OF THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL, CALLED THE NEW LAW,
CONSIDERED IN ITSELF (In Four Articles)
In proper sequence we have to consider now the Law of the Gospel which
is called the New Law: and in the first place we must consider it in itself;
secondly, in comparison with the Old Law; thirdly, we shall treat of those
things that are contained in the New Law. Under the first head there are
four points of inquiry:
(1) What kind of law is it? i.e. Is it a written law or is it instilled in the
(2) Of its efficacy, i.e. does it justify?
(3) Of its beginning: should it have been given at the beginning of the
(4) Of its end: i.e. whether it will last until the end, or will another law take
its place? ______________________
FIRST ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 106, Art. 1]
Whether the New Law Is a Written Law?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law is a written law. For the New
Law is just the same as the Gospel. But the Gospel is set forth in writing,
according to John 20:31: "But these are written that you may believe."
Therefore the New Law is a written law.
Obj. 2: Further, the law that is instilled in the heart is the natural law,
according to Rom. 2:14, 15: "(The Gentiles) do by nature those things that
are of the law . . . who have [Vulg.: 'show'] the work of the law written in
their hearts." If therefore the law of the Gospel were instilled in our hearts,
it would not be distinct from the law of nature.
Obj. 3: Further, the law of the Gospel is proper to those who are in the
state of the New Testament. But the law that is instilled in the heart is
common to those who are in the New Testament and to those who are in the
Old Testament: for it is written (Wis. 7:27) that Divine Wisdom "through
nations conveyeth herself into holy souls, she maketh the friends of God
and prophets." Therefore the New Law is not instilled in our hearts.
On the contrary, The New Law is the law of the New Testament. But the law
of the New Testament is instilled in our hearts. For the Apostle, quoting the
authority of Jeremiah 31:31, 33: "Behold the days shall come, saith the
Lord; and I will perfect unto the house of Israel, and unto the house of
Judah, a new testament," says, explaining what this statement is (Heb. 8:8,
10): "For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel . . .
giving [Vulg.: 'I will give'] My laws into their mind, and in their heart
will I write them." Therefore the New Law is instilled in our hearts.
I answer that, "Each thing appears to be that which preponderates in it," as
the Philosopher states (Ethic. ix, 8). Now that which is preponderant in the
law of the New Testament, and whereon all its efficacy is based, is the
grace of the Holy Ghost, which is given through faith in Christ.
Consequently the New Law is chiefly the grace itself of the Holy Ghost,
which is given to those who believe in Christ. This is manifestly stated by
the Apostle who says (Rom. 3:27): "Where is . . . thy boasting? It is
excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith": for he calls
the grace itself of faith "a law." And still more clearly it is written (Rom.
8:2): "The law of the spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from
the law of sin and of death." Hence Augustine says (De Spir. et Lit. xxiv)
that "as the law of deeds was written on tables of stone, so is the law of
faith inscribed on the hearts of the faithful": and elsewhere, in the same
book (xxi): "What else are the Divine laws written by God Himself on our
hearts, but the very presence of His Holy Spirit?"
Nevertheless the New Law contains certain things that dispose us to receive
the grace of the Holy Ghost, and pertaining to the use of that grace: such
things are of secondary importance, so to speak, in the New Law; and the
faithful need to be instructed concerning them, both by word and writing,
both as to what they should believe and as to what they should do.
Consequently we must say that the New Law is in the first place a law that
is inscribed on our hearts, but that secondarily it is a written law.
Reply Obj. 1: The Gospel writings contain only such things as pertain to
the grace of the Holy Ghost, either by disposing us thereto, or by directing
us to the use thereof. Thus with regard to the intellect, the Gospel contains
certain matters pertaining to the manifestation of Christ's Godhead or
humanity, which dispose us by means of faith through which we receive the
grace of the Holy Ghost: and with regard to the affections, it contains
matters touching the contempt of the world, whereby man is rendered fit to
receive the grace of the Holy Ghost: for "the world," i.e. worldly men,
"cannot receive" the Holy Ghost (John 14:17). As to the use of spiritual
grace, this consists in works of virtue to which the writings of the New
Testament exhort men in divers ways.
Reply Obj. 2: There are two ways in which a thing may be instilled into
man. First, through being part of his nature, and thus the natural law is
instilled into man. Secondly, a thing is instilled into man by being, as it
were, added on to his nature by a gift of grace. In this way the New Law is
instilled into man, not only by indicating to him what he should do, but also
by helping him to accomplish it.
Reply Obj. 3: No man ever had the grace of the Holy Ghost except through
faith in Christ either explicit or implicit: and by faith in Christ man belongs
to the New Testament. Consequently whoever had the law of grace instilled
into them belonged to the New Testament. ______________________
SECOND ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 106, Art. 2]
Whether the New Law Justifies?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law does not justify. For no man
is justified unless he obeys God's law, according to Heb. 5:9: "He," i.e.
