A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's “Dogmatik”
Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D.
With A Preface By Cardinal Manning
VOLUME 1 Book III -- Part II


CREATION AND THE SUPERNATURAL ORDER
pp. 428-508

PART II.

The Supernatural order

The erroneous doctrines of Baius and Jansenius (which, like those of the Reformers, had their root in an erroneous conception of the natural and the supernatural in original man), and the rationalistic tendencies of more recent times, have necessitated a deeper study of the supernatural, as compared with the natural, order of things. Dominic Soto gave to his treatise on the Tridentine doctrine of grace, the title De Natura et Gratia, and took his starting-point from the general relation of nature to grace. Ripalda also, the chief opponent of Baius, wrote a great work, De Ente Supernaturali, which Kilber imitated in the Theologia Wirceburgensis. Suarez continued in the same track. In imitation of his Prolegomena adtractatum de Gratia, we find in most dogmatic works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries a treatise “On the Various States of Human Nature.” Our own times have produced a great number of monographs on this subject: Kleutgen, Theology, vol. ii., diss. on the Supernatural and on Grace; Schazler, Nature and Grace, and The Dogma of Grace, both in German; Glossner, The Doctrine of St. Thomas on Grace, also in German; Schrader, De Triplici Ordine Naturali, Supernatitrali et Prcsternaturali; Matignon, Le Surnaturel; Cros, Etude sur I'Ordre Naturel et rOrdre Surnaturel; Borgianelli, Il sopranaturale; lastly, the works of Scheeben, Nature and Grace, and the Glories of Divine Grace.

We shall divide this part into four chapters: I. The Supernatural in General. II. The Absolutely Supernatural. III. The Relatively Supernatural. IV. The Concrete realization of the Supernatural.

It may be useful to give here a short summary of the different states of nature and supernature. Their full import will be seen in the course of the present portion of this Third Book. The states of human nature in relation to the supernatural order are five in number.

1. The state of Pure nature --that is, without any sort of endowment beyond what is required by nature.
2. The state of Perfect nature (natures integral) --that is, endowed with preternatural, but not supernatural, gifts.
3. The state of Elevated nature --that is, endowed with supernatural gifts, and destined to a supernatural end.
4. The state of Fallen nature --that is, deprived of preternatural and supernatural gifts.
5. The state of Restored nature --that is, re-endowed with supernatural but not with preternatural gifts.


CHAPTER I. General Theory of the Supernatural and of Grace.

Sect. 136. --Notion of the Supernatural and of Supernature.

I. The term “nature“ is derived from nasci (like the Greek [word] from [the Greek phrase] ) to be born. Its primary meaning refers to the origin of a being by way of generation; then it applies to that which is communicated in generation and by which the progeny bears a likeness to the progenitor; consequently to the specific essence of both progeny and progenitor. Technically the word “nature“ designates the essence considered as principle of motion or change (i.e. action and passion), especially as principle of a certain immanent motion or activity, viz. of vital functions. In this sense, the term is also applied to beings which do not owe their origin to generation, but to direct creation, e.g. the angels. And lastly, it is applied to the uncreated Being of God, connoting in this case the communicability by immanent intellectual generation.

Besides the above abstract meaning, the term nature may be used in the concrete. Thus it expresses the sum total of material beings, especially of organic beings which are the subject-matter of physical science; and also, from another point of view, all things created, which, as such, are the subject-matter of theology.

The word “natural” is used in a great variety of meanings. In general, it is applied to all that belongs to nature, or proceeds from nature, or is in keeping with nature. Opposed to the natural are the “non-natural,” the “unnatural,” and especially the “supernatural.” It is, however, clear, that the same thing may be natural under one aspect, and non-natural or supernatural under another, and vice versa. This ought to be kept well in mind in order to prevent mistakes, because the use of the terms nature and natural has varied at different times, and the same author often uses them in different senses, according to the point of view from which he writes.

II. The Supernatural, in general, is what is above nature. In this sense, God is a supernatural being or substance, inasmuch as He is infinitely above all created nature. The conception of God as a supernatural being is supposed in the conception of the supernatural in all natural beings; in these, the supernatural only exists in as far as God elevates them above their nature by assimilating them to, and uniting them with Himself.

1. The supernatural in created nature always implies a Divine gift to the creature. It is neither a component part of a particular nature, nor can it proceed from such nature as a quality or product; it is not required by the nature for the attainment of its essential destination; and it is such that no creature of a higher order can produce it: God, as absolute supernatural Cause, acting freely above and beyond all natural laws, can alone be its author. Taken in this strict sense, the supernatural is called the “essentially supernatural“ (quoad essentiam}. The “accidentally supernatural“ (quoad modum or per accidens) is something which, as a matter of fact, God directly intervenes in producing, although, under other circumstances, a created force might have been its cause; or it is some Divine action the object of which is simply to assist a creature in the fulfilment or attainment of its essential destiny. The essentially supernatural in angels and man comprises qualities and perfections, forces and energies, dignities and rights, destinations to final objects, of which the essential constitution of angels and men is not the principle, which are not required for the attainment of the final perfection of their natural order, and which can only be communicated by the free operation of Divine goodness and power.

2. This description of the supernatural is mainly negative. A positive conception is drawn from the consideration that, whatever is supernatural to an inferior nature, must be, at least virtually, natural to a being of a higher order, Hence the supernatural is the participation by a lower being in the natural perfection of one that is higher.

3. From the twofold point of view, negative and positive, the supernatural may be divided into two classes the absolutely supernatural, and the relatively supernatural; which, as far as man is concerned, may also be termed the supernatural pure and simple, and the preternatural.

(a) The absolutely, supernatural, negatively, is beyond the reach of all created nature, and, positively, elevates created nature to a dignity and perfection natural to God alone the Absolutely Supernatural Being. Considered as a general and complete order embracing all rational creatures, the absolutely supernatural has its centre in the beatific vision and the Hypostatic Union, each of which contains in a different manner a marvellous union of the creature with God. In the beatific vision the blessed are assimilated to God so as to have God Himself as the immediate object of possession and fruition; in the Hypostatic Union the creature is admitted to the unity of His Being and personal dignity. These two fundamental forms of the supernatural are closely connected, for the assumption of human nature by Christ is the root and the crown of the beatific vision, not only of the human nature of Christ, but, by means of the incorporation of mankind into Christ, of all human nature. Hence the two forms are bound up into one supernatural order, at least after the Fall. The beatific vision, as supernatural end of rational creatures, necessitates a supernatural order of things, because in order to attain a supernatural end supernatural means must be at hand. In this order, theology distinguishes (1) the beatifying or glorifying supernatural, viz. the beatific vision considered both as principle and as act, or as the light of glory (lumen gloriae); (2) the sanctifying supernatural, which consists in a godlike life preparatory to and deserving of the beatific vision; (3) the supernatural “as to sanctifying energy“ (secundum vim sanctificatricem, (and in Greek), which consists in the gifts and acts destined to introduce and to perfect a state and life of sanctity. In the latter respect, viz. as perfecting a godlike life, this kind of supernatural is, in fact, partly identical with (2); but, as preparatory to a life of holiness, it comprises a distinct kind of gifts and acts.

(b) The relatively supernatural, negatively, is supernatural to human nature only; positively, it elevates human natural, nature to that state of higher perfection which is natural to the angels. It comprises the gifts which free the nature of man from the imperfections inherent in his animal life and his inferior reason, imperfections from which the angels are free by their very nature.

The difference between the two kinds of supernatural is not merely one of degree; their operation in the natures which they affect also greatly differ. The absolutely supernatural elevates the nature of angel and man above themselves; it adds a positive perfection to them, and implants in them the root of an entirely new and godlike life. The relatively supernatural, on the other hand, only perfects human nature within its own sphere, by subjecting its lower faculties to the higher, and by freeing the higher from the disturbing influences of the lower. It gives no new life but adds to the existing life perfect soundness, consisting in freedom from corruption and perturbation, from sin and evil. The Greek Fathers call it (in Greek), the Schoolmen “integrity of nature.”

The difference, then, between the absolutely and relatively supernatural is so great that the Schoolmen often designate the latter as a “natural good,” in the sense of something perfectly in harmony with the requirements of rational nature. As, however, such designation is apt to lead to an underrating of the supernatural character of the relatively supernatural, later theologians have applied to it the term “preternatural,” thus pointing out that it is something beyond and above nature, although it acts side by side with nature and on the domain of nature. In order duly to maintain the supernatural character of the relatively supernatural, it is necessary to consider it not merely as perfect soundness of human nature, but as a heavenly and spiritual soundness, brought about by a marvellous purification and spiritualization of human nature, thus effecting in the visible image of God a perfect likeness to its Author

III. A careful analysis of the supernatural conceived as the elevation of a lower to the participation in the perfections of a higher nature has led to the notion of “Supernature.” This term designates a participation in the higher nature to such a degree that not only privileges, faculties, and acts are shared, but also the higher nature itself; i.e. the lower nature participates in that fundamental quality of the higher being's substance which to him makes such privileges, etc., natural perfections. For if the community of perfections, especially of vital actions, is to be a living and perfect one, it must include the equalization of the lower with the higher nature, and consequently it must give the former a higher status and rank, a higher existence, or an intrinsic ennobling and clarification of its substance. In this way the supernatural becomes to a certain extent natural to the holder of the favoured nature, in as far as it is consonant with his new rank and substantial perfection. The concept of Supernature finds its principal realization in the perfect possession of the Absolutely Supernatural, by which the creature is raised to be “partaker of the Divine nature “(2 Pet. i. 4). It might, however, also serve to give a deeper foundation to the relatively supernatural, by attributing the gifts and perfections of this order to an innermost transfiguration of the spiritual substance of the soul, enabling it to preserve the freedom of the pure spirit, although united with a material body, and to assimilate its animal to its spiritual life.

Sect. 137 –General Notion of Divine Grace.

The Supernatural and Grace are very closely connected. The first is incomplete without the second, and the second has no specific meaning except when connected with the first; in many respects the two notions are identical.

I. In common language, the term Grace, (Greek) gratia, designates, in the first place, the benevolent disposition of one person towards another; more exactly, benevolent feelings funded on love and freely bestowed by a person of rank on one of lower station. In this primary sense, grace is synonymous with favour. Further, the term grace is applied to the effects of benevolent feelings or favour, viz. to free love-gifts, donum gratis datum, (and in the Greek); and also to the dignity which accrues to a person of lower rank from being the favourite of one who is above him. Lastly, grace signifies the qualities which contribute to make a person the favourite of another, e.g. natural or acquired excellence, beauty and amiability generally.

II. In each and all of these meanings the term grace can be applied to the relations between God and creatures. God is infinitely above His creatures, and His love of them is absolutely free, whereas, on the other hand, creatures possess nothing worthy of the Divine favour: their lovableness itself is the work of God. Hence we must consider as graces (1) that love of God by which He gives to His creatures their natural existence; (2) all the gifts bestowed upon creatures; (3) the relation to God which the creature holds by nature as long as, by sin, it does not fall into “disgrace;“ (4) the spiritual qualities and states of the mind which, by the working of natural faculties, make the creature pleasing to God. Notably, the term may be applied to the gifts granted to rational natures for the attainment of their ultimate end, although, in the hypothesis of their creation, such gifts are granted necessarily. Again, and even more properly, the dispositions of Divine Providence in the government of rational creatures are called graces. They are indeed included in the general scheme of creation, and so far are necessary gifts; yet their application to particular individuals depends on many free acts; the creature has no strict right to them, and God dispenses them with the love, tenderness, and goodness of a father, i.e. with liberality rather than according to strict justice or even equity.

III. The strict theological usage of the word grace has a more special meaning. Considered subjectively (as a disposition of the mind on God's part), Grace is a Divine well-wishing which is the source of the supernatural gifts of God to His creatures. The supernatural gift itself is called Grace, inasmuch as it is beyond and above all natural acquirements of the creature, and is, on the part of God, a perfectly free gift (donum indebitum). In its most special theological sense, the term Grace is applied to the benevolent affection by which God gives the highest and best He can give, viz. Himself in the beatific vision. This act of Divine love eminently possesses the character of gracious condescension of the Creator to the creature, and of a gracious assumption of the creature into communion with the Creator. As St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure say, it is a love which not only gives liberally, but also liberally accepts a love which so favours the creature as to make it the friend, the son, and the bride of the Creator. This same love is also specially called “Grace of the Holy Ghost,” because it extends to the creature the Love by which God loves His only begotten Son, and from which the Holy Ghost proceeds; and because it infuses into the creature a new life, of which the Holy Ghost is the breath. The term “Grace of the Holy Ghost“ is also extended to all gifts absolutely supernatural, and even to gifts relatively supernatural, because all alike spring from the same Divine Benevolent Love.

IV. Although all free gifts from Divine Benevolence receive in theology the name of Graces, the name should, nevertheless, be primarily applied to those gifts which not only have their principle in the Divine lovingkindness, but are themselves, in creatures, the principle enabling them to attain their supernatural destination; in other words, it should be applied to gifts which are supernatural aids to a supernatural end. From this point of view, eternal life is not so much a Grace as the final aim and object of Grace. Strictly speaking, this view of grace embraces only the gifts which positively, directly, and in themselves lead to the attainment of supernatural beatitude by making the creature worthy of it; viz. Salutary Graces, or Graces of salvation (gratiae salutares}. This worthiness, and the supernatural sanctity essentially connected therewith, make the creature “pleasing to God “(Deo graturm]; whence comes the other name, “Sanctifying Grace“ (gratia gratum faciens). The full meaning of these terms is realized in “Habitual Grace, ”which properly and formally constitutes the “finding favour in God's sight“(gratum esse Deo), and is identical with the state above described as supernature, because nothing but a participation in the Divine Nature can be the basis of a title to Divine Beatitude, and can make the participating creature an object of God's paternal complaisance. Around this Grace are grouped all other salutary Graces especially “Actual Graces.” These are not permanent forms, like Habitual Grace, but forces destined either to introduce or to increase the state of Habitual Grace or supernature. Besides, they are able to produce works deserving of salvation only in connection with Habitual Grace, and by virtue of the dignity or worth which it confers upon the person.

V. All supernatural gifts which do not directly and immediately tend to the attainment of the creature's supernatural destiny, but merely assist in this attainment, as it were, from without, --which, consequently have not the specific character of the Graces described, --are termed gratiae gratis datae, (and in Greek), i.e. Graces given out of undeserved love. They are commonly described as graces given to a person less for his own benefit than for the benefit of others.

Sect. 138. --The Chief Errors concerning the Supenatural.

The modern opponents of the Catholic doctrine of Grace have tried to identify it with the errors condemned in former times by the Church. This accusation is easily repelled by confronting the condemned errors with the unvarying Catholic teaching.

I. In patristic times the chief opponents of the supernatural were the Manichaeans and the Pelagians, who, as St. Augustine says, in different ways and for different reasons, agreed in attacking the grace of Christ (Contra Epist. Pelag., 1. ii., c. i). Both founded their opposition, on a false conception of human nature.

1. The Manichaeans held the soul to be an emanation from the Divine Substance, a member of God, to which, by reason of its good nature, God was bound to give whatsoever belonged to its highest beatitude and perfection. In their system, an elevation to a perfection higher than that given by nature is impossible; the Spiritual Substance can only be freed from the external and violent influence of the Evil Principle.

2. The Pelagians, on the contrary, looked upon man as a creature, and the gifts bestowed on him in creation as graces. They even praised human nature and the natural faculty of the will for good as a Divine grace. Besides this “grace,” which, according to them, still exists unimpaired in man, they admitted no other. They held that the original destination of man to the beatific vision was natural to him, and that his natural power for good was sufficient to merit supreme beatitude. In like manner, they considered a life altogether free from sin and faults to be within the natural power of man. They completely rejected the Catholic doctrine concerning Original Sin, as incompatible with their own doctrine on the naturalness of the original state of man. In fact, if man before the Fall had nothing in the shape of grace to distinguish him from fallen man, if in both there is the same unimpaired power of attaining eternal life, then no depravation of human nature was caused by the sin of our First Parents.

