De veritate EN 242
As was said above, a motion of free choice is required in justification in order that through his own act man may come in contact will the justifying cause. Now the cause of justification is God, who wrought our justification through the mystery of His own incarnation, by which He became the mediator between God and men. A motion of free choice toward God is accordingly required for the justification of sinners.
Since free choice can move toward God in many ways, for justification that motion seems to be required which is the first among all and is included in all others. This is the motion of faith; "for he that cometh God must (first) believe that he is," as is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11: 6). Moreover, no one can move toward God by any other motion unless at the same time he move will this motion of faith; for all other motions of the mind toward God the Justifier belong to the affections, whereas only the motion of faith belongs to the intellect. The affections, however, are moved toward their object only in so far as it is apprehended; for the apprehended good moves the affections, as is said in The Soul. Hence the motion of the apprehensive power is required for the motion of the affective, just as the mover needs to move actively for the mobile w be moved.
In this way also the motion of faith is included in that of charity and in every other motion by which the mind is moved toward God.
But because justice is completed in the affections, if man were turned toward God only will his intellect, he would not be coming into contact will God by the power that receives justice, his affections. Thus he could not be justified. It is therefore required that not only the intellect be turned toward God but also the affections. But the first motion of the affections toward anything is the motion of love, as was explained in the question on the passions of the soul. This motion is included in desire as a cause in an effect; for something is desired as loved. Hope, moreover, implies desire accompanied by the rousing of one’s spirits as tending w something arduous. Then, just as the motion of cognition is accompanied by a motion of love, so too the motion of love is accompanied by a motion of hope or de sire; for love arouses desire or hope just as the object apprehended arouses love.
Thus in the justification of sinners free choice is moved toward God by the motion of faith, of charity, and of hope; for the one justified must be turned toward God by loving Him will the hope of par don. These three motions are counted as a single complete motion inasmuch as they are included in one another. Yet that motion takes its name from faith because faith contains the other motions virtually and is included in them.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. To be moved toward God by free choice follows the infusion of grace in some sense by the order of nature, though not by that of time, as will be made clear below. Hence it does not follow from this, seeing that the infusion of grace is one of the requisites for justification, that the motion of free choice toward God follows justification.
2. The drawing in question does not imply violence, but it does imply the operation of God by which He works upon free choice, turning it whithersoever He wills. That to which man is drawn accordingly pertains in some sense to free choice.
3. Servile fear, which has its eye upon punishment alone, is required for justification as a previous disposition, though not as entering into the substance of justification; for fear cannot coexist will charity, but when charity enters fear leaves. Thus we read in the first Epistle of St. John (4:18): "Fear is not in charity." Filial fear, however, which is afraid of separation, is included virtually in the motion of love; for to desire union will one’s beloved means the same thing as to fear separation.
4. Filial fear includes some flight—not flight from God, but flight from separation from God, or else flight from equalling oneself to God inasmuch as fear implies a kind of reverence by which man does not dare to compare himself to the divine majesty but rather submits to it.
5. The motion of charity toward God is also required, but in this motion the motion of faith also is included, as has been said.
6. Although it is possible to believe God or to believe about God without justice, yet without grace or justice it is not possible to believe will a tendency toward God, for this is an act of faith informed [by charity]. Such belief is required for justification, as is clear from the Epistle to the Romans (4:5): "To him that... believeth in him that justified the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice."
7. After the fall of human nature man cannot be restored except through the mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ; and this mystery of the mediation of Christ is held only by faith. For this reason natural knowledge does not suffice for the justification of sinners, but faith in Jesus Christ, either explicit or implicit according to the differences of times or persons, is required. This is what is said in the Epistle to the Romans (3:22): "Even the justice of God by faith in Jesus Christ."
8. Faith stands to infused wisdom in the same relation as the under standing of naturally known principles stands to wisdom or science acquired by reason, as being its source. Hence the first motion of gratuitous knowledge toward God is not one of infused wisdom or science but one of faith.
