De veritate EN 114



There are two things to be considered in prophecy: the gift of prophecy itself, and the use of such a gift once received.

The gift itself of prophecy, which exists beyond the capacity of man, is given by God and not through the power of some created cause, although natural prophecy is produced in us by the power of some created cause, as has been said ear1ier.

But between the operation of a creature and that of God there is this difference, that, to bring about an effect, Godís activity does not need matter or any material disposition, for by His activity He produces not only the form but also the matter. However, He does not make the form without matter or without a disposition, but He can make matter and form together in one operation, or He can transform the matter, however unfit, to the proper disposition which is needed for the perfection which He gives. This is clear in resuscitation of a dead man, for the dead body is altogether unfit to receive the soul. Yet by the one divine action the body receives the soul and the disposition for the soul. But matter and the disposition of the matter are required for the activity of a creature, for a created power cannot make whatever it wishes from anything.

It is clear, then, that natural prophecy requires the proper disposition of the natural constitution, but the prophecy which is the gift of the Holy Spirit does not need this. However, it does require that the natural disposition which is suitable for prophecy be given will the gift of prophecy.

But the use of any prophecy is within the power of the prophet. It is in keeping will this that the first Epistle to the Corinthians (14:32) says: "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." Therefore, one can prevent himself from using prophecy. And the proper disposition is a necessary requirement for the proper use of prophecy, since the use of prophecy proceeds from the created power of the prophet. Hence, a definite disposition is also required.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Certain dispositions are unconnected will prophecy, and these are not changed in the prophet by the divine activity, but prophecy proceeds in harmony will these dispositions. For it is indifferent to prophecy, whether the thing prophesied be represented under one likeness rather than another. However, God takes away from the prophet the dispositions which oppose prophecy and gives him the dispositions which are necessary.

2. Perfection of the imagination is needed for prophecy, but it is not necessarily needed beforehand. For God Himself, who infuses the gift of prophecy, can improve the constitution of the organ of the imaginative power, as He can make blear eyes see clearly.

3. Strong passions of this sort draw the attention of reason completely to themselves and, consequently, withdraw it from the study of spiritual things. Therefore, strong passions of anger or sorrow or pleasure hinder the use of prophecy in one who has received the gift of prophecy. Thus, the unfitness of the natural constitution would be a hindrance, unless it were somehow remedied by the divine power.

4. The application of the proposed likeness is limited to this, that as grace is added to nature, so glory is added to grace. But there is no likeness in all respects, for grace merits glory, but nature does not merit grace. Therefore, the merit of grace is prerequisite for glory, but the disposition of nature is not prerequisite for the reception of grace.

5. In some sense, acquired scientific knowledge is caused by us. But it is not in our power to improve the constitution of the organs of the soul, as it is within the divine power, which infuses the gift of prophecy. So, they are not alike.

6. The gift of prophecy is dispensed by God in a most orderly way. The orderly distribution of this gift also entails conferring it at times on those who seem least disposed for it, so that it will thus be attributed to the divine power and, as the first Epistle to the Corinthians (3:29) says: "That no flesh should glory in his sight."


Parallel readings: Summa Theol., II-II, 172, 4; In Joan., C. 11, lectura 7.


It seems that it is, for

1. In Wisdom (7:27) we read: "Through prophecies [She] conveyed herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God and prophets." But only those who have moral goodness are the friends of God. As the Gospel of St. John (34:23) says: "If anyone love me, he will keep my word." Therefore, one who does not have moral goodness is not appointed a prophet.

2. Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit does not dwell in a sinner. As Wisdom (3:5) says: "For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful." Therefore, the gift of prophecy cannot exist in a sinner.

3. That which one cannot put to an evil use cannot exist in a sinner. But no one can put prophecy to an evil use for, since the act of prophecy is from the Holy Spirit, if someone put it to an evil use, sin and the Holy Spirit would be causes of the same act. And this cannot be. Therefore, prophecy cannot exist in a sinner.