The dogmatical point of view from which the controversy with the Pelagians was conducted lies in the doctrine of Original Sin, considered as a distortion and corruption of the original institution and integrity of man, unfitting him for the attainment of that end to which, as a matter of fact, God had destined him. As the Pelagians admitted the ideal perfection of the actual destination of man, viz. eternal life with God, we should expect, and in fact we find, that their Catholic opponents compared the higher perfection of original man with man's present depraved condition, rather than with his nature pure and simple. Hence they had to describe the privileges of the original state, not so much as free gifts added to nature, but rather as goods belonging to the first man as a matter of fact. In this sense, such goods and privileges may be represented as innate and connatural as regards man before the Fall. The Pelagians thought that freedom from ignorance, concupiscence, and death was not required for the perfection of man either before or after the Fall, and consequently denied it altogether; Now, when the Catholic doctors asserted the existence of this privilege, they had not to point out its gratuitous character: their point was to show that ignorance, concupiscence, and death were evils of our present state, incompatible with the perfection of human nature as actually endowed by God. The Fathers were bound to take up this line of defence because their adversaries conceded in principle the perfection of the original state, and only admitted the evils of ignorance, concupiscence, and death in that state on the plea that they were not evils of such a kind as to interfere with its perfection.

II. The peculiar nature of the heresy opposed by the Fathers caused them, as may be inferred from what we have said, (1) to speak of the actual destination of original man to a supernatural end, and of the integrity of his nature, as being man's natural state, taking natural as equivalent to original; (2) to point out the supernatural character of the original state in comparison with the present depraved state of man, but to leave almost untouched its supernatural character as compared with the first man's pure nature. The Reformers, and, after them, Baius and Jansenius, would have us believe that these peculiarities are tantamount to a denial of the supernatural character of the original state, and that, consequently, the doctrine of the Schoolmen, affirming the supernaturality of the same, is in direct opposition to the teaching of the Fathers. They further pretended to find the Pelagian doctrine of “the indestructible, ideal goodness of our present nature,” in the scholastic doctrine that the nature of the first man, considered in itself, (apart from supernatural elevation, or as nature pure and simple), was identical with human nature as it is at present, when deprived of the graces and privileges of the original state. They went so far as to assert that the ancient Church was at one with the Pelagians as to the natural character of the original state! In reality, the Reformers' own doctrine, which they falsely attribute to the Church, is, at least on this last point, very clearly connected with Pelagianism; it is the old heresy with an infusion of Manichaeism and Averroism added. Starting from false notions concerning human nature and the supernatural, Reformers and Pelagians alike arrive at false conclusions concerning the present state of man. Reformers exaggerate the essence and the consequences of Original Sin in the same measure as the Pelagians denied them. For this reason the Church had to defend against the Reformers the supernatural character of the original state. The Council of Trent did not, indeed, strike at the very root of their errors, because the first Reformers had not gone far enough. But the Holy See intervened most decidedly as soon as Baius and Jansenius reproduced the old error in a more refined form. St. Pius V. censured the propositions of Baius in the Bull Ex omnibus afflictionibus, 1567; so too did Gregory XIII in the Bull Provisionis nostrae, 1579; and Urban VIII., in the Bull In eminenti, 1641, which contains the first condemnation of the Augustinus of Jansenius. Several more Jansenistic propositions were censured in the Bulls Unigenitus of Clement XI and Auctorem fidei of Pius VI.

The doctrine of Baius concerning the absolutely supernatural starts from this principle: The destination to beatitude in God and to a moral life, which, in some form or other, God has decreed for all rational creatures, must be a destination to “eternal life,” consisting in the Beatific Vision of God, and to that morality by which man merits eternal life. From this principle Baius draws the following inferences: --

(a) The vocation to eternal life cannot be a gratuitous adoption, and the bestowal of the means necessary for the attainment of this end cannot be a gratuitous elevation of the creature, but is rather an endowment due to nature.

(b) To merit eternal life it is not necessary that the creature should possess a higher status, in keeping with the excellence of the reward to be merited, since the merit depends only on the moral value of the works done --that is, on their being performed in obedience to the law.

(c) Hence meritorious works are not, either in themselves or as to their moral goodness, the fruits of a freely bestowed Divine grace. Although the power and means necessary for performing such works are the gift of the Holy Ghost, still the works are due to nature, and are nature's own. Further, meritorious works have their merit by a natural law, not by Divine condescension; consequently, eternal life is only a reward, and not at the same time a grace.

(d) There is no other moral goodness but that which merits eternal life; there is no love of the Creator but the love of charity, which tends to eternal life in the vision of God; the worship of God by faith, hope, and charity is not the object of a special, supernatural vocation, but is the essential form of all morality. Lastly, Baius stated that all morality essentially consists in the love of God, so that no act is a moral act if not animated by love for God. In a word, Baius denied any elevation of the creature above its necessary status or rank, and above its natural powers.

In the condemnation of the above errors and of Jansenius's elaborate exposition of them, we have a formal and detailed approval of the doctrine which they attacked, viz. that the actual destination and endowment of rational creatures are really supernatural, and that habitual grace is a supernatural status, in which the creature, being adopted by God, Who condescends to live in His creature as in His temple, is made to partake of the Divine Nature, and is thus elevated to Divine dignity, glory, and sanctity; whereas, by reason of its nature alone, the creature would indeed be called to and enabled to attain a certain beatitude and morality, but far inferior to the beatitude and morality which are the fruit of elevating grace.

2. Concerning the relatively supernatural in man, Baius teaches that God was bound to create innocent man free from all evils and defects which disturb the order of human nature and interfere with its full beatitude, because otherwise man would have been bad and unhappy without any fault of his. Notably in the fourth chapter of his book, De Prima Hominis Justitia, he says that perfect subordination of man's animal tendencies and of the motions of his body to the mind belonged to the absolutely necessary integrity of the first man. The Bull of St. Pius V. attributes to him also the proposition that immortality was not in Adam's case a gratuitous endowment. As far as immortality is concerned, the above doctrine was especially rejected in the condemnation of prop. Ixxviii, and, later, in the Bull Auctorem Fidei, n. xvii. Moreover the following proposition (n. Iv.) was condemned by St. Pius V.: “God could not, in the beginning, have created “man such as he is born now.” The words “as he is born now” of course refer to the nature of man as it is after the Fall, without the integrity of the original estate. If, then, the quoted proposition is false, the contradictory is true, viz. “God could have created man, in the beginning, such as he is born now;“ in other words, without any of the gifts lost by the sin of Adam. Therefore none of these privileges were due to human nature. The proposition, although condemned without any restriction of its meaning, is applied by Baius to concupiscence, wherefore its condemnation especially implies the possibility of the first man being created subject to concupiscence.

III. Recent theologians have evolved a notion of the supernatural which, while not quite identical with that of Baius, is a combination of Baianism and Pelagianism. The chief points of this modern system are the following. It admits the existence and the natural origin of the relatively supernatural gifts, but denies the absolutely supernatural --that is, the adoption to eternal life, the partaking of the Divine Nature, and a higher moral life essentially different from natural moral life. Man is the child of God by nature, not by adoption, and the destination to which man is actually called is natural to him. The new system starts from a true principle, viz. that moral life is essential to spiritual nature; but it then falsely infers that the morality evolved from the principles of human nature can merit the beatific vision.

The transition from the older errors to this new system took place almost unnoticed during the eighteenth century. Stattler, Hermes, Gunther, Hirscher, and Kuhn popularized it in Germany, where it found general favour until Kleutgen successfully opposed it (Theol., vol. ii.). In the progress of this treatise we shall give it due attention.


CHAPTER II.
Theory of the Absolutely Supernatural

Sect. 139. --Doctrine of Holy Scripture on the Supernatural Communion with God, considered especially as Communion by Adoptive Sonship.

It is in the New Testament, rather than in the Old, that we must look for the revealed doctrine on the supernatural destiny of man. Although, from the very beginning, man's ultimate end was supernatural, still in the Old Testament he is considered as a servant rather than as a son to God. “As long as the heir is a child he differeth nothing from a servant” (Gal. iv. l). The relation of the Israelites to God, which St. Paul's describes as an “adoption of children” (Rom. ix. 4), was a type of the Sonship established by Christ. In the Sapiential books and in the Prophets who form the transition from the Law to the Gospel, there are so many indications of a most intimate and familiar union between man and God, that they can only apply to the supernatural sonship set forth in the New Testament. (See on this point the profound remarks of Card. Wiseman in his essay on The Miracles of the Gospel) The supernatural life with God, to which man was destined from the beginning, but to which he received a new title through the Incarnation, is referred to in countless texts of the New Testament. The principal passages are the discourses of our Lord (John vi. and xiv. to xvii.); the Prologue of St. John's Gospel, compared with his First Epistle (chaps, i. and iii); the introductions to many of the other Epistles which set forth the excellence and exaltedness of the Christian's vocation, e.g. I Cor. i., ii.; Eph. i.; Col. i.; i Pet. i., and 2, i.: and Rom. viii. and Gal. iv. The whole doctrine may be conveniently expounded under the following heads.

l The actual vocation of man to communion with God is spoken of in Scripture as a great mystery, hidden in God, and surpassing all human conception, revealed by the Spirit who searcheth even the deep things of God. But this destiny cannot be man's natural destiny, because his natural destiny is not beyond his ken: it is found in the depths of human nature, and requires no searching of the depths of God. “We speak the Wisdom of God in a mystery, which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him. But to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So also the things that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now, we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God, that we may know the things that are given us (freely, in Greek) from God” (i Cor. ii. 7-12).

II. The supernatural character of man's present vocation appears even more in the emphatic expressions with which the Apostles extol its grandeur and exaltedness above all human conceptions, and see in its realization in the Incarnation a marvellous manifestation of the power, majesty, and love of God. “I cease not to give thanks for you, making commemoration of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him: having the eyes of your heart enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His power” (Eph. i. 16-19). “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit unto the inward man; . . . that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth; to know also the charity of Christ which surpasseth knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we ask or understand, according to the power which worketh in us, to Him be glory, etc.” (Eph. iii. 14-21. See also Col. i. 10 sqq.; 26 sqq.; 2 Pet. i. 4).

III. The status, the life, and the goods to which God has called man, are designated in Scripture as an elevation from slavery to adoptive sonship of God. This designation itself, and the explanations given in Holy Writ, make it evident that the sonship is not merely a natural relation of man to God founded upon sinlessness, but a peculiar, thoroughly intimate relation, raising the creature from its humble estate and making it the object of a peculiar Divine benevolence and complaisance, admitting it to filial love, and enabling it to become the heir of God --that is, a partaker of God's own beatitude. The adopted creature is described also as the friend of God and the bride of the Holy Ghost.

The gift of sonship is declared by St. John to be the object of the Incarnation: “He gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them . . . who are born of God“ (i. 12), and it is further explained in i John iii. I, 2: “Behold, what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God. . . . Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” St. Paul speaks four times expressly of “the adoption of sons“ (Greek), thus making this term the technical expression for the union with God to which man is called, just as in ordinary language it is the technical term for the admission of a stranger or a subject to the rights and privileges of a son. The following texts leave no doubt as to the strict and technical meaning of the adoption. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. . .Who has predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the purpose of His will (in the Greek phrase), to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son“ (Eph. i. 3-6). “When the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law; that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Therefore now he is [thou art] no more a servant, but a son, and if a son, an heir also through God“ (Gal. iv. 4-7). Compare the parallel text Rom. viii. 14-17; and John xv. 14, 15; I Cor. vi. 16, 17.

IV. Holy Scripture further points out the supernatural exaltedness of the sonship of God, by describing it as a communication or partnership with the only begotten Son of God, as a participation in the privileges which are properly His own in opposition to creatures, and in virtue of His Divine Sonship. Such a communication includes a union between God and the creature analogous to the union between God the Father and God the Son. The absolutely supernatural character of our vocation could not be stated more forcibly.

The most important text bearing on this point is John xvii. 20-26: “I pray for them also who through their word shall believe in Me; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them: that they may be one, as We also are One. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou also hast loved Me. Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me: that they may see My glory, which Thou hast given Me, because Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world. . . . And I have made known Thy Name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” From this text we gather --

1. God's love for His adopted children is an extension and communication of His paternal love for His Divine Son.

2. By means of God's love, the creature enters into a communion with Him analogous to the communion between God the Father and God the Son, whence Christ also calls His Father our Father (John xx. 17), and condescends to call men His brethren (Heb. ii. 11), so that we are admitted into the family of God as members (I John i. 3).

3. As a pledge and seal of this closer union with Father and Son, our Lord promises, in the same discourse, the same Holy Ghost Who is the eternal pledge and seal of the unity of Father and Son. As St. Paul further explains: “God hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. i. 22); and again: “That we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, saying, Abba, Father” (Gal. iv. 5,6). The strongest and most pregnant expression for the “fellowship (Greek), with the Father and His Son” (I John i. 3), is “the communication (Greek, co-fruition or co-possession) of the Holy Ghost” (2 Cor. xiii. 13).

4. The consequence of our union with the Father and the Son, is that we shall become partakers of the same glory which the Son has received from the Father, and that we shall be where the Son is, viz. in the house and in the bosom of the Father (John xiv. 2, 3), and shall have a share in His royal power and sit at His table: “I dispose unto you a kingdom, as My Father has disposed to Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel“ (Luke xxii. 29, 30).

5. The fellowship in the possession of heavenly goods is further described as being a co-heirship with the Son, and the Holy Ghost Himself is designated as the pledge and guarantee of the inheritance. “In Whom (Christ) believing you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the pledge (arrha, Greek) of our inheritance“ (Eph. i. 13, 14).

6. The intimacy of our union with Him is likened by our Lord to that of the branch with the vine (John xv.); it is such that, as He lives for the Father, so we should live for Him (John vi. 58).

All this can only mean that the life which He communicates to us is of the same kind as the life which the Father communicates to Him. St. Paul expresses this idea when he says: “And I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. ii. 20). And, again (Rom. viii.), the same Apostle in many ways speaks of God's own Spirit as being the principle of life in the adopted children of God, the soul, as it were, of the supernatural life.

It is evident that the union of the creature with God does not consist in the oneness of substance or in the communication of the Divine Substance itself to the creature; it is only a unity of relation (Greek). It is, however, equally clear that it is more than a moral union. It must be conceived as a physical union, --in Greek--, based upon the fact that the united patties live a life of the same kind, and that this similarity of life proceeds from the intimate character of the union: God being the principle and the object of the creature's supernatural life. St. Paul points out clearly enough that the union of adoption is more than the moral union of friendship, when he compares it to the union of the bodies in carnal connection (i Cor. vi. 1 6, 17).

V. The adoption to Divine Sonship is essentially superior to human adoption. Human adoption is but an external community of life, whereas Divine adoption affects the life of the creature intrinsically, consisting, as it does, in a true regeneration or new birth of the soul, whereby it is intrinsically likened to the only begotten Son of God, and transformed into His image.

