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Objection 1. It would seem that the justification of the ungodly is not the remission of sins. For sin is opposed not only to justice, but to all the other virtues, as stated above (I-II:71:1). Now justification signifies a certain movement towards justice. Therefore not even remission of sin is justification, since movement is from one contrary to the other.
Objection 2. Further, everything ought to be named from what is predominant in it, according to De Anima ii, text. 49. Now the remission of sins is brought about chiefly by faith, according to Acts 15:9: "Purifying their hearts by faith"; and by charity, according to Proverbs 10:12: "Charity covereth all sins." Therefore the remission of sins ought to be named after faith or charity rather than justice.
Objection 3. Further, the remission of sins seems to be the same as being called, for whoever is called is afar off, and we are afar off from God by sin. But one is called before being justified according to Romans 8:30: "And whom He called, them He also justified." Therefore justification is not the remission of sins.
I answer that, Justification taken passively implies a movement towards justice, as heating implies a movement towards heat. But since justice, by its nature, implies a certain rectitude of order, it may be taken in two ways: first, inasmuch as it implies a right order in man's act, and thus justice is placed amongst the virtues—either as particular justice, which directs a man's acts by regulating them in relation to his fellowman—or as legal justice, which directs a man's acts by regulating them in their relation to the common good of society, as appears from Ethic. v, 1.
Secondly, justice is so-called inasmuch as it implies a certain rectitude of order in the interior disposition of a man, in so far as what is highest in man is subject to God, and the inferior powers of the soul are subject to the superior, i.e. to the reason; and this disposition the Philosopher calls "justice metaphorically speaking" (Ethic. v, 11). Now this justice may be in man in two ways: first, by simple generation, which is from privation to form; and thus justification may belong even to such as are not in sin, when they receive this justice from God, as Adam is said to have received original justice. Secondly, this justice may be brought about in man by a movement from one contrary to the other, and thus justification implies a transmutation from the state of injustice to the aforesaid state of justice. And it is thus we are now speaking of the justification of the ungodly, according to the Apostle (Romans 4:5): "But to him that worketh not, yet believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly," etc. And because movement is named after its term "whereto" rather than from its term "whence," the transmutation whereby anyone is changed by the remission of sins from the state of ungodliness to the state of justice, borrows its name from its term "whereto," and is called "justification of the ungodly."
Reply to Objection 1. Every sin, inasmuch as it implies the disorder of a mind not subject to God, may be called injustice, as being contrary to the aforesaid justice, according to 1 John 3:4: "Whosoever committeth sin, committeth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity." And thus the removal of any sin is called the justification of the ungodly.
Reply to Objection 2. Faith and charity imply a special directing of the human mind to God by the intellect and will; whereas justice implies a general rectitude of order. Hence this transmutation is named after justice rather than after charity or faith.
Objection 1. It would seem that for the remission of guilt, which is the justification of the ungodly, no infusion of grace is required. For anyone may be moved from one contrary without being led to the other, if the contraries are not immediate. Now the state of guilt and the state of grace are not immediate contraries; for there is the middle state of innocence wherein a man has neither grace nor guilt. Hence a man may be pardoned his guilt without his being brought to a state of grace.
Objection 2. Further, the remission of guilt consists in the Divine imputation, according to Psalm 31:2: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not imputed sin." Now the infusion of grace puts something into our soul, as stated above (I-II:110:1). Hence the infusion of grace is not required for the remission of guilt.
Objection 3. Further, no one can be subject to two contraries at once. Now some sins are contraries, as wastefulness and miserliness. Hence whoever is subject to the sin of wastefulness is not simultaneously subject to the sin of miserliness, yet it may happen that he has been subject to it hitherto. Hence by sinning with the vice of wastefulness he is freed from the sin of miserliness. And thus a sin is remitted without grace.
I answer that, by sinning a man offends God as stated above (I-II:71:5). Now an offense is remitted to anyone, only when the soul of the offender is at peace with the offended. Hence sin is remitted to us, when God is at peace with us, and this peace consists in the love whereby God loves us. Now God's love, considered on the part of the Divine act, is eternal and unchangeable; whereas, as regards the effect it imprints on us, it is sometimes interrupted, inasmuch as we sometimes fall short of it and once more require it. Now the effect of the Divine love in us, which is taken away by sin, is grace, whereby a man is made worthy of eternal life, from which sin shuts him out. Hence we could not conceive the remission of guilt, without the infusion of grace.
