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Whether a Man May Merit for Himself the First Grace?

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Collect: O God, who gives us the first grace, not by any merit of our own, but only our of thy mercy, grant unto us the grace of perseverance, that we may continue in thy favor, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


In the Sed Contra, St. Thomas quotes Romans 4:4 in proof of his answer. In another place, he comments on the text, "He says therefore, to him who works, i.e., if anyone be justified by works, the justice would be reckoned as a reward, not according to grace, but according to debt: and if by grace, it is not now by works; otherwise grace is no more grace (Rom 11:6). But to him who works not, so as to be justified by his works, yet believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reputed to justice, according to the purpose of the grace of God, not that he merits justice through faith, but because the believing itself is the first act of the justice God works in him. For from the fact that he believes in God justifying, he submits himself to his justification and thus receives its effect."

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