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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CAUSE OF GRACE (FIVE ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE CAUSE OF GRACE (FIVE ARTICLES)

We must now consider the cause of grace; and under this head there are
five points of inquiry:
(1) Whether God alone is the efficient cause of grace?

(2) Whether any disposition towards grace is needed on the part of the
recipient, by an act of free-will?

(3) Whether such a disposition can make grace follow of necessity?

(4) Whether grace is equal in all?

(5) Whether anyone may know that he has grace?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether God alone is the cause of grace?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that God alone is not the cause of grace. For it is
written (Jn. 1:17): "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Now, by the
name of Jesus Christ is understood not merely the Divine Nature assuming,
but the created nature assumed. Therefore a creature may be the cause of
grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, there is this difference between the sacraments of the
New Law and those of the Old, that the sacraments of the New Law cause
grace, whereas the sacraments of the Old Law merely signify it. Now the
sacraments of the New Law are certain visible elements. Therefore God is
not the only cause of grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, according to Dionysius (Coel. Hier. iii, iv, vii, viii), "Angels cleanse, enlighten, and perfect both lesser angels and men." Now
the rational creature is cleansed, enlightened, and perfected by grace.
Therefore God is not the only cause of grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Ps. 83:12): "The Lord will give grace
and glory."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Nothing can act beyond its species, since the cause must
always be more powerful than its effect. Now the gift of grace surpasses
every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a
partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature. And
thus it is impossible that any creature should cause grace. For it is as
necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the
Divine Nature by a participated likeness, as it is impossible that
anything save fire should enkindle.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Christ's humanity is an "organ of His Godhead," as
Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 19). Now an instrument does not bring
forth the action of the principal agent by its own power, but in virtue
of the principal agent. Hence Christ's humanity does not cause grace by
its own power, but by virtue of the Divine Nature joined to it, whereby
the actions of Christ's humanity are saving actions.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: As in the person of Christ the humanity causes our
salvation by grace, the Divine power being the principal agent, so
likewise in the sacraments of the New Law, which are derived from Christ,
grace is instrumentally caused by the sacraments, and principally by the
power of the Holy Ghost working in the sacraments, according to Jn. 3:5:
"Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter
into the kingdom of God."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Angels cleanse, enlighten, and perfect angels or men, by
instruction, and not by justifying them through grace. Hence Dionysius
says (Coel. Hier. vii) that "this cleansing and enlightenment and
perfecting is nothing else than the assumption of Divine knowledge."


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether any preparation and disposition for grace is required on man's
part?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that no preparation or disposition for grace is
required on man's part, since, as the Apostle says (Rm. 4:4), "To him
that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but
according to debt." Now a man's preparation by free-will can only be
through some operation. Hence it would do away with the notion of grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whoever is going on sinning, is not preparing himself to
have grace. But to some who are going on sinning grace is given, as is
clear in the case of Paul, who received grace whilst he was "breathing
our threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Act
9:1). Hence no preparation for grace is required on man's part.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, an agent of infinite power needs no disposition in
matter, since it does not even require matter, as appears in creation, to
which grace is compared, which is called "a new creature" (Gal. 6:15).
But only God, Who has infinite power, causes grace, as stated above (A[1]
). Hence no preparation is required on man's part to obtain grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Amos 4:12): "Be prepared to meet thy
God, O Israel," and (1 Kgs. 7:3): "Prepare your hearts unto the Lord."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (Q[111], A[2]), grace is taken in two
ways: first, as a habitual gift of God. Secondly, as a help from God, Who
moves the soul to good. Now taking grace in the first sense, a certain
preparation of grace is required for it, since a form can only be in
disposed matter. But if we speak of grace as it signifies a help from God
to move us to good, no preparation is required on man's part, that, as it
were, anticipates the Divine help, but rather, every preparation in man
must be by the help of God moving the soul to good. And thus even the
good movement of the free-will, whereby anyone is prepared for receiving
the gift of grace is an act of the free-will moved by God. And thus man
is said to prepare himself, according to Prov. 16:1: "It is the part of
man to prepare the soul"; yet it is principally from God, Who moves the
free-will. Hence it is said that man's will is prepared by God, and that
man's steps are guided by God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1
Reply OBJ 1: A certain preparation of man for grace is simultaneous with
the infusion of grace; and this operation is meritorious, not indeed of
grace, which is already possessed - but of glory which is not yet
possessed. But there is another imperfect preparation, which sometimes
precedes the gift of sanctifying grace, and yet it is from God's motion.
But it does not suffice for merit, since man is not yet justified by
grace, and merit can only arise from grace, as will be seen further on (Q[114], A[2]).

