De veritate EN 211



Opposite heresies have arisen regarding this question. Some, judging of the nature of the human mind after the manner of corporeal natures, have been of the opinion that man does from necessity everything to which they saw there was an inclination of the human mind. For the human mind has two contrary inclinations. One, from the instinct of reason, is to good. Noting this, Jovinian said that man can not sin. The other inclination is in the human mind from the lower powers, especially as corrupted by original sin. By this the mind is inclined to choose the things which are pleasurable to the carnal senses. Noting this inclination, the Manicheans23 said that man necessarily sins and cannot in any way avoid sin. Thus both, though by opposite paths, fell into the same inadmissible position, denying free choice; for man does not have free choice if he is driven will necessity to cither good or evil. That it is inadmissible is proved by experience, by the doctrines of the philosophers, and by arguments from Scripture, as appears to some extent from what has been said above.

On the other hand there arose Pelagius, who, wishing to defend free choice, opposed divine grace and said that man is able to avoid sin without the grace of God. This error very evidently contradicts the teaching of the gospels, and has therefore been condemned by the Church.

Now the Catholic faith takes a middle course, so saving free choice as not to exclude the necessity of grace.

For the clarification of this point it should be noted that, since free choice is a power established under reason and over the executive and motive power, something is found to be outside the power of free choice for cither of two reasons: (1) It exceeds the efficacy of the motive and executive power, which works at the command of free choice. For example, to fly does not fall within the free choice of a man, because it exceeds the power of manís motive faculty. (2) The act of reason does not extend to it. For since the act of free choice is choosing, which depends upon counsel, that is, the deliberation of reason, free choice cannot extend to anything that escapes the deliberation of reason. Such, for example, would be actions which occur without premeditation.

The avoidance or commission of sin does not exceed the power of free choice for the first reason, because, though the accomplishment of a sin by an external act is carried out by the execution of the motive power, nevertheless the sin is completed in the will by mere con sent before the execution of the deed. Consequently free choice is not kept from a sin or its avoidance by the failure of the motive power, even though it is sometimes kept from its execution. This would be the case, for example, when someone wishes to kill or fornicate or steal and cannot.

A sin or its avoidance can exceed the power of free choice for the second reason, however, inasmuch as a particular sin occurs suddenly and more or less by surprise, thus escaping the election of free choice, even though by directing its attention or efforts to it free choice could commit the sin or avoid it.

Now something can happen in us more or less by surprise in two ways: (1) From a fit of passion. For the movement of anger or concupiscence sometimes anticipates the deliberation of reason. Tending to something illicit by reason of the corruption of our nature, this movement constitutes a venial sin. In the state of corrupt nature it is accordingly not within the power of free choice to avoid all 5 of this sort, because they escape its act, although it can prevent any particular one of those movements if it makes the effort against it. But it is not possible for man continuously to make the contrary effort to avoid movements of this kind on account of the various occupations of the human mind and the rest required for it. This comes about from the fact that the lower powers are not wholly subject to reason as they were in the state of innocence. It was then easy for man to avoid each and every one of these sins by his free choice, because no movement could arise in the lower powers except at the dictate of reason. In his present state, however, man is not, commonly speaking, restored by grace to this harmonious condition; but we look forward to it in the state of glory. In this state of misery, then, even after reparation by grace man cannot avoid all venial sins. This is, however, in no respect prejudicial to the freedom of choice.

(2) Something happens in us more or less by surprise by reason of the inclination of habit; for, as the Philosopher says: "It is more indicative of a brave man to remain fearless and unperturbed in sudden terrors than in those seen coming." The less an action is from pre paredness, the more it is from habit; for a person chooses things seen coming, that is, known ahead of time, by reason and thought even without a habit, but sudden things according to habit. Now this is not w be taken as meaning that an action according w the habit of a virtue can be altogether without deliberation, since a virtue is a habit of choice, but that one having the habit already has the end determined in his choice. Consequently, whenever anything agreeable to that end presents itself, it is immediately chosen unless the choice is blocked by a greater and more attentive deliberation.