9. Though there are many articles of faith, not all have to be actually thought of at the very instant of justification; one need only think of God according to that article which holds that He justifies and forgives sins. Implicitly in this is included the article on the incarnation and passion of Christ and the other requisites for our justification.
10. The motion of humility follows that of faith inasmuch as a person considering the sublimity of the divine majesty, submits to it.
11. In generic justice of which we are now speaking, the due sub ordination of man to God is included, as was said above. Thus faith, hope and charity are all contained within this kind of justice.
12. Sin is an obstacle to grace especially from the point of view of turning away from God. To remove this obstacle there is accordingly required the turning of our free choice toward God.
Parallel readings: IV Sentences r 1, sol. 4; Contra Gentiles III, 158; Sum. Theol., I-II, 113, 5; III, 86, 2.
It seems that it is not, for
1. A motion of charity toward forgiveness is enough: "many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much" (Lc 7,47). But the motion of charity is directly toward God. For the justification of sinners, then, a motion toward God is enough, and a motion toward sin is not required.
2. The unchangeable good is more efficacious than a changeable good. But it is enough for a man to turn to a changeable good for him to incur sin. It is therefore enough for a man to turn to the unchangeable good for him to be justified.
3. A man cannot move toward sin without thinking of sin. Now no one can think of something which his memory does not retain. But it happens that some have forgotten about sins committed. If the motion of free choice toward sin is required for the justification of sinners, then, it seems that a person who has forgotten about his sins can never be justified.
4. It is possible for a man to be entangled in many crimes. But if a motion of free choice is required in justification, it seems that will equal reason he must at that instant think of each one of his sins— which is impossible. For there is no more reason for singling out one than another.
5. Whoever is turned to something as his last end is by that very fact turned away from any other last end, because it is impossible for one thing to have many last ends. But when a man is moved toward God by faith informed by charity, he is moved to Him as his last end. By this very fact, then, he is turned away from sin. Consequently no motion of free choice toward sin seems necessary.
6. The motion away from sin is not the same as that toward sin, just as the motion from white is not the same as that toward white. But justification is a motion away from sin. It is therefore not a motion toward sin.
To the Contrary:
1’. In the Psalm (31:5) It is written: "I said: I will confess against myself my injustice to the Lord. And thou has forgiven the wicked ness of my sin." But a man cannot say this without thinking of his sin. A motion of free choice toward sin is therefore required for justification.
2’. Contrition, the first part of [the sacrament of] penance, by which sins are taken away, is required for the justification of sinners. But contrition is sorrow for sin. Hence a motion of free choice to ward sin is required in justification.
The justification of sinners adds something to justification taken absolutely. Justification in an absolute sense implies only the infusion of justice. The justification of sinners adds to this the forgiveness of guilt. This forgiveness does not come about merely by the fact that a man ceases to sin, but something further is needed. Hence Augustine says: "If ceasing to sin were the same as not having any sins, it would be enough for Scripture (Si 21,1) to admonish us: 'My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more. But that is not enough. Scripture has added: 'But for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee."
Thus for justification in an unqualified sense it is required that man by his free choice turn to the justifying cause; and this turning is the motion of free choice toward God. But in the justification of sinners it is required in addition that he be turned toward the destruction of past sin. Now just as turning toward God comes about by the fact that a man knows God by faith and loves Him and desires or hopes for grace, in same way the turning of free choice toward sin must take place by the fact that a man recognizes that he is a sinner (which is an act of humility) and detests his past sin so that he is ashamed to have committed it and does not will to repeat the offence.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. There cannot be love of God apart from a detestation of what separates one from God. In justification there is accordingly required besides the motion of love toward God a detestation for sin. For this reason tears for her sins were shed by Magdalene, of whom were spoken the words (Lc 7,47): "Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much."
