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Whether a Man in Grace Can Merit Eternal Life Condignly?

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Collect: O God who judges us in friendship and with mercy, give us that crown of justice which has been worked in us by grace, through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Summary


In the Sed Contra, St. Thomas proves the thesis by pointing to the fact that not only God's mercy, but also his justice is refered to as a principle of reward in scripture. He comments on the passage elsewhere, "He says, therefore: since I have fought and finished the course, nothing remains but to be crowned. It is called a crown of justice, because God will confer it according to justice. But it seems that eternal life is conferred because of grace: the grace of God is everlasting (Rom 6:23) and the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come (Rom 8:18). Therefore, it is not a matter of justice. I answer that grace is involved inasmuch as it is the root of merit, and justice inasmuch as it is an act proceeding from the will. Or, it is a crown of justice because it is given from justice, inasmuch as it is given to the just according to their just works: say to the just man that it is well, for he shall eat the fruit of his doings (Isa 3:10)."

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