De veritate EN 107



Through the light of reason implanted in him and without the help of anotherís instruction, one can undoubtedly acquire knowledge of many things which he does not know. This is clear will all those who acquire knowledge through discovery. Thus, in some sense one can be a cause of his own knowledge, but he cannot be called his own teacher or be said to teach himself.

For in physical reality we find two types of active principles, as is clear from the Philosopher. Now, there is one type of agent which has within itself everything which it produces in the effect, and it has these perfections in the same way as the effect, as happens in univocal agents, or in a higher way than the effect, as in equivocal causes. Then, there is a certain type of agent in which there pre-exists only a part of the effect. An example of this type is a movement which causes health, or some warm medicine, in which warmth exists either actually or virtually. But warmth is not complete health, but a part of it. The first type of agent, therefore, possesses the complete nature of action. But those of the second type do not, for a thing acts in so far as it is in act. Hence, since it actually contains the effect to be produced only partially, it is not an agent in the perfect sense.

But teaching implies the perfect activity of knowledge in the teacher or master. Hence, the teacher or master must have the knowledge which he causes in another explicitly and perfectly, as it is to be received in the one who is learning through instruction. When, how ever, knowledge is acquired by someone through an internal principle, that which is the active cause of the knowledge has the knowledge to be acquired only partially, that is, in the seminal principles of knowledge, which are the general principles. Therefore, properly speaking, we cannot call a man teacher or master because of such causality.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Although to some extent the agent intellect is more the principal cause than anotherís teaching, the knowledge does not pre-exist in it completely, as it does in the teacher. Hence, the argument does not follow.

2. A like solution should be given to the second difficulty.

3. God knows explicitly everything which man is taught by Him. Hence, the character of teacher can suitably be applied to God. The case is not the same will the agent intellect, for the reason already given.

4. For the one learning a science, to learn it by discovery is the more perfect way of acquiring the knowledge, because it shows that he is more skilful in the acquisition of knowledge. However, for the one causing the knowledge, it is more perfect to cause it by means of instruction. For a teacher who knows the whole science explicitly can teach it to a pupil more readily than the pupil himself could learn it from his own rather general knowledge of the principles of the science.

5. A law has the same relation to matters of action as a principle has to speculative matters, but not the same as a teacher. Consequently, if he is a law unto himself, it does not follow that he can be his own teacher.

6. A doctor heals in so far as he has health, not actually, but in the knowledge of his art. But the teacher teaches in so far as he has knowledge actually. Hence, he who does not have health actually can cause health in himself because he has health in the knowledge of his art. However, it is impossible for one actually to have knowledge and not to have it, in such a way that he could teach himself



Parallel readings: II Sentences 9,2, ad Contra Gentiles III, 81; Quodibet IX, 4, 10; Summa Theol., III, 1; Q. D. de malo, 16, 12.


It seems that he cannot, for

1. If an angel teaches, he teaches either from within or from without. But he does not teach from within, for only God can do that, Augustine says. Nor can he teach from without, as it seems, for to teach from without is to teach by means of some sensible signs, as Augustine also says. But angels do not teach us through sensible signs of this sort, unless, perhaps, they appear in a sensible form. Therefore, they do not teach us unless they so appear, an occurrence which is outside the ordinary course of nature, through a miracle, as it were.

2. It was said that angels teach us from without in some manner, inasmuch as they make an impression on our imagination.óOn the contrary, a species impressed on the imagination does not suffice for actually imagining unless an intention is present, as is clear from what Augustine says. But an angel cannot bring about an intention in us, since intention is an act of will, on which only God can make an impression. Therefore, an angel cannot teach us even by making an impression on our imagination, since we cannot be taught by means of our imagination unless we actually imagine something.

3. If we are taught by angels who do not appear to us in sensible form, this can happen only if they enlighten our understanding, which, it seems, they cannot do. For they do not give it the natural light, which, since it is concreated along will the mi, is from God alone, nor the light of grace, which only God infuses. Therefore, angels can not teach us unless they appear in visible form.