2. Turning toward the unchangeable good is sufficient for justification in an unqualified sense; but for the justification of sinners a motion toward sin is also required, as has been said; for in order that a man may be justified it is not sufficient merely to will for justice and not to sin, but he must also work against his past wickedness by de testing it. In one who sins, however, the detestation of God or of justice is not required except as a consequence, because no one hates what is good except in so far as it is incompatible will some other good which he loves. The sinner therefore hates justice and God only indirectly, by immoderately loving a changeable good.
3. It is not necessary for a person at the very moment of justification to think of this or that particular sin; but it is necessary, either absolutely or conditionally (if he has turned away from God), only to be sorry for having by his own fault turned away. This condition applies when a person does not know whether he has ever turned away from God by a mortal sin. By such a motion even one who has forgotten about his sin can have contrition for sin.
4. All sins have in common turning away from God, by reason of which they are an obstacle to grace. For justification it is accordingly not required that a person think of his individual sins at the very mo merit of justification, but it suffices to think of having turned away from God by one’s own fault. But the recalling of sins individually must either precede or at least follow justification.
5. If someone fixes upon God as his end, it follows that he does not put his end in sin, and therefore that he is turned away from the intention of sinning. This does not, however, suffice for the wiping out of past sin, as has been said. The argument accordingly proves nothing.
6. The motion of free choice to pursue and embrace sin is opposed to justification, but not the motion of free choice to flee from sin. This rather coincides will justification, which is a motion away from sin; for flight from something is motion away from it.
Parallel readings: IV Sentences 17, 1, 3 sol. Sum. Theol., I-II, 113, 6.
It seems that they are, for
1. The positing of an affirmation and the removal of a negation are the same. But guilt seems to be nothing but the lack of grace. It there fore seems that the removal of guilt and the infusion of grace are the same.
2. Guilt and grace are opposed in the same way as darkness and light. But the removal of darkness and the introduction of light are the same. Then the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are also the same.
3. In the forgiveness of guilt what we especially have in mind is the effacement of a stain. But the stain does not seem to be anything positive in the soul, because in that case it would somehow be from God. And so it seems to be only a privation; but it is not the privation of anything but that will which it cannot coexist, namely, grace. Now the removal of a privation is nothing but the positing of a pos session or habit. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore nothing else than the infusion of grace.
4. The answer was given that the stain posits not only the absence of grace but also an aptitude and an obligation to have grace.—On the contrary, every privation posits an aptitude in a subject, and yet the removal of a privation and the introduction of a habit are the same thing. Then this does not keep the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace from being the same.
5. According to the Philosopher "the coming to be of one thing is the perishing of another." Now, since in some sense the forgiveness of guilt is its perishing, and the infusion of grace is its coming to be, the infusion of grace is the same as the forgiveness of guilt.
To the Contrary:
1'. Among the four requisites for the justification of sinners, two are listed together: the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt.
2’. Things such that one can be found without the other are not the same. But the infusion of grace can take place without the forgiveness of guilt, as is seen in the blessed angels, in the first man before the fall, and in Christ. The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are therefore not the same.
The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are not the same. This is shown as follows.
Changes are distinguished on the basis of their terms. Now the term of the infusion of grace is the existence of grace in the soul, whereas the term of the forgiveness of guilt is its non-existence. In this connection there is a difference between opposites to be taken into account.
There are some opposites each of which posits some natural being, such as white and black. In such opposites the negation of either term is a real negation, that is, the negation of a real being. Accordingly, since affirmation is not negation, to be white. is not the same as not to be black, but they are really different; and likewise the destruction of black (whose term is not to be black) and the coming to be of white (whose term is to be white) are really different changes, al though there is a single motion, as was said above.
