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5. Goodness

1. A thing has goodness in so far as it can be the goal of a desire or tendency. That is called good which answers an appetite or appetency. Now, a thing can be the goal of a tendency by the fact that it is a thing at all, that it has being. Hence goodness and being are really the same thing. But logically, that is, in the way of human understanding, there is a distinction between goodness and being; for we can think of being without noticing that it is desirable or good. Therefore, between goodness and being, there is not a real distinction (as between thing and thing), but there is a logical distinction (as between distinct mental approaches to the same thing).

2. Hence it is evident that our idea of being is prior to our idea of goodness; for we are aware of a being as such before we are aware that it is necessarily good.

3. A thing is good in so far as it has positive being; positive being is perfection or actuality. For perfection is desirable, and desirability defines goodness.

4. Goodness has the character of a final cause, for it is an end-in-view; it invites or attracts, and thus far causes the action which seeks to attain it.

5. Positive being (and hence perfection or actuality) is found in the essence of a thing, in its mode of being, in its specific kind, and in its tendency to its end. Therefore we discern goodness in a reality, in its mode, in its species, and in its direction to its end, goal, or purpose.

6. Good may be classified as the seemly or virtuous, the pleasing, and the useful.

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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