A man who is in the state of mortal sin, however, habitually clings to sin. He may not always have the habit of a vice, because from one act of lust, for instance, the habit of lust is not formed; but the will of one sinning has abandoned the unchangeable good and clung to a changeable good as its end, and the force and bent of this clinging remains in it up to the time that it again dings to the unchangeable good as its end. As a consequence, when something to be done which is confirmable to the previous choice presents itself to a man so dis posed, he straightway goes out to it in a choice unless he holds him self in check by much deliberation. And yet by the fact that he chooses it straightway in this fashion he is not excused from mortal sin, which requires some deliberation, because that deliberation suffices for a mortal sin in which what is chosen is judged to be a mortal sin and against God.

Such a deliberation, however, does not suffice to restrain one who is in the state of mortal sin. For no one is held back from doing any thing to which he is inclined except in so far as it is proposed to him as evil; but one who has already repudiated the unchangeable good for a changeable good no longer considers it an evil to be turned away from the unchangeable good, and mortal sin essentially consists in being so turned away. He is consequently not restrained from sinning by adverting that something is a mortal sin. What is further needed is to go ahead in the consideration until one arrives at something that one cannot fail to judge evil, such as unhappiness or something of the sort. The consequence is that, before as much deliberation as a man so disposed requires to avoid mortal sin, consent to a mortal sin is given.

Given the adherence of free choice to a mortal sin or to an illicit end, it is not in the power of free choice to avoid all mortal sins, though it can avoid any particular one if it resists. For, even though it has avoided this one or that by employing as much deliberation as is required, it is still unable to keep consent w a mortal sin from some times stealing up on a person before so much deliberation when he is not ready to deliberate, since it is impossible, because of the many cares will which the human mind is occupied, for a man always or for a long time to remain in such great watchfulness as is required for this. Furthermore, he is removed from this disposition only by grace, by which alone the human mind is made to adhere by charity to the unchangeable good as its end.

It is therefore clear from what we have said that we do not take away free choice, since we say that free choice can avoid or commit any sin taken singly; nor again do we take away the necessity of grace, since we say that man (even one having grace, as long as that grace has not been made perfect in the state of glory), because of the corruption of human nature called "fuel of sin," cannot avoid all venial sins though he can avoid each one. Since we say, moreover, that a man in the state of mortal sin and deprived of grace cannot avoid all mortal sins unless grace should come to his aid (though he can avoid each one singly) because of the habitual adherence of his will to an inordinate end (referred to by Augustine under the figure of the crookedness of a lower leg which brings on the necessity of limping) óin this way are verified the opinions of the doctors which appear quite different on this question.

Some of them say that without habitual ingratiatory grace man can avoid mortal sin, though not without the divine help by which divine providence guides man to do good and avoid evil. This is true when the person has been willing to make an effort against Sin; and as a result of it any single mortal sin can be avoided. Others say that without grace man cannot remain long without sinning mortally. This is true in the respect that man cannot be habitually disposed to sin for a long time without having unexpectedly presented to him a need for action. When that occurs, because of the inclination of the bad habit he slips into consent to a mortal sin, since it is not possible for a man long to be sufficiently attentive to the need of taking pains to avoid mortal sin.

Now because the conclusion w the arguments for either side is to a certain extent true and to a certain extent false, answers to both sets of arguments must be given.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. That statement of the Apostle, according to different explanations, can be understood either of mortal sin and the evil of mortal sin if we take Paul to be speaking in the person of a sinner, or of the evil of venial sin as regards the first movements if we take him to be speaking in his own person or in that of other just men. But in either interpretation it must be understood that, though there is a natural will to avoid all evil, a sinner without grace cannot succeed in avoiding all mortal sins, even though he can avoid each one singly; and so he cannot without grace fulfil his natural will. And the same is true of a just man in regard to venial sins.