Christ, "became to all that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." But
the Gospel does not always cause men to believe in it: for it is written
(Rom. 10:16): "All do not obey the Gospel." Therefore the New Law does
Obj. 2: Further, the Apostle proves in his epistle to the Romans that the Old
Law did not justify, because transgression increased at its advent: for it is
stated (Rom. 4:15): "The Law worketh wrath: for where there is no law,
neither is there transgression." But much more did the New Law increase
transgression: since he who sins after the giving of the New Law deserves
greater punishment, according to Heb. 10:28, 29: "A man making void the
Law of Moses dieth without any mercy under two or three witnesses. How
much more, do you think, he deserveth worse punishments, who hath
trodden underfoot the Son of God," etc.? Therefore the New Law, like the
Old Law, does not justify.
Obj. 3: Further, justification is an effect proper to God, according to Rom.
8:33: "God that justifieth." But the Old Law was from God just as the New
Law. Therefore the New Law does not justify any more than the Old Law.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Rom. 1:16): "I am not ashamed of the
Gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that
believeth." But there is no salvation but to those who are justified.
Therefore the Law of the Gospel justifies.
I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), there is a twofold element in the Law
of the Gospel. There is the chief element, viz. the grace of the Holy Ghost
bestowed inwardly. And as to this, the New Law justifies. Hence Augustine
says (De Spir. et Lit. xvii): "There," i.e. in the Old Testament, "the Law was
set forth in an outward fashion, that the ungodly might be afraid"; "here,"
i.e. in the New Testament, "it is given in an inward manner, that they may
be justified." The other element of the Evangelical Law is secondary:
namely, the teachings of faith, and those commandments which direct
human affections and human actions. And as to this, the New Law does not
justify. Hence the Apostle says (2 Cor. 3:6) "The letter killeth, but the spirit
quickeneth": and Augustine explains this (De Spir. et Lit. xiv, xvii) by
saying that the letter denotes any writing external to man, even that of the
moral precepts such as are contained in the Gospel. Wherefore the letter,
even of the Gospel would kill, unless there were the inward presence of the
healing grace of faith.
Reply Obj. 1: This argument holds true of the New Law, not as to its
principal, but as to its secondary element: i.e. as to the dogmas and
precepts outwardly put before man either in words or in writing.
Reply Obj. 2: Although the grace of the New Testament helps man to avoid
sin, yet it does not so confirm man in good that he cannot sin: for this
belongs to the state of glory. Hence if a man sin after receiving the grace of
the New Testament, he deserves greater punishment, as being ungrateful
for greater benefits, and as not using the help given to him. And this is why
the New Law is not said to "work wrath": because as far as it is concerned
it gives man sufficient help to avoid sin.
Reply Obj. 3: The same God gave both the New and the Old Law, but in
different ways. For He gave the Old Law written on tables of stone:
whereas He gave the New Law written "in the fleshly tables of the heart,"
as the Apostle expresses it (2 Cor. 3:3). Wherefore, as Augustine says (De
Spir. et Lit. xviii), "the Apostle calls this letter which is written outside man,
a ministration of death and a ministration of condemnation: whereas he
calls the other letter, i.e. the Law of the New Testament, the ministration of
the spirit and the ministration of justice: because through the gift of the
Spirit we work justice, and are delivered from the condemnation due to
THIRD ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 106, Art. 3]
Whether the New Law Should Have Been Given from the Beginning of the
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law should have been given from
the beginning of the world. "For there is no respect of persons with God"
(Rom. 2:11). But "all" men "have sinned and do need the glory of God"
(Rom. 3:23). Therefore the Law of the Gospel should have been given from
the beginning of the world, in order that it might bring succor to all.
Obj. 2: Further, as men dwell in various places, so do they live in various
times. But God, "Who will have all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4),
commanded the Gospel to be preached in all places, as may be seen in the
last chapters of Matthew and Mark. Therefore the Law of the Gospel
should have been at hand for all times, so as to be given from the beginning
of the world.
Obj. 3: Further, man needs to save his soul, which is for all eternity, more
than to save his body, which is a temporal matter. But God provided man
from the beginning of the world with things that are necessary for the
health of his body, by subjecting to his power whatever was created for the
sake of man (Gen. 1:26-29). Therefore the New Law also, which is very
necessary for the health of the soul, should have been given to man from
the beginning of the world.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (1 Cor. 15:46): "That was not first which
is spiritual, but that which is natural." But the New Law is highly spiritual.
Therefore it was not fitting for it to be given from the beginning of the
I answer that, Three reasons may be assigned why it was not fitting for the
New Law to be given from the beginning of the world. The first is because
the New Law, as stated above (A. 1), consists chiefly in the grace of the
Holy Ghost: which it behoved not to be given abundantly until sin, which is
an obstacle to grace, had been cast out of man through the accomplishment
of his redemption by Christ: wherefore it is written (John 7:39): "As yet the
Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." This reason the
Apostle states clearly (Rom. 8:2, seqq.) where, after speaking of "the Law
of the Spirit of life," he adds: "God sending His own Son, in the likeness of
sinful flesh, of sin* hath condemned sin in the flesh, that the justification of
the Law might be fulfilled in us." [*St. Thomas, quoting perhaps from
memory, omits the "et" (and), after "sinful flesh." The text quoted should
read thus: "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and a sin offering (peri
hamartias), hath," etc.]