4. The Philosopher says: "If prophecy through dreams comes from God, it is unfitting for Him to give it to any but the best men." But it is clear that the gift of prophecy is from God alone. Therefore, it is unfitting to say that it is given to any but the best men.

5. Plato says that it belongs to that which is best to produce what is best. But prophecy is more suitable in a good man than in a bad one. Therefore, since God is best, He will never give the gift of prophecy to evil men.

6. We find a likeness of the divine activity in the activity of nature. Hence, Dionysius compares the divine goodness to the light of the sun, because of the similarity of their effects. But natural activity gives more perfections to the things which are more disposed, as the more permeable bodies receive more light from the sun. Therefore, since the good man is more disposed to receive the gift of prophecy than the evil man, it seems that it should be given much more to good men than to evil men. But it is not given to all good men. Therefore, it should not be given to any evil man.

7. Grace is given to elevate nature. But nature should be elevated more in good men than in evil men. Therefore, the grace of prophecy should be given to good men rather than to evil men. We conclude as before.

To the Contrary:

1'. Balaam is said to have been a prophet, yet he was evil.

2í. In the Gospel of St. Matthew (7:22), this statement is the mouth of the damned: "Lord, have not we prophesied name... ?"Therefore, prophecy can exist in evil men.

3í. Whoever does not have charity is evil. But prophecy can exist in one who does not have charity, as is clear from the first Epistle to the Corinthians (33:2) which says: "And if I should have knowledge and should know all mysteries...and have not charity..." Therefore, prophecy can exist in a sinner.



Manís goodness consists in charity, through which he is united to God. Therefore, whatever can exist without charity, can be found indifferently in good men and in evil men. For the divine goodness is held in high esteem chiefly for this, that it uses both good and evil men to implement its designs. Therefore, it gives to both good and evil those gifts which do not have a necessary dependence on charity. Now, prophecy does not have any necessary connection will charity for two reasons. First, because prophecy is in the understanding and charity is in the affections. But the understanding has priority over the affections, and, thus, prophecy and the other perfections of the understanding do not depend on charity. And for this reason faith, prophecy, knowledge, and everything else of this sort can exist in good men and in evil men.

The second reason is that prophecy is given to a person for the profit of the Church and not for himself. But it does happen that someone who is not good in himself and united to God by charity can be of profit to the Church in some fashion. Thus, prophecy, the working of miracles, ecclesiastical ministries, and all the other things of this sort, which contribute to the benefit of the Church, are sometimes found apart from charity, which alone makes men good.

However, we must bear in mind that some of the sins by which charity is lost hinder the use of prophecy, and some do not. For, since sins of the flesh draw the mind entirely away from things spiritual, by the very fact that one is given to sins of the flesh he is rendered unfit for prophecy. For the mind must have supreme competence in things spiritual to have the revelation of prophecy. But spiritual sins do not to the same extent interfere will the mindís competence in spiritual things. Therefore, it happens that one who is a slave to spiritual sins, but not to those of the flesh, or even to the endless cares of this life, which withdraw the mind from its spiritual competence, can be a prophet.

And, therefore, Rabbi Moses says that entanglement in the pleasures and cares of this world is a sign that one is a false prophet. And this agrees will what we read in the Gospel of St. Matthew (7:15): "Beware of false prophets," and a little later (7:16): "By their fruits you shah know them." The Gloss on this passage reads that this must be understood of those sins "which are in plain sight," and the fore most of these are the sins of the flesh, for spiritual sins lie hidden within.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Wisdom enters the soul in two ways. In one way, it so enters that the very wisdom of God dwells in the soul. This makes the man holy and a friend of God. In the other way, it enters only in its effects. In this way it does not have to make the man holy or a friend of God. It is in this second way that it enters the minds of the evil men whom it makes prophets.

2. Although prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not given will the gift of prophecy, but only will the gift of charity. Hence, the reasoning does not follow.

