of mourning. Therefore the beatitude of mourning corresponds to the gift of fear, rather than the beatitude of poverty.
3. Further, the gift of fear corresponds to the virtue of hope, as stated above (Article , ad 1). Now the last beatitude which is, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God," seems above all to correspond to hope, because according to Rm 5,2, "we . . . glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God." Therefore that beatitude corresponds to the gift of fear, rather than poverty of spirit.
4. Further, it was stated above (I-II 70,2) that the fruits correspond to the beatitudes. Now none of the fruits correspond to the gift of fear. Neither, therefore, does any of the beatitudes.
On the contrary Augustine says (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4): "The fear of the Lord is befitting the humble of whom it is said: Blessed are the poor in spirit."
I answer that Poverty of spirit properly corresponds to fear. Because, since it belongs to filial fear to show reverence and submission to God, whatever results from this submission belongs to the gift of fear. Now from the very fact that a man submits to God, it follows that he ceases to seek greatness either in himself or in another but seeks it only in God. For that would be inconsistent with perfect subjection to God, wherefore it is written (Ps 19,8): "Some trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will call upon the name of . . . our God." It follows that if a man fear God perfectly, he does not, by pride, seek greatness either in himself or in external goods, viz. honors and riches. In either case, this proceeds from poverty of spirit, in so far as the latter denotes either the voiding of a puffed up and proud spirit, according to Augustine's interpretation (De Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 4), or the renunciation of worldly goods which is done in spirit, i.e. by one's own will, through the instigation of the Holy Spirit, according to the expounding of Ambrose on Lc 6,20 and Jerome on Mt 5,3.
Reply to Objection: 1. Since a beatitude is an act of perfect virtue, all the beatitudes belong to the perfection of spiritual life. And this perfection seems to require that whoever would strive to obtain a perfect share of spiritual goods, needs to begin by despising earthly goods, wherefore fear holds the first place among the gifts. Perfection, however, does not consist in the renunciation itself of temporal goods; since this is the way to perfection: whereas filial fear, to which the beatitude of poverty corresponds, is consistent with the perfection of wisdom, as stated above (Articles ,10).
2. The undue exaltation of man either in himself or in another is more directly opposed to that submission to God which is the result of filial fear, than is external pleasure. Yet this is, in consequence, opposed to fear, since whoever fears God and is subject to Him, takes no delight in things other than God. Nevertheless, pleasure is not concerned, as exaltation is, with the arduous character of a thing which fear regards: and so the beatitude of poverty corresponds to fear directly, and the beatitude of mourning, consequently.
3. Hope denotes a movement by way of a relation of tendency to a term, whereas fear implies movement by way of a relation of withdrawal from a term: wherefore the last beatitude which is the term of spiritual perfection, fittingly corresponds to hope, by way of ultimate object; while the first beatitude, which implies withdrawal from external things which hinder submission to God, fittingly corresponds to fear.
4. As regards the fruits, it seems that those things correspond to the gift of fear, which pertain to the moderate use of temporal things or to abstinence therefrom; such are modesty, continency and chastity.
We must now consider the contrary vices; (1) despair; (2) presumption. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether despair is a sin?
(2) Whether it can be without unbelief?
(3) Whether it is the greatest of sins?
(4) Whether it arises from sloth?
Objection: 1. It would seem that despair is not a sin. For every sin includes conversion to a mutable good, together with aversion from the immutable good, as Augustine states (De Lib. Arb. ii, 19). But despair includes no conversion to a mutable good. Therefore it is not a sin.
2. Further, that which grows from a good root, seems to be no sin, because "a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit" (Mt 7,18). Now despair seems to grow from a good root, viz. fear of God, or from horror at the greatness of one's own sins. Therefore despair is not a sin.
3. Further, if despair were a sin, it would be a sin also for the damned to despair. But this is not imputed to them as their fault but as part of their damnation. Therefore neither is it imputed to wayfarers as their fault, so that it is not a sin.
On the contrary That which leads men to sin, seems not only to be a sin itself, but a source of sins. Now such is despair, for the Apostle says of certain men (Ep 4,19): "Who, despairing, have given themselves up to lasciviousness, unto the working of all uncleanness and [Vulg.: 'unto'] covetousness." Therefore despair is not only a sin but also the origin of other sins.
I answer that According to the Philosopher (Ethic. vi, 2) affirmation and negation in the intellect correspond to search and avoidance in the appetite; while truth and falsehood in the intellect correspond to good and evil in the appetite. Consequently every appetitive movement which is conformed to a true intellect, is good in itself, while every appetitive movement which is conformed to a false intellect is evil in itself and sinful. Now the true opinion of the intellect about God is that from Him comes salvation to mankind, and pardon to sinners, according to Ez 18,23, "I desire not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted, and live" [*Vulg.: 'Is it My will that a sinner should die . . . and not that he should be converted and live?' Cf. Ez 33,11]: while it is a false opinion that He refuses pardon to the repentant sinner, or that He does not turn sinners to Himself by sanctifying grace. Therefore, just as the movement of hope, which is in conformity with the true opinion, is praiseworthy and virtuous, so the contrary movement of despair, which is in conformity with the false opinion about God, is vicious and sinful.
Reply to Objection: 1. In every mortal sin there is, in some way, aversion from the immutable good, and conversion to a mutable good, but not always in the same way. Because, since the theological virtues have God for their object, the sins which are contrary to them, such as hatred of God, despair and unbelief, consist principally in aversion from the immutable good; but, consequently, they imply conversion to a mutable good, in so far as the soul that is a deserter from God, must necessarily turn to other things. Other sins, however, consist principally in conversion to a mutable good, and, consequently, in aversion from the immutable good: because the fornicator intends, not to depart from God, but to enjoy carnal pleasure, the result of which is that he departs from God.
2. A thing may grow from a virtuous root in two ways: first, directly and on the part of the virtue itself; even as an act proceeds from a habit: and in this way no sin can grow from a virtuous root, for in this sense Augustine declared (De Lib. Arb. ii, 18,19) that "no man makes evil use of virtue." Secondly, a thing proceeds from a virtue indirectly, or is occasioned by a virtue, and in this way nothing hinders a sin proceeding from a virtue: thus sometimes men pride themselves of their virtues, according to Augustine (Ep. ccxi): "Pride lies in wait for good works that they may die." In this way fear of God or horror of one's own sins may lead to despair, in so far as man makes evil use of those good things, by allowing them to be an occasion of despair.
3. The damned are outside the pale of hope on account of the impossibility of returning to happiness: hence it is not imputed to them that they hope not, but it is a part of their damnation. Even so, it would be no sin for a wayfarer to despair of obtaining that which he had no natural capacity for obtaining, or which was not due to be obtained by him; for instance, if a physician were to despair of healing some sick man, or if anyone were to despair of ever becoming rich.
Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.19 a.5