A second reason may be taken from the perfection of the New Law. Because
a thing is not brought to perfection at once from the outset, but through an
orderly succession of time; thus one is at first a boy, and then a man. And
this reason is stated by the Apostle (Gal. 3:24, 25): "The Law was our
pedagogue in Christ that we might be justified by faith. But after the faith is
come, we are no longer under a pedagogue."
The third reason is found in the fact that the New Law is the law of grace:
wherefore it behoved man first of all to be left to himself under the state of
the Old Law, so that through falling into sin, he might realize his weakness,
and acknowledge his need of grace. This reason is set down by the Apostle
(Rom. 5:20): "The Law entered in, that sin might abound: and when sin
abounded grace did more abound."
Reply Obj. 1: Mankind on account of the sin of our first parents deserved to
be deprived of the aid of grace: and so "from whom it is withheld it is justly
withheld, and to whom it is given, it is mercifully given," as Augustine
states (De Perfect. Justit. iv) [*Cf. Ep. ccvii; De Pecc. Mer. et Rem. ii, 19].
Consequently it does not follow that there is respect of persons with God,
from the fact that He did not offer the Law of grace to all from the
beginning of the world, which Law was to be published in due course of
time, as stated above.
Reply Obj. 2: The state of mankind does not vary according to diversity of
place, but according to succession of time. Hence the New Law avails for
all places, but not for all times: although at all times there have been some
persons belonging to the New Testament, as stated above (A. 1, ad 3).
Reply Obj. 3: Things pertaining to the health of the body are of service to
man as regards his nature, which sin does not destroy: whereas things
pertaining to the health of the soul are ordained to grace, which is forfeit
through sin. Consequently the comparison will not hold.
FOURTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 106, Art. 4]
Whether the New Law Will Last Till the End of the World?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law will not last until the end of
the world. Because, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:10), "when that which is
perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." But the New Law
is "in part," since the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:9): "We know in part and we
prophesy in part." Therefore the New Law is to be done away, and will be
succeeded by a more perfect state.
Obj. 2: Further, Our Lord (John 16:13) promised His disciples the
knowledge of all truth when the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, should come.
But the Church knows not yet all truth in the state of the New Testament.
Therefore we must look forward to another state, wherein all truth will be
revealed by the Holy Ghost.
Obj. 3: Further, just as the Father is distinct from the Son and the Son from
the Father, so is the Holy Ghost distinct from the Father and the Son. But
there was a state corresponding with the Person of the Father, viz. the state
of the Old Law, wherein men were intent on begetting children: and
likewise there is a state corresponding to the Person of the Son: viz. the
state of the New Law, wherein the clergy who are intent on wisdom (which
is appropriated to the Son) hold a prominent place. Therefore there will be
a third state corresponding to the Holy Ghost, wherein spiritual men will
hold the first place.
Obj. 4: Further, Our Lord said (Matt. 24:14): "This Gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in the whole world . . . and then shall the consummation
come." But the Gospel of Christ is already preached throughout the whole
world: and yet the consummation has not yet come. Therefore the Gospel of
Christ is not the Gospel of the kingdom, but another Gospel, that of the
Holy Ghost, is to come yet, like unto another Law.
On the contrary, Our Lord said (Matt. 24:34): "I say to you that this
generation shall not pass till all (these) things be done": which passage
Chrysostom (Hom. lxxvii) explains as referring to "the generation of those
that believe in Christ." Therefore the state of those who believe in Christ
will last until the consummation of the world.
I answer that, The state of the world may change in two ways. In one way,
according to a change of law: and thus no other state will succeed this
state of the New Law. Because the state of the New Law succeeded the state
of the Old Law, as a more perfect law a less perfect one. Now no state of
the present life can be more perfect that the state of the New Law: since
nothing can approach nearer to the last end than that which is the
immediate cause of our being brought to the last end. But the New Law
does this: wherefore the Apostle says (Heb. 10:19-22): "Having therefore,
brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the blood of
Christ, a new . . . way which He hath dedicated for us . . . let us draw
near." Therefore no state of the present life can be more perfect than that of
the New Law, since the nearer a thing is to the last end the more perfect it
In another way the state of mankind may change according as man stands
in relation to one and the same law more or less perfectly. And thus the
state of the Old Law underwent frequent changes, since at times the laws
were very well kept, and at other times were altogether unheeded. Thus,
too, the state of the New Law is subject to change with regard to various
places, times, and persons, according as the grace of the Holy Ghost dwells
in man more or less perfectly. Nevertheless we are not to look forward to a
state wherein man is to possess the grace of the Holy Ghost more perfectly
than he has possessed it hitherto, especially the apostles who "received the
firstfruits of the Spirit, i.e. sooner and more abundantly than others," as a
gloss expounds on Rom. 8:23.