4. Whenever anyone is taught by another, the learner must examine the concepts of the teacher, so that in this way the pupilís mind may reach science through the same reasoning process which the teacherís mind uses. But a man cannot see the concepts of an angel. For he does not see them in themselves, just as he does not see the concepts of an other man. In fact, he sees them much less since they are more unlike his own. Nor, again, does he see them in sensible signs, unless perhaps when the angels appear in sensible form, a possibility which we are not now considering. Therefore, angels are unable to teach us in any other way [that is, except by appearance in sensible form].

5. To teach us is the task of Him who "enlightens every man who comes into this world," as appears in the Gloss on Matthew (23:8): "One is your master Christ." But this does not refer to an angel, but only to the uncreated light, as is clear from John (1:9). Therefore.

6. Whoever teaches another leads him to the truth, and so causes truth in his soul. But only God causes truth, for, since truth is an intelligible light and a simple form, it does not come into existence gradually, and so can be produced only through creation, which is attributed to God alone. Since, therefore, angels are not creators, as Damascene says, it seems that they cannot teach.

7. An unfailing illumination can come only from an unfailing source of light, since the subject ceases to be illuminated when the light leaves. But an unfailing illumination is needed in teaching, for scientific knowledge concerns necessary things, which always exist. There fore, teaching comes only from an unfailing light. But the light of angels is not of this kind, since their light fails unless it is divinely conserved. Therefore, an angel cannot teach.

8. In John (1:38), when Jesus asked: "What seek you?" the two disciples of John answered: "Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?" On this the Gloss reads: "They showed their faith by this name." Another gloss reads that He asked them not because He did not know, but that they might gain merit by their reply. And when He asked what they sought, they told Him a person, not a thing. From all this we gather that in that answer they confessed that He was a person and showed their faith by this confession. In doing this they gained merit. But the Christian faith is worthy of merit because we acknowledge that Christ is a divine Person. Therefore, to be a teacher pertains only to a divine Person.

9. Whoever teaches must disclose the truth. But, since truth is an intelligible light, it is better known to us than an angel is. Therefore, we are not taught by an angel, since that which is better known is not communicated through that which is less well known.

10. Augustine says: "Our mind is formed immediately by God will out the interposition of any creature." But an angel is a creature and, so, in the formation of the human mind does not stand between God and the human mind, as something higher than the mind and lower than God. Thus, man cannot be taught by an angel.

11. As our affections reach God Himself, so our understanding can attain to the contemplation of His essence. But God himself forms our affections directly through the infusion of grace without the mediation of an angel. Therefore, He also forms our understanding through instruction without an intermediary.

12. All knowledge takes place through some species. Therefore, if an angel is to teach a man, he has to cause in him some species through which the man will know. But he can do this only by creating the species (and an angel has no power at all to do this, as Damascene intends or by illuminating the species which are in the phantasms, so that intelligible species may result from these in the human possible intellect. This latter seems to be a return to the error of those philosophers who make a separated substance of the agent intellect, whose task it is to illuminate the phantasms. Thus, an angel cannot teach.

13. The intellect of an angel differs more from manís intellect than the human intellect differs from the human imagination. But the imagination cannot receive that which is in the human intellect. For the imagination can receive only particular forms, such as the intellect does not contain. Therefore, the human intellect, also, is unable to receive those forms which are in the angelic mind. And thus, man cannot be taught through an angel.

14. The light by which something is enlightened should be proportioned to the things which are illumined, as physical light is proportioned to colors. But, since angelic light is purely spiritual, there is no proportion between it and our phantasms, which are in some sense physical, inasmuch as they are retained in a bodily organ. Therefore, angels cannot teach us by illuminating our phantasms, as has been said.

15. Everything which is known is known either through its essence or through some likeness. But an angel cannot cause the knowledge through which the human mind knows things through their essence. For thus, the virtues and other things which are contained in the soul would have to be imprinted by angels, since such things are known through their essence. Similarly, angels cannot cause the knowledge of those things which are known through their likenesses, since the things to be known are closer to these likenesses which are in the knower than an angel is. Therefore, an angel can in no way cause knowledge in a man, and this is to teach.