There are other opposites of which only one of the two terms is a natural being, and the other is only its removal or negation. This appears, for instance, in opposites based upon affirmation and negation or upon privation and possession. In such cases the negation of an opposite which posits a natural being is real, because it is the negation of a real being; but the negation of the other opposite is not real, because it is not the negation of any real being. It is the negation of a negation. Consequently, this negation of a negation, which is the negation of the second opposite, in no way differs in reality from the positing of the other. In reality, then, the coming to be of white and the destruction of not-white are the same. But because a negation, though not a real being, is nevertheless a conceptual being, the negation of the negation is distinct conceptually or in our manner of understanding from the positing of the affirmation. Thus in the manner of under standing it the destruction of not-white is distinct from the coming to be of white.
It is therefore clear that if guilt is nothing positive at all, the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt are the same in reality, but conceptually they are not the same. If, on the other hand, guilt posits something not only conceptually but also really, the forgiveness of guilt is distinct from the infusion of grace if they are considered as changes, even though from the point of view of motion they are one, as was said above.
Now guilt posits something, and not only the absence of grace. The absence of grace considered in itself has only the note of punishment and not that of guilt except in so far as the guilt is left from a preceding voluntary act. Darkness, for instance, does not have the note of a shadow except in so far as it is left from the interposition of an opaque body. Then, just as the removal of a shadow implies not only the removal of darkness but also the removal of the obstructing body, in the same way the forgiveness of guilt implies not only the removal of the absence of grace but also the removal of the obstacle to grace, which arose from a preceding act of sin. This does not mean that that act must be made not to have been, for that is impossible, but it means that the entry of grace is not hindered by it. It is therefore clear that the forgiveness of guilt and the infusion of grace are not the same in reality.
Answers to Difficulties:
1-4. These answers are clear from the re
5. The coming to be of one thing is said by the Philosopher to be the perishing of the other by concomitance, because they are necessarily simultaneous, or else because of the oneness of the motion which terminates in these two changes.
Parallel readings: IV Sentences 22, 4 sol. I; Sum. Theol., I-II, 113, 8.
It seems that it does, for
1. In its comment upon the words of the Psalm (62:3): "So in the sanctuary have I come before thee," the Gloss says: "Un a man first is wanting in evil, he will never arrive at good." But the forgiveness of guilt makes a man wanting in evil, whereas the infusion of grace makes him arrive at good. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
2. In the order of nature our understanding of the recipient is prior to that of the reception itself. But a form is not received save in its proper matter. Our understanding of the proper matter is therefore prior to that of the reception of the form. But for a matter to be proper to a given form it must be stripped of the contrary form. Matter is therefore by a natural priority stripped of one form before it receives another; and so by a natural priority the forgiveness of guik comes before the infusion of grace.
3. It was said in answer that, from the standpoint of its relation to God who infuses it, grace is naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt; but from that of its relation to the subject, it is posterior to the forgiveness of guilt. - On the contrary, in the infusion of grace is included the relation of grace to the subject into which it is infused. If it is posterior to the subject on the basis of this relation, it therefore seems that in itself the infusion of grace naturally comes after the forgiveness of guilt.
4. It was said that grace has two different relations to the subject: one as informing the subject, and from the standpoint of this relation it is posterior to the forgiveness of guilt; another as driving guilt out of the subject, and in this sense the infusion of grace naturally pre cedes the forgiveness of guilt.—On the contrary, grace drives out guilt by reason of its opposition to guilt. Opposites drive each other out because they do not suffer one another in the same subject. Then by the very fact that grace informs the subject it drives out guilt. Thus it is impossible for grace to be posterior on the basis of its relation to the subject that it informs, and prior on the basis of its relation to the guilt that it drives out.
5. The being of a thing is naturally prior to its acting. But since grace is an accident, its being is to be in a subject. Its relation to the subject that it informs is therefore naturally prior to its relation to the contrary which it drives out. It accordingly seems that the answer given above cannot stand.