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Since a man cannot prepare himself for grace unless God
prevent and move him to good, it is of no account whether anyone arrive
at perfect preparation instantaneously, or step by step. For it is
written (Ecclus. 11:23): "It is easy in the eyes of God on a sudden to
make the poor man rich." Now it sometimes happens that God moves a man to
good, but not perfect good, and this preparation precedes grace. But He
sometimes moves him suddenly and perfectly to good, and man receives
grace suddenly, according to Jn. 6:45: "Every one that hath heard of the
Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me." And thus it happened to Paul,
since, suddenly when he was in the midst of sin, his heart was perfectly
moved by God to hear, to learn, to come; and hence he received grace
suddenly.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: An agent of infinite power needs no matter or disposition
of matter, brought about by the action of something else; and yet,
looking to the condition of the thing caused, it must cause, in the thing
caused, both the matter and the due disposition for the form. So
likewise, when God infuses grace into a soul, no preparation is required
which He Himself does not bring about.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether grace is necessarily given to whoever prepares himself for it, or
to whoever does what he can?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that grace is necessarily given to whoever prepares
himself for grace, or to whoever does what he can, because, on Rm. 5:1,
"Being justified . . . by faith, let us have peace," etc. the gloss says:
"God welcomes whoever flies to Him, otherwise there would be injustice
with Him." But it is impossible for injustice to be with God. Therefore
it is impossible for God not to welcome whoever flies to Him. Hence he
receives grace of necessity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, Anselm says (De Casu Diaboli. iii) that the reason why
God does not bestow grace on the devil, is that he did not wish, nor was
he prepared, to receive it. But if the cause be removed, the effect must
needs be removed also. Therefore, if anyone is willing to receive grace
it is bestowed on them of necessity.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, good is diffusive of itself, as appears from Dionysius
(Div. Nom. iv). Now the good of grace is better than the good of nature.
Hence, since natural forms necessarily come to disposed matter, much more
does it seem that grace is necessarily bestowed on whoever prepares
himself for grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Man is compared to God as clay to the potter, according
to Jer. 18:6: "As clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in My
hand." But however much the clay is prepared, it does not necessarily
receive its shape from the potter. Hence, however much a man prepares
himself, he does not necessarily receive grace from God.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, As stated above (A[2]), man's preparation for grace is
from God, as Mover, and from the free-will, as moved. Hence the
preparation may be looked at in two ways: first, as it is from free-will,
and thus there is no necessity that it should obtain grace, since the
gift of grace exceeds every preparation of human power. But it may be
considered, secondly, as it is from God the Mover, and thus it has a
necessity - not indeed of coercion, but of infallibility - as regards
what it is ordained to by God, since God's intention cannot fail,
according to the saying of Augustine in his book on the Predestination of
the Saints (De Dono Persev. xiv) that "by God's good gifts whoever is
liberated, is most certainly liberated." Hence if God intends, while
moving, that the one whose heart He moves should attain to grace, he will
infallibly attain to it, according to Jn. 6:45: "Every one that hath
heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: This gloss is speaking of such as fly to God by a
meritorious act of their free-will, already "informed" with grace; for if
they did not receive grace, it would be against the justice which He
Himself established. Or if it refers to the movement of free-will before
grace, it is speaking in the sense that man's flight to God is by a
Divine motion, which ought not, in justice, to fail.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The first cause of the defect of grace is on our part; but
the first cause of the bestowal of grace is on God's according to Osee
13:9: "Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in Me."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Even in natural things, the form does not necessarily ensue
the disposition of the matter, except by the power of the agent that
causes the disposition.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether grace is greater in one than in another?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that grace is not greater in one than in another.
For grace is caused in us by the Divine love, as stated above (Q[110],
A[1]). Now it is written (Wis. 6:8): "He made the little and the great
and He hath equally care of all." Therefore all obtain grace from Him
equally.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, whatever is the greatest possible, cannot be more or
less. But grace is the greatest possible, since it joins us with our last
end. Therefore there is no greater or less in it. Hence it is not greater
in one than in another.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, grace is the soul's life, as stated above (Q[110], A[1],
ad 2). But there is no greater or less in life. Hence, neither is there
in grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Eph. 4:7): "But to every one of us is
given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ." Now what
is given in measure, is not given to all equally. Hence all have not an
equal grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Body Para. 1/2

