Of God and His Creatures

That the End of the Divine Law is the Love of God

THE main intention of the divine law is that man should adhere to God; and man adheres to God chiefly by love. There are two powers whereby man may cleave to God, his understanding and his will. By the lower faculties of his soul man cannot cleave to God, but adheres to lower things. Now the adhesion that is of the understanding is completed by that which is of the will: for by the will man comes to rest in what the understanding apprehends. The will cleaves to a thing either through love or through fear, but in different ways. When it adheres to a thing through fear, it adheres for the sake of something else, namely, to avoid an evil threatening it, if it does not adhere: but when it adheres to a thing through love, it adheres for the thing's own sake. But what is for its own sake carries the day over what is only for the sake of something else. Therefore the adhesion of love to God is the chief way of adhering to Him, and is the point principally intended in the divine law.

2. The end of every law, and particularly of the divine law, is to make men good. Now a man is called good from having a good will: for the will it is which reduces to act whatever good there is in the man: but the will is good by willing good, and particularly the chief good, which is the end: the more then the will wills this good, the better the man is. Therefore the will of the sovereign good, which is God, is what most of all makes men good, and is principally intended in the divine law.

3. The law aims at making men virtuous: but it is a condition of virtue that the virtuous person should act firmly and with pleasure; and love it is that best makes us do a thing firmly and with delight.

Therefore it is said: The end of the commandment is charity (1 Tim. i, 5): The greatest and first commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God (Matt. xxii, 37, 38).

3.115 : That the main purpose of the Divine Law is to subordinate Man to God
3.117 : That by the Divine Law we are directed to the Love of our Neighbour