2. It is not possible for an adult without grace to be only in original sin, because as soon as he has attained the use of free choice, if he has prepared himself for grace, he will have grace; otherwise his very negligence will be imputed to him as a mortal sin. The argument given, moreover, seems to suppose the very difficulty which it adduces. If it is possible for an adult to be in original sin and no other, should he happen to die at that instant, he will be midway between the blessed and those who are being punished will the pain of senseó which is the difficulty which the argument itself adduces. In order that no force may be attributed to this argument, it should be ob served that there is in original sin a habitual aversion from the un- changeable good, since the man having original sin does not have his heart joined to God by charity; and consequently, as far as the habitual aversion goes, the same is to be said of one in original sin and of one in mortal sin, though in mortal sin there is added to this an habitual conversion to an undue end. Furthermore, it does not follow that if someone should escape damnation by his free choice, he can for that reason by the strength of his free choice attain glory; for that is something more. And the rejoinder about man in the state of innocence is obvious.

3. Man without grace is bound by sin so that he acts contrary to the law, because, even though he can avoid this or that sin by a contrary effort, he still cannot avoid all sins, for the reason already given.

4. Augustineís example about the crookedness of the leg is not parallel in some respects, because it is not within the power of the leg to make use of crookedness or not, and so every movement of the crooked leg must be a limp. But free choice can make use of its crook edness or not; and so it is not necessary for it to sin in every one of its acts, but it can sometimes avoid sin. But the example is parallel in this, that it is not possible to avoid all sins, as has been said.

5. Although a sin not wiped out by repentance leads to another sin by giving an inclination, it is not necessary for free choice always to obey that inclination, but in an individual act it can make efforts against it.

6. Fear and anger, as passions, are not mortal sins but venial; for they are first movements.

7. Sins are said to be necessary inasmuch as not all can be avoided, though each singly can.

8. When flesh lusts against the spirit it is a vice, but one of venial sin.

9. The necessity of sinning either venially or mortally accompanies the necessity of dying except in the privileged persons, Christ and the Blessed Virgin; but the necessity of sinning mortally does not, as is clear of those having grace.

10. [The answer to this is lacking].

11. A crown is given to one who entirely conquers the devil and sin. But a man who avoids one sin while continuing in another, being a slave, is not a victor except perhaps in a certain respect. He there fore does not deserve a crown.

12. Cupidity cannot be understood absolutely to compel free choice, which is always free from force. But it is called compelling because of the vehemence of the inclination, which can still be resisted, though only will difficulty.

13. Free choice can make use of a habit or not. It is accordingly not necessary for a person always to act according to a habit, but he can sometimes also act contrary to it, though will difficulty. While the habit lasts, however, the person cannot by any chance remain long without acting according to the habit.

14. When grace is lacking, free choice can of itself choose evil. It is not, however, necessary that without ingratiatory grace it always choose evil.

15. It does not follow that by avoiding sin a person conquers the world, unless he is altogether free from sin, as was said above.

16. A commandment is observed in two ways: (1) Its observance merits glory. In this sense no one can observe the commandment in question or any other without grace. (2) Its observance averts punishment. In this sense it can be observed without ingratiatory grace. It is observed in the first way when the substance of the act is fulfilled along will the appointed mariner, which is supplied by charity. In this sense the commandment to love is not so much a command merit as the end of the commandment and the form of other commandments. It is observed in the second way when only the substance of the act is fulfilled. This undoubtedly happens even in one who does not have the habit of charity. For according to the Philosopher even an unjust man can do something just.

17. That argument is not to the point. Granted that a man would commit a new sin in not having mercy upon himself by preparing himself for repentance, he is still able to avoid this sin, since he can prepare himself. Nor does a sinner necessarily commit a flew Sin whenever he does not have mercy upon himself by repenting, but only when for some special reason he is obliged to this.