6. Turning away from evil is naturally prior to doing good. But the forgiveness of guilt refers to turning away from evil, and the in fusion of grace is directed to doing good. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
7. The sequence of causes corresponds to the sequence of effects. Now the effect of the forgiveness of guilt is to be clean, and the effect of the infusion of grace is to be graced. But to be clean is naturally prior to being graced, for everything graced is Clean; but the converse does not hold. For according to the Philosopher "the prior is that from which there is a sequence that cannot be reversed." The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
8. Guilt and grace are related to each other like contrary forms in the order of nature. Now in natural things the expulsion of one form is naturally prior to the introduction of the other, because it is impossible for contrary forms to be simultaneously in matter. It must accordingly be understood that the form that was there before is driven out before the new form is introduced. Likewise, then, the forgiveness of guilt is naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
9. Leaving the starting point is naturally prior to arriving at the terminal point. But in the justification of sinners guilt stands as the starting point which is left through the forgiveness of guilt, whereas the terminal point is grace itself, which is arrived at through its in fusion. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
10. The answer was given that the infusion of grace is posterior in so far as grace is the term of justification; but in so far as it is a principle which disposes by removing the contrary, it is prior. On the contrary, an agent will infinite power does not need a disposition in the matter upon which it works. But the infusion of grace is effected by an agent of infinite power, God Himself. Consequently no disposition is needed.
1. No form that is wholly from without needs a disposition in matter. But grace is such a form. Therefore.
2. The forgiveness of guilt and the infusion are related in the same way as cleansing and enlightenment. But according to Dionysius cleansing is placed before enlightenment. Therefore, the forgiveness of guilt likewise naturally precedes the infusion of grace.
3. If God worked successively in the justification of sinners, He would first will chronological priority remove the guilt before He infused grace, just as nature in whitening first removes blackness be fore it introduces whiteness. Now by effecting justification instantaneously God obviates chronological sequence but not that of nature. The forgiveness of guilt is therefore naturally prior to the infusion of grace.
To the Contrary:
1’. A cause naturally precedes its effect. But grace is the cause of the forgiveness of guilt only inasmuch as it is infused. The infusion of grace therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of guile.
2’. A natural agent drives out of matter a form contrary to its own only by introducing into the matter a likeness of its own form. In the same way, then, God removes guilt from the soul only by introducing into it a likeness of His own goodness, grace. Thus the infusion of grace naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
3'. Grace is sometimes driven out, and that by guilt, just as at times guilt is forgiven, and that through grace. But grace is driven out by guilt that precedes the driving out of grace. In the same way, then, guilt is forgiven through a grace that precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
4'. Grace is infused by being created and is created by being in fused. But the creation of grace is naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt. Then the infusion of grace also is naturally prior.
5’. An agent is naturally prior to its patient. But in the justification of sinners grace derives from the agent and guilt derives from the patient or recipient. The infusion of grace is therefore naturally prior to the forgiveness of guilt.
In each genus of cause the cause is naturally prior to that which is caused. It happens, however, that according to different genera of causes one and the same thing is both cause and caused in regard to a single term of reference. Thus purgation is the cause of health in the genus of efficient cause, but health is the cause of purgation in the genus of final cause. Similarly matter is in a way the cause of the form in so far as it sustains the form, and the form is in a way the cause of the matter in so far as it confers upon matter actual existence. Accordingly, nothing prevents a thing from being prior and also posterior to another in different genera of causes.
What must be called simply prior in the order of nature, however, is that which is prior in the line of that cause which is prior in the very character of causality. The outstanding example of this is the end, which is called the cause of causes because all the other causes receive from the final cause their status as causes; for the efficient cause does not act except for the sake of the end, and by reason of the action of the efficient cause the form perfects the matter and the matter supports the form.
It must accordingly be said that, whenever one form is driven out of matter and another is introduced, the expulsion of the previous form is naturally prior in the line of material causality; for every disposition for a form is reduced to the material cause, and stripping the matter of the contrary form is a kind of disposition for the reception of the form. Furthermore, the subject or matter is number able, as is said in the Physics; for it is numbered conceptually, since in addition to the substance of the subject there is found in it privation, which attaches to matter and the subject.