Reply to Objection 1. More is required for an offender to pardon an offense, than for one who has committed no offense, not to be hated. For it may happen amongst men that one man neither hates nor loves another. But if the other offends him, then the forgiveness of the offense can only spring from a special goodwill. Now God's goodwill is said to be restored to man by the gift of grace; and hence although a man before sinning may be without grace and without guilt, yet that he is without guilt after sinning can only be because he has grace.
Reply to Objection 2. As God's love consists not merely in the act of the Divine will but also implies a certain effect of grace, as stated above (I-II:110:1), so likewise, when God does not impute sin to a man, there is implied a certain effect in him to whom the sin is not imputed; for it proceeds from the Divine love, that sin is not imputed to a man by God.
Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i, 26), if to leave off sinning was the same as to have no sin, it would be enough if Scripture warned us thus: "'My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more?' Now this is not enough, but it is added: 'But for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee.'" For the act of sin passes, but the guilt remains, as stated above (I-II:87:6). Hence when anyone passes from the sin of one vice to the sin of a contrary vice, he ceases to have the act of the former sin, but he does not cease to have the guilt, hence he may have the guilt of both sins at once. For sins are not contrary to each other on the part of their turning from God, wherein sin has its guilt.
Objection 1. It would seem that no movement of the free-will is required for the justification of the ungodly. For we see that by the sacrament of Baptism, infants and sometimes adults are justified without a movement of their free-will: hence Augustine says (Confess. iv) that when one of his friends was taken with a fever, "he lay for a long time senseless and in a deadly sweat, and when he was despaired of, he was baptized without his knowing, and was regenerated"; which is effected by sanctifying grace. Now God does not confine His power to the sacraments. Hence He can justify a man without the sacraments, and without any movement of the free-will.
Objection 2. Further, a man has not the use of reason when asleep, and without it there can be no movement of the free-will. But Solomon received from God the gift of wisdom when asleep, as related in 1 Kings 3 and 2 Chronicles 1. Hence with equal reason the gift of sanctifying grace is sometimes bestowed by God on man without the movement of his free-will.
Objection 3. Further, grace is preserved by the same cause as brings it into being, for Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. viii, 12) that "so ought man to turn to God as he is ever made just by Him." Now grace is preserved in man without a movement of his free-will. Hence it can be infused in the beginning without a movement of the free-will.
On the contrary, It is written (John 6:45): "Every one that hath heard of the Father, and hath learned, cometh to Me." Now to learn cannot be without a movement of the free-will, since the learner assents to the teacher. Hence, no one comes to the Father by justifying grace without a movement of the free-will.
I answer that, The justification of the ungodly is brought about by God moving man to justice. For He it is "that justifieth the ungodly" according to Romans 4:5. Now God moves everything in its own manner, just as we see that in natural things, what is heavy and what is light are moved differently, on account of their diverse natures. Hence He moves man to justice according to the condition of his human nature. But it is man's proper nature to have free-will. Hence in him who has the use of reason, God's motion to justice does not take place without a movement of the free-will; but He so infuses the gift of justifying grace that at the same time He moves the free-will to accept the gift of grace, in such as are capable of being moved thus.
Reply to Objection 1. Infants are not capable of the movement of their free-will; hence it is by the mere infusion of their souls that God moves them to justice. Now this cannot be brought about without a sacrament; because as original sin, from which they are justified, does not come to them from their own will, but by carnal generation, so also is grace given them by Christ through spiritual regeneration. And the same reason holds good with madmen and idiots that have never had the use of their free-will. But in the case of one who has had the use of his free-will and afterwards has lost it either through sickness or sleep, he does not obtain justifying grace by the exterior rite of Baptism, or of any other sacrament, unless he intended to make use of this sacrament, and this can only be by the use of his free-will. And it was in this way that he of whom Augustine speaks was regenerated, because both previously and afterwards he assented to the Baptism.
