3 DECEMBER 1954, Page 31

Thomist Studies

THIRTY years ago, when the present reviewer first fell into casual acquaintance with Thomas Aquinas, what struck him was the saint's Manners. They were so free from religion. It was like listening to Plumber talk about his job or a policeman telling you how to get somewhere. Then dawned an uncanny sense, the alarming certainty that this plain talk was about the Ineffable, about God, these direc- tions—first to the right, second to the left and so forth—were giving no Prescription or exhortation but the lay-out of the divine mind, and that was why they were plain. It was no matter whether Thomas used an Aristotelian idiom or any other, he would still be saying with the same relentless, unperturbed simplicity that all movement derives from God, that the things which God has made are like „ that all things are seen by sacred doctrine under the aspect of \10d, either because they are God himself or because they have God for their beginning or end. God must contain within himself the whole perfection of existence. And this becomes instantly clear when you pick up the poker to mend the fire (Stun. Theo. 1, 4, 2). 1,You would speak truthfully of God, you must speak truthfully about things and treat them as existing, each according to its own nature, for each exists by participating in God and the particular nature of !ach thing is an active and conserving power of its own which Intends both its existence and its conservation.'

, As Mr. Fairweather says, 'Although Aquinas frequently appears ;" prove by definition" what he really does is to answer a question BY defining its elements ... according to the final view which he means to expound.' In other words the whole of this vast structure rests not upon any supposed necessities of thought but upon the cosmic act of worship. Thomas has no Shadow of a doubt that knowledge Is actual, not theoretical: there is no 'as if' even in his conception of analogy, no model-making in order to read', provisional answers ,!() specified questions. His realism is completely naive, so naive that 4 would make no difference to him what complications or mysteries men might elicit, what questions they might ask. The significant :hung for him is tint the potential is guaranteed by the actual and ;'le Actual sans phrase is God. It is in this sense that he believes

Predestination. 'To destine means to bring.' The reason why

11 rational creature is brought to eternal life must pre-exm: God since the reason why anything is advanced to its end lies in God.' 1,,t is not a question of some anthropomorphic caprice or mechanical determination, but simply that all verbs pre-suppose the verb to be.

This meant an enlargement of the critical intelligence or 'natural ;mason' so great that it seemed to his elders anarchy and to himself the human vocation, the very business of being the creature of God. Whatever the human mind is, it must be a human mind. Thus the !li!tear( of the Summa Theologica is its doctrine of God's communion ar( of of man's participation in God, and this is what has been 1,Msented to us in a clear and readable translation in this volume- 11 ,ne doctNne of God, of Grace and of Faith, Hope and Charity, set forth in terms of the verb to be. It is the completely disinterested realisation, whose joy like that of the Creator is that things should

Mr, Fairweather's admirable introduction points out the questions

Icgians discuss, sometimes inevitably with his eye on later theo- '1:-31eal discussions. He has given a full bibliography. Yet it is to „,' hoped that beyond these, the reader will 'investigate divine things' t0 be actually in the manner of Thomas, judging that 'God is said „_`' be the measure of all things, because all things have existence in