Of God and His Creatures

That the Final Happiness of Man consists in the Contemplation of God

IF then the final happiness of man does not consist in those exterior advantages which are called goods of fortune, nor in goods of the body, nor in goods of the soul in its sentient part, nor in the intellectual part in respect of the moral virtues, nor in the virtues of the practical intellect, called art and prudence, it remains that the final happiness of man consists in the contemplation of truth. This act alone in man is proper to him, and is in no way shared by any other being in this world. This is sought for its own sake, and is directed to no other end beyond itself. By this act man is united in likeness with pure spirits, and even comes to know them in a certain way. For this act also man is more self-sufficient, having less need of external things.* Likewise to this act all other human activities seem to be directed as to their end. For to the perfection of contemplation there is requisite health of body;* and all artificial necessaries of life are means to health. Another requisite is rest from the disturbing forces of passion: that is attained by means of the moral virtues and prudence. Likewise rest from exterior troubles, which is the whole aim of civil life and government. Thus, if we look at things rightly, we may see that all human occupations seem to be ministerial to the service of the contemplators of truth.*

Now it is impossible for human happiness to consist in that contemplation which is by intuition of first principles, -- a very imperfect study of things, as being the most general, and not amounting to more than a potential knowledge: it is in fact not the end but the beginning of human study: it is supplied to us by nature, and not by any close investigation of truth. Nor can happiness consist in the sciences, the object-matter of which is the meanest things, whereas happiness should be an activity of intellect dealing with the noblest objects of intelligence. Therefore the conclusion remains that the final happiness of man consists in contemplation guided by wisdom to the study of the things of God. Thus we have reached by way of induction the same conclusion that was formerly established by deductive reasoning,* that the final happiness of man does not consist in anything short of the contemplation of God.

3.34 : That the Final Happiness of Man does not consist in Acts of the Moral Virtues
3.38 : That Human Happiness does not consist in such Knowledge of God as is common to the Majority of Mankind