Reply Obj. 1: As Dionysius says (Eccl. Hier. v), there is a threefold state of
mankind; the first was under the Old Law; the second is that of the New
Law; the third will take place not in this life, but in heaven. But as the first
state is figurative and imperfect in comparison with the state of the Gospel;
so is the present state figurative and imperfect in comparison with the
heavenly state, with the advent of which the present state will be done away
as expressed in that very passage (1 Cor. 13:12): "We see now through a
glass in a dark manner; but then face to face."
Reply Obj. 2: As Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix, 31), Montanus and
Priscilla pretended that Our Lord's promise to give the Holy Ghost was
fulfilled, not in the apostles, but in themselves. In like manner the
Manicheans maintained that it was fulfilled in Manes whom they held to be
the Paraclete. Hence none of the above received the Acts of the Apostles,
where it is clearly shown that the aforesaid promise was fulfilled in the
apostles: just as Our Lord promised them a second time (Acts 1:5): "You
shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence": which we
read as having been fulfilled in Acts 2. However, these foolish notions are
refuted by the statement (John 7:39) that "as yet the Spirit was not given,
because Jesus was not yet glorified"; from which we gather that the Holy
Ghost was given as soon as Christ was glorified in His Resurrection and
Ascension. Moreover, this puts out of court the senseless idea that the Holy
Ghost is to be expected to come at some other time.
Now the Holy Ghost taught the apostles all truth in respect of matters
necessary for salvation; those things, to wit, that we are bound to believe
and to do. But He did not teach them about all future events: for this did
not regard them according to Acts 1:7: "It is not for you to know the times
or moments which the Father hath put in His own power."
Reply Obj. 3: The Old Law corresponded not only to the Father, but also to
the Son: because Christ was foreshadowed in the Old Law. Hence Our
Lord said (John 5:46): "If you did believe Moses, you would perhaps
believe me also; for he wrote of Me." In like manner the New Law
corresponds not only to Christ, but also to the Holy Ghost; according to
Rom. 8:2: "The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," etc. Hence we are
not to look forward to another law corresponding to the Holy Ghost.
Reply Obj. 4: Since Christ said at the very outset of the preaching of the
Gospel: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17), it is most absurd
to say that the Gospel of Christ is not the Gospel of the kingdom. But the
preaching of the Gospel of Christ may be understood in two ways. First, as
denoting the spreading abroad of the knowledge of Christ: and thus the
Gospel was preached throughout the world even at the time of the apostles,
as Chrysostom states (Hom. lxxv in Matth.). And in this sense the words
that follow--"and then shall the consummation come," refer to the
destruction of Jerusalem, of which He was speaking literally. Secondly, the
preaching of the Gospel may be understood as extending throughout the
world and producing its full effect, so that, to wit, the Church would be
founded in every nation. And in these sense, as Augustine writes to
Hesychius (Epist. cxcix), the Gospel is not preached to the whole world yet,
but, when it is, the consummation of the world will come.
OF THE NEW LAW AS COMPARED WITH THE OLD (In Four Articles)
We must now consider the New Law as compared with the Old: under
which head there are four points of inquiry:
(1) Whether the New Law is distinct from the Old Law?
(2) Whether the New Law fulfils the Old?
(3) Whether the New Law is contained in the Old?
(4) Which is the more burdensome, the New or the Old Law?
FIRST ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 107, Art. 1]
Whether the New Law Is Distinct from the Old Law?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law is not distinct from the Old.
Because both these laws were given to those who believe in God: since
"without faith it is impossible to please God," according to Heb. 11:6. But
the faith of olden times and of nowadays is the same, as the gloss says on
Matt. 21:9. Therefore the law is the same also.
Obj. 2: Further, Augustine says (Contra Adamant. Manich. discip. xvii)
that "there is little difference between the Law and Gospel" [*The 'little
difference' refers to the Latin words 'timor' and 'amor']--"fear and love."
But the New and Old Laws cannot be differentiated in respect of these two
things: since even the Old Law comprised precepts of charity: "Thou shalt
love thy neighbor" (Lev. 19:18), and: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God"
(Deut. 6:5). In like manner neither can they differ according to the other
difference which Augustine assigns (Contra Faust. iv, 2), viz. that "the Old
Testament contained temporal promises, whereas the New Testament
contains spiritual and eternal promises": since even the New Testament
contains temporal promises, according to Mk. 10:30: He shall receive "a
hundred times as much . . . in this time, houses and brethren," etc.: while in
the Old Testament they hoped in promises spiritual and eternal, according
to Heb. 11:16: "But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly
country," which is said of the patriarchs. Therefore it seems that the New
Law is not distinct from the Old.
Obj. 3: Further, the Apostle seems to distinguish both laws by calling the
Old Law "a law of works," and the New Law "a law of faith" (Rom. 3:27).
