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tiæ (ovo lai). Essences, substances, or beings properly so called (essentio, substantiæ) are, in turn, divided into simple or pure essences, and essences composed of form and matter. There is but one simple essence or pure form: God. All the rest are composed of matter and form.

Matter and form are both beings (entio); they differ from each other in that form is in actu, while matter is as yet merely in potentia. In a general sense, matter is everything that can be, everything that exists in possibility. According as the possible thing is a substance or an accident, metaphysics distinguishes between materia ex qua aliquid fit (potential, substantial being, --example: the human seed is materia ex qua homo fit, a potential man) and materia in qua aliquid fit (potential accident, - example: man is materia in qua gignitur intellectus). Materia ex qua does not exist in itself; materia in qua exists as a relatively-independent subject (subjectum). The form is what gives being to a thing. According as this thing is a substance or an accident, we have to deal with a substantial form or an accidental form. The union of matter (esse in potentia) and form (esse in actu) is generatio (yiveobai), which is, in turn, substantial generation or accidental generation. All forms, God excepted, are united with matter and individualized by it, constituting genera, species, and individuals.3

Only the form of forms remains immaterial and is subject neither to generation nor decay. The more imperfect a form is, the more it tends to increase the number of individuals realizing it; the more perfect a form is, the less it multiplies its individuals. The form of forms is no longer a species composed of separate individuals, but a single being within which all differences of person are constantly merged in the unity of essence. Since God

1 Opusculum de ente et essentia. 2 Opusc. de principiis naturæ.

3 Id., c. 3.


alone is pure form (actus purus), without matter and consequently without imperfection (matter being that which does not yet exist, or the lack of being), God alone is the perfect and complete knowledge of things? He possesses absolute truth because he is absolute truth. Truth is the agreement of_thought with its object. In man, there is more or less agreement between thoughts and objects; they are, however, never identical. God's ideas not only exactly reproduce the things, they are the things themselves.. Things first erist, and then man thinks them : in God, thought precedes the things, which exist only because and as he thinks them. Hence there is no difference in him between thought and being; and, since this identity of knowledge and its object constitutes truth, God is truth itself. From the fact that he is the truth it follows that he exists; for it is not possible to deny the existence of truth; the very persons who deny it assume a reason for doing so, and thus maintain its existence.2

The demonstration of the existence of God is the first and principal task of philosophy. Philosophy could not, however, perform this task, or even have a conception of God, had not the Creator first revealed himself to man in Jesus Christ. In order that the human mind might direct its efforts towards its real goal, it was necessary for God to point it out, that is, to reveal himself to humanity at the very beginning. No philosophy is legitimate that does not take revelation for its starting-point and return to it as its final goal: it is true only when it is ancilla erclesiæ, and, in so far as Aristotle is the precursor of Christ in the scientific sphere, ancilla Aristotelis. The Church of God is the goal towards which all things tend here below,

Nature is a hierarchy in which each stage is the form of the lower stage and the matter of the higher stage. The hierarchy of bodies is completed in the natural life of man, and this life, in turn, becomes the foundation, and, in a certain measure, the material for a higher life, the spiritual life, which is developed in the shadow of the Church and nourished by its Word and its sacraments, as the natural life is nourished by the bread of the earth. The realm of nature is therefore to the realm of grace, the natural man to the Christian, philosophy to theology, matter to the sacrament, the State to the Church, and the Emperor to the Pope, what the means are to the end, the plan to the execution, the potentia to the actus.

1 Summa theologiæ, I., question 4. ? II., question 2, article 1.

The universe, which consists of the two realms of nature and of grace, is the best possible world. For God in his infinite wisdom conceived the best of worlds; he could not have created a less perfect world without detracting from his wisdom. To say that God conceived perfection and realized an imperfect world would presuppose an opposition between knowledge and will, between the ideal principle and the real principle of things, which contradicts thought as well as faith. Hence the divine will is not a will of indifference, and the freedom of God, far from being synonymous with caprice and chance, is identical with necessity.

In spite of seeming contradictions, the same is true of the human will. Just as the intellect has a principle (reason) which it cannot discard without ceasing to be itself, the will has a principle from which it cannot deviate without ceasing to be free: the good. The will necessarily tends to the good; but sensuality tends to evil and thus paralyzes the efforts of the will. Hence sin arises, which has its source, not in the freedom of indifference or of choice, but in sensnality.1 There is moral predestination, but not arbitrary predestination, for the divine will itself is subordinated to reason.

Determinism extended 1 Summa theologiæ, question 82; Contra gentiles, III.

to God loses the offensive character which it had in the theology of St. Augustine.

The system of St. Thomas marks both the climax of the development of Catholic metaphysics and the beginning of its fall. Before the days of St. Thomas, Scholastic philosophy had shown symptoms of decline; in him it shines with a light before which the most illustrious names pale. His devotion to the Church and its interests, his philosophical talents, which he employs in the service of Catholicism, and his faith in the perfect harmony between the dogma and philosophical truth as set forth in Aristotle, make him the most typical doctor of the Church after St. Augustine and St. Anselm. But his faith, ardent though it be, does not possess the strength of an unshakable conviction; it is rather a willed faith, an energetic will constantly struggling against the thousand difficulties which reflection throws in its way. From St. Thomas downwards, reason and Catholic faith, official theology and philosophy, are differentiated and become more or less clearly conscious of their respective principles and interests. Metaphysics continued, for a long time, to be subject to theology; but though dependent, it henceforth had a separate existence, a sphere of activity of its own.

Philosophy proper receives its official sanction, as it were, by the organization of the four Parisian faculties, an event which occurred during the lifetime of St. Thomas. This period marks the decline of Scholasticism. The theologians themselves, with John Duns Scotus at their head, do all they can do to hasten it.

§ 40.' Duns Scotus John Duns Scotus of Dunston (Northumberland), a monk of the order of St. Francis, professor of philosophy and theology at Oxford and Paris, was the most industri. ous among the Schoolmen. Although he died at the age of thirty-four (1308), his writings fill a dozen volumes. I

We have just seen how philosophy was officially recognized as a science distinct from theology. During the times of Duns Scotus, i.e., about the end of the thirteenth century, philosophy formed an independent science by the side of theology, and even dared to oppose the latter. The philosophers, said Duns Scotus, differ from the theologians as to whether man has any need of acquiring, by supernatural means, knowledge which his reason cannot attain by natural means. This statement not only shows the existence of a philosophy that is independent of theology, but the disagreement which has existed between philosophers and theologians ever since.

Duns Scotus, like a genuine Schoolman, occupies a position between the two camps. With the theologians he recognizes the need of revelation ; but he agrees with the philosophers that St. Augustine is wrong in assuming that man can know absolutely nothing of God without supernatural revelation. With the theologians he declares that the Bible and the teachings of the Church are the supreme norms of philosophic thought; but he is, on the other hand, a philosopher and a rationalist to the extent of believing in the authority of the Bible and of ecclesiastical tradition, only because the doctrines of the Bible and the Church conform to reason. Hence reason is, in his eyes, the highest authority, and the sacred texts have for him but a derived, conditional, and relative authority. With this as his guiding principle, he does what no Schoolman had done before him: he attempts to prove the credibility of Holy Writ, and, in choosing his arguments, he evidently gives the preference to the internal proofs.2

i Opera omnia, Lyons, 1639. For the system of Duns Scotus, see Ritter, Vol. VIII. ; [Werner, Stöckl].

? D. S. In Magistrum senórutinrum.

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