I answer that, As stated above (Q[52], AA[1],2; Q[56], AA[1],2), habits
can have a double magnitude: one, as regards the end or object, as when a
virtue is said to be more noble through being ordained to a greater good; the other on the part of the subject, which more or less participates in
the habit inhering to it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] Body Para. 2/2

Now as regards the first magnitude, sanctifying grace cannot be greater
or less, since, of its nature, grace joins man to the Highest Good, which
is God. But as regards the subject, grace can receive more or less,
inasmuch as one may be more perfectly enlightened by grace than another.
And a certain reason for this is on the part of him who prepares himself
for grace; since he who is better prepared for grace, receives more
grace. Yet it is not here that we must seek the first cause of this
diversity, since man prepares himself, only inasmuch as his free-will is
prepared by God. Hence the first cause of this diversity is to be sought
on the part of the God, Who dispenses His gifts of grace variously, in
order that the beauty and perfection of the Church may result from these
various degree; even as He instituted the various conditions of things,
that the universe might be perfect. Hence after the Apostle had said
(Eph. 4:7): "To every one of us is given grace according to the measure
of the giving of Christ," having enumerated the various graces, he adds
(Eph. 4:12): "For the perfecting of the saints . . . for the edifying of
the body of Christ."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: The Divine care may be looked at in two ways: first, as
regards the Divine act, which is simple and uniform; and thus His care
looks equally to all, since by one simple act He administers great things
and little. But, "secondly," it may be considered in those things which
come to be considered by the Divine care; and thus, inequality is found,
inasmuch as God by His care provides greater gifts to some, and lesser
gifts for others.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: This objection is based on the first kind of magnitude of
grace; since grace cannot be greater by ordaining to a greater good, but
inasmuch as it more or less ordains to a greater or less participation of
the same good. For there may be diversity of intensity and remissness,
both in grace and in final glory as regards the subjects' participation.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Natural life pertains to man's substance, and hence cannot
be more or less; but man partakes of the life of grace accidentally, and
hence man may possess it more or less.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether man can know that he has grace?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that man can know that he has grace. For grace by
its physical reality is in the soul. Now the soul has most certain
knowledge of those things that are in it by their physical reality, as
appears from Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xii, 31). Hence grace may be known
most certainly by one who has grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, as knowledge is a gift of God, so is grace. But whoever
receives knowledge from God, knows that he has knowledge, according to
Wis. 7:17: The Lord "hath given me the true knowledge of the things that
are." Hence, with equal reason, whoever receives grace from God, knows
that he has grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, light is more knowable than darkness, since, according
to the Apostle (Eph. 5:13), "all that is made manifest is light," Now
sin, which is spiritual darkness, may be known with certainty by one that
is in sin. Much more, therefore, may grace, which is spiritual light, be
known.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, the Apostle says (1 Cor. 2:12): "Now we have received
not the Spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may
know the things that are given us from God." Now grace is God's first
gift. Hence, the man who receives grace by the Holy Spirit, by the same
Holy Spirit knows the grace given to him.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Obj. 5 Para. 1/1

