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Article Three

Whether Grace is Bound to be given to One Who Prepares Himself for Grace, or Who does what He can

We proceed to the third article thus:

1. It seems that grace is bound to be given to one who prepares himself for grace, or who does what he can. For a gloss on Rom. 3:21, “the righteousness of God . . . is manifested,” says: “God receives him who flies to him, since otherwise he would be unjust.” It is impossible that God should be unjust, and consequently impossible that he should not receive one who flies to him. Such a one is therefore bound to receive grace.

2. Again, Anselm says (De Casu Diaboli 3): “the reason why God does not extend grace to the devil is that he was neither willing nor prepared to receive it.” But if a cause be removed, its effect is also removed. If anyone is willing to receive grace, therefore, he is bound to receive it.


3. Again, “good diffuses itself,” as Dionysius explains (4 Div. Nom., lect. 3), and the good of grace is better than the good of nature. Now a natural form is bound to be received by matter which is disposed to it. Much more, then, is grace bound to be given to one who prepares himself for it.

On the other hand: man is to God as clay to the potter, according to Jer. 18:6: “as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.” But clay is not bound to receive a form from the potter, however much it may be prepared. Neither then is a man bound to receive grace from God, however much he may prepare himself.

I answer: preparation for grace may be considered under two aspects, since a man’s preparation for it is due to God as mover, and also to his own free will as moved by God, as we said in the preceding article. In so far as preparation for grace is due to a man’s own free will, there is no necessity why grace should follow it. The gift of grace exceeds any preparation by human power. But in so far as it is due to the moving of God, what God intends by such moving is bound to be achieved, since God’s purpose cannot fail. As Augustine says: “whosoever will be set free by the blessings of God will most certainly be set free (De Dono Persev. 14). Hence if a man whose heart is moved receives grace by the intention of God who moves him, he receives grace inevitably, in accordance with John 6:45: “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

On the first point: this gloss refers to one who flies to God by a meritorious action of free will which has already been brought to its form by means of grace. If such a one did not receive grace, this would be contrary to the justice which God has himself ordained. Or, if it refers to an action of free will which precedes grace, it assumes that such flight to God is due to the moving of God, which moving ought not in justice to fail.

On the second point: the first cause of the absence of grace lies with ourselves, whereas the first cause of the bestowal of grace lies with God. Thus it is said in Hos. 13:9: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”

On the third point: a disposition of matter does not ensure the reception of a form, even in natural things, unless through the power of the agent which caused the disposition.

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