Reply to Objection 2. Solomon neither merited nor received wisdom whilst asleep; but it was declared to him in his sleep that on account of his previous desire wisdom would be infused into him by God. Hence it is said in his person (Wisdom 7:7): "I wished, and understanding was given unto me." Or it may be said that his sleep was not natural, but was the sleep of prophecy, according to Numbers 12:6: "If there be among you a prophet of the Lord, I will appear to him in a vision, or I will speak to him in a dream." In such cases the use of free-will remains.
And yet it must be observed that the comparison between the gift of wisdom and the gift of justifying grace does not hold. For the gift of justifying grace especially ordains a man to good, which is the object of the will; and hence a man is moved to it by a movement of the will which is a movement of free-will. But wisdom perfects the intellect which precedes the will; hence without any complete movement of the free-will, the intellect can be enlightened with the gift of wisdom, even as we see that things are revealed to men in sleep, according to Job 33:15-16: "When deep sleep falleth upon men and they are sleeping in their beds, then He openeth the ears of men, and teaching, instructeth them in what they are to learn."
Reply to Objection 3. In the infusion of justifying grace there is a certain transmutation of the human soul, and hence a proper movement of the human soul is required in order that the soul may be moved in its own manner. But the conservation of grace is without transmutation: no movement on the part of the soul is required but only a continuation of the Divine influx.
Objection 1. It would seem that no movement of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly. For as a man is justified by faith, so also by other things, viz. by fear, of which it is written (Sirach 1:27): "The fear of the Lord driveth out sin, for he that is without fear cannot be justified"; and again by charity, according to Luke 7:47: "Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much"; and again by humility, according to James 4:6: "God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble"; and again by mercy, according to Proverbs 15:27: "By mercy and faith sins are purged away." Hence the movement of faith is no more required for the justification of the ungodly, than the movements of the aforesaid virtues.
Objection 2. Further, the act of faith is required for justification only inasmuch as a man knows God by faith. But a man may know God in other ways, viz. by natural knowledge, and by the gift of wisdom. Hence no act of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly.
Objection 3. Further, there are several articles of faith. Therefore if the act of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly, it would seem that a man ought to think on every article of faith when he is first justified. But this seems inconvenient, since such thought would require a long delay of time. Hence it seems that an act of faith is not required for the justification of the ungodly.
I answer that, As stated above (Article 3) a movement of free-will is required for the justification of the ungodly, inasmuch as man's mind is moved by God. Now God moves man's soul by turning it to Himself according to Psalm 84:7 (Septuagint): "Thou wilt turn us, O God, and bring us to life." Hence for the justification of the ungodly a movement of the mind is required, by which it is turned to God. Now the first turning to God is by faith, according to Hebrews 11:6: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is." Hence a movement of faith is required for the justification of the ungodly.
Reply to Objection 1. The movement of faith is not perfect unless it is quickened by charity; hence in the justification of the ungodly, a movement of charity is infused together with the movement of faith. Now free-will is moved to God by being subject to Him; hence an act of filial fear and an act of humility also concur. For it may happen that one and the same act of free-will springs from different virtues, when one commands and another is commanded, inasmuch as the act may be ordained to various ends. But the act of mercy counteracts sin either by way of satisfying for it, and thus it follows justification; or by way of preparation, inasmuch as the merciful obtain mercy; and thus it can either precede justification, or concur with the other virtues towards justification, inasmuch as mercy is included in the love of our neighbor.
Reply to Objection 2. By natural knowledge a man is not turned to God, according as He is the object of beatitude and the cause of justification. Hence such knowledge does not suffice for justification. But the gift of wisdom presupposes the knowledge of faith, as stated above (I-II:68:4 ad 3).
Reply to Objection 3. As the Apostle says (Romans 4:5), "to him that . . . believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God." Hence it is clear that in the justification of the ungodly an act of faith is required in order that a man may believe that God justifies man through the mystery of Christ.
Objection 1. It would seem that no movement of the free-will towards sin is required for the justification of the ungodly. For charity alone suffices to take away sin, according to Proverbs 10:12: "Charity covereth all sins." Now the object of charity is not sin. Therefore for this justification of the ungodly no movement of the free-will towards sin is required.