16. As Augustine clearly shows, a farmer is not called a creator even though he stimulates nature from without to produce natural effects. For equal reason, angels ought not be called teachers or masters, although they stimulate the understanding of man to acquire knowledge.

17. Since an angel is superior to man, if he teaches, his instruction must be better than human instruction. But this cannot be, for man can teach about those things which have determinate causes in nature. But angels cannot teach him about other things, such as future contingents, for the natural knowledge of the angels themselves does not extend to these things, since God alone knows such future events. Therefore, angels cannot teach men.

To the Contrary:

1'. Dionysius says: "I see that angels were first taught the divine mystery of the humanity of Christ, and then through them the gift of knowledge came down to us."

2í. A higher agent can do what a lower agent can, and much more nobly, as is clear from Dionysius. But the human order is lower than the angelic order. Therefore, since one man can teach another, an angel can do this will much greater reason.

3í. The order of divine wisdom exists more perfectly in spiritual substances than in bodily substances. But it is part of the order of lower bodies that they receive their perfections as the result of the influence of higher bodies. Therefore, lower spirits also, namely, human spirits, receive their perfection from the influence of higher spirits, that is to say, angels.

4'. Everything which is in potentiality can be developed to actuality through that which is in actuality; and that which is less in actuality can be developed through that which is more completely in actuality. But the angelic intellect is more in actuality than the human intellect. Therefore, the human intellect can be developed to the actuality of knowledge through the angelic intellect. And thus an angel can teach man.

5'. Augustine says that some receive the doctrine of salvation directly from God, some from an angel, and some from man. There fore, not only God but angels and men teach.

6í. That which shines its light, as the sun, and one who opens a window which obstructed the light, are both said to illuminate the house. But, although only God infuses the light of truth into the mind, an angel or a man can remove something which prevented perception of light. Therefore, not only God but an angel or a man can teach.



An angel influences a man in two ways. In one way the action follows our way of acting, when, for instance, an angel appears to man in a sensible form, cither taking on a body or in some other way, and instructs the man by means of sensible speech. We are not now investigating angelic teaching of this sort, for in this way an angel teaches no differently than a man does. The other way in which an angel influences us is the angelic way of acting, that is, invisibly. The purpose of this investigation is to find out how man can be taught in this way by an angel.

We must bear in mind that, since an angel is between God and man, due order requires that he should have an intermediate mode of teaching, lower than Godís but higher than manís. We can see in what sense this is true only if we see how God teaches and how man teaches.

To show this we must bear in mind that there is this difference between understanding and bodily sight, namely, that, for the purposes of knowing, all the objects of bodily sight are equally near to it. For a sense is not a power which compares, so that it has to reach one of its objects by means of another. But, for the purposes of knowing, all intelligible things are not equally near to the intellect. Rather, some can be seen immediately, and some can be seen only by examining other principles. Therefore, man gains knowledge of things he does not know through two things: intellectual light and self-evident primary concepts. The latter have the same relation to the intellectual light of the agent intellect as tools to the craftsman.

Now, God in a most excellent way causes manís knowledge in both of these ways. For Fie adorned the soul itself will intellectual light and imprinted on it the concepts of the first principles, which are, as it were, the sciences in embryo, just as Fie impressed on other physical things the seminal principles for producing all their effects.

But, since in the order of nature each man shares equally in the specific nature of intellectual light, he cannot in any way be the cause of knowledge in another by causing or increasing that light in him. But he does in a sense cause knowledge in another man as regards the new knowledge which is caused by self-evident principles. He does this, not as one who gives knowledge of the principles, but as one who shows certain sensible signs to the external senses, and thus brings into actuality that which was contained in the principles implicitly and in a certain sense in potentiality, as was said above.

