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Article Three

Whether a Movement of the Free Will is required for the Justification of the Ungodly

We proceed to the third article thus:

1. It seems that a movement of the free will is not required for the justification of the ungodly. For we see that infants are justified through the sacrament of Baptism without any movement of the free will, and sometimes adults also. Augustine indeed says that when one of his friends lay sick of a fever, “he lay for long unconscious in a deathly sweat, and when given up in despair, was baptized without his knowing it, and was regenerated” (4 Confessions, cap. 4). Now regeneration is by justifying grace. But God does not confine his power to the 187sacraments. He can therefore justify a man not only without any movement of the free will, but without the sacraments.

2. Again, a man does not have the use of his reason while asleep, and there cannot be a movement of the free will without the use of reason. Yet Solomon received the gift of wisdom from God while he slept (I Kings, ch. 3, and II Chron., ch. 1). It is just as reasonable that a man should sometimes receive the gift of justifying grace from God without a movement of the free will.

3. Again, grace is conserved and begun by the same cause. Hence Augustine says: “a man ought to turn to God, so that he may at all times be justified by him” (8 Gen. ad Litt. 10, 12). Now grace is conserved in a man without a movement of the free will. It can therefore be infused initially without a movement of the free will.

On the other hand: it is said in John 6:45: “Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Now one cannot learn without a movement of the free will, since the learner gives his consent to the teacher. It follows that no man comes to God through justifying grace without a movement of the free will.

I answer: the justification of the ungodly is achieved through God moving a man to justice, as Rom., ch. 3 affirms. Now God moves each thing according to its own manner. We see in natural things that what is heavy is moved by God in one way, and what is light in another way, on account of the different nature of each. He likewise moves a man to justice in a manner which accords with the condition of his human nature, and it is proper to the nature of man that his will should be free. Consequently, when a man has the use of his free will, God never moves him to justice without the use of his free will. With all who are capable of being so moved, God infuses the gift of justifying grace in such wise that he also moves the free will to accept it.

On the first point: infants are incapable of a movement of free will. God therefore moves them to justice solely by moulding their souls. But this is possible only by means of a sacrament, because grace comes to them through spiritual regeneration by Christ; just as the original sin from which they are justified came to them through their carnal origin, not through their own will. It is the same with maniacs and morons, who have never had the use of their free will. But if anyone should lose the use of his free will either through infirmity or sleep, having 188formerly had the use of it, such a one does not receive justifying grace through the outward administration of Baptism, or of any other sacrament, unless he previously intended to partake of it, which he could not do without the use of his free will. The friend of whom Augustine speaks was regenerated in this way because he assented to Baptism, both previously and subsequently.

On the second point: Solomon neither merited wisdom nor received it while he slept. But it was declared to him while he slept that God would infuse wisdom, because of his previous desire for it. Wisdom 7:7 accordingly puts these words in his mouth: “I desired, and understanding was given unto me.” Or it may be that his was not natural sleep, but the sleep of prophecy referred to in Num. 12:6: “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” If so, his free will could have been used. But we must observe that the gifts of wisdom and of justifying grace are not alike. The gift of justifying grace directs a man especially to good, which is the object of the will, and therefore moves him to good by a movement of the will, which is a movement of his free will. Wisdom, on the other hand, perfects the intellect, which is more fundamental than the will, and can therefore be enlightened by the gift of wisdom without any complete movement of the free will. Some things are revealed in this way to men while they sleep, as we see from Job 33:15-16: “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon me, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.”

On the third point: in the infusion of justifying grace there is a transmutation of the human soul. A movement proper to the human soul is therefore required, in order that the soul may be moved according to its own manner. But in the preservation of grace there is no transmutation. Consequently, no movement is required on the part of the soul, but only a continuation of divine inspiration.

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