Objection 2. Further, whoever is tending onward, ought not to look back, according to Philippians 3:13-14: "Forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation." But whoever is stretching forth to righteousness has his sins behind him. Hence he ought to forget them, and not stretch forth to them by a movement of his free-will.
Objection 3. Further, in the justification of the ungodly one sin is not remitted without another, for "it is irreverent to expect half a pardon from God" [Cap., Sunt. plures: Dist. iii, De Poenit.]. Hence, in the justification of the ungodly, if man's free-will must move against sin, he ought to think of all his sins. But this is unseemly, both because a great space of time would be required for such thought, and because a man could not obtain the forgiveness of such sins as he had forgotten. Hence for the justification of the ungodly no movement of the free-will is required.
I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), the justification of the ungodly is a certain movement whereby the human mind is moved by God from the state of sin to the state of justice. Hence it is necessary for the human mind to regard both extremes by an act of free-will, as a body in local movement is related to both terms of the movement. Now it is clear that in local movement the moving body leaves the term "whence" and nears the term "whereto." Hence the human mind whilst it is being justified, must, by a movement of its free-will withdraw from sin and draw near to justice.
Now to withdraw from sin and to draw near to justice, in an act of free-will, means detestation and desire. For Augustine says on the words "the hireling fleeth," etc. (John 10:12): "Our emotions are the movements of our soul; joy is the soul's outpouring; fear is the soul's flight; your soul goes forward when you seek; your soul flees, when you are afraid." Hence in the justification of the ungodly there must be two acts of the free-will—one, whereby it tends to God's justice; the other whereby it hates sin.
Reply to Objection 1. It belongs to the same virtue to seek one contrary and to avoid the other; and hence, as it belongs to charity to love God, so likewise, to detest sin whereby the soul is separated from God.
Reply to Objection 2. A man ought not to return to those things that are behind, by loving them; but, for that matter, he ought to forget them, lest he be drawn to them. Yet he ought to recall them to mind, in order to detest them; for this is to fly from them.
Reply to Objection 3. Previous to justification a man must detest each sin he remembers to have committed, and from this remembrance the soul goes on to have a general movement of detestation with regard to all sins committed, in which are included such sins as have been forgotten. For a man is then in such a frame of mind that he would be sorry even for those he does not remember, if they were present to his memory; and this movement cooperates in his justification.
Objection 1. It would seem that the remission of sins ought not to be reckoned amongst the things required for justification. For the substance of a thing is not reckoned together with those that are required for a thing; thus a man is not reckoned together with his body and soul. But the justification of the ungodly is itself the remission of sins, as stated above (Article 1). Therefore the remission of sins ought not to be reckoned among the things required for the justification of the ungodly.
Objection 2. Further, infusion of grace and remission of sins are the same; as illumination and expulsion of darkness are the same. But a thing ought not to be reckoned together with itself; for unity is opposed to multitude. Therefore the remission of sins ought not to be reckoned with the infusion of grace.
Objection 3. Further, the remission of sin follows as effect from cause, from the free-will's movement towards God and sin; since it is by faith and contrition that sin is forgiven. But an effect ought not to be reckoned with its cause; since things thus enumerated together, and, as it were, condivided, are by nature simultaneous. Hence the remission of sins ought not to be reckoned with the things required for the justification of the ungodly.
On the contrary, In reckoning what is required for a thing we ought not to pass over the end, which is the chief part of everything. Now the remission of sins is the end of the justification of the ungodly; for it is written (Isaiah 27:9): "This is all the fruit, that the sin thereof should be taken away." Hence the remission of sins ought to be reckoned amongst the things required for justification.
I answer that, There are four things which are accounted to be necessary for the justification of the ungodly, viz. the infusion of grace, the movement of the free-will towards God by faith, the movement of the free-will towards sin, and the remission of sins. The reason for this is that, as stated above (Article 1), the justification of the ungodly is a movement whereby the soul is moved by God from a state of sin to a state of justice. Now in the movement whereby one thing is moved by another, three things are required: first, the motion of the mover; secondly, the movement of the moved; thirdly, the consummation of the movement, or the attainment of the end. On the part of the Divine motion, there is the infusion of grace; on the part of the free-will which is moved, there are two movements—of departure from the term "whence," and of approach to the term "whereto"; but the consummation of the movement or the attainment of the end of the movement is implied in the remission of sins; for in this is the justification of the ungodly completed.