But the Old Law was also a law of faith, according to Heb. 11:39: "All
were [Vulg.: 'All these being'] approved by the testimony of faith," which
he says of the fathers of the Old Testament. In like manner the New Law is
a law of works: since it is written (Matt. 5:44): "Do good to them that hate
you"; and (Luke 22:19): "Do this for a commemoration of Me." Therefore
the New Law is not distinct from the Old.
On the contrary, the Apostle says (Heb. 7:12): "The priesthood being
translated it is necessary that a translation also be made of the Law." But
the priesthood of the New Testament is distinct from that of the Old, as the
Apostle shows in the same place. Therefore the Law is also distinct.
I answer that, As stated above (Q. 90, A. 2; Q. 91, A. 4), every law ordains
human conduct to some end. Now things ordained to an end may be divided
in two ways, considered from the point of view of the end. First, through
being ordained to different ends: and this difference will be specific,
especially if such ends are proximate. Secondly, by reason of being closely
or remotely connected with the end. Thus it is clear that movements differ
in species through being directed to different terms: while according as one
part of a movement is nearer to the term than another part, the difference
of perfect and imperfect movement is assessed.
Accordingly then two laws may be distinguished from one another in two
ways. First, through being altogether diverse, from the fact that they are
ordained to diverse ends: thus a state-law ordained to democratic
government, would differ specifically from a law ordained to government
by the aristocracy. Secondly, two laws may be distinguished from one
another, through one of them being more closely connected with the end,
and the other more remotely: thus in one and the same state there is one
law enjoined on men of mature age, who can forthwith accomplish that
which pertains to the common good; and another law regulating the
education of children who need to be taught how they are to achieve manly
deeds later on.
We must therefore say that, according to the first way, the New Law is not
distinct from the Old Law: because they both have the same end, namely,
man's subjection to God; and there is but one God of the New and of the
Old Testament, according to Rom. 3:30: "It is one God that justifieth
circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith." According to the
second way, the New Law is distinct from the Old Law: because the Old
Law is like a pedagogue of children, as the Apostle says (Gal. 3:24),
whereas the New Law is the law of perfection, since it is the law of charity,
of which the Apostle says (Col. 3:14) that it is "the bond of perfection."
Reply Obj. 1: The unity of faith under both Testaments witnesses to the
unity of end: for it has been stated above (Q. 62, A. 2) that the object of the
theological virtues, among which is faith, is the last end. Yet faith had a
different state in the Old and in the New Law: since what they believed as
future, we believe as fact.
Reply Obj. 2: All the differences assigned between the Old and New Laws
are gathered from their relative perfection and imperfection. For the
precepts of every law prescribe acts of virtue. Now the imperfect, who as
yet are not possessed of a virtuous habit, are directed in one way to
perform virtuous acts, while those who are perfected by the possession of
virtuous habits are directed in another way. For those who as yet are not
endowed with virtuous habits, are directed to the performance of virtuous
acts by reason of some outward cause: for instance, by the threat of
punishment, or the promise of some extrinsic rewards, such as honor,
riches, or the like. Hence the Old Law, which was given to men who were
imperfect, that is, who had not yet received spiritual grace, was called the
"law of fear," inasmuch as it induced men to observe its commandments by
threatening them with penalties; and is spoken of as containing temporal
promises. On the other hand, those who are possessed of virtue, are
inclined to do virtuous deeds through love of virtue, not on account of some
extrinsic punishment or reward. Hence the New Law which derives its
pre-eminence from the spiritual grace instilled into our hearts, is called the
"Law of love": and it is described as containing spiritual and eternal
promises, which are objects of the virtues, chiefly of charity. Accordingly
such persons are inclined of themselves to those objects, not as to
something foreign but as to something of their own. For this reason, too,
the Old Law is described as "restraining the hand, not the will" [*Peter
Lombard, Sent. iii, D, 40]; since when a man refrains from some sins
through fear of being punished, his will does not shrink simply from sin, as
does the will of a man who refrains from sin through love of righteousness:
and hence the New Law, which is the Law of love, is said to restrain the
Nevertheless there were some in the state of the Old Testament who, having
charity and the grace of the Holy Ghost, looked chiefly to spiritual and
eternal promises: and in this respect they belonged to the New Law. In like
manner in the New Testament there are some carnal men who have not yet
attained to the perfection of the New Law; and these it was necessary, even
under the New Testament, to lead to virtuous action by the fear of
punishment and by temporal promises.
But although the Old Law contained precepts of charity, nevertheless it did
not confer the Holy Ghost by Whom "charity . . . is spread abroad in our
hearts" (Rom. 5:5).
Reply Obj. 3: As stated above (Q. 106, AA. 1, 2), the New Law is called the
law of faith, in so far as its pre-eminence is derived from that very grace
which is given inwardly to believers, and for this reason is called the grace
of faith. Nevertheless it consists secondarily in certain deeds, moral and
sacramental: but the New Law does not consist chiefly in these latter
things, as did the Old Law. As to those under the Old Testament who
through faith were acceptable to God, in this respect they belonged to the
New Testament: for they were not justified except through faith in Christ,
Who is the Author of the New Testament. Hence of Moses the Apostle says
(Heb. 11:26) that he esteemed "the reproach of Christ greater riches than
the treasure of the Egyptians." ______________________
SECOND ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 107, Art. 2]
Whether the New Law Fulfils the Old?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law does not fulfil the Old.