In the line of formal causality, however, the introduction of the form, which formally perfects the subject and drives out the contrary, is naturally prior. And because the form and the end coincide in numerically the same thing, and the form and the efficient cause coincide in species inasmuch as the form is the likeness of the agent, for this reason the introduction of the form is also naturally prior in the lime of efficient and final causality. And from this it is evident, ac cording to what was said above, that it is prior without qualification in the order of nature.
It is accordingly clear that, speaking without qualification according to the order of nature, the infusion of grace is prior to the forgiveness of guilt; but according to the order of the material cause the reverse holds true.
Answers to Difficulties:
1. The comment in question refers to the avoidance of an evil action and the performance of a good one. To put aside evil is less than to do good, and therefore is naturally prior. The comment does not refer to the habit which is infused or driven out.
2. That argument is based upon the order of the material cause, ac cording to which even as regards the subject the infusion of grace is prior.
3. From the above answer the answer to this difficulty is clear.
4. This difficu1t is based upon the order of the formal cause; for by inhering, grace drives out guilt formally.
5. Grace does not drive out guilt efficiently but formally. Hence it does not exist before it drives out guilt but simultaneously will this effect.
6. This difficulty like the first, applies to actions and not to habits.
7. To be clean is not the proper effect of the forgiveness of guilt, because it can be found even if the forgiveness of guilt is not taken into account, as for example in man in the state of innocence. The proper effect of the forgiveness of guilt is to become clean; and that is not more general than to be graced, because no one can become clean except through grace. It should be noted, moreover, that the argument given would not prove natural priority except in the line of material causality; for genera have the function of matter will reference to their species.
8. There is need of the same distinction in natural forms and in the matter at hand.
9. Leaving the starting point is prior in the line of coming to be and of motion. These are reduced to the order of matter, for motion is the act of a being that is in potency. The arrival at the terminus, how ever, is prior in the line of formal causality.
10. In God’s operations a disposition is needed, not because of the impotence of the agent, but because of the condition of the effect; and especially such a disposition the removal of the contrary—because contraries cannot exist together.
11. Even a form which is wholly from without requires the right disposition in the subject, either one pre-existing, as light requires transparency in the air, or one inserted by the same agent at the same time, as heat in its fullness is introduced along will the form of fire. In the same way guilt is driven out by God simultaneously will the infusion of grace.
12. The same distinction is to be applied to the sequence of cleansing and enlightenment as is applied in the matter at hand.
13. If God effected justification successively, the driving out of guilt would be prior in time but posterior in nature; for the order of time follows that of motion and matter. In agreement will this distinction the Philosopher says that in the same being act is posterior to potency in time but prior in nature, because what is prior in the line of final causality is prior in nature without qualification, as has been said.
Parallel readings: IV Sentences 17, 1, sol. 2 & Sum. Theol., I-II, 113, 8.
It seems that it does, for
1. A cause naturally precedes its effect. But contrition is the cause
of the forgiveness of guilt. It therefore naturally precedes it; and consequently it also precedes the infusion of grace, because forgiveness and the infusion of grace are concomitant.
2. The answer was given that contrition is not the cause of the forgiveness of guilt except as a material disposition on the contrary, contrition is the sacramental cause of the forgiveness of guilt and of the infusion of grace. Since penance is a sacrament of the New Law, it causes grace, and therefore also the forgiveness of guilt; and it does not do this by reason of its other parts, confession and satisfaction, which presuppose grace and the forgiveness of guilt. We are thus left will the conclusion that contrition itself is the sacramental cause of the forgiveness of guilt and of the infusion of grace. But a sacramental cause is an instrumental cause, as is evident from the preceding question. Since an instrument is reduced to the genus of efficient cause, contrition will not be the cause of the forgiveness of guilt as a material disposition but rather in the genus of efficient cause.
