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CHAPTER CLVIIIThat Man cannot be delivered from Sin except by Grace

BY mortal sin man is turned away from his last end. And to that last end he is set on his way only by grace.

2. Offence is removed only by love.854854May one not come to forgive without positively coming to love the offender? Yes, when the offender was a stranger to begin with. But a friend is thoroughly forgiven only by being re-admitted to friendship. At the same time we do well to recall St Thomas’s prefatory remark (B. I, Chap. IX): — “For declaring truths that we believe on the revelation of God, there are certain probable arguments ready to hand, which may be advanced for the exercise and consolation of believers, but not for the confutation of opponents.” But by mortal sin man quarrels with God: for it is said that God ‘hates’ sinners, inasmuch as He is minded to deprive them of the last end, which He has in preparation for them who love Him. Man then cannot rise from sin except by grace, whereby friendship is established between God and man.

Hence it is said: It is I who blot out thine iniquities for my own sake (Isai. xliii, 25).

Hereby is refuted the error of the Pelagians, who said that man can rise from sin by free will.

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