18. A man of virtue is able not to love God actually but to act in a contrary fashion, as appears when he sins.

19. Although habits always produce acts like themselves, the one who has a habit can still enter upon an act contrary to the habit, because he does not always have to make use of the habit.

20. A man who lacks justice can perform an imperfect act of justice, which is to do something just and this by reason of the principles of natural law implanted in reason. But he cannot perform an act of perfect justice, which is to do something just in a just manner. An unjust person can accordingly sometimes turn aside from evil.

21. The statement of the Master is not to be understood as meaning that it is necessary for a man in the state of mortal sin to succumb to every temptation, but that, unless he is freed from sin by grace, he will fall into some mortal sin at some time.

22. It is necessary for us to pray in the Lordís Prayer not only that past sins be forgiven but also that we be freed from future sins, be cause, unless a man is freed by grace, he must necessarily sometimes fall into sin in the manner mentioned, though he can avoid this or that sin by striving against it.

23. It is necessary for a man abandoned by the light of grace to fall at some time; but it is not necessary for him to succumb to every temptation.

Answers to Contrary Difficulties:

1'. It would be prejudicial to the freedom of choice if we could not avoid sin by making an effort to the contrary. It is not, however, prejudicial to this freedom if a man cannot succeed in being constantly careful to resist sin. But when a man is not careful about this, he is drawn by his habitual inclination to what agrees will the habit.

2'. Because free choice has the mastery over its own act, it can, when it takes the trouble, not make use of its own defect. But since it is impossible for it always to take the trouble, the consequence is that it sometimes fails in its act.

3í. Mortal sin is not committed without the consent of free choice. But consent follows the habitual inclination unless a great deal of de liberation is exercised beforehand, as has been said.

4'. A man is said to have fallen remediably because he can find a remedy in the help of grace even though the power of his free choice is not sufficient for this.

5'. To be unable to sin and to be unable not to sin are contraries, but to be able to sin and not sin falls between them. The supposition of the argument is therefore false.

6í. Choosing and deliberating are concerned only will what is in our power; but, as is said in the Ethics, "what we do through friends we somehow do through ourselves." Free choice can accordingly have choice and deliberation not only about the matters for which its own power sunflices but also about those for which it needs divine help.

7'. A person in the state of mortal sin can avoid all mortal sins by the help of grace. He can also avoid them singly by his own natural power, though not all. It therefore does not follow that in committing a sin he does not sin.

8í. The necessity of sinning does not impose any constraint upon free choice. For even though a man cannot by himself free himself from that necessity, he eau nevertheless to some extent resist that to which he is said to be necessitated, inasmuch as he can avoid individual sins, though not all.

9í. Sin becomes in some sense natural to the sinner, for a habit works in the one who has it like a sort of nature. The necessity which is had from a habit, then, is reduced to a natural inclination.

10í. According to Augustine something can be necessary and still voluntary. The will, for instance, necessarily abhors misery; and it does so because of a natural inclination. It is to such a natural inclination that the inclination of a habit is likened.

11í. A man in the state of sin eau by no means free himself from a sin which he has already committed except by the help of grace; for, since sin consists in aversion, he is not freed from it unless his mind clings to God by charity, which does not come from free choice but is poured into the hearts of the saints by the Holy Spirit, as is said in the Epistle to the Romans (5:5).


Parallel readings: De veritate, 24, 14 27, ad 3 II Sentences 29, Expos. text.; Sum. Theol., I-IL, 109,9; In Psalm. 31:7


It seems not, for

2. No one has to ask of God what he can do by himself. But how ever much grace a person has, he must ask of God that he be freed from future sins. In the second Epistle to the Corinthians (13:7) the Apostle, addressing the faithful and the saints, accordingly says: "Now we pray God, that you may do no evil." Hence even those having grace cannot avoid sin.