3. There is never an evil use of prophecy in the sense that the act itself of prophecy, in so far as it comes from prophecy, is evil. For, when someone directs the act of prophecy toward some evil end, the act itself of prophecy is good and comes from the Holy Spirit, but the direction of that act toward an improper end does not come from the Holy Spirit, but from the perverse will of man.

4. The Philosopher intends to say that those things which are given by God depend on the will of the giver, and this will cannot be unreasonable. Hence, if the foreknowledge of the future which takes place in dreams were from God, some discrimination would appear in its infusion. But there is no discrimination there, since such divination takes place in anybody, and this shows that divination of dreams comes from nature. But we find discrimination in the gift of prophecy, for it is not given to everybody, even though they have this or that disposition, but only to those whom the divine will chooses. Nevertheless, these are not apt subjects or the best subjects simply in them selves. They are, however, apt subjects in so far as they perform the function of the prophet to the extent which the divine wisdom judges to be fitting.

5. That God is best appears in this, that He knows how to make good use not only of good men, but also of evil men. Hence, if he makes evil prophets perform the good functions of prophecy, this in no will detracts from His supreme goodness.

6. Not every good man is more fit to become a prophet than every sinner. For -some who lack charity have minds more fit to perceive spiritual things, since they are free from carnal affections and wordly cares and are gifted will a natural clarity of understanding. And, on the other hand, some who have charity are occupied will worldly business, are busy begetting children, and do not have a naturally acute understanding. Therefore, because of these and similar conditions, the gift of prophecy sometimes is given w some evil men and denied to some good men.

7. Through the grace of prophecy manís nature receives an elevation ordained not directly to the participation of glory, but to the utility of others. However, in good men, nature rather receives an elevation ordained to the obtaining of glory from the grace which makes its recipient pleasing to God. Hence, the reasoning does not follow.


Parallel readings: In Isaiam, cc. 1,6; Summa Theol., II-II, 173, I.


It seems that they do, for

1. The Gloss on Isaias (38: 1), "Take order will thy house," says: "Prophets read in the book of the foreknowledge of God, in which all things are written." But the book of the foreknowledge of God seems to be nothing else but the mirror of eternity, in which all the forms of things shine forth from eternity. Therefore, the prophets see in the mirror of eternity.

2. But it was said that the prophets are not said to read in the book of foreknowledge or see in the mirror of eternity in a material sense, as if they saw the mirror or the book itself, but in a causal sense, for their knowledge of prophecy is derived from that book or mirror.ó On the contrary, the prophets are said to see in the mirror of eternity or in the book of foreknowledge in this sense, that a kind of privileged knowledge is attributed to these prophets. But no privilege of knowledge is signified by saying that some knowledge is derived from the eternal mirror or from the book of divine foreknowledge, since all human knowledge is derived from that source, as Dionysius clearly shows. Therefore, the prophets are not said to see in the mirror of eternity in the sense that they derive knowledge from it, but in the sense that when they see the mirror itself, they see other things in it.

3. Nothing can be seen except where it is. But future contingent things, according to the unchangeable truth will which they are seen by the prophets, exist only in the divine foreknowledge. Therefore, the prophets see them only in the foreknowledge of God. Thus, we reach the same conclusions as before.

4. It was said that future contingent things are indeed in God as their source, but flow thence through certain species to the human mind, where they are seen by the prophet.óOn the contrary, whatever is received in a thing exists there according to the manner of that which receives it and not according to its own manner. But the mind of the prophet is changeable. Therefore, future contingent things cannot be received in it in their unchanging truth.

5. That which is proper to the divine knowledge can be known only in God. But to know futures is proper to God, as is clear from Isaias (41:23): "Shew the things that are to come hereafter, and we shah say that ye are gods." Therefore, future contingent things can be seen by the prophets only in God.