Because to fulfil and to void are contrary. But the New Law voids or
excludes the observances of the Old Law: for the Apostle says (Gal. 5:2):
"If you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." Therefore the New
Law is not a fulfilment of the Old.
Obj. 2: Further, one contrary is not the fulfilment of another. But Our Lord
propounded in the New Law precepts that were contrary to precepts of the
Old Law. For we read (Matt. 5:27-32): "You have heard that it was said to
them of old: . . . 'Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill
of divorce. But I say to you that whosoever shall put away his wife . . .
maketh her to commit adultery.'" Furthermore, the same evidently applies
to the prohibition against swearing, against retaliation, and against hating
one's enemies. In like manner Our Lord seems to have done away with the
precepts of the Old Law relating to the different kinds of foods (Matt.
15:11): "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man: but what
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." Therefore the New Law is not
a fulfilment of the Old.
Obj. 3: Further, whoever acts against a law does not fulfil the law. But
Christ in certain cases acted against the Law. For He touched the leper
(Matt. 8:3), which was contrary to the Law. Likewise He seems to have
frequently broken the sabbath; since the Jews used to say of Him (John
9:16): "This man is not of God, who keepeth not the sabbath." Therefore
Christ did not fulfil the Law: and so the New Law given by Christ is not a
fulfilment of the Old.
Obj. 4: Further, the Old Law contained precepts, moral, ceremonial, and
judicial, as stated above (Q. 99, A. 4). But Our Lord (Matt. 5) fulfilled the
Law in some respects, but without mentioning the judicial and ceremonial
precepts. Therefore it seems that the New Law is not a complete fulfilment
of the Old.
On the contrary, Our Lord said (Matt. 5:17): "I am not come to destroy, but
to fulfil": and went on to say (Matt. 5:18): "One jot or one tittle shall not
pass of the Law till all be fulfilled."
I answer that, As stated above (A. 1), the New Law is compared to the Old
as the perfect to the imperfect. Now everything perfect fulfils that which is
lacking in the imperfect. And accordingly the New Law fulfils the Old by
supplying that which was lacking in the Old Law.
Now two things in the Old Law offer themselves to our consideration: viz.,
the end, and the precepts contained in the Law.
Now the end of every law is to make men righteous and virtuous, as was
stated above (Q. 92, A. 1): and consequently the end of the Old Law was
the justification of men. The Law, however, could not accomplish this: but
foreshadowed it by certain ceremonial actions, and promised it in words.
And in this respect, the New Law fulfils the Old by justifying men through
the power of Christ's Passion. This is what the Apostle says (Rom. 8:3, 4):
"What the Law could not do . . . God sending His own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh . . . hath condemned sin in the flesh, that the justification of the
Law might be fulfilled in us." And in this respect, the New Law gives what
the Old Law promised, according to 2 Cor. 1:20: "Whatever are the
promises of God, in Him," i.e. in Christ, "they are 'Yea'." [*The Douay
version reads thus: "All the promises of God are in Him, 'It is'."] Again, in
this respect, it also fulfils what the Old Law foreshadowed. Hence it is
written (Col. 2:17) concerning the ceremonial precepts that they were "a
shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ"; in other words, the
reality is found in Christ. Wherefore the New Law is called the law of
reality; whereas the Old Law is called the law of shadow or of figure.
Now Christ fulfilled the precepts of the Old Law both in His works and in
His doctrine. In His works, because He was willing to be circumcised and
to fulfil the other legal observances, which were binding for the time being;
according to Gal. 4:4: "Made under the Law." In His doctrine He fulfilled
the precepts of the Law in three ways. First, by explaining the true sense of
the Law. This is clear in the case of murder and adultery, the prohibition of
which the Scribes and Pharisees thought to refer only to the exterior act:
wherefore Our Lord fulfilled the Law by showing that the prohibition
extended also to the interior acts of sins. Secondly, Our Lord fulfilled the
precepts of the Law by prescribing the safest way of complying with the
statutes of the Old Law. Thus the Old Law forbade perjury: and this is
more safely avoided, by abstaining altogether from swearing, save in cases
of urgency. Thirdly, Our Lord fulfilled the precepts of the Law, by adding
some counsels of perfection: this is clearly seen in Matt. 19:21, where Our
Lord said to the man who affirmed that he had kept all the precepts of the
Old Law: "One thing is wanting to thee: If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell
whatsoever thou hast," etc. [*St. Thomas combines Matt. 19:21 with Mk.