At the very beginning of his Gospel, St. John mentions this new birth: “As many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them who believe in His name: who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (i. 12, 13). To be born of God stands here as the condition for becoming children of God. Again, “Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God“ (iii. 5). Christ Himself here sets down the regeneration by God as the title to Divine inheritance. As these words are an answer to the question of Nicodemus, “How can a man be born when he is old? “they show sufficiently that Christ does not conceive the regeneration as a mere change of moral dispositions, but as the mysterious operation of the Holy Ghost . In his First Epistle St. John speaks again of this birth from God, and connects it with a Divine generation in God and a Divine seed in man: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begot, loveth Him also Who is born of Him“ (v. i); “Every one that is born of God committeth not sin; for His seed abideth in him“ (ibid., iii. 9). This also fully explains the words, “That we should be called and should be the sons of God“ (ibid., iii. i). The same notion is found in the other epistles, e.g. i Pet. i. 3, and i. 23; James i. 18; Tit. iii. 5, and Eph. ii. 10, where St. Paul calls the regeneration a creation, because it is a complete renewal of our nature (Gal. vi. 15; 2 Cor. v. 17). Taken by itself, the term regeneration, or new birth, might imply no more than a relative and moral renewal of life. But in the passages quoted above, it evidently implies the foundation of a higher state of being and life, resulting from a special Divine influence, and admitting man to the dignity and inheritance of the sons of God. We must, therefore, take it in the fullest sense admissible, viz. as far as the limits imposed by the essential difference between God and His creatures will allow. Hence, it cannot mean generation from the Substance of God, but can be a communication of Divine Life by the power of God, and by means of a most intimate indwelling of the Divine Substance in the creature. The reality and sublimity of the creature's new birth out of God are marvellously described in the following texts: “Whom He foreknew He also predestinated to be made conformable (Greek) to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren“ (Rom. viii. 29). “But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. iii. 18). “My little children, of whom I am in labour again until Christ be formed (Greek) in you“ (Gal. iv. 19; see also Gal. iii. 26, 27; Rom. xiii. 14).

VI. The inheritance of the adopted sons of God is not confined to finite and external goods . It includes the perfect transfiguration of their innermost life, which enables them to share in that possession and fruition of the highest good which peculiarly belongs to God the Son as the natural heir of God. For the eternal life of the adopted sons is the immediate vision of God, face to face, as He is. But such intuition of God, as Scripture teaches, is not within the power of man; it is the privilege of the Son Who is in the bosom of the Father. The proof that the vision of God is the object of our vocation is contained in I John iii. 1-3. The natural impossibility of this vision is set forth by St. Paul: “Who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Who only hath immortality and dwelleth in light inaccessible, Whom no man hath seen nor can see” (i Tim. vi. 15, 16). The same vision is claimed as a privilege of the Son by St. John: “No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (i. 18).

VII. St. Peter, at the beginning of his farewell Epistle, reveals to us the inmost essence of God's great and precious promises in grace and adoption, when he tells us that we shall be made “partakers of the Divine Nature“ (as in the Greek text). This expression admirably describes that new being and new estate which the adopted children receive through their birth from God, so that not only they are called, but are really, sons of God. It further contains the great reason why they are called to the vision of God, and why this vision is “a manifestation of the glory due to them.” Lastly, it shows that the destiny of the adopted creatures is essentially above every claim and power of their nature, for nothing is more above and beyond nature than that which it can attain only by being raised to a level with God.

The sublime text to which we refer runs as follows: “Grace to you and peace be fulfilled in the knowledge of God and of Christ Jesus our Lord, according as all things of His Divine power, which appertain to life and godliness, are given to us, through the knowledge of Him Who hath called us by His own proper glory and virtue: by Whom He hath given us most great and precious promises; that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine Nature, flying from the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world. And you, giving all diligence, minister in your faith, virtue. . . .” (2 Pet. i. 2-5). In the original text the flight from concupiscence is given rather as a consequence than as a condition of the partnership with God (Greek, “after having fled”); at any rate, the flight cannot be taken as an explanation of its nature, as Baius contended. The whole sublime tenor of this text and the scriptural teaching just expounded, force us to give the “partaking of the Divine Nature“ the most literal meaning of which it admits.

VIII. We are now able to understand why, especially in the New Testament, the estate, calling, and life of the Children of God are called “Sanctity,” and the adopted sons “Saints.” They are saints, not merely because they are free from guilt and lead a moral life according to the measure of their natural perfection, but because, by reason of their sublime union with God, they partake of the Divine Dignity and have the power and the duty to lead a life similar to the holy life of God. This holiness is described as something directly given by God, rather than obtained by man's exertion; it is represented as an outpouring of the Holy Ghost and of His Holiness, and is attributed to His indwelling in the saints as in His temple (I. Cor. iii. 16, 17, and often in other places). Holiness implies the same as the partaking of the Divine Nature: hence, first, the ennobling, transfiguration, and consecration of created nature; then the vocation to a life in harmony with this dignity; and, lastly, the actual holy disposition --that is, the charity or Divine Love resulting from the union with God.

Sect. 140. --The Teaching of Tradition on Supernatural Union with God: especially on the”Deification” of the Creature.

The supernatural union of the adopted creature with God is commonly called by the Fathers the “deification“ of the creature. The frequent and constant use of this appellation is in itself sufficient to prove that they saw, in the adoptive sonship, something higher than the necessary complement of man's natural faculties. They saw in it the “likeness” which gives to the created “image” of God a share in the supernatural privileges of His “Uncreated Image.” The sense of the Fathers on this point is evident from the manifold explanations they give of it and from the manner in which they connect the adoptive sonship with other dogmas. We can, however, only give a general outline of their doctrine: for quotations we must refer the student to Petavius, De Trin., I. viii., and Thomassin, De Incarn., 1. vi., or to the Fathers themselves.

I. The doctrine in question forms the central point of the whole of the theology of St. Irenaeus. He calls the adoptive sonship deification, and finds in this deification the likeness which, in a supernatural manner, perfects the “image“ of God in the creature. He points out as final object of the deification, the beatific vision --that is, an elevation unto the bosom of God; as its principle, the closest union with the Holy Ghost; and, according to him, the deification itself is the proportionate object of the Incarnation of God the Son (Adv. Haer., 1. iii., c. 17 and 19; 1. iv., c. 20; 1. v., c. 6, 12 et 1 6, etc.).

II. In the fourth century, the doctrine concerning the elevation of the creature by means of a gratuitous communication of the Divine Nature, came to the fore in the Arian controversies. The Fathers used it to illustrate and to defend the essential communication of the Divine Nature to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.

I. They proved the Divinity of the Son and the Holy Ghost from Their being the principle of the deification of the creature.

2. In defending the Divinity of the Son, they compare His natural Sonship to the adoptive sonship of creatures, and describe the latter as standing midway between the status of servant natural to creatures and the Sonship natural to the Second Person of the Trinity: high in dignity above the first, and participating, by grace, in the dignity of the second. And when explaining how human attributes are predicated of the Incarnate Son of God, they draw attention to the Divine attributes predicated of man elevated by adoption, stating that man is entitled to the double predicates by the deification of his nature, whereas the Logos owes them to His Incarnation. See Card. Newman, Athanasius, ii., p. 88.

3. When defending the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, the Fathers establish this difference between the holiness of the Holy Ghost and that of creatures: the Holy Ghost is essentially holy, or His essence is holiness, whereas the holiness of creatures is from without, consisting in a transfiguration of their nature by the communication and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. In connection with this point, the Fathers represent sanctity as something specifically Divine, or purely and simply as a participation of the Divine Nature, whence they look upon sanctification ( = being pervaded by the Holy Ghost) as the same as deification, and in Ps. Ixxxi. 6, “I have said: Ye are gods, and all of you the sons of the Most High,” they take “gods“ to be the same as “children or sons of God.”

III. Still more stress was laid on the supernatural character of the vocation of rational creatures, in the controversies with the Nestorians. Here the aim of the Fathers was (1) to show that the Divine gifts to the children of adoption were of such exalted excellence as to require Incarnation; (2) to find in the Incarnation something corresponding with the humbling of the Son of God, viz. the elevation of the creature to a participation in the Divine Nature; (3) to represent the Incarnation as the root and the ideal of a supernatural union of all mankind with God. Hence we find the champion of the Catholic doctrine on the Incarnation, St. Cyril of Alexandria (Comm. on St. John, 1. i., cc. 13, 14), constantly extolling the sublimity of adoptive sonship and of the privileges connected therewith. Considering how intimately he connects the two doctrines of the Incarnation of the Logos and the deification of the creature, we are bound to see in him the organ and mouthpiece of the Church on the latter as well as on the former dogma. The doctrine of St. Cyril is also found in the Latin Fathers, chiefly in St. Peter Chrysologus, who points out that the adoptive sonship is almost as marvellous as the hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ (Serm., 68 and 72).

IV. At first sight it may appear strange that, whilst in the East the controversies with the Nestorians called forth such a splendid affirmation of the absolutely supernatural character of our adoptive sonship; in the West, St. Augustine and the Church herself seem to claim the actual destiny of man as natural to him, not indeed due to fallen man, but due to the integrity of innocent man, although obtainable only by grace. That this is not a real, but merely an apparent contradiction, may be presumed a priori. If it were real, there would have been a serious difference between the public teaching of the Eastern and the Western Church, whereas no such difference was noticed at the time. Again, we cannot suppose that St. Augustine, who is honoured with the title of “Doctor of Grace,” had a less sublime notion of grace than that generally held in the Church and affected even by the Pelagians. Lastly, the teaching of St. Augustine contains many elements which prove his consent with the Eastern Church. The special form which he gave to his doctrine, and which was adopted by the Holy See, arose from the nature of the heresy which he opposed, as we have shown in the preceding section.

V. The doctrine of the older Greek Fathers concerning the vocation of rational creatures to a union with God implying deification --a doctrine which they taught in connection with the dogmas of the Trinity and of the Incarnation was retained and logically evolved by the representatives of the Eastern scholastic theology, especially by the author of the books commonly ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, and by Maximus Confessor. In the West, on the contrary, the same doctrine kept the form given to it by St. Augustine.

VI. During the Middle Ages the schools of theology submitted St. Augustine's treatment to a searching analysis, and brought it into harmony with the conception always predominant in the East. This result was arrived at in consequence of more accurate notions of “nature” and of “man as the natural image of God. ”The concept of nature was evolved in the controversy with the Monophysites; the concept of the natural image of God in man, in the struggle against Averroism. From these notions the Schoolmen inferred that the nature of the created spirit, as such, possesses the power and the destiny to a sort of beatitude and to a union of some kind with God. Further, comparing created nature with the supernatural excellence of the beatific vision, to which, as a revealed fact, man is actually called, they concluded that the actual destiny of the creature surpasses all the powers, and is beyond all the claims of nature, and contains a union with God by which the creature is raised to fellowship with God's own beatitude.

This twofold consideration necessarily led to another conclusion. In order to be made worthy of such beatitude and to be able to tend towards it, the creature must, even in the present life, be elevated to a higher dignity and furnished with new powers, and must be united with God in closer fellowship. Thus the creature becomes the friend, the child, the bride of God, and is consecrated as a temple of God. From this point of view a more general bearing was given to the question between St. Augustine and the Pelagians concerning grace as the principle of salutary actions in fallen man. The question was now, “Which are, in general, the conditions necessary to enable rational creatures to merit eternal life? “to which the answer can be no other than this: “Every operation tending, in any way whatsoever, towards the acquisition of eternal life, must be considered as a rising above the sphere of nature and, consequently, as a good of a higher kind than natural good; every operation properly and perfectly meritorious supposes, besides, that the person acting must be of a rank or position raised above nature.” The principle of merit being once found in an elevation of the status and of the powers of the creature, grace itself was looked upon as the principle giving to human actions a supernatural merit. Now, grace is the principle of merit, because, by means of grace, nature is made worthy of eternal life. Thus the scriptural notion of adoptive Divine sonship was followed out to its last consequences: the supernatural vocation of man became the foundation upon which the whole doctrine concerning God's operation in man, and man's operation to attain his end, is built up. Since St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure, the doctrine of grace has been generally drawn out on the above lines, and the Church sanctioned this system as her own in the condemnation of Baius. See St. Thorn., Quaest. Disp., De Veritate, q. 27, a. I; St. Bonav., in 2 Dist. 29, and Breviloq., v. I.

Sect. 141. --Eternal Life in the Beatific Vision.

I. It has been defined by Benedict XII, (Constit. Benedictus Deus, A.D. 1336) that the substance of the beatitude to which rational creatures are called, consists in the immediate vision of God, face to face, in His essence. This dogma is clearly expressed in Holy Scripture. “Their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven” (Matt, xviii. 10). “We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then, face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known“ (i Cor. xiii. 12). “We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is “(i John iii. 2).

II. Reason and Faith alike tell us that to see God face to face is (1) supernatural, at least inasmuch as it cannot be arrived at by the natural forces of the created mind, and is only possible to nature elevated and clarified by a supernatural light; (2) that it implies a participation in the Divine Nature, and a deification of the created nature. To gaze upon the Divine essence is, naturally, possible to God alone; at the same time it constitutes the highest possible kind of knowledge and life, the gift of which to the creature endows the creature with a likeness to God, analogous to the likeness between the Divine Son and His Father. This supernatural likeness to God may be resolved into the following elements: (a) the act and the object of vision are of the same kind in God and in the creature, in as far as, in both, the vision is an act of direct knowledge whose formal and material object is the Divine essence; (b} the likening of the created intellect to the Divine is brought about by the infusion of a light proceeding from, and homogeneous with, the Divine Intellect. The connection between the created intellect and its Divine object is not indeed, as is the case with God, a union by identity, but is produced by the intrinsic presence of the object in the intellect, the Divine Substance fertilizing and informing, as it were, the intellect of the glorified creature. As a consequence of the vision, the blessed spirits enjoy a beatitude similar to the Divine beatitude or participate in God's own happiness. They also have a share in the eternal duration of the Divine Life, because the contemplation of the Eternal God, by His most proper power and most intimate presence, naturally entails simplicity and immutability of Life.

III. The absolute exaltedness of the beatific vision, and of its glory and beatitude above the powers of rational nature, likewise places it above all the claims or requirements of nature, and makes it supernatural in the sense of absolute gratuity. The creature can only claim for its happiness whatever contributes to or achieves the development of its natural faculties. Besides, the gratuity of the beatific vision and kindred privileges is attested so often in various doctrines of faith, that we are bound to receive it as a fundamental dogma. Thus, the vocation to the beatific vision supposes a real and true adoption; it can only be known by a supernatural revelation. Nature, by its own power, cannot merit it, nor even elicit a positive desire of it worthy of being taken into consideration by God. All these points have been defined against Baius, and dealt with in former sections. It is, moreover, evident, at first sight, that no creature can have a claim to what is God's most personal property.

IV. The complete gratuity of the beatific vision supposes that, apart from it, some other beatitude, viz. a natural one, is conceivable. A final beatitude of some kind is necessarily the destination of rational beings. Since, however, as a matter of fact, angels and man are destined to supernatural felicity, it is not to be wondered at that Revelation is silent about natural felicity, and that the Fathers have not dealt with it more at length. On theological and philosophical principles, the natural destiny of rational creatures can only be described in general outlines: it consists in that knowledge and love of God which can be obtained by merely natural means. See also § 135.

V. The supernatural life of the blessed would be incomplete if their possession of God did not include a participation in the Divine Love and Holiness, as well as in the Divine Wisdom. The fruition of God, arising from the beatific vision, cannot be conceived without an accompanying love equal in excellence to the beatific knowledge, and of the same kind as the Love with which God loves Himself. The sublimity of this love, exalted as it is above the faculties of nature, necessarily requires that the will of the blessed should be raised above its nature just as the intellect is raised by the Light of glory. In this there are three factors: (1) The subject-matter of the act of love, directly, materially, and formally, is the Supreme Good; (2) the power of the will is raised and clarified so as to partake of the power for love of the Divine Will; (3) the will is brought into the most intimate contact with the Highest Good in the same way as the intellect is pervaded by the Highest Truth a union analogous to the union of identity between the Divine Will and its object. The union of love between God and the blessed is thus, according to Holy Scripture, analogous to the union between the Father and the Son; the blessed are made “one spirit with God“ (l Cor. vi. 17); a “deification” of the will takes place, of which St. Bernard rightly says that it gives the creature another form, another glory, and another power; and, lastly, the divinized will is endowed with an immutability excluding all possibility of sin.