Reply to Objection 1. The justification of the ungodly is called the remission of sins, even as every movement has its species from its term. Nevertheless, many other things are required in order to reach the term, as stated above (Article 5).
Reply to Objection 2. The infusion of grace and the remission of sin may be considered in two ways: first, with respect to the substance of the act, and thus they are the same; for by the same act God bestows grace and remits sin. Secondly, they may be considered on the part of the objects; and thus they differ by the difference between guilt, which is taken away, and grace, which is infused; just as in natural things generation and corruption differ, although the generation of one thing is the corruption of another.
Reply to Objection 3. This enumeration is not the division of a genus into its species, in which the things enumerated must be simultaneous; but it is division of the things required for the completion of anything; and in this enumeration we may have what precedes and what follows, since some of the principles and parts of a composite thing may precede and some follow.
Objection 1. It would seem that the justification of the ungodly does not take place in an instant, but successively, since, as already stated (Article 3), for the justification of the ungodly, there is required a movement of free-will. Now the act of the free-will is choice, which requires the deliberation of counsel, as stated above (I-II:13:1). Hence, since deliberation implies a certain reasoning process, and this implies succession, the justification of the ungodly would seem to be successive.
Objection 2. Further, the free-will's movement is not without actual consideration. But it is impossible to understand many things actually and at once, as stated above (I:85:4). Hence, since for the justification of the ungodly there is required a movement of the free-will towards several things, viz. towards God and towards sin, it would seem impossible for the justification of the ungodly to be in an instant.
Objection 3. Further, a form that may be greater or less, e.g. blackness or whiteness, is received successively by its subject. Now grace may be greater or less, as stated above (I-II:112:4). Hence it is not received suddenly by its subject. Therefore, seeing that the infusion of grace is required for the justification of the ungodly, it would seem that the justification of the ungodly cannot be in an instant.
Objection 4. Further, the free-will's movement, which cooperates in justification, is meritorious; and hence it must proceed from grace, without which there is no merit, as we shall state further on (I-II:114:2). Now a thing receives its form before operating by this form. Hence grace is first infused, and then the free-will is moved towards God and to detest sin. Hence justification is not all at once.
Objection 5. Further, if grace is infused into the soul, there must be an instant when it first dwells in the soul; so, too, if sin is forgiven there must be a last instant that man is in sin. But it cannot be the same instant, otherwise opposites would be in the same simultaneously. Hence they must be two successive instants; between which there must be time, as the Philosopher says (Phys. vi, 1). Therefore the justification of the ungodly takes place not all at once, but successively.
On the contrary, The justification of the ungodly is caused by the justifying grace of the Holy Spirit. Now the Holy Spirit comes to men's minds suddenly, according to Acts 2:2: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind coming," upon which the gloss says that "the grace of the Holy Ghost knows no tardy efforts." Hence the justification of the ungodly is not successive, but instantaneous.
I answer that, The entire justification of the ungodly consists as to its origin in the infusion of grace. For it is by grace that free-will is moved and sin is remitted. Now the infusion of grace takes place in an instant and without succession. And the reason of this is that if a form be not suddenly impressed upon its subject, it is either because that subject is not disposed, or because the agent needs time to dispose the subject. Hence we see that immediately the matter is disposed by a preceding alteration, the substantial form accrues to the matter; thus because the atmosphere of itself is disposed to receive light, it is suddenly illuminated by a body actually luminous. Now it was stated (I-II:112:2) that God, in order to infuse grace into the soul, needs no disposition, save what He Himself has made. And sometimes this sufficient disposition for the reception of grace He makes suddenly, sometimes gradually and successively, as stated above (I-II:112:2 ad 2). For the reason why a natural agent cannot suddenly dispose matter is that in the matter there is a resistant which has some disproportion with the power of the agent; and hence we see that the stronger the agent, the more speedily is the matter disposed. Therefore, since the Divine power is infinite, it can suddenly dispose any matter whatsoever to its form; and much more man's free-will, whose movement is by nature instantaneous. Therefore the justification of the ungodly by God takes place in an instant.
