Choose a topic from Part 2B:

172. The Cause of Prophecy

1. The knowledge of the genuine prophet cannot beaccounted for by any natural power in himself. This knowledge isfrom God. It is revealed knowledge, not acquired knowledge, and Godis its cause. St. Peter says (II Pet. 1:21): "Prophecy camenot by the will of man . . . but the holy men of God spoke,inspired by the Holy Ghost."

2. In the universe of creatures, lower things areregularly directed by higher things and so up to the highest. Inthe world of creatural intellects, the angelic is superior to thehuman. It is fitting, therefore, that the knowledge to be utteredin prophecy should be conveyed to the human prophet by angels.

3. It cannot be said that God selects as prophets men of asuitable disposition for the office of prophet. God chooses asprophets whom he will, regardless of natural abilities anddispositions. The infiniteCreator can instantly produce inany man the qualifications naturally needed (as, for instance, thepower to speak, or the ability to use an unfamiliar language), justas he produces the supernatural knowledge and the authority of theprophet.

4. Indeed, if God choose, the office of prophet may beexercised by a person who is not even in the state of grace. Forprophecy is primarily a matter of knowledge, which pertains to theintellect, whereas grace or charity pertains primarily to the will.Yet it is most unlikely that a man of sinful and passionate lifeshould be made a prophet.

5. The evil spirits are fallen angels; by their angelicintellect they know things that man cannot naturally know, and theycan reveal these things to man. But this revelation is neitherdivine nor supernatural. One who proclaims knowledge acquired fromdemons is not, in a strict sense, a prophet; at best he is to becalled "a false prophet."

6. Even such "a false prophet" may speak truth;indeed, he must offer some truth, or he would quickly bediscredited, and could win no one to believe the essential falsityhe wishes to propagate.

"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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"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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