Sect. 142. --The Supernatural in our life on earth (“in statu viae”

I. The supernatural character of the final destiny of rational creatures implies the equally supernatural character of all the acts which, in one way or another, contribute to its acquisition. In other words, the vocation to the beatific vision contains the vocation to a supernatural life here on earth, made up of acts preparatory to and meritorious of eternal life in heaven. Hence the mark or note to distinguish the natural from the supernatural acts of this life, is whether or not these acts tend to the acquisition of eternal life. In the language of theology they are termed, “acts meritorious of eternal life, ”taking meritorious in its widest meaning; “salutary acts,” i.e. acts leading, in any way whatsoever, to salvation. As, however, these acts have the same material object as the corresponding natural acts (e.g. natural love of God, justice, chastity), and are designated by the same names, they are commonly distinguished from the latter by the qualification that they are “conducive to eternal life. ”Thus, the supernatural act of Faith is distinguished from a similar natural act by styling it “an act of faith capable of meriting eternal life“ (sicut expedit, or sicut oportet, ad vitam ceternam consequendam). Other expressions, easily understood, are: “acts of justice before God (coram Deo), “of spiritual justice,” “of the justice of sanctity.” They are best characterized as acts making up the life of the adopted sons of God, and consequently as a participation in the Divine Life.

II. The supernatural character of salutary acts lies in their inner and substantial exaltedness above all natural acts. Their worth is not extrinsic, as is, for instance, the value of paper money, but intrinsic, like the value of a gold coin; otherwise they would not really and truly merit supernatural life. This intrinsic value can accrue to them only from the proportion and relationship which they bear to the acts of eternal life themselves; the doer of salutary acts moves towards God and approaches Him in the same way as the blessed are united with Him and possess Him. Only from this position is it possible to defend scientifically the absolute necessity of grace for all salutary acts, even for the very first. The soul performing salutary acts may fitly be compared to a bird on the wing, easily reaching a height which it would never be able to attain by using its feet.

The intrinsic and substantial exaltedness of salutary acts, and of the life which they constitute, must further be determined in relation to their object and end. The best way to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the question is to consider the several classes of salutary acts. We may look at the supernatural life here on earth from three points of view: (1) as a striving after life eternal; (2) as a beginning and anticipation of life eternal by acts of supernatural union with God; (3) as the fulfilment of the moral duties incumbent on the vocation of sons of God.

I. Striving after the possession of God in eternal life --that is, wishing, trusting, and resolving to do whatever is required to such end --to be efficacious must necessarily be above the powers of nature. A natural striving, although possible, is entirely out of proportion to that supernatural end. In order to be efficacious and salutary, the striving must be infused and inspired by God Himself, because the object striven after is entirely and solely His own free gift. The acts of the striving will are thus, as it were, borne up towards God by God Himself, and thus endowed by a supernatural excellence. The striving in question is the root of all works and virtues which tend to God; hence it is clear that all such works and virtues must be supernatural, at least in so far as their root and mainspring is supernatural. The supernatural character of salutary acts, as it appears from this point of view, is most insisted on by St. Augustine; with him, every act of good will for which grace is necessary, is an act of Charity (caritas), and by Charity he understands all efficacious striving of the soul after the vision and fruition of God.

2. The supernatural life here on earth is not only a striving after eternal life, it is an introduction to, a beginning, and an anticipation of that life. Even here below, spiritual life consists in a union with God as He is in Himself, and also in a participation in God's own Life analogous to the union and participation realized in heaven. The acts of theological virtues --Faith, Hope, and Charity --which form the substance of all supernatural life, should be considered from this point of view. They have this advantage, that their supernatural character can be shown in two ways: indirectly, as being salutary acts; and directly, from the manner in which they seize and grasp their Divine Object. For this purpose it is sufficient to consider theological Faith as a supernatural thinking, and theological Love as a supernatural volition. Hope draws its supernatural character from Faith and Charity, and rather tends to a future union with God than expresses a present union.

The supernatural character of Faith and Charity lies in this, that they apprehend and embrace God as He is in Himself, directly and in a manner corresponding with the Divine exaltedness, in the same way as in the beatific vision, though here on earth the apprehension is but obscure. Nothing short of a Divine influence, essentially raising the powers of the created mind, can enable it so to apprehend and embrace God. In the sphere of natural knowledge and love, each creature is itself its own proximate object, and the centre from which it extends itself to other objects. If, then, created nature is to know and love God, not merely as its own principle, but is to take God in Himself as the direct and most intrinsic object and motive of its life, then the creature must be raised into the proper sphere of Divine Life, and be empowered, by a communication of that same life, to apprehend the Divine Essence.

We have already (§ 42) pointed out the supernatural elements in theological Faith, wherefore here we deal only with theological Love, i.e. Charity.

The supernatural relations of Charity to God may be illustrated in a twofold direction: (a) as compared with the Love of God to Himself as the Highest Good; (b) as compared with the mutual Love which unites the Three Divine Persons --that is, as a “participation of the Holy Ghost” either in the sense of the Latin or the Greek Fathers (cf. Book II., § 98).

(a) In the first direction, the supernatural relation of Charity to God appears in this, that by charity the creature loves God in Himself and for His own sake, in such a way that the creature's love for self and for its fellow-creatures is caused by its love for God. Natural love starts from itself, loving all things for its own sake; Charity starts from God and loves all things for His sake. Charity here on earth is, in essence, identical with the Charity of the blessed in heaven: as the clear vision of the Divine essence moves the blessed to love, so supernatural Faith moves the love of the believer; in both cases God is the moving principle. According to Scripture, Charity is an outpouring of the Holy Ghost and a participation of His own sanctity; God lives in the loving soul as in His property, so that the two are one spirit (Rom. v. 5; i Cor. vi. 17). Thus, in conclusion, theological Love is similar in kind to the love wherewith God loves Himself as the Highest Good; it is a Divine love because of a Divine kind, and therefore also divinely holy and blessed because filled with the holiness and lovableness of the Highest Good,

(b) Charity may also be conceived as tending to God, inasmuch as, in loving condescension, He calls us to share in His own beatitude and offers Himself as the object of our beatitude. In this respect charity appears as a return, on our part, of God's supernatural love to us, or as mutual love, the ideal of which is the Love between Father and Son in the Trinity, and similar to the love of children for their father, of the bride for the bridegroom, and of one friend for another. Such love is above the faculties of created nature. The creature, as such, can only love God as a servant loves his master, or a subject his king; whereas the love of the sons of God is not servile, but filial, bridal, and friendly, and therefore specifically distinct from the former. Among men no higher power of love is required when their love is given to a person of higher rank, because, although different in rank, all men are equal in nature.

3. The essentially supernatural character of the acts constituting the moral order is not so evident as that of the theological virtues. By moral order we mean the practice of the so-called moral virtues, e.g. justice, prudence, temperance, etc., all of which St. Augustine includes under the name of “the love of justice.” The difficulty here arises from the fact that the will seems to have a natural power sufficient to love order even of the highest kind; and besides, there seems to be no supernatural moral order different in its subject-matter from the natural moral order. As a matter of fact, all theologians, following the lead of St. Augustine, attribute the supernatural value of moral actions to their connection with Charity.

IV. The whole doctrine concerning the supernatural character of the life of the adoptive sons of God here on earth centres in the supernatural character of theological love or Charity, just as the doctrine concerning the life of the blessed in heaven centres in the supernatural character of the Beatific Vision. It is, therefore, a serious mistake to gather the three theological virtues under the one head of religion, which is a moral virtue.

Sect. 143. --The Elevating Grace necessary for Salutary

I. From what has been hitherto laid down concerning the supernatural character of the acts which either lead up to or constitute the life of the adopted sons of God, it follows that these acts require for their production a special Divine co-operation. Neither the ordinary Divine concurrence, nor that more special help required by man to overcome the difficulties of his natural moral life, is sufficient. A salutary act has effects entirely above nature, and must therefore proceed from a principle above nature. Hence the Divine co-operation must consist in a communication of Divine power to the creature, enabling it to produce acts of supernatural value. Theologians call it “a co-operation giving the very power to act,” a fecundating motion, an aid, or a grace physically raising and completing the natural power. They all understand in this sense the dogma of the absolute necessity of grace for salutary works, and the origin of these acts from God, and more especially from the Holy Ghost

The fundamental principle of this doctrine is clearly in two of our Lord's sayings: “No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him “(John vi. 44); and “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me “(John xv. 4).

II. The communication of Divine power must necessarily affect the created faculty intrinsically so as to raise it to a higher kind of energy and efficacy. The reason for this necessity lies in the nature of the acts to be produced. These acts are a free and voluntary motion of the creature towards God; although a gift of God, they are at the same time a meritorious work of the creature itself; in short, they are vital acts of the creature. Hence the co-operation or concurrence of God with the creature is not like that of the artisan with his tool, nor can it be like that of the human soul with the body. In the former case, the salutary acts would not be vital acts of the creature; in the latter, God and the creature would be one nature. The Divine power must go out of God and be handed over to the creature. Now, it is always possible to conceive the Divine influence as only an inner application of the Power of the all-pervading God; still, it is at least more in harmony with the usual course of nature that a power should be produced in the created faculty itself, giving it a higher intrinsic perfection. This “intrinsic form “must affect and modify the faculty after the manner of a physical quality (e.g. as heat affects and modifies water) --that is, of a quality accompanying its actual motions.

III. All approved theologians admit this elevation of nature wherever it can be supposed to exist already as a permanent habit before particular salutary acts take place. They also unanimously connect it with the full possession of supernatural life in the state of adoption, although they grant that it is not the only conceivable form of elevation. But there are other supernatural acts, preparatory and introductory to the state of sonship, on the existence of which depends the acquisition of sonship. The Council of Trent calls them “motions towards habitual justice;” the older Schoolmen term them “preparation for grace,” in contradistinction to works performed in the state of grace and by grace; the Fathers look upon them as the “first conversion to God.” There is some difficulty in explaining how the elevating influence of God can be intrinsic to these acts. We are certain that the Divine co-operation in them holds an intermediate position between the natural or general Divine concurrence and the supernatural co-operation proper. St. Bonaventure calls it “a gratuitous gift, which is, as it were, a mean between the habits of virtues and the natural freedom of the will“ (In 2 Dist., 28, a. 2, q. i). In fact, the ordinary Divine concurrence is not sufficient, because, according to defined dogma, the acts are strictly supernatural, necessarily proceeding from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Hence “a specially qualified motion“ must be admitted on the part of God for the production of the acts which introduce the creature to supernatural life. On the other hand, it is clear that this elevating motion is but an integrating element of the actual aid (viz. grace) by which the act really takes place; it has an analogy with the “elevation“ received by the tool at the moment when the artisan begins to use it. So far nearly all theologians are agreed, but the greatest divergence of opinion prevails as to the further determination of the motion in question.

Sect. 144. --Elevating Grace considered as a Supernatural Habit of the mental faculties The Theological Virtues.

I. The life of adoptive sons of God, the fruit of a new birth, is evidently destined to be permanent, like the fruit of natural generation. Hence the grace which elevates rational creatures to this higher life, must likewise be permanent. At the moment when the adoption takes place, if not sooner, the higher faculties of the mind required for the acts of supernatural life must be endowed with a permanent supernatural power. In other words, the intellect and the will receive new qualities or habits. Considered as an inner vigour perfecting the life of the mental faculties, these habits or qualities belong to the order of mental virtues (Greek). In as far as they specially perfect the will and endow it with habitual rectitude, they are moral virtues. Again, in common with acquired virtues, they are not inborn, but are acquired and superadded to the natural faculties. On the other hand, they considerably differ from virtues acquired by the exertion of our own faculties. They are infused from above as a gift pure and simple; they not merely temper and improve an existing power, but they transform it into a power of a higher order. This, however, applies only to virtues which are “essentially infused,” i.e. which can be obtained only by way of infusion from above; not to virtues “accidentally infused,” i.e. to virtues which God infuses, although they may be acquired by personal exertion. Peter Lombard, summarizing the teaching of St. Augustine, defines supernatural virtue as “a good quality of the mind, by which we live rightly, which no one uses badly“ (2 Sent., dist. 27).

II. Infused virtues, in as far as they are inherent in the created mind, are indeed distinct from the Holy Ghost Who causes them, but, at the same time, they can neither exist nor exert themselves without the conserving and moving influence of God. Nor is their dependence on Divine conservation limited to that common to all created powers; it acquires a special character from the circumstance that the created mind is not the principle but merely the subject of the infused virtue, and that it is a participation in the Divine Life. Hence the acts proceeding from infused virtues are, in quite a special manner, the acts of the Holy Ghost working in the created mind: just as the rays proceeding from a body illuminated by the sun are the rays of the sun, and the fruit borne by the branch is the fruit of the root (cf. Council of Trent, sess. vi., c. 16). By the infused virtues, especially by Charity, the Holy Ghost dwells, lives, and works in the created soul as the soul lives and works in the body; He is, as ft were, the soul of the soul's supernatural life.

The natural living faculties of the soul are the subjects of the infused virtues. The conjunction of the infused virtues with the natural faculties is so complete and perfect that the supernatural acts proceed from both, as if they were but one principle of action. So far all theologians are agreed. But they differ as to the explanation of this conjunction. The Molinists (Ripalda, De Ente Supern., disp. 1 1 8, sect. 5) hold that the natural faculties cause the act to be vital and free, and that the infused virtues cause it to have a supernatural character. The work done by the faculties is like that done by the eye in the act of seeing; and the work of the virtues is like that of the external light in the same act. Or they compare the conjunction to that of tree and graft: the tree produces the fruit which the graft ennobles. The Thomists, on the other hand, think that it is the infused virtue itself which causes the supernatural act to be vital and free, by pervading and ennobling the innermost root of the natural faculties. They liken the infused virtue to the power of sight itself in the act of vision, or to the influence of the root on the branches, or, better still, to the influence of a noble olive tree on the wild olive branch grafted on it. The Thomistic view is certainly deeper, and explains better how grace is really the mainspring and the inner vital principle of supernatural life.

III. That the three theological virtues --Faith, Hope, and Charity --are infused is beyond doubt (Council of Trent, sess. vi., c. 7). It is, moreover, certain that they are three distinct virtues. Faith can exist without Hope and Hope without Charity; each of them has its own peculiar external manifestation and internal constitution. But it is not so certain whether there are any infused moral virtues. Many theologians admit that the acts of moral virtues performed by the sons of adoption either have no particular supernatural character, or that whatever is supernatural in them is sufficiently accounted for by their connection with the theological virtues. At any rate, supernatural moral virtues are but branches springing from the theological virtues. Their acts consisting rather in a direction or disposition of the will than in a supernatural union with God, they do not distinctly and directly require a physical elevation of the faculties of the soul. Hence, Faith, Hope, and Charity, the marrow and the soul of supernatural life, are pre-eminently the supernatural virtues. On them primarily and directly depends the meritoriousness of all acts of virtue, and they contain the beginnings of eternal life and the participation in, or conformation to, the Divine Life. In the language of the Schoolmen, they are purely and simply “gratuitous virtues” --that is, given freely and for our sanctification and salvation (gratis dates et gratum facientes) and working freely, i.e. for no other motive than God. Their excellence is, however, best expressed by the term “theological“ or “godlike” virtues. The import of this term is, that Faith, Hope, and Charity have a peculiar excellence beyond that of other virtues. They come necessarily from God; they are known by means of Divine Revelation only; they liken the creature to God; above all, they make the life of the created soul like unto the life of God, as it is in itself, because they effect a union with God as He is in Himself, and imply a permanent indwelling of God in the soul.