Reply to Objection 1. The movement of the free-will, which concurs in the justification of the ungodly, is a consent to detest sin, and to draw near to God; and this consent takes place suddenly. Sometimes, indeed, it happens that deliberation precedes, yet this is not of the substance of justification, but a way of justification; as local movement is a way of illumination, and alteration to generation.
Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (I:85:5), there is nothing to prevent two things being understood at once, in so far as they are somehow one; thus we understand the subject and predicate together, inasmuch as they are united in the order of one affirmation. And in the same manner can the free-will be moved to two things at once in so far as one is ordained to the other. Now the free-will's movement towards sin is ordained to the free-will's movement towards God, since a man detests sin, as contrary to God, to Whom he wishes to cling. Hence in the justification of the ungodly the free-will simultaneously detests sin and turns to God, even as a body approaches one point and withdraws from another simultaneously.
Reply to Objection 3. The reason why a form is not received instantaneously in the matter is not the fact that it can inhere more or less; for thus the light would not be suddenly received in the air, which can be illumined more or less. But the reason is to be sought on the part of the disposition of the matter or subject, as stated above.
Reply to Objection 4. The same instant the form is acquired, the thing begins to operate with the form; as fire, the instant it is generated moves upwards, and if its movement was instantaneous, it would be terminated in the same instant. Now to will and not to will—the movements of the free-will—are not successive, but instantaneous. Hence the justification of the ungodly must not be successive.
Reply to Objection 5. The succession of opposites in the same subject must be looked at differently in the things that are subject to time and in those that are above time. For in those that are in time, there is no last instant in which the previous form inheres in the subject; but there is the last time, and the first instant that the subsequent form inheres in the matter or subject; and this for the reason, that in time we are not to consider one instant, since neither do instants succeed each other immediately in time, nor points in a line, as is proved in Physic. vi, 1. But time is terminated by an instant. Hence in the whole of the previous time wherein anything is moving towards its form, it is under the opposite form; but in the last instant of this time, which is the first instant of the subsequent time, it has the form which is the term of the movement.
But in those that are above time, it is otherwise. For if there be any succession of affections or intellectual conceptions in them (as in the angels), such succession is not measured by continuous time, but by discrete time, even as the things measured are not continuous, as stated above (I:53:2; I:53:3). In these, therefore, there is a last instant in which the preceding is, and a first instant in which the subsequent is. Nor must there be time in between, since there is no continuity of time, which this would necessitate.
Now the human mind, which is justified, is, in itself, above time, but is subject to time accidentally, inasmuch as it understands with continuity and time, with respect to the phantasms in which it considers the intelligible species, as stated above (I:85:1 and I:85:2). We must, therefore, decide from this about its change as regards the condition of temporal movements, i.e. we must say that there is no last instant that sin inheres, but a last time; whereas there is a first instant that grace inheres; and in all the time previous sin inhered.
Objection 1. It would seem that the infusion of grace is not what is naturally required first for the justification of the ungodly. For we withdraw from evil before drawing near to good, according to Psalm 33:15: "Turn away from evil, and do good." Now the remission of sins regards the turning away from evil, and the infusion of grace regards the turning to good. Hence the remission of sin is naturally before the infusion of grace.
Objection 2. Further, the disposition naturally precedes the form to which it disposes. Now the free-will's movement is a disposition for the reception of grace. Therefore it naturally precedes the infusion of grace.
Objection 3. Further, sin hinders the soul from tending freely to God. Now a hindrance to movement must be removed before the movement takes place. Hence the remission of sin and the free-will's movement towards sin are naturally before the infusion of grace.
On the contrary, The cause is naturally prior to its effect. Now the infusion of grace is the cause of whatever is required for the justification of the ungodly, as stated above (Article 7). Therefore it is naturally prior to it.
I answer that, The aforesaid four things required for the justification of the ungodly are simultaneous in time, since the justification of the ungodly is not successive, as stated above (Article 7); but in the order of nature, one is prior to another; and in their natural order the first is the infusion of grace; the second, the free-will's movement towards God; the third, the free-will's movement towards sin; the fourth, the remission of sin.