6. Avicenna says that sometimes the mind of man is elevated so high that it is united to the world of foreknowledge. But the human mind has its highest elevation in the knowledge of prophecy. There fore, it seems that it is so united to the world of foreknowledge that future things are seen in the very foreknowledge of God.

7. As the philosophers tell us, the end of human life is the union of manís mind will a higher world, which is the world of the intelligible substances. But it would hardly fit in will what we know if man did not reach his end. Therefore, at some time manís mind will be united will the intelligible substances, the highest of which is the divine essence, in which everything shines forth. Therefore, the prophet, who among men has the mind which receives the loftiest elevation, will have his mind united will the divine essence, which seems to be the mirror of eternity. The same conclusions follow as before.

8. If there should be two mirrors, one higher and the other lower, and the likenesses come into the lower from the higher, one who sees the species in the lower mirror is not said to see them in the higher, although his sight is in a way derived from the higher mirror. But the species of future things come into the mind of the prophet from the divine mind, as into a lower mirror from a higher mirror. There fore, the fact that the prophet sees in his own mind species received from the divine mind does not force us to say that he sees them in the divine mind, but rather in his own mind. But his own mind is not the mirror of eternity, but a mirror dependent on time. Therefore, if the prophets see only in their own minds, as has just been said, we should not say that they see in the mirror of eternity, but in a mirror which is dependent on time, although derived from the eternal mirror.

9. But it was said that someone is said to see not only in the thing illumined by the sun, but also in the sun itself, in so far as he sees by reason of the illumination of the sun.óOn the contrary, the likenesses of visible things do not exist in the sun, yet this seems w pertain to the nature of a mirror. Therefore, it seems that to see something in the sun does not mean the same as to see it in a mirror.

10. The sight by which we see God as the object of beatitude is more lofty than that by which we see Him as an intentional likeness of things, for the former makes one blessed, and the latter does not. But man living in this life can be raised up to see God as the object of beatitude by a loftier elevation, namely, that by which the mind is al together transported out of the senses, as happens in rapture. There fore, the mind of a prophet can be raised up to see the divine essence as the intentional likeness of things by a lesser elevation without rapture. Thus, the prophet can see things in the mirror of eternity.

11. The difference between the divine essence as considered in itself and as the likeness of something else, is greater than the difference between the divine essence as the likeness of one thing and as the likeness of another. For God is farther from any creature than one creature is from another. But one can see God in so far as He is the intentional likeness of one thing without seeing Him in so far as He is the likeness of something else. Otherwise, it would be necessary for all who saw God to know everything. Therefore, one can see God as the intentional likeness of some things without seeing His essence in itself. Therefore, those who do not see God through His essence can see in the mirror of eternity. And this seems especially to belong to the prophets.

12. Augustine says that the minds of some are elevated in such a manner that they look at the unchangeable intelligible natures in the highest citadel of all reality. But the minds of the prophets seem to have the most lofty elevation. Therefore, it seems that those things which they see prophetically they see in the very citadel of all reality, that is to say, in the divine essence. The same conclusion follows as before.

13. A thing can be judged only by that which is superior to it, as is clear from Augustine. But the prophets judge about the unchangeable truths of reality. Therefore, it is not possible for them to judge of these things through anything transitory and changeable, but through the unchangeable truth, which is God Himself. Thus, we reach the same conclusion as before.

To the Contrary:

1'. The Gloss on the Gospel of St. Luke (10: 24), "Many kings and prophets..."says that the prophets and just men saw the glory of God from afar, through a mirror darkly. But one who sees in the eternal foreknowledge of God does not see darkly. Therefore, prophets did not see in the divine foreknowledge, which they eau the mirror of eternity.