But, since by nature an angel has intellectual light more perfectly than man, he can cause man to know in both ways, in a manner lower than God, but higher than man. For, as regards the light, although he cannot infuse the intellectual light, as God does, he can strengthen the infused light to make man see more perfectly. For that which is imperfect in a given genus has its power intensified when it is brought in contact will that which is more perfect in that genus. Thus, in bodies, we see that the body which is given position is strengthened by the body giving it position, which is related to it as actuality to potentiality, as is said in the Physics.

As regards principles, coo, an angel can teach a man, not, it is true, by giving him knowledge of the principles, as God does, nor by pro posing to him under sensible signs the manner in which the conclusions are deduced from the principles, as man does, but by forming in his imagination certain species which can be formed by stimulating the corporeal organ. This is clearly what happens will persons sleeping and will the insane, who experience different phantasms according to the diversity of vapors which rise to the head. And in this way, by means of contact will another spirit, it is possible for an angel to use images of this sort to show what he himself knows to the person will whom he has come in contact, as Augustine says.

Answers to Difficulties:

2. An angel who teaches invisibly teaches interiorly, it is true, in comparison will the instruction of a man who proposes his instruction to the external senses. But in comparison will the teaching of God, who works within the mind by infusing light, the teaching of an angel is classed as external.

2. Although an intention of the will cannot be forced, still an intention of the sensitive part can be forced. For just as, when someone is pricked, he has to pay attention (intendere)to the hurt, so, too, will all the other sensitive powers which use a bodily organ. And this attention (intentio) is enough for the imagination.

3. An angel does not infuse the light of grace or the light of nature, but strengthens the divinely infused light of nature, as has been said.

4. As in physical things there is an univocal agent, which imprints a form in the same way it has it, and an equivocal agent, which has it in a way different from that in which it imprints it, so also in teaching. For one man teaches another as a kind of univocal agent, and thus communicates knowledge to the other in the same way that he himself has it, by proceeding from causes to the effects. It is for this reason that the concepts of the teacher must be conveyed to the learner through some signs. But an angel teaches as a kind of equivocal cause, for he knows intuitively that which man learns through a process of reasoning. Hence, an angel does not teach a man in such a way that the concepts of the angel are disclosed to the man, but the result is rather this, that the man is made to know in his own way those things which the angel knows in a far different way.

5. Our Lord is speaking of that kind of teaching which befits God alone, as is clear from the Gloss on this passage. 'We do not ascribe this kind of teaching to an angel.

6. He who teaches does not cause the truth, but knowledge of the truth, in the learner. For the propositions which are taught are true before they are known, since truth does not depend on our knowledge of it, but on the existence of things.

7. Although the knowledge which we get through teaching may be concerned will things that do not cease to be, the knowledge itself can cease to be. Hence, it is not necessary for the illumination of teaching to come from an unfailing light. Or, if it is from an unfailing light as its first principle, this does not entirely exclude a created light capable of failing, from being able to exist as a mediate principle.

8. A certain progression in faith appears in the disciples of Christ, so that at first they respected Him as a will man and a teacher, and later listened to Him as God teaching them. Hence, a gloss a little further on says: "Since NathanaŽl knew that Christ, though absent, saw what he had done in another place, which is a sign of the God head, he acknowledged that Christ was not only a teacher, but also the Son of God."

9. An angel does not make an unknown truth appear by manifesting its own substance, but by proposing another truth better known, or by strengthening the light of the understanding. Hence, the argument does not follow.

10. It is not Augustineís intention to say that the nature of the angelic mind is not more excellent than that of the human mind, but that angels are not between God and the human mind in such a way that the human mind receives the ultimate form of its perfection by being united to an angel, as some have held. They say that the final beatitude of man consists in this, that our understanding is united to an intelligence whose beatitude is union will God Himself.

11. There are in us some powers which are constrained by their subject and object, as the sensitive powers, which are stimulated both by excitation of the organ and by the strength of their object. But our understanding is not constrained by its subject, since it does not use a bodily organ. Rather, it is constrained by its object, because the effectiveness of a demonstration forces one to assent to a conclusion. However, the affections are constrained neither by their subject nor their object, but move toward one thing or another by reason of their own inclination. Hence, only God, who acts interiorly, can make an impression on the affections. But a man or an angel can, to a certain extent, make an impression on our understanding by representing to the mind the objects by which our understanding is constrained.