2. Even those having grace must say the Lordís Prayer. Now in that prayer the petition is made that man may persevere without sin, according to the interpretation of Cyprian, as Augustine reports. A person having grace therefore cannot of himself avoid mortal sin.

3. Perseverance is a gift of the Holy Spirit. But it is not within the power even of a person having grace to have the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Since abstaining from mortal sin up to the end of oneís life belongs to perseverance, it therefore seems that even a person having grace cannot avoid mortal sin.

4. The defect of sin is related to the existence deriving from grace as nothingness is related to natural existence. But a creature, which has obtained natural existence from God, cannot keep itself in natural existence without falling into nothingness unless it is conserved by the hand of its Creator. Consequently, a person who has obtained grace likewise cannot of himself keep from falling into mortal sin.

To the Contrary:

2'. In the second Epistle to the Corinthians (12:9) it is written: "My grace is sufficient for thee." Now it would not suffice if mortal sin could not be avoided by its means. A man eau therefore avoid mortal sin by means of grace.

2í. This is seen from the words of the Master: "After reparation before a man is confirmed in good he is pressed by concupiscence, but he is not conquered. He has, to be sure, weakness in regard to evil, but grace in regard to good. As a result he is able to sin because of his freedom and weakness, and he is able not to sin mortally because of his freedom and helping grace."



It is one thing to say that someone can abstain from sin and another to say that he can persevere until the end of his life in abstaining from sin. When it is said that someone can abstain from sin, emphasis is placed only upon the negation, as meaning that someone is able not to sin. And, when there is question of mortal sin, anyone in the state of grace is able to do this, because there is no habitual inclination to sin in one who has grace. Rather there is in bim a habitual inclination to avoid sin. As soon as anything is presented to him under the aspect of mortal sin, therefore, because of his habitual inclination he refuses it consent, unless he makes an effort to the contrary, following his concupiscence. But there is no necessity of following it, even though he cannot avoid having some movement of concupiscence arise entirely preceding the act of free choice. Because, then, he cannot help having such movements, he is notable to avoid all venial sins. But because in him no movement of free choice precedes full deliberation, drawing him to sin as by the inclination of a habit, he is therefore able to avoid all mortal sins.

But when it is said that he can persevere in abstaining from sin up to the end of his life, the emphasis is placed upon something affirmative, meaning that a person places himself in a state such that sin can not be in him; for in no other way could a man make himself persevere by the act of his free choice than by making himself impeccable. This, however, does not fall within the power of free choice, because the motive and executive power does not extend w this. Consequently, a man cannot be the cause of his own perseverance, but is under the necessity of begging for perseverance from God.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. The Apostle prayed that they do no evil in view of the fact that they could not succeed in persevering in abstinence from evil except will divine help.

2. The same is to be said in answer to this.

3. Perseverance is spoken of in two senses: (1) Sometimes it is a special virtue; and so it is a habit whose act is to have the determination to persevere unshakably. In this sense everyone who has grace has perseverance, even though he is in fact not going to persevere unto the end. (2) Perseverance is taken as a particular circumstance of virtue designating the permanence of virtue up to the end of life. In this sense perseverance is not in the power of one who has grace.

4. When we speak of nature we do not exclude the things by which nature is kept in existence. In the same way, when we speak of grace we do not exclude the operation of God conserving grace in existence. Without Godís operation a person is notable to continue either in natural existence or in the existence deriving from grace.


Parallel readings: II Sentences 28, a. I; and as in art. 13, especially Sum. Theol., I-II, 109, 9.


It seems that it is, for

1. A commandment is not given about something impossible. Jerome says in this respect: "Cursed is he who says that God has commanded man to do anything impossible." But man is commanded to do good. Man is therefore able to do good by his free choice.

2. No one should be reprimanded if he does not do what he is notable to do. But a man is justly reprimanded if he omits doing good. Hence man is able by his free choice to do good.

