He was one of the two or three giants; one of the two or three greatest men who ever lived; and I should never be surprised if he turned out, quite apart from sanctity, to be the greatest of all.
He does not torture the brain with desperate attempts to explain existence by explaining it away.
The first steps of his mind are the first steps of any honest mind; just as the first virtues of his creed could be those of any honest peasant.
That is where it anticipates and answers the anti-rational cry of Luther and the rest; as a highly Pagan poet said to me: “The Reformation happened because people hadn’t the brains to understand Aquinas.” The Church is more immortally important than the State; but the State has its rights, for all that.
This Christian duality had always been implicit, as in Christ’s distinction between God and Caesar, or the dogmatic distinction between the natures of Christ. Thomas has the glory of having seized this double thread as the clue to a thousand things; and thereby created the only creed in which the saints can be sane.
Then he could be compared with other saints or theologians, as mystic rather than dogmatic.
For he was, like a sensible man, a mystic in private and a philosopher in public.
Therefore, he made a cosmos of common sense; terra vientium; a land of the living.
His philosophy, like his theology, is that of common sense.
His experiences included well-attested cases of levitation in ecstasy; and the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, comforting him with the welcome news that he would never be a Bishop.
Similarly, we might compare the Thomist scheme with others, touching on the points in which Scotus or Bonaventura differed from it.