12. An angel does not create the species in our mind nor directly illuminate the phantasms. But our understanding can more effectively enlighten phantasms when an angelic light is united to the light of our understanding. Even if an angel did immediately illuminate the phantasms, it still would not follow from this that the opinion of those philosophers would be true. For, although it is the task of the agent intellect to illuminate the phantasms, it could still be said that this is not a function which belongs to it alone.

13. The imagination can receive those things which are in the human understanding, but in a different manner. Similarly, the human under standing in its own manner can receive those things which are in the angelic understanding. But, although the human understanding is more like the imagination by reason of their common subject in so far as both are powers of the one soul, it is more like the angelic intellect by reason of their common genus, for both are immaterial powers.

14. There is nothing to prevent something spiritual from being capable of exercising an influence on something physical, for nothing pre vents things which are lower from being acted upon by things which are higher.

15. An angel is not the cause of manís knowledge in so far as a man knows things through their essence, but in so far as he knows things through their likenesses. This does not mean that an angel is closer to things than their likenesses are, but that he makes the likenesses of things appear in the mind either by moving the imagination or strengthening the light of understanding.

i 6. To create implies first causality, which belongs to God alone; to make implies causality in general; to teach implies the same general causality will reference to knowledge. Thus, only God is called Creator, but God, angels, and men can be called makers and teachers.

17. Just as an angel knows more than man, even about those things which have determinate causes in nature, so he can teach more than man. And the things which an angel does teach he can teach in a more excellent way. Hence, the argument does not follow.


Parallel readings: III Sentences 35, I, 3, sol. s, ad Summa Theol., IIóII, j8i, 3; Contra retrahentes a religionis ingressu, C. 7, ad 7.


It seems to be an activity of the contemplative life, for 1. "There is no active life where there is no body," as Gregory says. But there is teaching where there is no body, for even angels, who have no bodies, teach, as has been said. Therefore, it seems that teaching pertains to the contemplative life.

2. Gregory says: "One engages in the active life in order to arrive at the contemplative later." But teaching does not precede contemplation, but follows it. Therefore, teaching does not pertain to the active life.

3. Gregory also says that the active life "sees less while it is engaged in work." But one who teaches must of necessity see more than one who simply contemplates. Therefore, teaching pertains more to the contemplative than to the active life.

4. It is the same perfection which makes each thing perfect in itself and enables it to give others a perfection like its own. Thus it is by reason of one and the same warmth that fire itself is warm and gives warmth to other things. But oneís own perfection in meditation on things of God belongs to the contemplative life. Therefore, teaching, which is the communication of this same perfection to another, belongs to the contemplative life.

5. The active life is occupied will temporal th But teaching is occupied mainly will things eternal, for the teaching of these latter is more excellent and more perfect. Therefore, teaching does not pertain to the active, but to the contemplative life.

To the Contrary:

1'. Gregory says: "The active life consists in giving bread to the hungry, and in teaching the ignorant the word of wisdom."

2í. The works of mercy are part of the active life. But teaching is counted among the spiritual works of mercy. Therefore, it is part of the active life.



The contemplative and the active life are distinguished from each other by their subject matter and that to which they are ordained. For the subject matter of the active life is temporal affairs, will which human acts are concerned. But the intelligible natures of things, on which the one contemplating meditates, are the subject matter of the Contemplative life. This diversity of subject matter arises from a diversity of the end to be attained, just as in all other things the requirements of the end to be attained prescribe certain conditions in the subject matter.

For the end toward which the contemplative life, as we are now examining it, is ordained is the consideration of truth, of that truth, I say, which is uncreated, considered in the manner possible to the one contemplating it. 'We see this truth imperfectly in this life, but perfectly in the life to come. Hence, Gregory says that the contemplative life begins here in order to be made perfect in the life to come. But the end toward which the active life is directed is the activity which is directed to the help of our neighbour.