3. Man is able by his free choice to avoid sin to some extent, at least as regards a single act. But it is good to avoid sin. Man can there fore do something good by his free choice.

4. Everything is more capable of what is natural to it than of what is against its nature. But free choice is naturally ordained to good, and sin is against its nature. It is therefore more capable of good than of evil. But it is capable of evil by itself. Much more, then, is it capable of good.

5. A creature retains a likeness to the Creator by reason of the vestige, and much more by reason of the image. But the Creator can do good by Himself. Then so too can a creature, especially free choice, which pertains to the image.

6. According to the Philosopher it is by the same causes that virtue is destroyed and engendered. But by free choice virtue can be destroyed, because mortal sin, which a man can commit of his free choice, destroys virtue. By his free choice, then, man is capable of engendering the good which is virtue.

7. In the first Epistle of St. John (5:3) it is said: "His commandments are not heavy." But what is not heavy man can do by his free choice. Man can therefore of his free choice fulfil the commandments, and that is good above all.

8. According to Anselm free choice "is the power of preserving the rectitude of the will for its own sake." But the rectitude of the will is preserved only by doing good. A person can therefore do good by his free choice.

9. Grace is stronger than sin. But grace does not so bind free choice that man cannot commit sin. Then neither does sin so bind free choice that a man in the state of sin cannot do good without grace.

To the Contrary:

1'. In the Epistle to the Romans (7: 18) we read: "For to will, is present will me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not." Man therefore cannot do good by his free choice.

2í. Man can do good only by an external or an internal act. But free choice does not suffice for either; for, as is said in the Epistle to the Romans (9: 16): "It is not of him that willed"; i.e., to will, which refers to the internal act, [is not in his power]; "for of him that runneth"; i.e., to run, which refers to the external act; "but of God that sheweth mercy." Free choice without grace can therefore in no way do good.

3í. Commenting on the words of the Epistle to the Romans (7: 11): "The evil which I hate, that I do," the Gloss says: "Man wills good naturally, to be sure; but this will always is without effect unless Godís grace has strengthened his act of willing." Without grace, then, man cannot accomplish any good.

4í. The thought of good precedes the doing of good, as the Philosopher makes clear. But man cannot think anything good by himself; for it is said in the second Epistle to the Corinthians (3:5): "Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves." Hence man cannot do good by himself.



Nothing acts outside the limits of its own species. But everything can act according to the requirements of its species, since nothing is deprived of its proper activity.

Now there are two kinds of good, one which is proportioned to human nature, and another which is beyond the ability of human nature. If we are speaking of acts, these two kinds of good do not differ in the substance of the act but in the manner of acting. Take, for instance, the act of giving alms. It is a good proportioned to human powers in so far as a man is moved to it by a certain natural love or kindness; but it is beyond the ability of human nature in so far as a man is led to it by charity, which unites manís heart to God.

It is apparent that without grace free choice is incapable of the kind of good which is above human nature; andóbecause it is by this kind of good that man merits eternal lifeóit is apparent that man can not merit without grace. The kind of good which is proportioned to human nature, however, man can accomplish by his free choice. Augustine accordingly says that man can cultivate fields, build houses, and do a number of other things by his free choice without actual grace.

Although man can perform good actions of this kind without ingratiatory grace, he cannot perform them without God, since nothing can enter upon its natural operation except by the divine power, because a secondary cause acts only by the power of the first cause, as is said in The Causes. This is true of both natural and voluntary agents. Yet it is verified in a different way in either case.