2í. Gregory says: "As long as we live in this mortal flesh, no one advances so far in the power of contemplation that he fixes the eyes of his mind on that incomprehensible beam of light. For we do not now see the omnipotent God in His brightness, but the soul docs ob serve something beneath that brightness. Strengthened by this sight, it advances and later reaches the glory of His sight. It was thus that the prophet Isaias (6:1), when he confessed that he had seen the Lord, said immediately: 'I saw the Lord sitting... and added: 'and the things beneath him flhied the temple, because, as has been said, when the mind advances in contemplation, it does not fix its gaze on what He is, but on that which is below Him." From this it is clear that Isaias and the other prophets did not see anything in the eternal mirror.

3í. No evil man can see in the eternal mirror, for Isaias (26: 10) says, according to a variant reading: "Let the wicked man be carried away, lest he see the glory of God." But some evil men are prophets. There fore, prophetic vision does not take place in the eternal mirror.

4í. The prophets have distinct knowledge of the things which they see prophetically. But, since the eternal mirror is entirely uniform, it does not seem to be the kind of thing in which one could perceive many things separately. Therefore, there is no prophetic sight in the eternal mirror.

5í. We do not see something in a mirror which is in contact will the sense of sight, but in a mirror which is at a distance. But the mirror of eternity is in contact will the mind of the prophet, since God is in everything by His essence. Therefore, the mind of the prophet cannot see in the eternal mirror.



Properly speaking, a mirror exists only in material things. But in spiritual things something is called a mirror in a transferred sense, because of the likeness taken from the material mirror. Thus, in spiritual things we eau that a mirror in which other things are represented, just as the forms of visible things appear in a material mirror.

Therefore, some say that the divine mind, in which all the intelligible characters of things shine forth, is a kind of mirror, and that it is called the mirror of eternity because it is eternal, inasmuch as it has eternity. Accordingly, they say that that mirror can be seen in two ways. It can be seen either through its essence, as the object of beatitude, and in this way it is seen only by those who have beatitude in its fullness or in some respect, as those in a rapture. Or it can be seen in so far as the likenesses of things are reflected in it, and in this way it is properly seen as a mirror. And they say that the mirror of eternity was seen in this way by the angels before they received beatitude, and by the prophets. But this opinion seems unreasonable on two scores.

First, these intentional likenesses of things reflected in the divine mind are not really anything different from the divine essence itself. But the likenesses and intelligible natures of this sort are distinguished in it in so far as it is related differently to different creatures. There fore, to know the divine essence and the intentional likenesses reflected in it is nothing else than to know the divine essence in itself and in relation to other things. But one knows something in itself before knowing it as related to something else. Hence, the vision by which God is seen as the intentional likeness of things presupposes that vision by which He Himself is seen as an essence, in so far as He is the object of beatitude. Thus, it is impossible for someone to see God as the species of things and not to see Him as the object of beatitude. Second, the intentional likeness of one thing is found in another in two ways. In the first way, it is there as pre-existing before the thing of which it is the likeness, and, in the second, as arising from the thing itself. Accordingly, that in which the likenesses of things appear as existing before the things cannot properly be called a mirror, but, rather, an exemplar. But that in which likenesses of things are caused by the things themselves can be called a mirror.

Accordingly, it has never been said by the saints that God is the mirror of things, because there are in God the intentional likenesses or intelligible natures of things, but that created things themselves are the mirror of God, according to the first Epistle to the Corinthians (13: 12): "We see now through a glass in a dark manner." And it is thus, too, that the Son is called the mirror of the Father, inasmuch as the species of Divinity is received in Him from the Father, according to Wisdom (7:26): "For she is the brightness of eternal light and the unspotted mirror of Godís majesty."

But when the Masters" say that the prophets see in the mirror of eternity, we should not take this to mean that they see the eternal God Himself in so far as He is the mirror of things, but that they see some thing created, in which the eternity of God is portrayed. Thus, we understand that the mirror of eternity is not itself eternal, but represents eternity. For it belongs to God to have the same certain knowledge of the future as He has of the present, as Boethius says, because His sight is measured by eternity, in which everything is simultaneous. Hence, all times and all that take place in them are present to His sight at once.

