SIX VOLUMES IN ONE BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada REV. STEPHEN KEENAN REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J. REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
BUT what would the benefit of our redemption avail, were it not followed by that of justification, by which this extraordinary favor is applied to us ? For, as physic, though ever so well prepared, is wholly useless, if not applied to the distemper, so this heavenly medicine would work no cure in us, unless applied by means of this benefit we now treat of. This application is peculiarly the work of the Holy Ghost, to whom the sanctification of man is attributed. He it is who prevents the sinner with his mercy, who having thus prevented, calls him, who justifies him when called, who conducts him, when justified, in the paths of justice, and thus raises him to perfection by the gift of perseverance, to crown him in the end with everlasting glory. These are the different degrees of grace contained under the inestimable favors of justification.
§ I. The first of all these graces is that of our vocation. When man, by the force of the divine Spirit, having broken all the bands and betters of his sins, is freed from the tyrannic slavery of the devil, and raised from death to life; when, of a sinner, he becomes a saint, and a child of God from a child of wrath, which is not to be done without the special help of the divine grace, as our Saviour testifies to us by these words: "No man can come to me, except the Father, who has sent me, draw him " (John vi. 44); to signify to us that neither free-will, nor all the advantages of human nature, are sufficient of themselves to lift a man out of the depth of sin, and raise him to a state of grace, unless the Almighty lend him a helping hand. And as St. Thomas, explaining these very words, says, "That, as the stone naturally tends downwards, and cannot raise itself up again without some exterior assistance, so man, according to the bent of his nature, depraved by the corruption of sin, is always sinking downwards in the desire of earthly things; so that God must, of necessity, lend a hand to lift him up to a supernatural love and desire of heavenly delights, or he will never be able to rise." This sentence very well deserves both our consideration and tears, for by it man comes to know himself, grows sensible of the corruption of his nature, and of the necessity he perpetually lies under of begging Almighty God's assistance. But to come to the point, it is impossible for man to return from sin to grace, unless the almighty hand of God raise him up. But this is a favor of such value that there is no expressing how many graces are contained in it. For, there being nothing more certain than that sin is, by this means, extracted from the soul, and that it is sin which is the cause of all its miseries, how great a good must this consequently be, which expels and banishes so many evils? But, for as much as the consideration of this benefit is a powerful motive to make us grateful for it, and excite us to the pursuit of virtue, I will explain here, in short, the vast riches this benefit brings along with it.