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Of God and His Creatures
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CHAPTER XXVIII, XXIXThat Happiness does not consist in Honours nor in Human Glory

THE last end and happiness of man is his most perfect activity (Chap. XXVI). But the honour paid to a man does not consist in any act of his own, but in the act of another towards him.565565It may be pleaded that happiness consists, not in the payment, but in the reception of honours, such reception involving an act of the individual’s own consciousness. This would come near to the doctrine that happiness consists in self-satisfaction, a Stoic position.

2. That is not the last end, which is good and desirable on account of something else. But such is honour: for a man is not rightly honoured except for some other good thing existing in him.

4. Even bad men may be honoured. It is better then to become worthy of honour than to be honoured. Therefore honour is not the highest good of man.

Hence it appears that neither does man’s chief good consist in glory, or celebrity of fame. For glory, according to Cicero, is “a frequent mention of a man with praise”; or according to St Augustine, “brilliant notoriety with praise” (clara notitia cum laude). So then men wish for notoriety, attended with praise and a certain brilliance, that they may be honoured by those to whom they become known. Glory then is sought for the sake of honour. If then honour is not the highest good, much less is glory.


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