Reply Obj. 1: The New Law does not void observance of the Old Law
except in the point of ceremonial precepts, as stated above (Q. 103, AA. 3,
4). Now the latter were figurative of something to come. Wherefore from
the very fact that the ceremonial precepts were fulfilled when those things
were accomplished which they foreshadowed, it follows that they are no
longer to be observed: for if they were to be observed, this would mean that
something is still to be accomplished and is not yet fulfilled. Thus the
promise of a future gift holds no longer when it has been fulfilled by the
presentation of the gift. In this way the legal ceremonies are abolished by
Reply Obj. 2: As Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix, 26), those precepts of
Our Lord are not contrary to the precepts of the Old Law. For what Our
Lord commanded about a man not putting away his wife, is not contrary to
what the Law prescribed. "For the Law did not say: 'Let him that wills, put
his wife away': the contrary of which would be not to put her away. On the
contrary, the Law was unwilling that a man should put away his wife, since
it prescribed a delay, so that excessive eagerness for divorce might cease
through being weakened during the writing of the bill. Hence Our Lord, in
order to impress the fact that a wife ought not easily to be put away,
allowed no exception save in the case of fornication." The same applies to
the prohibition about swearing, as stated above. The same is also clear
with respect to the prohibition of retaliation. For the Law fixed a limit to
revenge, by forbidding men to seek vengeance unreasonably: whereas Our
Lord deprived them of vengeance more completely by commanding them to
abstain from it altogether. With regard to the hatred of one's enemies, He
dispelled the false interpretation of the Pharisees, by admonishing us to
hate, not the person, but his sin. As to discriminating between various
foods, which was a ceremonial matter, Our Lord did not forbid this to be
observed: but He showed that no foods are naturally unclean, but only in
token of something else, as stated above (Q. 102, A. 6, ad 1).
Reply Obj. 3: It was forbidden by the Law to touch a leper; because by
doing so, man incurred a certain uncleanness of irregularity, as also by
touching the dead, as stated above (Q. 102, A. 5, ad 4). But Our Lord, Who
healed the leper, could not contract an uncleanness. By those things which
He did on the sabbath, He did not break the sabbath in reality, as the
Master Himself shows in the Gospel: both because He worked miracles by
His Divine power, which is ever active among things; and because His
works were concerned with the salvation of man, while the Pharisees were
concerned for the well-being of animals even on the sabbath; and again
because on account of urgency He excused His disciples for gathering the
ears of corn on the sabbath. But He did seem to break the sabbath
according to the superstitious interpretation of the Pharisees, who thought
that man ought to abstain from doing even works of kindness on the
sabbath; which was contrary to the intention of the Law.
Reply Obj. 4: The reason why the ceremonial precepts of the Law are not
mentioned in Matt. 5 is because, as stated above (ad 1), their observance
was abolished by their fulfilment. But of the judicial precepts He mentioned
that of retaliation: so that what He said about it should refer to all the
others. With regard to this precept, He taught that the intention of the Law
was that retaliation should be sought out of love of justice, and not as a
punishment out of revengeful spite, which He forbade, admonishing man to
be ready to suffer yet greater insults; and this remains still in the New Law.
THIRD ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 107, Art. 3]
Whether the New Law Is Contained in the Old?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law is not contained in the Old.
Because the New Law consists chiefly in faith: wherefore it is called the
"law of faith" (Rom. 3:27). But many points of faith are set forth in the New
Law, which are not contained in the Old. Therefore the New Law is not
contained in the Old.
Obj. 2: Further, a gloss says on Matt. 5:19, "He that shall break one of
these least commandments," that the lesser commandments are those of the
Law, and the greater commandments, those contained in the Gospel. Now
the greater cannot be contained in the lesser. Therefore the New Law is not
contained in the Old.
Obj. 3: Further, who holds the container holds the contents. If, therefore,
the New Law is contained in the Old, it follows that whoever had the Old
Law had the New: so that it was superfluous to give men a New Law when
once they had the Old. Therefore the New Law is not contained in the Old.
On the contrary, As expressed in Ezech. 1:16, there was "a wheel in the
midst of a wheel," i.e. "the New Testament within the Old," according to
I answer that, One thing may be contained in another in two ways. First,
actually; as a located thing is in a place. Secondly, virtually; as an effect in
its cause, or as the complement in that which is incomplete; thus a genus
contains its species, and a seed contains the whole tree, virtually. It is in
this way that the New Law is contained in the Old: for it has been stated (A.
1) that the New Law is compared to the Old as perfect to imperfect. Hence
Chrysostom, expounding Mk. 4:28, "The earth of itself bringeth forth fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, afterwards the full corn in the ear," expresses
himself as follows: "He brought forth first the blade, i.e. the Law of Nature;
then the ear, i.e. the Law of Moses; lastly, the full corn, i.e. the Law of the
Gospel." Hence then the New Law is in the Old as the corn in the ear.
Reply Obj. 1: Whatsoever is set down in the New Testament explicitly and
openly as a point of faith, is contained in the Old Testament as a matter of
belief, but implicitly, under a figure. And accordingly, even as to those
things which we are bound to believe, the New Law is contained in the Old.