Moreover, in the act of teaching we find a twofold subject matter, and as an indication of this, two accusatives are used as objects of the verb which expresses the act of teaching. This is so because the subject which one teaches is one kind of subject matter of teaching, and the one to whom the knowledge is communicated is another type of subject of teaching. Accordingly, by reason of the former, teaching pertains to the contemplative life, but by reason of the latter it is part of the active life. But, if we consider the end toward which it is directed, teaching seems to be a part only of the active life, because its last subject matter, in which it reaches the end proposed to it, is a subject will which the active life is concerned. Therefore, although it is in some sense a function of the contemplative life, as is clear from what has been said, it is more properly a work of the active than of the contemplative life.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. There is no active life where there is no body, inasmuch as toil is connected will its exercise, and inasmuch as it relieves the infirmities of our neighbours. It is in this sense that Gregory says: "The active life is laborious because it works in the sweat of its brow; two things which will not be in the future life." Nevertheless, there is still hierarchical activity among the heavenly spirits, as Dionysius says, and the manner of the activity is different from the active life which we now lead in this life. Hence, the teaching which will exist there is far different from the teaching here.

2. As Gregory says: "Just as the good disposal of our life leads us to try to pass from the active life to the contemplative, in like manner the minds of many can usefully turn back from the contemplative to the active life so that the name which the contemplative life has en kindled in their minds may lead them to live the active life more perfectly." Still, we must bear in mind that the active life precedes the contemplative in regard to those acts which have a subject matter in which the contemplative life has no part at all, but the active life must follow the contemplative in those acts which receive their subject matter from the contemplative life.

3. The insight of the teacher is a source of teaching, but teaching itself consists more in the communication of the things seen than in the vision of them. Hence, the insight of the teacher belongs more to action than to contemplation.

4. This argument proves that the contemplative life is a source of teaching just as heat is the source of the act of warming, and is not itself that activity. For we see that the contemplative life is the source of the active life in so far as it directs it, just as, conversely, the active life disposes for the contemplative.

5. The solution is clear from what has been said, for teaching and the contemplative life have the first type of subject matter in common, as has been said above.

QUESTION 12: Prophecy


Parallel readings: Quodibet XII, 17, 26; Contra Gentiles III, 154; 1 Cor., c. 14, lectura 6; Q. D. de pot., 6,4; Summa Theol., I-II, 68, 3, ad 3; II-II, 171, 2 176, 2, ad 3.


It seems that it is not a habit, for

1. As the Commentator says, a habit is that by which one performs an activity when he wants to. But the prophet cannot make use of prophecy when he wants to, as is clear of Eliseus in the fourth Book of Kings (3: 14, 15), who, on being questioned by the king, could not give him an answer without calling the minstrel, so that the hand of the Lord might come upon him. Therefore, prophecy is not a habit.

2. Whoever has a cognitive habit can consider the subject matter of that habit without receiving anything from another. For one who needs an instructor for this does not yet have the habit. But a prophet cannot examine the subject matter of prophecy unless each event is revealed to him. Hence, in the fourth Book of Kings (4:27) Eliseus said of the woman whose son was dead: "Her soul is in anguish, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and bath not told me." Therefore, prophecy is not a cognitive habit. Nor can it be a different habit, for prophecy belongs to cognition.

3. It was said that the prophet needs a habit to be able to know those things which are divinely shown him.óOn the contrary, divine speech is more efficacious than human speech. But no habit is needed for one to understand from human speech that something will take place. Therefore, there seems much less need of a habit to perceive the revelation by which God speaks to the prophet.

4. A habit suffices for the knowledge of the whole subject matter of that habit. But by the gift of prophecy one is not taught everything that can be prophesied. For, as Gregory says and proves by examples: "Sometimes the spirit of prophecy inspires the mind of the one prophesying for present events and not at all for the future, and sometimes touches it for the future and not for the present." Therefore, the gift of prophecy is not a habit.