IV. Faith, Hope, and Charity, taken together, constitute the whole principle of the supernatural life, in such a way as to work into one another like the parts of an organism. Faith is the root and foundation; Charity, the crown and summit; Hope stands midway between them. The organic connection of Faith and Charity is described by the Apostle (Gal. v. 6): Faith is actuated, perfected, animated (in Greek) by Charity, so that he who possesses Charity lives a supernatural life. This implies that Charity ranks highest in perfection, because it completes the union with God in this life, and enables us to perform salutary acts. Supernatural life, therefore, consists purely and simply in Charity, or, better, Charity is the root of it all. Between Faith and Charity, too, there exists an organic relation. Charity presupposes Faith, in the same way as the animation of the body presupposes its organization. The child of God “lives of (ex) Faith in Charity;“ that is, the Charity which informs Faith is the fulness and substantial perfection of supernatural life, and all perfect acts of virtue are rooted in Charity.

Sect. 145. --The State of Grace the Nobility of the Children of God.

I. The infused virtues give the created soul the physical power and the inclination to perform works proportioned in dignity to life eternal. To make these works perfectly worthy of reward, it is necessary that they should proceed from a person of Divine nobility --that is, of such high dignity and rank that the Divine inheritance is in keeping with it. Thus, among men, the most excellent services rendered by a subject to his king cannot merit the succession to the throne, whereas the king's own or adopted children may succeed him on account of their personal dignity. The intrinsic supernatural value, then, which salutary acts draw from the infused virtues, attains its full force from the fact that the person acting is already worthy of eternal life on account of the dignity accruing to him from his union with God, the Owner and Giver of that life.

The Apostle points to such an elevation in dignity when he speaks of the grace of adoption, by which we are made the children of God, and, being children, heirs also, and coheirs of God's only begotten Son (Gal. iv.). The Church has decidedly defended against Baius the necessity of the “deifying state“ for meriting eternal life (propp. xv., xvii.; also xviii. and xix.). The possession of this high state of dignity is described by theologians as specially and formally the state of grace making one acceptable to God (status gratia: gratum facientis) and as “the state of sanctifying grace.” The latter appellation is given to it because it implies a Divine consecration of the person. Lastly, as man, deprived of Divine nobility, would be unable to attain that eternal life to which, as a matter of fact, God has called him, it follows that the dignity of adopted sons of God is an essential element of the state of justification.

II. The necessity of a higher personal dignity and rank in order to entitle and to fit the adopted sons of God to eternal life, is a defined dogma. All Catholic theologians are therefore bound to agree that Charity, whether considered as an act, disposition, habit, or virtue, does not contain in itself alone and entirely that personal dignity which is necessary for the attainment of eternal life. Charity can no more have this effect in the supernatural order than, in the order of nature, filial, friendly, or conjugal love can, by itself, transform the lover into a child, friend, or spouse, or claim in return the love due to child, friend, or spouse. The analogy, however, is not quite perfect. In the supernatural order the dignity of son of God cannot exist without filial love, and, on the other hand, it is acquired as soon as filial love begins. Yet this never-failing connection does not destroy the formal distinction between personal dignity and infused virtue: it is accounted for by the fact that God at the same time raises to the dignity of adoptive sons, and gives the habit of Charity as a connatural endowment. The connection only lasts as long as the adopted sons live according to their rank --that is, as long as they do not cast off Charity by acting against it.

Charity, then, is not the cause of the dignity of adoption. The acts of Charity and of other virtues lead up to and ask for this dignity, but do not give a formal right to it. On the contrary, supernatural virtues must be looked upon as a consequence of the adoption. In the same way as in natural adoption the new son receives all that is in keeping with his new position, and begins at once to live the same life as his father; so the new-born son of God is endowed with Charity, and begins at once to lead the supernatural life possible on this earth. Charity, then, is an attribute of Sonship. “Because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your heart, crying: Abba, Father“ (Gal. iv. 6).

From this way of conceiving the relation between Sonship and Charity, it becomes at once clear how the dignity of sonship bears upon the meritoriousness of salutary acts. To merit eternal life, an act, besides being good in itself, must be performed by a person entitled to eternal life, and must belong to him as his own property. This latter element requires that the actions should be free, and that the powers from which they proceed should be the lawful property of the person acting, which they are only if their possession is based upon a dignity logically anterior.

III. We must touch on the famous question whether the grace of adoption is identical with infused Charity. The reader who has accepted our view that adoption by elevation to a higher personal status logically precedes the infusion of Charity, will find no difficulty in admitting a distinction between adoption and Charity. The distinction is not necessarily real, yet it must be such that the grace of adoption should not appear as an attribute of Charity, but as something fuller and deeper, round which, as a centre, are gathered the free gifts of Charity and all other infused virtues. Thus the real or ontological foundation of the life of grace is a something higher given to the soul in the act of adoption, that is, in the assimilation to God's own life. Now the distinctive character of the Divine Life is its supreme spirituality, or more exactly its immateriality, which is spoken of in Scripture as “life of light.” Hence the higher being given to God's adoptive children must likewise be conceived as a more refined spirituality, as a greater independence of matter, wrought in the created spirit by the indwelling Spirit of God. “That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit“ (John iii. 6); “You were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk then as children of the light“ (Eph. v. 8).

The supernatural being of the sons of God bears to Charity and the other infused virtues the relation which the natural substance of the soul bears to its faculties. It is their root, their end, their measure. Charity is the most perfect manifestation and the surest sign of the Divine life rooted in the supernatural being of the children of God. We cannot, indeed, give demonstrative proof for our opinion on this subject, because it is always possible to interpret the texts in a laxer sense. We give it as the only adequate and consistent development of the revealed doctrine concerning the dignity of the sons of God, the new birth out of God, and the participation in the Divine Nature. The language of the Church in the Councils of Vienne and of Trent, and in the condemnation of the forty-second proposition of Baius, is entirely in accordance with our view. The Roman Catechism is especially explicit: “Grace . . . is a Divine quality inhering in the soul, and, as it were, a sort of brightness and light which removes all the stains of our souls, and makes our souls more beautiful and bright. . . . To this is added a most noble company of virtues which are divinely infused into the soul together with grace” (part ii., c. 2, n. 50, 51).

Further information may be found in Gonet, Clypeus. De Gr., disp. 2.; and Goudin, De Gr., q. 4.; and also Comp. Salmant., tr. xiii., disp. iii., dub. 3, (strongly Thomistic).

Sect. 146. --The State of Grace, continued --The Holy Ghost, the Substantial Complement of Accidental Grace.

Elevation to the state of grace implies an indwelling of God in the soul which is peculiar to this state and essentially differs from the presence of God in all things created. The question then arises whether, and if so, how far, the Divine indwelling is a constituent element of the state of grace. The Theologians of the West, especially the Schoolmen, have adopted a view on this point which, at first sight, seems entirely opposed to that of the Eastern Theologians. The two systems are in close connection with the different ways of conceiving the doctrine concerning the Trinity followed by the same writers (see supra, Book II., § 98). We shall set forth the two theories separately, and then show how they can be harmonized.

I. The indwelling of God is conceived as a relation of intimate friendship between Him and His adoptive children, the whole intimacy and force of which appears in this, that the same Holy Ghost, Who in the Trinity represents the union of Love between Father and Son, is here also the mediator of the love which unites God and His adopted sons. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is not considered as a factor of the sonship: the latter is formally and exclusively constituted by created grace inhering in the soul. The communication of elevating grace, or the constant infusion of Charity, is attributed to the Holy Ghost by appropriation, because He represents the Divine Love by which grace is given; He is the Exemplar of created charity and its Pledge or guarantee that the possession of God by Charity in this life will be continued and made perfect in the next. The leading idea of the Western theory is that God gives Himself in possession to His creatures, and is thus bound to them as a father to his children or as a bridegroom to his bride. In the language of the Schools the whole theory may be expressed in a few words: God, or more particularly the Holy Ghost, is the exemplar, the efficient principle, and the final object of the grace of sonship; whereas its formal or constituent principle is created grace.

This latter point was especially urged against the view set forth by Peter Lombard, “that the sonship was quite independent of created or inherent grace; that all the effects ascribed to such grace were the immediate work of the Holy Ghost himself.” When the Council of Trent defined, (against the Protestant theory of Justification by imputation), that “the sole formal cause of justification is the justice of God, not that by which He Himself is just, but that by which He makes us just“ (sess. vi., c. 7). Theologians saw in this definition a new motive for excluding the indwelling of the Holy Ghost from the constituent elements of sonship. The intention of the Council, however, was but to secure to justification its character of an inherent quality. The essential constitution of the state of grace, or the higher personal dignity of the adopted sons of God, was not dealt with by the Council. But when Baius afterwards attacked the “deiform state” of the children of God, the Church explained its dignity by insisting, not merely upon infused grace, but likewise on the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (prop, xiii., and xv.). This gave occasion to several theologians of note, especially Lessius, Petavius, and Thomassin, to further consider and develop the indwelling of the Holy Ghost as a constituent element of the state of grace.

II. The Greek Fathers held that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost was a substantial union with God and a constituent factor of adoptive sonship. This theory is found in St. Irenaeus, and is quite familiar to the Fathers who opposed the Arians, Macedonians and Nestorians, especially St. Athanasius, St. Basil, and St. Cyril of Alexandria. To them the indwelling of the Holy Ghost is the most important of the elements which constitute adoptive sonship. They look upon it as containing a participation in the substance of the Divine Nature, a substantial union or cohesion with God, whereby the Spirit of God in a certain sense becomes by His substance a form informing the soul, a form constituting Divine being, thus establishing in the adopted sons of God a likeness to Him analogous to that of His own The new birth out of God is conceived as a generation, in as far as it implies a communication of the Divine substance, whereas, in the other theory, it implies only a likeness of nature.

By the words “substantial union“ (in Greek), the Fathers understand a union of independent substances intermediate between the simply moral union of persons and the union of substances as parts of one whole. The union of father and son, of husband and wife, are instances of such union, which is perhaps better designated by the term cohesion, or tying together (Greek), or welding together (Greek). To bring out the fact that the two united substances, at least to a certain extent, belong to each other, the union is also called communion, communication (in Greek), and participation (Greek). The Fathers point out the union with the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Eucharist as an analogy of the union of the Holy Ghost with the soul (cf. Card. Newman, St. Athan., ii. 88, 193, 257).

We now proceed to give a deeper analysis of this theory, feeling confident that it will be preferred by the student.

1. The manner in which Scripture describes the cornmunication of the Holy Ghost to the sons of adoption, clearly implies a communication of Divine substance. It is spoken of as a being generated (Greek); a “seed“ of God is given to and remains in the adopted sons; the expressions used, especially by St. John, to convey an idea of the substantial union of God the Son with the Father, are repeated, in the same context, as descriptive of the union between God and His adopted children (John i. 13; iii. 5-6; xvii. 22; I John iii. 9; i Pet. i. 23). The necessary difference between the communication of Divine Substance in the life of grace, and the same communication in the eternal generation of God the Son, is that the adopted sons are first created and then generated; they do not receive their essence and being by Divine generation, but only are made to participate in the generation of God's own Son. The Divine progenitor does not form a new physical being, but only effects a union between the Creator and the creature. This union, however, is more perfect than the union of father and son, because it is a cohesion (Greek) of the whole Divine Substance with the creature, whereas a son is physically separate from his father.

2. As, then, the generation in the order of grace is intended to raise an existing life to a higher perfection, it must be conceived as the welding together (Greek) of the Divine Substance with the creature, or as an insertion of the Divine seed into a being already in existence. From this point of view the substantial union of God and creature bears a striking analogy with the union of the sexes in generation. St. Paul uses this very illustration (i Cor. vi. 16, 17). The “mutual possession“ is more intimate in the supernatural union of God with the soul than in the union which makes the two one flesh. To preserve the spiritual character of the union, the names of “bride “ and “bridegroom“ are commonly used. The analogy under consideration, if fully carried out, explains at the same time the difference and the organic connection between the eternal and adoptive sonship. The latter is intended to raise the creature to the dignity of God's own Son. This is effected by the Son contracting a spiritual marriage with the creature; viz. by communicating the Divine Substance in the manner described. Further, the dignity of the Only begotten Son comes out more strikingly when, as Bridegroom, He communicates His Sonship to His bride, than when He is spoken of as the “First-born among many brethren“ (Rom. viii. 29).

3. Another analogy illustrating the communication of the Divine Substance to the sons of adoption is found in the union between the spiritual soul and the body. The Divine Substance cannot enter the creature so as to form part of it; it is necessarily communicated as a living, substantial principle, the possession of which by the creature represents a substantial conjunction, and moreover a substantial similarity between the progenitor and the progeny. The Holy Ghost is sent to the soul to inform it with supernatural life in the same manner as the soul itself is sent by God into the body to inform it with natural life. St. Paul points to this character of the union in I Cor. vi. 17-19, where, after speaking of the “joining” with God (Greek) compares the sanctified creature to a temple filled with and possessed by the Holy Ghost. The text quoted, and its parallels (i Cor. iii. 16, 17, and 2 Cor. vi. 16), are the classical texts in proof of the substantial union with God. From the indwelling of the Holy Ghost the Apostle infers that we are not our own but God's, which shows that the indwelling establishes between the Holy Ghost and man a union equivalent to the union of the human soul with the body. We may, therefore, call it “an informing;“ not, however, in a literal sense, because the Divine and the created substances cannot be parts of one nature, and also because the human soul, not being matter, cannot be the bearer of a higher form. It is best described as an informing by conjunction and penetration or inhabitation, similar in its effects to the natural information whereby matter and form constitute one nature. In this respect the relation between the Holy Ghost and the soul is perfectly similar to that between the body of the faithful and the Body of Christ received in Holy Communion. Again, as the Fathers point out, it is analogous to the relation which exists in Christ between His Divine Nature and Substance and His human nature and substance; with this difference, however, that in Christ one Person has two natures, whereas, in the order of grace, two persons are united for one purpose. The latter analogy is fully borne out by the language of Scripture. Both indwellings of the Divinity in humanity (viz. in Christ and in sanctified souls) are designated by the same terms and represented as a sealing and anointing of the flesh with the Holy Ghost or with God's own Spirit (2 Cor. i. 22, et passim). The sealing and anointing convey the idea of communication by insertion, as, e.g., the insertion of a jewel in a ring, and of filling, as e.g. a vessel with precious balm. As the sealing and anointing are done by the Spirit, they point to a communication of life; and as this Spirit is God's own Spirit, they imply a participation in the Divine Life, a dignity, a holiness, and a likeness to God best expressed as a communication or fellowship of and with the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. xiii. 13).

4. Starting from the notion that the Holy Ghost, by communicating the Divine Substance to the sanctified, establishes between Him and them a relation analogous to that between spirit and flesh in man, or between Divinity and humanity in Christ, we can easily determine the connection of the Indwelling with the constitution of the state of grace. Speaking generally, the connection consists in this, that the possession of the Holy Ghost, the Substantial Uncreated Grace, conjoined to and dwelling in the creature, concurs with created grace, inherent in and affecting the creature, so as to give a higher lustre to adoptive sonship and a deeper foundation to its privileges than created grace alone could give. Thus, to give a few details, in the Greek theory the sonship is more than an accidental likeness of the creature to the Divine Nature; it entails the joint possession of God's own Spirit and of the Substance of the Divine Nature; it implies a substantial relationship and a substantial likeness to God, and, lastly, a substantial welding together of God and the creature and of the creature and God. The holiness of the adopted sons is also more than a quality or accident of the soul; it is like a seal and an unction --that is, an ornament and a refreshment --of which the Holy Ghost is not only the author but the substance. Again, the possession of the Holy Ghost gives to the sanctified that personal dignity which makes them pleasing to God and enables them to perform salutary works; it causes God to extend to them the Love He bears to Himself, and to admit them to Divine privileges.

III. When the Greek theory explains the union of the Holy Ghost with the sanctified as a union into one organic whole, it certainly introduces an element not contained in the Latin theory, which admits only the moral union of friendship. There is, however, no contradiction between the two. The organic union of the Greek Fathers is, after all, only equivalent to physical union, as the name Indwelling itself sufficiently shows. Such a union does not interfere with the distinction of persons and natures, nor, consequently, with the union of friendship. On the other hand, the friendly union of God with the sanctified acquires, by reason of the presence and influence of the Divine Substance, the character of simultaneous organic life and of fusion into one being.