The reason for this is that in every movement the motion of the mover is naturally first; the disposition of the matter, or the movement of the moved, is second; the end or term of the movement in which the motion of the mover rests, is last. Now the motion of God the Mover is the infusion of grace, as stated above (Article 6); the movement or disposition of the moved is the free-will's double movement; and the term or end of the movement is the remission of sin, as stated above (Article 6). Hence in their natural order the first in the justification of the ungodly is the infusion of grace; the second is the free-will's movement towards God; the third is the free-will's movement towards sin, for he who is being justified detests sin because it is against God, and thus the free-will's movement towards God naturally precedes the free-will's movement towards sin, since it is its cause and reason; the fourth and last is the remission of sin, to which this transmutation is ordained as to an end, as stated above (Article 1,Article 6).
Reply to Objection 1. The withdrawal from one term and approach to another may be looked at in two ways: first, on the part of the thing moved, and thus the withdrawal from a term naturally precedes the approach to a term, since in the subject of movement the opposite which is put away is prior to the opposite which the subject moved attains to by its movement. But on the part of the agent it is the other way about, since the agent, by the form pre-existing in it, acts for the removal of the opposite form; as the sun by its light acts for the removal of darkness, and hence on the part of the sun, illumination is prior to the removal of darkness; but on the part of the atmosphere to be illuminated, to be freed from darkness is, in the order of nature, prior to being illuminated, although both are simultaneous in time. And since the infusion of grace and the remission of sin regard God Who justifies, hence in the order of nature the infusion of grace is prior to the freeing from sin. But if we look at what is on the part of the man justified, it is the other way about, since in the order of nature the being freed from sin is prior to the obtaining of justifying grace. Or it may be said that the term "whence" of justification is sin; and the term "whereto" is justice; and that grace is the cause of the forgiveness of sin and of obtaining of justice.
Reply to Objection 2. The disposition of the subject precedes the reception of the form, in the order of nature; yet it follows the action of the agent, whereby the subject is disposed. And hence the free-will's movement precedes the reception of grace in the order of nature, and follows the infusion of grace.
Reply to Objection 3. As the Philosopher says (Phys. ii, 9), in movements of the soul the movement toward the speculative principle or the practical end is the very first, but in exterior movements the removal of the impediment precedes the attainment of the end. And as the free-will's movement is a movement of the soul, in the order of nature it moves towards God as to its end, before removing the impediment of sin.
Objection 1. It would seem that the justification of the ungodly is not God's greatest work. For it is by the justification of the ungodly that we attain the grace of a wayfarer. Now by glorification we receive heavenly grace, which is greater. Hence the glorification of angels and men is a greater work than the justification of the ungodly.
Objection 2. Further, the justification of the ungodly is ordained to the particular good of one man. But the good of the universe is greater than the good of one man, as is plain from Ethic. i, 2. Hence the creation of heaven and earth is a greater work than the justification of the ungodly.
Objection 3. Further, to make something from nothing, where there is nought to cooperate with the agent, is greater than to make something with the cooperation of the recipient. Now in the work of creation something is made from nothing, and hence nothing can cooperate with the agent; but in the justification of the ungodly God makes something from something, i.e. a just man from a sinner, and there is a cooperation on man's part, since there is a movement of the free-will, as stated above (Article 3). Hence the justification of the ungodly is not God's greatest work.
On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 144:9): "His tender mercies are over all His works," and in a collect [Tenth Sunday after Pentecost] we say: "O God, Who dost show forth Thine all-mightiness most by pardoning and having mercy," and Augustine, expounding the words, "greater than these shall he do" (John 14:12) says that "for a just man to be made from a sinner, is greater than to create heaven and earth."
I answer that, A work may be called great in two ways: first, on the part of the mode of action, and thus the work of creation is the greatest work, wherein something is made from nothing; secondly, a work may be called great on account of what is made, and thus the justification of the ungodly, which terminates at the eternal good of a share in the Godhead, is greater than the creation of heaven and earth, which terminates at the good of mutable nature. Hence, Augustine, after saying that "for a just man to be made from a sinner is greater than to create heaven and earth," adds, "for heaven and earth shall pass away, but the justification of the ungodly shall endure."