In natural beings God is the cause of their natural operation inasmuch as He gives and conserves the intrinsic principle of their natural operation, and from that principle a determined operation flows of necessity. In the element earth, for example, He conserves its heaviness, which is the principle of its motion downward. But manís will is not determined to any particular operation but remains indifferent in regard to many. It is thus in some sense in potency unless it is moved by an activating principle, which is either something presented to it from the outside, such as an apprehended good, or something which works within it interiorly, as God Himself. Augustine explains this, showing that God works in the hearts of men in many ways. All external motions, moreover, are also governed by divine providence, according as God judges that someone is to be aroused to good by such and such particular actions. Should we will, accordingly, to call the grace of God, not a habitual gift, but the very mercy of God by which He interiorly moves the mind and arranges external condition for manís salvation, in this sense also man cannot do any good without Godís grace. But commonly speaking, we use the name of grace for a habitual gift which justifies. It is accordingly clear that each set of reasons comes to a conclusion in some sense false. Consequently answers must be given to both.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. What God commands is not impossible for man to observe; for the substance of the act can be observed by his free choice; and the prescribed manner by which the act is raised above the ability of nature, that is, in so far as it is done from charity can be observed by a gift of grace, though not by manís free choice alone.

2. A man who does not fulfil the commandments is rightly reprimanded, because it is by reason of his negligence that he does not have the grace by which he can observe the commandments even as to the manner (since he could, even without grace, observe them as to their substance).

3. By performing an act that is good generically man avoids sin, though he does not merit a reward. Consequently, even though man can avoid a particular sin by his free choice, it still does not follow that he is capable of any meritorious good by his free choice alone.

4. By his free choice man is capable of a good which is natural to him; but a meritorious good is above his nature, as has been said.

g. Although in a creature there is a likeness to the Creator, it is not perfect. Such a likeness is exclusively proper to the Son. It is there fore not necessary that whatever is found in God be found in a creature.

6. The Philosopher is speaking of political virtue, which is acquired by acts; not of infused virtue, which is the only principle of a meritorious act.

7. As Augustine says, the commandments of God are understood to be easy for love but hard for fear. It accordingly does not follow that they can be fulfilled perfectly by anyone but a person having charity. Though a person without charity could fulfil a particular one as to its substance and will difficulty, he could not fulfil all, just as he could not avoid all sins.

8. Though free choice can keep the rectitude which it has, it can not keep it when it does not have it.

9. Free choice does not need to be bound for it to be incapable of meritorious good, since this is beyond its nature, just as a man is in capable of flying even if he is not bound.

Answers to Contrary Difficulties:

The answers to these are clear, because they are either arguing on the basis of meritorious good, or they show that man can do no good without the operation of God.


Parallel readings: II Sentences g, 2, 1 28, a. IV Sentences 17, 1, z sol. 2; Contra Gentiles III, 549; in Hebr., e. 52, lectura 3 (P 13: 778a); Quodibet I, (4), 7; Sum. Theol., 1,62, 2; I-II, 109, 6; in Joan., c. 1, lect. 6 (P 10: 302b-303a).


It seems that he can, for

1. It is useless to exhort a man to something which he is unable to do. But man is exhorted to prepare himself for grace (Za 1,3): "Turn yet to me...: and I will turn to you." Man without grace can therefore prepare himself for grace.

2. This is seen from the words of the Apocalypse (3:20): "If any man shah... open to me the door, I will come in to him." It appears, then, that it is manís business to open his heart to Godówhich means to prepare himself for grace.

3. According to Anse1m the reason why a person does not have grace is not that God does not give it, but that man does not accept it. But this would not be true if man were notable without grace to prepare himself to have grace. Man can therefore by his free choice prepare for grace.

4. It is written in Isaias (1: 19): "If you be willing, and will hearken to me, you shah eat the good things of the land." It accordingly depends upon manís will to approach God and be filled will grace.

To the Contrary:

1'. It is written (Jn 6,44): "No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him."

2'. It is said in the Psalm (42:3): "Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me.

3í. Tri praying we ask of God to convert us to himself, as is shown in the Psalm (84:5): "Convert us, O God our saviour." But it would not be necessary for man to ask this if he could by his free choice prepare himself for grace. It therefore seems that without grace man cannot do so.

De veritate EN 211