The main point, however, is to show that, in the Greek theory, the indwelling of the Holy Ghost does not make the infusion of created grace superfluous or unimportant.

1. In order to transform the soul into His living temple, the Holy Ghost must endow it with a new principle of life, and adorn it in a manner becoming its exalted dignity. The infused virtues are the principle of Divine life, and elevating grace gives the temple of the Holy Ghost the required sanctity and glory. The Fathers compare the indwelling Spirit of God to a living fire which absorbs and assimilates all the powers of the soul. Again, created grace is required to act as a disposition for the reception of the Holy Ghost and as a bond of union between Him and the sanctified soul. The disposition for the reception of the Holy Ghost lies in Charity (John xiv. 23), and in elevating grace, which prepare the innermost soul for the coming of its Divine Guest. The transformation of the soul by elevating grace may be considered as the special link binding it to the Holy Ghost. In fact, this link or bond is analogous to that which unites child and father, wife and husband, body and soul: it implies, therefore, an active and plastic influence from one substance on the other, and a dependence of the formed or transformed substance on the substance which communicates itself. Although these two elements may be found also in infused Charity, they stand out more strikingly in the elevation of the soul to a supernatural state; for in this case the very substance of the soul is affected and is made like unto the Divine Substance, whereas Charity is but an accidental quality of the soul, and cannot be the foundation of a substantial relation. Thus, then, the infusion of grace, as a quality affecting the very being of the soul, represents also the entrance of the Holy Ghost into the soul. By virtue of this grace He takes root in the soul's innermost depths (Ecclus. xxiv. 1 6), and establishes there His throne, from which He pours out the Divine gifts on the sanctified soul. This grace gives the Holy Ghost Himself to the soul; all other graces are but operations of the Holy Ghost either consequent upon or preparatory to His coming.

2. The importance of created grace is not diminished by the introduction of Uncreated Grace as a constituent element of the state of grace. The latter is not introduced in order to make up for what is wanting in created grace, but in order to place Uncreated Grace, the substantial principle, side by side with created grace, the accidental principle of the state of grace, thus introducing an element which the creature, even in its highest possible perfection, cannot contain, viz. substantial union with God. The substantial principle exercises in union with the accidental one, but in quite a different manner, the functions of sanctifying grace. Created grace preserves all its power and importance, and, moreover, assumes the character of a “grace of union“ similar to the hypostatic union in Christ, inasmuch as it is the bond of union between the soul and the Holy Ghost.

Sect. 147. --The State of Grace (concluded) Its Character of New Creation-- Grace and Free Will.

I. As grace gives the creature a new and higher state of being, its bestowal by God is analogous and equivalent to the generation or creation of a new living being; and since this new being is of a kind which no created power can either produce or claim by any title, the production of it must be placed side by side with the creation of nature as a “supernatural creation.” This notion is familiar to Scripture, to the Fathers, and the Theologians. The parallelism, however, is only perfect between the gift of grace and the “second creation“ --that is, the formation of the cosmos out of the chaos already created --inasmuch as the communication of grace builds up in the soul a supernatural cosmos. Nay, the communication of grace is even more a creation than the second natural creation. The things formed in the second creation can be reproduced by generation, and are, one and all, dependent on created causes. Grace, on the contrary, cannot be reproduced by generation, and is not dependent for its being on the natural powers of its subject. God alone produces and reproduces it. He may, indeed, use created forces as external instruments for its communication, but the subject of grace can itself co-operate only indirectly and negatively, viz. by putting no obstacles in the way. From this point of view, the bestowal of grace has an analogon in the production of the human soul, which is at once dependent on God and independent of the body. But the soul is produced as a substance not essentially dependent on the body, and consequently its production is like the “first creation.” Grace, on the other hand, is essentially produced as an accidental form of a subject.

I. From the point of view of “second creation,” Holy Scripture speaks of the higher life given in grace as regeneration (Greek), transformation (Greek), new creation or reformation. In the language of Scripture and of the Church, all these designations convey the secondary meaning of “restoration to a higher state of perfection destroyed by sin.” The direct and proximate sense, however, is that a second being, higher and more godlike, is added to the purely natural, and that the creature who receives it is brought back to that perfect likeness to God which it possessed at the beginning. The renovation (Greek) of the soul by grace has an analogon in the renovation of heaven and earth at the end of time (2 Pet. iii. 13 sqq.), so much the more as this renovation, according to Rom. viii. 19, is but a consequence and a reflection of the glory of the children of God to be made manifest at the end of time.

2. The gift of grace is often described by the Greek Fathers as (Greek) --that is, final perfection pure and simple. The creature endowed with grace has a perfection beyond all the requirements of its nature, and, as this “superabundant” perfection implies the possession of the Highest Good, it is final. By it the image of God, formless and lifeless in natural man, acquires a specific likeness to its Divine prototype.

3. To answer to the notion of a second birth and second creation, grace must introduce into nature a “new nature,” or principle of activity. This need not be a substantial principle, like the human soul, but it must be equivalent to a substantial principle in its effects. Grace fulfils this condition by making the sanctified participate in the Divine Nature. Hence the complement and final perfection given by grace, consists in the “supernature“ with which grace endows the soul. Nature and supernature are organically bound into one whole: together they constitute a complete nature of a higher order, after the manner of body and soul, plant and graft, viz. the nature of sons of God. Sin, being inconsistent with grace, is really the “death of the soul,” driving out, as it does, the supernatural principle of its higher life.

4. Grace also gives to the soul a higher order of life, viz. a godlike life. The excellence of the Divine Life in the Holy Ghost, and through Him communicated to the creature, consists in the purest spirituality and sanctity; hence grace manifests its Divine character as principle of supernatural life in enabling nature to lead a spiritual and holy life of a supernatural order. From this point of view, grace is always conceived in connection with the Holy Ghost, Whose breath or emanation it is, and the life it inspires is called “spiritual” life. The spirituality and holiness of grace, as contrasted with the inferior spirituality and holiness to which unendowed nature can attain, manifest themselves in many ways. Nature can be the principle and the subject of both a holy and an unholy life, of virtuous actions as well as of error and sin. Grace, on the contrary, being the pure radiance of God's truth and goodness, remains pure and holy whatever may happen in the soul where it resides, just as the light of the sun does not lose its purity by contact with unclean things. Grace cannot, like nature, exist side by side with sin; God withdraws it as soon as the creature turns away from Him as the highest Truth and Goodness. This quality of grace is seen best in the state of glory, when it excludes not only sin but even the possibility of sinning. The text “Every one that is born of God committeth not sin; for His seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God“ (i John iii. 9), is commonly understood to refer to the incompatibility of sin and grace: it is impossible to be at the same time a child of God and a sinner.

II. The elevating influence of grace must specially affect free will. Not only must it strengthen natural liberty, but raise it to a supernatural order, and transform it into the “freedom of the children of God,” the freedom of the Spirit or of grace. This freedom consists in a power given to the created will of moving in a higher sphere --that is, of aiming at supernatural objects, and of producing supernatural works. In this sphere, the creature ceases to be the servant of God; it is His child, it loves and serves Him as a child, and enjoys the rights and privileges of a child. The Greek Fathers love to contrast the perfect and holy liberty of the sons of God with the servitude proper to the creature as such. The Latin Fathers, on the other hand, look upon it as the perfect liberty of original man in opposition to liberty impaired by sin. All, however, agree in including in the perfect freedom of the sons of God the freedom from sin and misery, or “from the servitude of corruption“ (Rom. viii. 21), in as far as these imperfections are an obstacle to the attainment of perfect beatitude, and especially to the exercise of free will. In this sense the Schoolmen describe freedom in the order of grace as “freedom from all evil“ --that is, power to avoid or to overcome all evil, and freedom for all good --that is, power to perform works supernaturally good, and to attain a supernatural end.

III. The infusion of grace does not destroy the substance and the natural perfections of the soul; neither does it remove the soul's natural imperfections, at least not until the state of glory is reached. The possibility of error and of sin exists side by side with grace, because the proper effect of grace is but to give higher possibilities to the soul. It is, however, clear that, thanks to these higher powers, error and sin are avoided with less difficulty. As sin is still possible, whereas the coexistence of sin and grace is impossible, it follows that grace can be lost, although intended by God to be everlasting. Again, as grace cannot exist without existing in a subject, it further follows that grace is destructible and perishable. The sinner who causes its destruction commits an assault on the living temple of God.

Sect. 148. --Relation of Nature and Natural Free Will to Grace --The “Obediential” Faculty --The Absolute Gratuity of Grace.

I. 1. The endowment of nature with grace must first of all be possible. But this supposes in nature a “receptivity” for grace, an aptitude or capacity for receiving it. Intellectual creatures alone possess this capacity, which is one of their specific perfections. Grace presupposes nature as a free and active principle which it endows with an activity of a higher order. Hence nature's receptivity appears as an aptitude and capacity for the reception of superior activity and freedom, and, in this respect, implies the existence of natural activity as necessarily as the receptivity for a graft presupposes the life of the branch.

2. The receptivity for grace, as compared with other faculties {potentiae) of the creature, is a natural faculty in as far as it is essentially given with rational nature; but it greatly differs from all other passive or active natural faculties. All these imply a possibility of realization in and by the natural order of things; just as a germ is developed and attains its final perfection in and by its environment. But the natural receptivity for grace and supernatural life is of a totally different character: its realization and development entirely depend on a free decree and on a fresh intervention of the creative power of God. Hence its “naturalness” must be reduced to this, that the creature is, by its nature, adapted, and, under certain circumstances, in duty bound, to obey the command of the Creator raising it to a higher estate. The receptivity in question, then, is an “obediential faculty“ (potentia obedientalis), as St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, has styled it --that is, a power or faculty to obey God when He is working above nature, yet in and through nature; or, in other words, a capacity of receiving from God the power to produce effects beyond the receiver's natural powers (see 3, q. ii, a. i). Obediential capacity of some kind is common to all creatures, yet rational creatures alone have been transformed from simple images of God into His supernatural likeness.

Without entering into the subtle distinctions of the schoolmen, we may say that when the possibility of supernatural life is once known, the mind, which naturally aspires to its highest possible happiness, desires such life. But the desire is not of a kind that requires fulfilment; it is merely a high aspiration. Supposing, however, that the creature has been actually called to supernatural life and has missed it, the non-fulfilment of these aspirations would cause positive unhappiness, which is in fact the greatest punishment of the damned. The obediential power, then, is an indifferent or neutral power --that is, a power by which something is possible but is not necessary. Yet it is not a cold indifference; it meets grace with an ardent desire; it makes the introduction of grace smooth and easy, and makes free opposition to grace to be an offence against God and against self.

II. 1. Free will is the chief faculty to be submitted to the elevating influence of grace. Although we cannot conceive grace as acting in a nature deprived of free will, still the exercise of unendowed free will is not essential to the acquisition or the working of grace. The efficacy of infant Baptism shows that grace is communicated even where the exercise of natural free will is physically impossible. When, however, the subject which receives grace is able to exercise its faculties, certain free acts may be admissible and even required, in order to dispose it to receive grace in a manner fitting the intellectual nature of the subject and the dignity of grace. But these free acts are not of necessity merely natural. Natural acts, as we shall see, cannot constitute a positive and direct preparation for the reception of grace, and, on the other hand, before bestowing habitual grace, God grants the “grace of internal vocation,” which is an actual grace, directly intended as a preparation and enabling free will to act supernaturally.

The denial of nature's immediate receptivity for actual grace was one of the fundamental errors of the Semi-pelagians. They held that the congruous and fruitful acceptance of grace required a favourable disposition of the will, which they compared with the opening of the eye to catch the light, or with the setting of the sails to catch the wind. Hence their other error, that “grace is not entirely gratuitous,” because there is some merit in the natural preparatory disposition. The root of the whole heresy lies in a false conception of free will. Both Semi-pelagians and Pelagians held that an act which depended on a previous Divine influence could not be a free act. It is, however, evident that man's free will, like all else in creation, is under Divine control, and, therefore, can be moved by God to act according to its own free nature.

2. Grace cannot be obtained, nor its acquisition be made easier, nor nature's receptivity for grace be increased by the exercise of free will. It is first of all evident that no act of the natural will can obtain the destiny or vocation to eternal life, in the way that the services of a subject to his king might move the king to adopt the subject, or as the merits of Christ have obtained for man the vocation to grace. If such were the case, free will would naturally possess a power denied to it in the order of grace itself: for in this order the acts of free will are not meritorious of the vocation to eternal life their meritoriousness presupposes the vocation. The personal dignity conferred upon the adopted sons enables them to perform acts worthy of eternal life. But such personal dignity is entirely wanting before the adoption; hence natural free will cannot produce an act proportionate in value to a supernatural good in other words, cannot merit grace. The same argument proves that unendowed acts cannot even “positively“ prepare or dispose the creature for the communication of grace. In fact, a disposition making the bestowal of grace, if not due, at least congruous, would imply between the disposing natural acts and the supernatural gifts a proportion which does not exist. Again, free will is unable to prepare, dispose, or move itself in such a manner that the infusion of grace should follow in a natural way, as the creation of the soul follows the organization of the matter to be informed by it. The natural disposition would be “a beginning of salvation,” whereas this beginning must be supernatural. In fact, such a disposition would constitute a positive participation in the acquisition of grace, either as inducing God to grant it, or as being a striving on the part of the creature in proportion with it.

All, then, that the creature is able to do is to keep and to perfect the capacity for grace. This preserving and perfecting of the “obediential power“ is a purely negative preparation and disposition, as it consists entirely in removing the obstacles which the abuse of free will might put in the way. Considered in relation to the “smoother working“ of grace, it is also a positive preparation, but as regards the first acquisition of grace, it is entirely negative and indirect, like the preparation of the soil for the reception of the seed, or the cutting of the branch for the insertion of the graft. No intrinsic connection exists between the acts of free will and the bestowal of grace. God may or may not give it to a well-disposed subject, just as He pleases. That He does usually give it is not in consequence of any law or rule, but of His own Divine pleasure. “To them that do what in them lies God does not deny His grace“ and “God does not forsake unless He is forsaken“ are axioms which apply to the will aided by grace, and only on that understanding express the ordinary way in which grace is communicated. The above doctrine is laid down in the Second Council of Orange, can. 6, 7, quoting the texts, “What hast thou that thou hast not received?“ (i Cor. iv. 7); and, “By the grace of God I am what I am“ (i Cor. xv. 10).

Sect. 149. --Relation of Nature to Grace (continued] --The Process by which Nature is raised to the State of Grace.

I. The vocation of the creature to the state of grace, being an entirely free act of God, need not necessarily take place at the time of creation. The vocation itself, its mode, and its time, are all equally in the hand of God. Hence we can conceive the vocation to grace as taking the form of an offer or an invitation from God to the creature; and the reception of grace as a free act of the creature. An analogy to this may be found in an invitation addressed by a prince to a person of lowly rank to become his adoptive child or his bride. In our case, however, the vocation includes a new birth and a new creation, and consequently its acceptance requires something more than an external, objective call, viz. an internal drawing or elevating influence which enables the creature to answer the call in a fitting manner. In other words, the creature's action is itself the result of a supernatural grace, which receives different names. Viewed as preceding any operation on the part of the creature, it is called “prevenient “ grace; as instrument of the Divine call, it is termed “grace of vocation or inspiration.” It is also a “moving grace“ (gr. excitans) and a “helping grace.” The part played by free will in the motion to grace may be described as “a supernatural function of natural freedom.”