Accordingly, in so far as the knowledge of the future is reflected in the mind of the prophet from that divine sight by means of the prophetic light and through the species in which the prophet sees, those species together will the prophetic light are called the mirror of eternity, since they represent the divine sight in so far as in eternity it sees all future events as present.

Therefore, we must concede that the prophets see in the mirror of eternity, but not that they see the eternal mirror as the first set of difficulties seemed to show. Therefore, we must answer them in order.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. The metaphor which says that the prophets read in the book of fore knowledge means that the book of divine foreknowledge is a source of the knowledge of the future in the mind of the prophet, just as reading a book is the source of knowledge in the mind of the reader of the things which are written in the book. It does not mean that the prophet sees the very foreknowledge of God as one who reads a material book sees the material book.

Or we can say that the knowledge which is caused in the mind of the prophet is called the mirror of eternity, that is, something which represents eternity. Thus, it can be called the book of foreknowledge in a material sense, since the foreknowledge of God is to some extent copied in that knowledge.

2. Although all knowledge is derived from the divine foreknowledge, not all knowledge represents it in such a way that its eternity makes us see even future things as present. Hence, not any knowledge can be called a mirror of eternity. But in this we see the privileged nature of the knowledge of the prophets.

3. The intelligible natures of future contingent things exist according to unchangeable truth in the divine mind as in their source, but they flow thence to the mind of the prophet. Hence, in the revelation which he receives the prophet can have unchangeable knowledge of future things.

4. A form which is received follows the manner of the receiver in some respects, in so far as it has existence in the subject. For it is there materially or immaterially, uniformly or variably, according to the requirements of the subject receiving it. But the form which is r does in some respects draw the subject to its own mode of being, in so far as, for instance, the excellences which belong to the nature of the form are communicated to the receiving subject. For in this way the subject is perfected and ennobled through the form. And in this way the corruptible body is made immortal by reason of the glory of immortality, and similarly, by the light of unchangeable truth the mind of the prophet is raised up to see changeable things in their unchangeable truth.

5. Since knowledge of the future is proper to God, it therefore can be received only from God. Nevertheless, it is not necessary for everyone who learns the future from God to see God Himself.

6. According to that philosopher, the mind of the prophet is united to the world of the intelligences or foreknowledge, not in the sense that it sees these intelligences themselves, but in the sense that it shares in their foreknowledge from their illumination.

7. According to the faith, too, the end of human life is for man to be united will a higher world. But man reaches this end only in heaven, not in this life.

8. Although the mirror in which the prophet sees is dependent on time, it represents the eternal foreknowledge of God. And in this sense he sees in the mirror of eternity.

9. Although the sun cannot be called the mirror of visible things, visible things can in some way be called the mirror of the sun, in so far as the brightness of the sun shines in them. Thus, too, the knowledge caused in the mind of the prophet is called the mirror of eternity.

10. The sight by which God is seen as the intentional likeness of things is more perfect than that by which He is seen as the object of beatitude. For the latter presupposes the former and shows that it is more perfect. For one who can see the effects in the cause sees better than one who sees only the essence of the cause.

11. The relation by which God is referred to one creature does not presuppose the relation by which He is referred to another the way the relation by which He is referred to a creature presupposes the essence of God taken absolutely. Thus, the argument does not follow.

12. We should not apply Augustineís words to the sight of the prophets, but to the vision of the saints in heaven, or of those who, in this life, see in the manner of heaven, as Paul did when enraptured (2Co 12,1-13).

13. Prophets judge about the unchangeable truth of future events by means of uncreated truth, not because they see it, but because they are enlightened by it.

Answers to Contrary Difficulties:

We concede the reasons to the contrary in so far as they state that the prophets do not see the eternal God Himself, although they do see in the mirror of eternity, as we have said. But the last two arguments do not conclude correctly, for, although there is complete uniformity in God, nevertheless, in Him things can be known distinctly inasmuch as He is the proper exemplar of each one. Similarly, although mirror is transferred from material to spiritual things, in this transfer we do not apply all the conditions of the material mirror, so that all of these conditions have to be found in the spiritual mirror. Rather, we take it only according to the act of representing.


