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Article Ten

Whether a Man in Grace needs the help of Grace in order to Persevere

We proceed to the tenth article thus:

1. It seems that a man in grace does not need the help of 155grace in order to persevere. Perseverance, like continence, is something less than a virtue, as the philosopher explains in 7 Ethics 7 and 8. Now a man does not need any help of grace in order to possess the virtues on account of which he is justified by grace. Much less, then, does he need the help of grace in order to persevere.

2. Again, the virtues are all bestowed at the same time, and it is maintained that perseverance is a virtue. Hence it seems that perseverance is bestowed along with the other virtues infused by grace.

3. Again, as the apostle says in Rom., ch. 5, more was given back to man by the gift of Christ than he had lost through Adam’s sin. But Adam received what enabled him to persevere. Much more, then, does the grace of Christ restore to us the ability to persevere. Hence a man does not stand in need of grace, in order to persevere.

On the other hand: Augustine says (De Persev. 2): “Why is perseverance asked of God, if it is not given by God? Is it not a supercillious request, to ask him for something which we know he does not give, but which is in our power without his giving it?” Moreover, perseverance is asked for even by those who are sanctified through grace. This is what we mean when we say “Hallowed be thy name,” as Augustine confirms by the words of Cyprian (De Corrept. et Grat. 12). Thus even a man in grace needs that perseverance be given him by God.

I answer: we speak of perseverance in three senses. In one sense, it means the habit of mind by which a man stands firm, and is not dissuaded from what virtue demands by sudden tribulations. Perseverance in this sense is related to tribulations as continence is related to desires and pleasures, as the philosopher says in 7 Ethics 7. In a second sense, it means the habit by which a man maintains his intention of persevering in good to the last. Perseverance in both senses is bestowed along with grace, as are also continence and the other virtues. In a third sense, it means the actual continuing in good to the end of life. A man does not need any other habitual grace in order to persevere in this sense. But he does need the help of God to direct him, and to guard him from the shocks of temptation, as is apparent from the preceding article. It is therefore necessary for him to ask God for this gift of perseverance even after he has been justified by grace, so that he may be delivered from evil until the end of life. For there are many to whom grace is given, to whom it is not given to persevere in grace.

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On the first point: this objection argues from the first meaning of perseverance, just as the second objection argues from the second meaning. The answer to the second objection is then obvious.

On the third point: as Augustine says (De Nat. et Grat. 43; De Corrept. et Grat. 12): “in his original state man received a gift whereby he might persevere, but not whereby he actually should persevere.” Now by the grace of Christ many receive a gift of grace whereby they may persevere, while it is also given them to do so. The gift of Christ is thus greater than Adam’s sin. But a man in the state of innocence, with no warring of the flesh against the spirit, could persevere by means of this gift of grace more easily than we can now, when regeneration by the grace of Christ, although begun in the mind, is not yet complete in regard to the flesh, as it shall be in heaven, when man shall be not only able to persevere, but unable to sin.

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