OBJ 5: Further, it was said by the Lord to Abraham (Gn. 22:12): "Now I
know that thou fearest God," i.e. "I have made thee know." Now He is
speaking there of chaste fear, which is not apart from grace. Hence a man
may know that he has grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, It is written (Eccles. 9:1): "Man knoweth not whether
he be worthy of love or hatred." Now sanctifying grace maketh a man
worthy of God's love. Therefore no one can know whether he has
sanctifying grace.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, There are three ways of knowing a thing: first, by
revelation, and thus anyone may know that he has grace, for God by a
special privilege reveals this at times to some, in order that the joy of
safety may begin in them even in this life, and that they may carry on
toilsome works with greater trust and greater energy, and may bear the
evils of this present life, as when it was said to Paul (2 Cor. 12:9):
"My grace is sufficient for thee."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Body Para. 2/3

Secondly, a man may, of himself, know something, and with certainty; and
in this way no one can know that he has grace. For certitude about a
thing can only be had when we may judge of it by its proper principle.
Thus it is by undemonstrable universal principles that certitude is
obtained concerning demonstrative conclusions. Now no one can know he has
the knowledge of a conclusion if he does not know its principle. But the
principle of grace and its object is God, Who by reason of His very
excellence is unknown to us, according to Job 36:26: "Behold God is
great, exceeding our knowledge." And hence His presence in us and His
absence cannot be known with certainty, according to Job 9:11: "If He
come to me, I shall not see Him; if He depart I shall not understand."
And hence man cannot judge with certainty that he has grace, according to
1 Cor. 4:3,4: "But neither do I judge my own self . . . but He that
judgeth me is the Lord."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] Body Para. 3/3

Thirdly, things are known conjecturally by signs; and thus anyone may
know he has grace, when he is conscious of delighting in God, and of
despising worldly things, and inasmuch as a man is not conscious of any
mortal sin. And thus it is written (Apoc. 2:17): "To him that overcometh
I will give the hidden manna . . . which no man knoweth, but he that
receiveth it," because whoever receives it knows, by experiencing a
certain sweetness, which he who does not receive it, does not experience.
Yet this knowledge is imperfect; hence the Apostle says (1 Cor. 4:4): "I
am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified,"
since, according to Ps. 18:13: "Who can understand sins? From my secret
ones cleanse me, O Lord, and from those of others spare Thy servant."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Those things which are in the soul by their physical
reality, are known through experimental knowledge; in so far as through
acts man has experience of their inward principles: thus when we wish, we
perceive that we have a will; and when we exercise the functions of life,
we observe that there is life in us.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: It is an essential condition of knowledge that a man should
have certitude of the objects of knowledge; and again, it is an essential
condition of faith that a man should be certain of the things of faith,
and this, because certitude belongs to the perfection of the intellect,
wherein these gifts exist. Hence, whoever has knowledge or faith is
certain that he has them. But it is otherwise with grace and charity and
such like, which perfect the appetitive faculty.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sin has for its principal object commutable good, which is
known to us. But the object or end of grace is unknown to us on account
of the greatness of its light, according to 1 Tim. 6:16: "Who . . .
inhabiteth light inaccessible."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: The Apostle is here speaking of the gifts of glory, which
have been given to us in hope, and these we know most certainly by faith,
although we do not know for certain that we have grace to enable us to
merit them. Or it may be said that he is speaking of the privileged
knowledge, which comes of revelation. Hence he adds (1 Cor. 2:10): "But
to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit."

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[112] A[5] R.O. 5 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 5: What was said to Abraham may refer to experimental
knowledge which springs from deeds of which we are cognizant. For in the
deed that Abraham had just wrought, he could know experimentally that he
had the fear of God. Or it may refer to a revelation.





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