Parallel readings: I Cor., c. 84, Iect. 1; 4 Isaiam, I; Summa Theol., II-II, 173, 2.


It seems that Fie imprints only intellectual light without the species, for

1. The Gloss on the first Epistle to the Corinthians (14:2): says that one is called prophet because of intellectual sight alone. But intellectual sight does not refer to things through likenesses of the things, but through their very essences, as is said in the same Gloss.2 There fore, in prophetic sight no species are imprinted on the mind of the prophet.

2. Our understanding abstracts from m and material conditions. If, therefore, in the intellectual sight which constitutes prophecy some likenesses are produced, those likenesse will not be involved will matter or material conditions. Therefore, through them the prophet will not be able to know particular things, but only universals.

3. Prophets have in their minds so species of those things which are revealed to them. Thus, Jeremias, who prophesied the burning of Jerusalem, had in his soul a species of that city received from sense, and, similarly, he had a species of fire burning, which he had frequently seen. If, then, other species of the same things are imprinted by God on the mind of the prophet, it follows that there would be in the same subject two forms will the same specific nature. But this is incorrect.

4. The sight by which one sees the divine essence is more powerful than the sight by which one sees the species of anything else whatever. But the sight by which one sees the divine essence is not enough to acquire knowledge of all things whatever. Otherwise those who saw the divine essence would see everything. Therefore, no matter what species are imprinted on the mind of the prophet, they will not be able to cause the prophet to know reality.

5. It is not necessary for the divine action to produce in the prophet that which anyone can do of his own power. But through the power of imagination, which joins and divides the images received from things, anyone can form in his mind the species of anything whatever. Therefore, it is not necessary for the species of things to be impressed by God on the soul of the prophet.

6. Nature works through the shortest way possible; much more so does God, whose works have even better order. But the shorter way is to bring the prophet to some knowledge of things by means of the species which are in his soul, rather than by other newly imprinted species. Therefore, it does not seem that any species are imprinted anew.

7. The gloss of Jerome on Amos (1:2) reads: "Prophets use likenesses of things will which they are familiar." But this would not be if their visions took place through newly imprinted species. There fore, no new species, but only the prophetic light, is imprinted on the soul of the prophet.

To the Contrary:

1'. It is not through light, but through a species of something visible, that sight receives the determination to know some definite visible object. Likewise, it is not through the light of the agent intellect, but through an intelligible species, that the possible intellect receives the determination to know intelligible objects. Therefore, since the knowledge of the prophet receives a determination to some things which he did not know before, it seems that the infusion of light will out the impression of species is not sufficient.

2'. Dionysius says: "It is impossible for the divine radiance to shine on us unless it is shrouded will a variety of sacred veils." But for him figures are veils. Therefore, intelligible light is showered on the prophet only will figurative likenesses.

3í. The infusion of light is uniform in all the prophets. But not all the prophets receive uniform knowledge, since some prophesy of the present, some of the past, and some of the future, as Gregory says. Therefore, there is not only the infusion of prophetic light but the impression of certain species by which the knowledge of the various prophets is distinguished.

4í. The prophet receives the prophetic revelation through internal speech made to him by God or by an angel. This is clear to anyone who looks at the writings of all the prophets. But all speech takes place through some signs. Therefore, prophetic revelation takes place through some likenesses.

5í. The sight of the imagination and of the understanding are higher than bodily sight. But when bodily sight takes place supernaturally, a new bodily species is shown to the eyes of the one who sees, as is evident in the case of the hand of one writing on the wall which appeared to Baltassar (Da 5,5). Therefore, it is much more necessary for new species to be imprinted on the sight of the imagination and the understanding when these take place supernaturally.

De veritate EN 114