The Church teaches the possibility and necessity of the creature's self-motion towards grace, only as regards the grace of justification granted to sinners, in which case the “turning to God“ is at the same time “a turning away from sin.” But this implies also the possibility of a turning to God in creatures not guilty of sin. In their case, the conversion is simply a desire to be raised to the high estate of adopted sons. The question, then, arises as to the necessity and importance of the conversion to God for the admission into the state of grace, both on the part of the just and of sinners,

II. The striving of the creature after grace (motus ad gratiani) consists in a free desire of grace and in the willingness to act in accordance with it, accompanied by a firm hope that grace will be given. Faith comes in as leading to the desire and the willingness, and as the foundation of the hope. The motion or striving is perfect in its kind as soon as the willingness extends to the performance of all the acts of supernatural life, including Charity.

The import of the motion towards grace is that it is a disposition and a preparation of the subject for the reception of grace. To the creature's natural receptivity, which implies merely the possibility of admitting grace, it adds a direct and positive receptivity or aptitude, enabling the creature not only to receive grace passively, but to actively and freely accept it. These acts modify the natural receptivity, inasmuch as they show due respect to grace, and assure its free working in the subject. Although such disposition and preparation are something purely moral, yet they have an analogy with the physical disposition of matter for the reception of its form, especially with the organic disposition of the body for the admission of the soul. The difference is, that the preparation is supernatural. As, according to a law of nature, the soul is regularly infused as soon as the body is fit to receive it, in like manner, according to the supernatural law, grace is regularly infused as soon as the soul is properly disposed.

Further, we must consider the motion towards grace as a conversion to God, since He is the Bestower of grace, of Whom grace is expected as a free gift and as the bond of friendship. In this respect, also, the motion is no more than a disposition and preparation, inasmuch as it is not strictly meritorious. Yet, by reason of prevenient grace and of the call to sanctifying grace implied in it, the motion has all the significance of the dispositions of a person of humble station with regard to the prince who offers to confer on him the dignity of adopted son. Hence it can, to a certain extent, procure the gift of sanctifying grace, and act as a link connecting the creature in friendship with God, so that the gift of grace, on the part of God, may be considered as an acknowledgment and as a return of the friendly dispositions of the creature. Thus, between the aspiration of the creature and the condescension of God, there can exist an intrinsic congruence and correspondence; as Scripture says, “Turn ye unto Me and I will turn unto you“ (Zach. i. 3), and “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him“ (John xiv. 21). When the conversion to God is perfect --that is, when it includes Charity --the relation is so close that the gift of grace and Divine friendship is infallibly granted on the part of God.

III. The bestowal of grace consequent upon the dispositions of free will seems so completely in harmony with the nature of grace and the nature of man and of angels, that this form recommends itself as the more likely to be adopted by God. As far as the justification of sinners is concerned, it is certain that God does not justify them without their co-operation, according to the axiom, “He Who created thee without thy aid will not justify thee without it

From these considerations, most of the Schoolmen have been of opinion that even in the state of innocence a motion of the free will is presumably required before grace is given, so that angels and men before the Fall, and all infants and sinners alike come under the above law. The difficulty that infants are unable to do free acts is met in this way: when infants receive grace through Baptism, the faith and promises of the Church take the place of the free acts of the infants; if the state of original innocence had continued, the children born in it would have received grace by reason of the free acts by which Adam disposed himself to receive it, just as they are now born in sin by reason of his fall. The presumed generality of the law led the Franciscan school of theology to infer that grace was not given to our first parents and to the angels “in the very instant“ of their creation. St. Thomas, however, and the greater part of his school do not come to this conclusion. They think it possible that, as the first man and woman and the angels were created with the full use of their free will, they were able to perform the required supernatural act of free motion in the very instant of their creation, and, consequently, at the same moment, to be endowed with grace.

It must, however, be acknowledged that the law in question rests only on presumptions and reasons of fittingness, and is not so certain that on its account the simultaneousness of creation and elevation to grace ought to be denied. Grace and nature were undoubtedly produced at the same time. Moreover, we can give as good reasons against the law as in its favour. For instance, supernatural life must be exercised by a supernatural principle: hence this principle must be possessed before any supernatural activity can take place. Again, nature and supernature constitute one perfect image of the Creator; it is therefore fitting that they should coexist from their first beginning.

The notion that the state of grace is a mystical marriage with God may be upheld by both schools, provided that the consent be taken in the sense required by the nature of this mystical union. Its type is the union of Adam and Eve. God created an individual bride for an individual bridegroom; He decreed their union and obliged the bride to accept it. Hence the creature's acceptance of grace is an act of conjugal fidelity, and its refusal would be like unto adultery against God, even without any previous acceptance. The proof that grace was given in the act of creation will be given below.

Sect. --Nature's Vocation to Grace by a Law of the Creator.

I. It is a fundamental truth of Christianity that the vocation to grace and supernatural life is given as a strict commandment to every intellectual creature from the very beginning of its existence. It is, therefore, equivalent to a law of nature, strictly binding and universal in its application, although not essential to created nature. St. Augustine calls it a natural law, because it is based upon the essential dependence of the creature on the Creator, by reason of which the Creator is free to destine His creatures to any end He pleases.

Contempt or transgression of this law, or even indifference to it, is a violation of natural law proper, because natural law binds creatures not only to carry out the Divine ordinances founded on their essence, but also to accept from the Creator their ultimate destiny. Resisting the Divine vocation to grace is, then, a sin against nature and against God, the Author of nature. And it is a grievous sin because it deprives nature of its highest good and frustrates its ideal perfection; it is a deep ingratitude to God and an attack upon God's dominion over His creatures; and, lastly, it prevents the carrying out of a whole system of commandments, nay, it perverts the whole order of divinely instituted worship.

The binding power, the universality and origin of the vocation to grace are implied in the whole teaching of the Church, especially in the dogmas of Original Sin and Redemption. Christ compares the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast, and declares that the invited guests deserve great punishment simply for not accepting the invitation (Matt, xxii.), and He orders the Gospel to be preached to all creatures, threatening with condemnation those who refuse to believe (Mark xvi. 15).

II. If, as a matter of fact, all rational creatures are called to a supernatural end, it follows that their natural end, viz. happiness by the fulfilment of their natural aspirations by natural means, is no longer attainable as a distinct, separate end. Hence God is not bound to grant natural happiness to any one who, through his own fault, fails to attain supernatural happiness. There are not now two eternal lives, one of the natural, the other of the supernatural order; the former can only be attained in the latter. All moral actions must therefore be directed towards the supernatural end, and all actions not so directed have no eternal, but only a temporal, value. Again, the Divine institutions in the order of nature, such as society and matrimony, are, in the Divine plan, subordinate to the supernatural destination of things; and the gifts and helps given by God to creatures in connection with their natural end, are really given towards the supernatural end, and are made dependent on the creatures' striving after it. Hence those who, through their fault, despise their supernatural vocation, have no hope of any true temporal felicity.

The final state of children who die unbaptized, and therefore in original sin, is certainly not the supernatural happiness to which they were destined; nor is it exactly that state of natural felicity to which man would have had a natural title had he not been called to a higher state.

III. A further consequence of the call to grace is that all moral actions of creatures are valued according to the supernatural standard. In general, the measure of the goodness or righteousness of moral actions is their conformity with the will of God, or their proportion with the final perfection of their authors. But it is God's will that all rational creatures should attain supernatural final perfection. Hence, only those actions are simply and truly good and just and pleasing to God by which we serve Him as He desires to be served in the order of grace.

The difference between natural and supernatural actions is an essential one, affecting their very goodness and righteousness. The latter alone fulfil the Divine Law as God wishes it to be fulfilled, and are, therefore, alone good and right, purely and simply. Actions which are only naturally good are not what they ought to be in the existing order, and, so far, may be called bad or defective. St. Augustine describes them as “a running along outside the right road“ (cursus praeter viam), which implies on the one hand that they are defective, and on the other that they are not positively a turning away from God. He also calls them “bad actions and sins (peccata),” on the principle that what is not completely and entirely good is bad (Bonum ex intrgra causa, malum ex quocunque defecu).

IV. Since supernatural actions are alone good, purely and simply, in the sense described, a fortiori nature is good, right, and pleasing to God only when adorned with supernatural sanctity, and thus brought into harmony with its supernatural end. Nature deprived of grace by sin is not merely less pleasing to God, less good, and less just, but it is bad, wrong, and displeasing to God; it is a bad tree which cannot bring forth good fruit. Sanctifying grace is an essential element, or rather the substance, of that goodness and righteousness without which nature itself cannot be called good and right; it is necessary to the completness (integritas) of the justice demanded of nature.

V. Nature, then, is so bound up with grace that it only exists for grace, and is entirely subordinate to it. God created it only as a basis for and an organ of supernatural life. Nature, therefore, does not belong to the creature, nor is it some common, ordinary property of God; it is a specially reserved and appropriated Divine possession, the sanctuary of His own Spirit, on Whom its whole life and being depend in the same manner as the life and being of the body depend on the soul. Hence the creature is bound to acknowledge and to honour this proprietary right of the Holy Ghost, and to submit its whole internal and external, individual and social life to the Holy Ghost and to the law of His grace (cf. I Cor. vi. 19)

VI. The conjunction or marriage of nature and grace appears in its full light in the unity of nature and grace which existed in the idea of the Creator and was realized in the creation of man and angels. The Fathers look upon grace as an integral part of a created rational being; and, conversely, they look upon nature as intended by God to be endowed by grace: nature and grace are parts of one organic whole. The Greek Fathers, following St Irenaeus, derive their notion from Gen. i. 26, “Let Us make man to Our image and likeness,” which they take to mean that “image “ expresses the natural relation and “likeness,” the supernatural relation of man to God. They consider the “breathing in“ of the living soul (Gen. ii. 7) to be the infusion of grace, so that the soul and the Holy Ghost were given at the same time. Although St. Augustine disputes this interpretation, he nevertheless admits the doctrine of the Greek Fathers. If possible, he even lays more stress on it when he reckons grace as an integral element of nature as by God constituted.

Sect. 151.--Function of the Supernatural Order in the Divine Plan of the Universe.

I. The ultimate end of all things created is the glory of the Creator. This is attained in three ways: by the manifestation of the Divine Power and Love, by the worship paid by creatures, and by the creatures' eternal happiness in the possession of God. In the natural order this three-fold glory would be very imperfectly obtained. In the supernatural order, on the contrary, it is brought about with such perfection that nothing short of a hypostatic union of the creature with God could surpass it. The reader who has followed the present treatise will find no difficulty in this statement. In the elevation of the creature to the participation of God's own life, the Divine Power and Love assert themselves to a degree far beyond their manifestation in the creation of nature. The supernatural worship given by the sons of God is far more perfect than the servile worship of mere creatures. As St. Gregory of Nazianzum says, “God is united to gods, and known by them“ He is properly the God of gods and the Lord of lords. Lastly, the beatific vision is a mode of possessing God, the perfection of which essentially surpasses the perfection of the possession by natural knowledge and love. In this manner, then, the end of all things, that God should be “All in all“ (i Cor. xv. 28), is completely fulfilled: creatures are united to God as intimately as if they were one with Him; God, as the principle, the subject-matter, and the final object of all their spiritual life, replenishes, penetrates, and pervades them. The creature is “called back to Him from Whom it sprang, ”the infinite distance between it and the Creator being bridged over by the beatific vision. Although the creature and God cannot be “one being,” yet they become one through the most intimate union and fellowship.

II. The supernatural order contributes, in quite a special manner, to the attainment of the highest and final object of the universe by externally manifesting the internal productions in the Blessed Trinity and the communion and fellowship of the Divine Persons.

1. The elevation of creatures to the godlike state of adoptive sons is an imitation and, therefore, a manifestation of the eternal generation of God the Son. Considered as a communication of Divine Nature by love, it is also an image and, as it were, an extension or ramification of the eternal procession of the Holy Ghost.

2. The development of godlike life, through the knowledge and love of God as He is in Himself, is a reflection of the eternal productions of the Logos and the Holy Ghost.

3. Through grace the creature participates in the Divine Nature, and thus enters into fellowship with the Divine Persons (i John i. 3). This Divine fellowship is subject to the law which also rules human friendship: “Friendship either finds the friends equal or makes them so; all that they have becomes each other's.” The position which this fellowship secures to the creature is best expressed by the formula generally adopted since Alexander of Hales: the creature is made the Daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Son, and the Temple of the Holy Ghost.

IIl. The Glory of God must be attained by intellectual creatures considered as a whole as well as by each of them. The adopted sons are a community of saints, a Church and Kingdom of God. “You are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people” (i Pet. ii. 9; cf. Exod. xix. 6, 7). “You are no more strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and domestics of God“ (Ephes. ii. 19). The dignity of the chosen people of God is such that God dwells in them and walks among them (2 Cor. vi. 16) as in His own heavenly city. Cf. Heb. xii. 22; Apoc. xxi. and xxii., etc.

The union of the “saints” with God leads farther to a most intimate union among the saints themselves, “that they may be one as we also are one” (John xvii. 22; cf. Ephes. ii. 19-22).

The supernatural order of the world culminates in this, that God builds unto Himself, out of His creatures, a Church founded on His Son and filled with the Holy Ghost a Church which is the body and the bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, and “the fulness of Him Who is filled all in all“ (Eph. i. 23).


CHAPTER III. Theory of the Relatively Supernatural

Sect. 152. --The Supernatural Endowment of Mans Nature as distinct from the Angels.

I. The relatively supernatural consists in goods and privileges which are above the requirements of human nature, but are natural to the angels. Man endowed with these gifts is raised, to some extent, to the nature of the angels (cf. § 136).

II. The final perfection to which man is called includes the salvation of his entire nature --that is, of his body as well as of his soul. Man is to be transfigured and his whole nature renewed; his earthy and animal elements are to be transformed into heavenly and spiritual elements, and his whole nature raised to the level of pure spirits (i Cor. xv. 42 sqq.). The change is wrought by the Spirit of God, Who dwells in the soul and enables it so to subdue and assimilate to itself the earthy and animal elements that they cease to be of a different kind from it, and compose, with the soul, one homogeneous whole. Dissolution and corruption are then no longer possible, and all the conditions of bodily life cease to exist; all disturbing influences, all motions of concupiscence are excluded. In this state man “shall be as the angels of God“ ( Matt. xxii. 30), elevated above his own nature to that likeness with God which is natural to the angels.

In the very beginning, God exempted human nature from its inherent weakness, viz. the infirmity of the flesh and the consequent infirmity of the spirit, so that man, unless he willed otherwise, was free from the consequences of his weakness or had the power to prevent them.

The elevation of the first man comprised the following six privileges (cf. § 133):--

1. Immortality
2. Impassibility --that is, freedom from all bodily sufferings.
3. Immunity from a rebellious concupiscence --that is, the power either to prevent or to control all inordinate motions of the senses.
4. Immunity from ignorance and error, or the power to prevent all disturbing influences of the senses on the operations of the mind.
5. Immunity from sin and from difficulties in doing good; in other words, the power of being morally perfect by preventing all sensual influences from moving the will in a wrong direction.
6. Perfect control over external nature, especially over animals and hurtful natural influences.

As these privileges are beyond the power of pure nature, and as none of them is essential to man's natural perfection, they are relatively supernatural. The Fathers, following Holy Scripture, describe the bestowal of them as a gracious glorification of nature, and as a clothing and crowning of man with heavenly honour and glory.

The fact that the first man was endowed with the aforesaid immunities and powers is a matter of faith. The granting of several of them, e.g. the immunity from death and rebel concupiscence, is expressly mentioned in the history of creation, and has been defined by Councils. All of them are presupposed in the Catholic doctrine concerning Original Sin, and are universally taught by Fathers and Theologians, especially by the Fathers in the controversy with the Pelagians.

IV. An essential difference exists between man's original and his final perfection. The latter is a real transformation of all the elements of his nature which destroys even the root and possibility of his natural infirmities. The former, on the contrary, left the possibility of death, suffering, sin, etc., because it did not alter man's nature.