3. Attrition precedes the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. But contrition differs from attrition only in the intensity of sorrow, and that does not change its species. Then contrition also at least naturally precedes the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt.
4. It is written in the Psalm (88: 15): "Justice and judgment are the preparation of thy throne." Now the soul is made the throne of God by the infusion of grace and the forgiveness of guilt. Consequently, since a man works justice and judgment by being contrite for his sin, it seems that contrition is a preparation for the infusion of grace; and so it is naturally prior.
5. Motion to a term naturally precedes the term. But contrition is a kind of motion tending to the destruction of sin. It therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of sin.
6. Augustine says: "He who created you without you will not justify you without you." Thus the motion of free choice, which is from us, is required for justification and naturally precedes it. But justification terminates in the forgiveness of guilt. The motion of free choice therefore naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt.
7. In carnal marriage mutual consent naturally precedes the marriage bond. But through the infusion of grace a certain spiritual marriage of the soul will God is contracted, according to the words of Osee (2: 19): "I will espouse thee to me for ever." Consequently the motion of free choice, by which the consent of the soul to God is given, naturally precedes the infusion of grace.
8. The relation between the imparting of motion by the mover and its reception by the thing moved is the same in things moved by an other and in those which are moved by themselves. But the motion imparted by an external agent, whether it acts as a principal agent or only as a helper, naturally precedes its reception by the thing moved. Now, since in the justification of sinners the soul is not moved wholly from without, but in a certain sense it moves itself as a helper, ac cording to the words of the first Epistle to the Corinthians (3:9): "We are God’s coadjutors," it therefore seems that the operation of the soul, that is, the motion of free choice, naturally precedes the forgiveness of guilt, in which the soul is moved from vice to virtue.
To the Contrary:
1'. Contrition is a meritorious act. But a meritorious act comes only from grace. Then grace is the cause of contrition. But the cause naturally precedes the effect. The infusion of grace therefore naturally precedes contrition.
2’. In its comment upon the words of the Epistle to the Romans (5: 1): "Being justified therefore by faith...,"the Gloss says: "No meritorious act of man precedes the grace of God." But contrition is a meritorious act of man. It therefore does not precede the infusion of grace.
3’. It was said in answer that it precedes as a kind of disposition.— On the contrary, a disposition is less perfect than the form for which it disposes. But contrition is something more perfect than grace. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace. Proof of the minor: A second act has greater perfection than a first act. But grace is a first act since it is like a habit; but contrition is a second act since it is the operation of grace, just as considering is the operation of science. Then contrition is more perfect than grace, just as considering is more perfect than science.
4’. The effect of an efficient cause is never a disposition for that efficient cause, because in the lime of motion it follows the efficient cause, though in the same line a disposition precedes that for which it disposes. But contrition is related to grace as the effect of an efficient cause is related to that cause. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace; and so the conclusion is the same as above. Proof of the minor: Habit and power are reduced to the same genus of causes, since the habit supplies what is lacking to the power. But a power is the cause of its act in the line of efficient causality. Then so is a habit. But the relation of grace to contrition is that of a habit to its act. The relation of contrition to grace is therefore that of an effect to an efficient cause.
5’. Whatever has no influence upon the introduction of a form is not a disposition for the form. But contrition has no influence upon the infusion of grace, because apart from contrition the infusion of grace can take place. Examples are had in Christ, in the angels, and in the first man in the state of innocence. Contrition is therefore not a disposition for grace; and so we must conclude the same as before.
6’. Bernard says that there are two requisites for the work of our salvation: God to give it, and free choice to receive it. But giving is naturally prior to receiving. Consequently grace, which in our justification is from God who gives it, naturally precedes contrition, which is from our free choice which receives it.
7’. Contrition cannot coexist will sin. The forgiveness of sin there fore naturally precedes contrition.
De veritate EN 242