Again, we must bear in mind that a thing is called great in two ways: first, in an absolute quantity, and thus the gift of glory is greater than the gift of grace that sanctifies the ungodly; and in this respect the glorification of the just is greater than the justification of the ungodly. Secondly, a thing may be said to be great in proportionate quantity, and thus the gift of grace that justifies the ungodly is greater than the gift of glory that beatifies the just, for the gift of grace exceeds the worthiness of the ungodly, who are worthy of punishment, more than the gift of glory exceeds the worthiness of the just, who by the fact of their justification are worthy of glory. Hence Augustine says: "Let him that can, judge whether it is greater to create the angels just, than to justify the ungodly. Certainly, if they both betoken equal power, one betokens greater mercy."
And thus the reply to the first is clear.
Reply to Objection 2. The good of the universe is greater than the particular good of one, if we consider both in the same genus. But the good of grace in one is greater than the good of nature in the whole universe.
Reply to Objection 3. This objection rests on the manner of acting, in which way creation is God's greatest work.
Objection 1. It would seem that the justification of the ungodly is a miraculous work. For miraculous works are greater than non-miraculous. Now the justification of the ungodly is greater than the other miraculous works, as is clear from the quotation from Augustine (Article 9). Hence the justification of the ungodly is a miraculous work.
Objection 2. Further, the movement of the will in the soul is like the natural inclination in natural things. But when God works in natural things against their inclination of their nature, it is a miraculous work, as when He gave sight to the blind or raised the dead. Now the will of the ungodly is bent on evil. Hence, since God in justifying a man moves him to good, it would seem that the justification of the ungodly is miraculous.
Objection 3. Further, as wisdom is a gift of God, so also is justice. Now it is miraculous that anyone should suddenly obtain wisdom from God without study. Therefore it is miraculous that the ungodly should be justified by God.
On the contrary, Miraculous works are beyond natural power. Now the justification of the ungodly is not beyond natural power; for Augustine says (De Praed. Sanct. v) that "to be capable of having faith and to be capable of having charity belongs to man's nature; but to have faith and charity belongs to the grace of the faithful." Therefore the justification of the ungodly is not miraculous.
I answer that, In miraculous works it is usual to find three things: the first is on the part of the active power, because they can only be performed by Divine power; and they are simply wondrous, since their cause is hidden, as stated above (I:105:7). And thus both the justification of the ungodly and the creation of the world, and, generally speaking, every work that can be done by God alone, is miraculous.
Secondly, in certain miraculous works it is found that the form introduced is beyond the natural power of such matter, as in the resurrection of the dead, life is above the natural power of such a body. And thus the justification of the ungodly is not miraculous, because the soul is naturally capable of grace; since from its having been made to the likeness of God, it is fit to receive God by grace, as Augustine says, in the above quotation.
Thirdly, in miraculous works something is found besides the usual and customary order of causing an effect, as when a sick man suddenly and beyond the wonted course of healing by nature or art, receives perfect health; and thus the justification of the ungodly is sometimes miraculous and sometimes not. For the common and wonted course of justification is that God moves the soul interiorly and that man is converted to God, first by an imperfect conversion, that it may afterwards become perfect; because "charity begun merits increase, and when increased merits perfection," as Augustine says (In Epist. Joan. Tract. v). Yet God sometimes moves the soul so vehemently that it reaches the perfection of justice at once, as took place in the conversion of Paul, which was accompanied at the same time by a miraculous external prostration. Hence the conversion of Paul is commemorated in the Church as miraculous.
Reply to Objection 1. Certain miraculous works, although they are less than the justification of the ungodly, as regards the good caused, are beyond the wonted order of such effects, and thus have more of the nature of a miracle.
Reply to Objection 2. It is not a miraculous work, whenever a natural thing is moved contrary to its inclination, otherwise it would be miraculous for water to be heated, or for a stone to be thrown upwards; but only whenever this takes place beyond the order of the proper cause, which naturally does this. Now no other cause save God can justify the ungodly, even as nothing save fire can heat water. Hence the justification of the ungodly by God is not miraculous in this respect.
Reply to Objection 3. A man naturally acquires wisdom and knowledge from God by his own talent and study. Hence it is miraculous when a man is made wise or learned outside this order. But a man does not naturally acquire justifying grace by his own action, but by God's. Hence there is no parity.
The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas
Second and Revised Edition, 1920
Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province
Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol.
Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii.
Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L.
Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ
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