Reply Obj. 2: The precepts of the New Law are said to be greater than
those of the Old Law, in the point of their being set forth explicitly. But as
to the substance itself of the precepts of the New Testament, they are all
contained in the Old. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix, 23, 28) that
"nearly all Our Lord's admonitions or precepts, where He expressed
Himself by saying: 'But I say unto you,' are to be found also in those
ancient books. Yet, since they thought that murder was only the slaying of
the human body, Our Lord declared to them that every wicked impulse to
hurt our brother is to be looked on as a kind of murder." And it is in the
point of declarations of this kind that the precepts of the New Law are said
to be greater than those of the Old. Nothing, however, prevents the greater
from being contained in the lesser virtually; just as a tree is contained in
Reply Obj. 3: What is set forth implicitly needs to be declared explicitly.
Hence after the publishing of the Old Law, a New Law also had to be given.
FOURTH ARTICLE [I-II, Q. 107, Art. 4]
Whether the New Law Is More Burdensome Than the Old?
Objection 1: It would seem that the New Law is more burdensome than the
Old. For Chrysostom (Opus Imp. in Matth., Hom. x [*The work of an
unknown author]) say: "The commandments given to Moses are easy to
obey: Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not commit adultery: but the
commandments of Christ are difficult to accomplish, for instance: Thou
shalt not give way to anger, or to lust." Therefore the New Law is more
burdensome than the Old.
Obj. 2: Further, it is easier to make use of earthly prosperity than to suffer
tribulations. But in the Old Testament observance of the Law was followed
by temporal prosperity, as may be gathered from Deut. 28:1-14; whereas
many kinds of trouble ensue to those who observe the New Law, as stated in
2 Cor. 6:4-10: "Let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much
patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses," etc. Therefore the
New Law is more burdensome than the Old.
Obj. 3: The more one has to do, the more difficult it is. But the New Law is
something added to the Old. For the Old Law forbade perjury, while the
New Law proscribed even swearing: the Old Law forbade a man to cast off
his wife without a bill of divorce, while the New Law forbade divorce
altogether; as is clearly stated in Matt. 5:31, seqq., according to
Augustine's expounding. Therefore the New Law is more burdensome than
On the contrary, It is written (Matt. 11:28): "Come to Me, all you that labor
and are burdened": which words are expounded by Hilary thus: "He calls
to Himself all those that labor under the difficulty of observing the Law,
and are burdened with the sins of this world." And further on He says of the
yoke of the Gospel: "For My yoke is sweet and My burden light." Therefore
the New Law is a lighter burden than the Old.
I answer that, A twofold difficulty may attach to works of virtue with which
the precepts of the Law are concerned. One is on the part of the outward
works, which of themselves are, in a way, difficult and burdensome. And in
this respect the Old Law is a much heavier burden than the New: since the
Old Law by its numerous ceremonies prescribed many more outward acts
than the New Law, which, in the teaching of Christ and the apostles, added
very few precepts to those of the natural law; although afterwards some
were added, through being instituted by the holy Fathers. Even in these
Augustine says that moderation should be observed, lest good conduct
should become a burden to the faithful. For he says in reply to the queries
of Januarius (Ep. lv) that, "whereas God in His mercy wished religion to be
a free service rendered by the public solemnization of a small number of
most manifest sacraments, certain persons make it a slave's burden; so
much so that the state of the Jews who were subject to the sacraments of the
Law, and not to the presumptuous devices of man, was more tolerable."
The other difficulty attaches to works of virtue as to interior acts: for
instance, that a virtuous deed be done with promptitude and pleasure. It is
this difficulty that virtue solves: because to act thus is difficult for a man
without virtue: but through virtue it becomes easy for him. In this respect
the precepts of the New Law are more burdensome than those of the Old;
because the New Law prohibits certain interior movements of the soul,
which were not expressly forbidden in the Old Law in all cases, although
they were forbidden in some, without, however, any punishment being
attached to the prohibition. Now this is very difficult to a man without
virtue: thus even the Philosopher states (Ethic. v, 9) that it is easy to do
what a righteous man does; but that to do it in the same way, viz. with
pleasure and promptitude, is difficult to a man who is not righteous.
Accordingly we read also (1 John 5:3) that "His commandments are not
heavy": which words Augustine expounds by saying that "they are not
heavy to the man that loveth; whereas they are a burden to him that loveth
Reply Obj. 1: The passage quoted speaks expressly of the difficulty of the
New Law as to the deliberate curbing of interior movements.
Reply Obj. 2: The tribulations suffered by those who observe the New Law
are not imposed by the Law itself. Moreover they are easily borne, on
account of the love in which the same Law consists: since, as Augustine
says (De Verb. Dom., Serm. lxx), "love makes light and nothing of things
that seem arduous and beyond our power."
Reply Obj. 3: The object of these additions to the precepts of the Old Law
was to render it easier to do what it prescribed, as Augustine states [*De
Serm. Dom. in Monte i, 17, 21; xix, 23, 26]. Accordingly this does not
prove that the New Law is more burdensome, but rather that it is a lighter