5. It was said that the subject matter of the gift of prophecy is not everything which can be prophesied but only that for the revelation of which the gift is given.óOn the contrary, an inpouring can be limited only by that which gives it or by that which receives it. But the one receiving the inpouring of the gift of prophecy imposes no limitation to prevent it from extending to everything which can be prophesied, for the human intellect is capable of knowing all that can be prophesied. Nor is it limited by the one who gives it, for His liberality is infinite. Therefore, the gift of prophecy extends to everything which can be prophesied.

6. The affective part of the soul is so constituted that the one influx of grace frees the soul from all guilt. Therefore, the intellective part, also, is such that the influx of the one light of prophecy will cleanse the soul from all ignorance of things that can be prophesied.

7. A freely given habit is more perfect than an acquired habit. But an acquired habit extends to many acts. Therefore, if prophecy is a freely given habit, it, too, will extend not to only one of the things which can be prophesied, but to all of them.

8. If we had one habit for each conclusion, those habits would not be joined together in the habit of one complete science, unless the conclusions had some connection in so far as they are deduced from the same principles. But future contingents of this sort and other things which prophecy concerns, do not have any interconnection, as the conclusions of a single science have. Therefore, it follows that, if prophecy is a habit, and if the gift of prophecy extends to only one of the things prophesied, there will be in one prophet as many habits of prophecy as there are things which he knows can be prophesied.

9. It was said that the habit of prophecy, once infused, extends to all that can be prophesied, but still a new revelation is needed to disclose certain species. On the contrary, the infused habit of prophecy ought to be more perfect than the habit of an acquired science, and the prophetic light ought to be more perfect than the natural light of the agent intellect. But will the power of the light of the agent intellect and will the habit of a science, plus the added assistance of the power of imagination, we can form as many species as we need for the actual consideration of those things to which the habit extends. Therefore, if a prophet has a habit, he can do this much more readily without a new disclosure of any species.

10. As the Gloss reads: "Prophecy is a divine inspiration, which announces the outcomes of things will immutable truth." But inspiration does not signify a habit, but an act. Therefore, prophecy is not a habit.

11. According to the Philosopher, seeing is a kind of passivity. Therefore, sight is a passive operation. But prophecy is a kind of sight, for, according to the first Book of Kings (9:9): "He that is now called a prophet, in times past was called a seer." Therefore, prophecy is not habit, but rather a passive operation.

12. According to the Philosopher, a habit is "a quality which is hard to change." But prophecy is easily changed, since it does not remain in the prophet at all times but only now and then. As the Gloss on Amos (7:14), "I am not a prophet," says: "The spirit does not give prophecy to the prophets at all times, but only now and then. And when they are enlightened, they are rightly called prophets." Gregory also says: "Sometimes the spirit of prophecy fails prophets and it is not always at the service of their minds, for, when they do not have it, they know that it is a gift when they do have it." Therefore, prophecy is not a habit.

To the Contrary:

1'. According to the Philosopher, there are three things in the soul: powers, habits, and passive operations. But prophecy is not a power, for, then, everyone would be a prophet, since the powers of the soul are common to all. Similarly, it is not a passive operation, for they exist only in the sensitive part of the soul, as is said in the Physics. There fore, it is a habit.

2í. Everything which is known is known through some habit. But the prophet knows the things which he declares; he does not know them, however, by reason of a natural or an acquired habit. Therefore, he knows them by some infused habit, which we call prophecy.

3í. If prophecy is not a habit, this is so only because the prophet can not see everything else which can be prophesied, unless he receives a new inspiration. But this does not prevent it from being a habit, for one who has a habit of common principles cannot consider the particular conclusions of some particular science unless he receives in addition some habit of the particular science. Therefore, there is nothing to prevent prophecy from being a common habit, which still demands a new revelation for the knowledge of the individual things to be prophesied.

4í. Faith is the habit of everything which must be believed, yet one who has the habit of faith does not immediately have distinct knowledge of each matter of belief, but needs instruction to know the articles of faith distinctly. Therefore, although prophecy is a habit, there still is need of divine revelation, as a kind of speech, for the prophet to know distinctly what is to be prophesied.

De veritate EN 107