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CHAPTER CLIIIThat Divine Grace causes in us Faith

THE movement of grace, guiding us to our last end, is voluntary, not violent (Chap. CXLIX). But there can be no voluntary movement towards an object unless the object be known. Therefore grace must afford us a knowledge of our last end. But such knowledge cannot be by open vision in our present state (Chap. XLVIII): therefore it must be by faith.840840Why not by reason? The answer is given in the next argument. The work of our salvation must be all of a piece. The essential means to a supernatural end must be themselves supernatural. Grace however is no miraculous illumination of the intellect, no private revelation of the mysteries of God: it supposes the Christian tradition handed down from man to man, rationally taught and rationally grasped: but it disposes us to accept that tradition as we hear it, and it assists the teaching Church to preserve it.

2. In every knowing mind, the mode of knowledge follows the mode of nature: hence an angel, a man, and a dumb animal have different modes of knowledge according to their differences of natures. But, for the gaining of his last end, man has a perfection superadded to him, over and above his nature, namely, grace. Therefore there must also be superadded to him a knowledge, over and above his natural knowledge, and that is the knowledge of faith, which is of things not discerned by natural reason.

3. As when wood is first warmed by fire, the fire does not take kindly to the wood; but finally, when the wood is all ablaze, the fire becomes as it were connatural to the wood and a part of its very being: or as when a pupil is taught by a master, he must, to start with, take in the ideas of the master, not as understanding them of himself, but in the spirit of one ready to accept on another’s word things beyond his capacity; and so in the end, when his education is advanced, he will be able to understand those things: in like manner, before we arrive at our final end, which is the clear vision of the 324First Truth as it is in itself, the intellect of man must submit to God in readiness to take His word; and that submission and readiness to believe is the work of divine grace.

4. See further, B. I, Chapp. IV, V.

Hence the Apostle says: By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God (Eph. ii, 8).

Hereby is refuted the error of the Pelagians, who said that the beginning of faith in us was not of God, but of ourselves.


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