The only supernatural influence required for the privileges of the original state was an intrinsic strengthening, elevation, and clarification of man's intellectual faculties in the words of St. Thomas, “the removal of the infirmity of the mind by the vigour of reason.” A higher intrinsic quality of intellect and will is indeed necessary to account for the intellectual and moral perfection of the original state, but no intrinsic elevation of any faculty is required to account for the other privileges. The vigour of reason holds sway over the lower faculties, subdues the motions of the flesh, avoids the hurtful and utilizes the useful forces of nature for man's own well-being and his dominion over lower creation.

V. The special effects of the original endowment of man with privileges raising him to almost angelic perfection, in as far as they are distinct from the effects of grace, are described as:

1. Incorruptlon (Greek);
2. Integrity;
3. Justice, or perfect Rectitude;
4. Innocence.

These four designations complete each other. The term incorruption, applicable also to man's final perfection, is more frequently used by the Greek Fathers, who insist chiefly on the supernatural character of the original state. The same remark applies to the terms glory and beatitude (in Greek) in connection with man's original estate. The three other designations are more in favour with the Latin Fathers, who chiefly consider the original state in comparison with the state of Original Sin. The vagueness of the terms is determined by qualifying adjectives, such as perfect, full, original.

VI. Original justice might be lost, because it was not due to or required by nature, and, as it did not produce a radical change of nature, the fact that it was once granted did not imply that it would always last. Besides, original perfection, like sanctifying grace, was incompatible with grievous sin: the commission of sin entailed the loss of the privileges (Gen. iii. 7, sqq.) Perfect justice implies perfect submission of reason and will to God; grievous sin implies an aversion of reason and will from God; justice and sin are therefore incompatible. But if sin destroys the principle upon which all the other privileges depend, it must also destroy the entire structure of original perfection. The same conclusion may be drawn from the close connection between original integrity and sanctifying grace, of which we shall speak further on.

VII. The absolutely supernatural is clearly not due to human nature, and is a free gift of grace. But there is some question as to whether the relatively supernatural is likewise not due (indebitum). Many Theologians who own that it is supernatural and gratuitous, say that God was bound “in decency“ to grant it to man. The Church has not decided the matter, even after the controversies with Baius.

VIII. The gifts constituting the integrity of original nature --that is, the relatively supernatural on the one hand, grace and grace, or the absolutely supernatural, on the other --are gifts neither identical nor essentially bound together. Their essential difference is evident from the effects they produce externally and internally. Integrity raises and clarifies only the inferior side of the soul so as to bring man nearer to the nature of the Angels, whereas grace elevates and transforms the superior side of the soul into a perfect likeness of God Himself. The separability of the two gifts is likewise evident. We can easily conceive man raised to angelic perfection without being at the same time admitted to a participation in the Divine Life; and, vice versa, we can conceive man in a state of grace without being freed from the imperfections inherent in his nature. The latter is, in fact, the present state of man when justified. In the beatific vision, however, the light of glory will consume all the weaknesses of human nature and raise it to a perfection higher even than that which is natural to the angels.

Although distinct and separable, yet integrity and grace, when bestowed together, unite into one harmonious organic whole. The Fathers look upon this union in the original state of man as an anticipation of his state of final beatitude in the vision of God, so that grace bears to integrity the same relation which the future glory of the soul bears to the future glory of the body. Integrity and grace, when combined, elevate man to the most perfect likeness with God attainable in this life; they dispose and prepare him for the still more complete likeness of eternal life.

To sum up: In the existing order of the universe the relatively supernatural does not constitute an independent, self-sufficient order. It is completely and thoroughly dependent on the order of grace -- nay, it is but a ramification of the supernatural order. This dependence is not merely speculative; it is a truth of great theological and practical importance on account of its bearing on the fact that human nature itself is created for the supernatural order, and is entirely incorporated with it by the Creator. Cf. § 148.

CHAPTER IV.

Concrete Realization of the Supernatural Order.

Sect. 153. --The Supernatural in the Angelic World.

I. Holy Scripture hints that all the angels were called to the vision of God, when it represents the good angels as actually seeing His Face, and only excludes the fallen ones from that privilege. Such is also the common tradition embodied in the opinion that man was called to fill the places left vacant by the fallen angels. At any rate, the supernatural vocation of man affords the strongest presumption for a similar vocation of the angels. The fact that many of them did fall supposes that they had to go through a trial, and to merit salvation. Like man, they were unable to attain supernatural life without the aid of actual and habitual grace. (Supra, p. 376.)

1. It is morally certain that all the angels once possessed sanctifying grace. Holy Scripture alludes to this fact, while patristic tradition is unanimous about it. The Fathers generally apply to the angels the texts Ezech. xxviii. 12 sqq., and Isai. xiv. 12, which, however, taken literally, only refer to the kings of Tyre and Babylon. A better, though by no means a cogent proof is afforded by John viii. 44, combined with Jude i. 6: “The devil stood not in the truth” “the angels who kept not their principality.” Truth, in the language of the New Testament, means truth founded on grace and justice; and principality implies a dignity so high that we can hardly conceive it to have been unadorned with grace.

The tradition of the Fathers is unanimous that the angels also received grace in the moment of their creation (see St Aug. De Civ Dei, 1. xi., c. 9). Theologians generally admit that the diversity of rank among the angels is an indication of diversity of grace received, because, on account of his unimpaired free will, every angel attained at once all the perfection possible to him. It may further be supposed that God created the angels with an amount of natural perfection proportionate to the measure of grace predestined to each of them, and also that the measure of grace given to the angels surpasses that given to men. Yet it is quite possible that some human beings attain to a higher degree of perfection than angels . That the Queen of Angels did so is taught expressly by the Church.

Grace was necessarily accompanied by the virtue of Faith and the knowledge of the supernatural order, culminating in the clear vision of God; because, without these supernatural life in the state of probation is impossible. Most probably the knowledge of the supernatural order included a knowledge of the Trinity, and of the future Incarnation of the Logos, as these dogmas are so intimately connected with the order of grace.

2. The meritorious acts performed by the angels in consequence of the grace received, consisted in the free fulfilling of the supernatural law of God, or in the full subjection to God as the Author of grace and glory. The angels who persevered must have performed at least this one act of submission. But as regards the circumstances of this act, we have only more or less probable opinions. E.g., it may be that a special law of probation, analogous to that given to Adam, was given to the angels, and that it consisted in a restriction of their natural exaltedness above human nature, just as the commandment given to man consisted in a restriction of his dominion over visible nature.

3. From the words of Christ, “Their angels in heaven always see the Face of My Father Who is in heaven” (Matt, xviii. 10), we learn that, unlike the Patriarchs, the angels were admitted to the immediate vision of God as soon as they merited it. There is no reason why there should have been any interval.

II. The angels hold the first rank in the order of grace as well as in the order of nature. They actually possess the supernatural perfection to which man is but tending and are therefore his model in the service and praise of God.

1. As the first-born of creation, they are called to co-operate in the Divine government of the world, and especially in carrying out the supernatural order in mankind. The nature of their co-operation results from the fellowship of all rational creatures, by reason of which they are one city of the saints, one temple of God, offering to God by Charity one great sacrifice. Men are fellow-citizens of the angels, or, rather, members of the same family of which God is the Father, and in which the perfect members are the born protectors and helpers of the yet imperfect members. St. Paul expresses this idea when he calls the heavenly Jerusalem “our mother“ (Gal. iv. 26). Man requires the protection of the good angels, not only because of his natural weakness, but also in order to resist the onslaught of the fallen angels, the princes and powers of darkness.

2. It is an article of faith that the angels are “ministering spirits, sent to minister for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation“ (Heb. i. 14). As Divine ambassadors and messengers they minister to man, not indeed as servants of man, but as servants of God. They act as guardians, guides, pedagogues, tutors, pastors, set over their weaker brethren by the common Father: “He hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps. xc. 11). At times they also execute the decrees of Divine justice, e.g. Gen. iii. 24; Exod. xxii., 27 sqq.; I Paral. xxi. 16.

From many indications in Holy Writ, and from constant tradition, the guardianship of man is divided among the angels according to a fixed order, so that different spheres of action are assigned to different angels. Thus different nations and greater corporations, especially the several parts of the Church of God, are committed to the permanent charge of particular angels. The guardian angels of the Jews, Persians, and Greeks are mentioned Dan. x. 13, 20, 21, and xii. I: “Now I will return to fight against the prince of the Persians. When I went forth, there appeared the prince o f the Greeks coming, and none is my helper in all these things but Michael your prince” (Dan. x. 20, 21) The title of prince given to the guardian angel implies a permanent office among the same people. The proof that the care of individual men is entrusted to angels is found in Matt, xviii. 10: “Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.” The first Christians testified to this doctrine when they thought it was not St. Peter but “his angel” who stood in their presence (Acts xii. 6; cf. Psalm xxxiii. 8, and Heb. i. 14). The doctrine that “every one of the faithful is guarded by one or more angels,” although not exactly a matter of faith, is yet theologically certain, and to deny it would be rash . It is simply a consequence of the fellowship which Baptism establishes between man and angels. It is less certain, but still highly probable, that even the unbaptized are under the special custody of angels, on account of their supernatural vocation.

The common belief that each individual has his own guardian angel, or that there are as many guardian angels as men, is not so certain as the more general doctrine that all men are guarded by angels. It is quite possible for one angel to guard and protect several individuals.

(a). The functions of the guardian angels have chiefly to do with the eternal salvation of their charges, but, like Divine Providence and neighbourly love, they extend also to assistance in matters temporal. In matters spiritual the guardian angels behave towards us as tender and conscientious parents towards their children. They protect us against our invisible enemies, either by preventing the attack or by helping us to resist. They pray for us, and offer our prayers and good works to God. Lastly, they conduct the souls to the judgment seat of God, and introduce them into eternal glory (Luke xvi. 22).

The communication of the dead with the living, e.g. apparitions and death-warnings, are probably the work of guardian angels, as may also be the bilocation related of several saints.

(b). The position of the angels with regard to man entitles them to a worship consisting of love, respect, and reverence. Our fellowship with the family of God requires mutual love between the members; the excellent dignity of the angels demands grateful and submissive homage, but neither adoration nor slavish submission (Apoc. xxii
8, 9). See St. Bernard, In Psalm. Qui habitat.

Sect. 154. --The Supernatural in Mankind.

I. The vocation to the supernatural end given to the first man and all his descendants is the basis of the whole Christian doctrine concerning sin and Redemption. The loss of the claim to heaven was a punishment of sin, and the restoration of that claim was the effect of Redemption. The Council of Trent defines that “Adam, the first man, having transgressed in Paradise the commandment of God, immediately lost that holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted” (sess. v., can. i). This implies that Adam, before his sin, possessed the principle of eternal life, viz. sanctifying grace. The loss of grace was the primary effect of sin, and the essential effect of Redemption by Christ is a restoration of lost grace. The Fathers are unanimous on this point.

I. Although the Council of Trent has left the question undecided, there is no doubt that the first man received sanctifying grace in the instant of his creation, simultaneously with his nature; and that grace was part of that Divine likeness and of that rectitude and justice in which, according to Scripture, man was created. The Fathers were so thoroughly imbued with this notion that they held the bestowal of grace to be as important an element in the realization of the Divine Idea of man as the constitution of nature itself. Their frequent expressions “a new creature,” “nature instituted or fitted out,” “natural good,” signify nature as originally endowed with grace. From the same point of view they designate original grace as “natural” dignity, possibility, and rectitude. The texts of Scripture bearing on this question are conclusive only when taken in the sense given them by the Fathers. Such texts are, Eph. iv. 23, 24, with Col. iii. 9, 10; Gen. i. 27; Eccles. vii. 30. But the real proof lies in the testimony of the Fathers, which is so strong that Baius, after collecting it (De Prima Hominis Justitia, c. i.) concludes that the Fathers taught the actual conjunction of nature and grace, not merely as a fact, but also as a natural necessity.

That the relatively supernatural (the gift of integrity) was given simultaneously with nature and dependently on sanctifying grace has been shown in § 152. Here we only note that the term “Original Justice” is never used by the Fathers, in the restricted sense of some Theologians, for “justice or original integrity” --that is, the integrity without sanctifying grace.

2. Although the supernatural endowment of man does not require that he should have the full use of his mental and bodily faculties from the beginning of his existence, yet it was fitting that those who were the source of the whole race, in the order both of nature and grace, should not begin life as undeveloped children. Like the first beings created of other species, they were perfect in body, and, like the angels, they were perfect in mind. Hence, at the very origin, the supernatural vocation and its necessary elements must have been revealed to them as they were to the angels. According to Scripture, Adam gave their names to the beasts of the field and to all living creatures (Gen. ii. 20). In this fact Theologians see a proof that the mind of Adam was fully developed, and possessed a deep knowledge of nature.

3. Among the things revealed to Adam was his trial, viz. the commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This Divine precept contained a restriction of man's dominion over nature, and required of him self-denial and obedience. The continuance of the state of integrity was dependent on his keeping the command. This we gather from the penalty of death attached to transgression. The loss of the privilege of immortality entails the loss of all the privileges of the original state. But if death was to happen only in the case of transgression, immortality and the other privileges were to last as long as the commandment was observed, or until man's final consummation in heaven.

On account of the promise of continuance of privileges implied in the sanction of the law of probation, Theologians call this law a Testament or a pact (foedus). It is not properly a “contract,” because a contract requires the free consent of the two parties, whereas in this case consent was not freely given, but was imposed. The reasonableness of the precept is clear. Man having been exalted to a dignity to which he had no claim, it was only right that, by an act of obedience, he should acknowledge the absolute dominion of God over nature and the absolute gratuity of the graces and privileges received; and, on the other hand, it was reasonable that refusal of obedience should entail the loss of the gratuitous gifts.

II. In and with the first man all mankind were called to a supernatural end. Consequently, the endowment with supernatural grace was intended as an endowment of the nature common to all. Human nature is propagated by way of generation, God infusing the soul into the prepared organism. From this we can easily see how grace was to be handed down according to the design of God. At each generation a soul was to be infused endowed with grace and integrity. Thus the transmission of grace would be akin to an hereditary transmission, based upon the unity of nature, and bestowed upon all who derive their nature from Adam. This doctrine underlies the teaching of the Council of Trent (sess. v., c. 2), in condemning the proposition that “the holiness and justice which Adam received from God, he lost for himself only, not for us also.”

1. The transmission of grace to all mankind supposes the propagation and the unity of human nature as its foundation and condition; but the converse is not true. Although all men inherit the same nature from Adam, it is still conceivable and even reasonable that grace should be communicated to each individual according to and dependency on his own personal conduct. That the descendants of Adam were to receive grace only by reason of the obedience of their progenitor, was a positive disposition of the free will of God, dealing with mankind as one great whole. Nor had Adam necessarily the power by his own will to transmit grace to his progeny, any more than parents can now communicate the grace or even the natural qualities which they possess. The position of Adam as regards the transmission of grace consisted in this: he was chosen by God as the starting-point from which grace was to be spread among the human race through the channel of natural generation; and his good or bad conduct was made by God the condition of the communication or non-communication of grace to mankind.

2. What has been said will account for the participation of mankind in Adam's punishment, i.e. in his degradation from the supernatural order. It does not, however, explain sufficiently the participation of mankind in Adam's guilt; i.e. how the “death of the soul“ is not only a penalty but also a sin. This explanation is arrived at by admitting, conjointly with the solidary right of the whole human race to original justice, an equally solidary obligation of fulfilling the law of probation. Neither of these two solidarities is essentially connected with the unity of mankind; both alike are positive Divine ordinances. God enacted that the will of the first representative of the race should represent the will of all his posterity; hence Adam's prevarication is the prevarication of the entire race. Posterity was not, however, made responsible for its progenitor's sin in the same degree as the progenitor himself, which will be further explained in the next book.



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