Introduction To The
Of The Italian
Of The 18th
On The Nature Of Actual
CHAPTER I. PREPARING THE
WAY FOR THE AUGUSTINIAN TEACHING ON GRACE. A SUMMARY OF SOME HITHERTO
UNPUBLISHED SOURCES FROM THE PERIOD
BEFORE L. BERTI.
Codex 2290 of the Biblioteca Angelica in
Rome gives us some idea of the difficulties and the opposition which had to
be overcome by the Augustiman theologians of the eighteenth century. At
that time the battle over grace is still in full progress. We find one of
the Consultors wondering whether after so many accusations the Augustinian
teaching may still be pronounced to be free of censure, but proceeding to
state at once that this doctrine is subscribed to by theologians of the
Augustinian order and by Benedictines and is defended by members of other
Orders as well, but that especially in France and in Spain a theologis
Instituti cuiusdam eorumque discipulis numero sane plurimis, tum et ab
Episcopis etiam in eorum scholis enutritis it is qualified as
Calvinistic, Bajanistic, Jansenistic etc. and is even considered as a
branch of Mohammedanism or atheism 1). Matters went so far that
in France, out of sheer hatred against their doctrine, many Augustinians
were not allowed to teach, to preach or to administer the sacraments 2).
In August 1758 under the pressure of these
reverses the General of the Augustinian Order, Fr. X. Vasquez, had recourse
to Pope Clement XIII in a memorial, the full text of which is to be found
in MS. 2290 of the Biblioteca Angelica. The Holy See pronounced no
other judgement than that:
« Satis provisum indemnitati Scholae
Augustinianae in causa Norisiana et P. M. Laurentii Berti et Bellelli,
necnon per Apostolicas Litteras Pauli III Alias, datas die 7 Augusti
1660 ; Innocentii XII Reddidit, datas die 6 Februarii 1694 ;
Clementis XI Pastoralis officii, datas die 8 Augusti 1718 ;
Benedicti XIII Demissas preces, datas die 6 Novembris 1724 ; necnon
eiusdem Benedicti XIII Pretiosus, datas sub die 26 Maji 1727 ;
Clementis XII Exponit, datas die 16 Aprilis 1732, et Apostolicae
providentiae, datas die 2 Octobris 1733, et postremo per Benedictum XIV
in Epistola ad Inquisitionem Hispaniae, quae incipit Dum praeterito
mense, die 3 Julii 1748 ; et Pater Generalis Ordinis recurrat in
casibus particularibus. Et addiderunt ad mentem, quae est, quod quatenus P.
Generalis hanc resolutionem sibi communicari quaeat, non fiat nisi de
speciali mandato Sanctitatis Suae summarie et per sequentia verba « Satis
provisum indemnitati Scholae Augustinianae... » per plura Brevia, Literas
et Constitutiones Apostolicas, et P. Generalis in casibus particularibus ad
S. Congregationem recurrat, facto de omnibus verbo cum Sanctissimo... ».
On the 6th of August 1765 the same General
resorted to the Holy See once more, because since 1758 his order had been
subjected to an ever increasing number of new insinuations 3);
but the Holy See itself has never condemned the Augustinian school or its
I shall now give a short survey of what was
stated concerning the teaching on nature of actual grace by the various
authors before Noris, whose writings are to be found mainly in the Biblioteca
Angelica in Rome and in the archives of the Augustinian Generalate.
1. Michael Salon 4).
First of all in opposition to Molina he states that God does not operate in
man with a concursus simultaneus but with a concursus praevius.
Yet he supports Molina to a great extent by denying that grace is efficax
ab intrinseco and that the distinction between gratia efficax and
gratia sufficiens is determined by the effect which is produced by
the disposition of the free will. Though he seems therefore to make the
efficacity dependent on man’s consent, on the other hand he asserts that this
free cooperation must be assisted by this same divine grace. Salon is
practically the only one of all the early Augustinians consulted for the
present study whose views have a Molinistic tendency.
2. Jo. Bapt. Perusinus 5)
distinguishes gratia operans or excitans into gratia
sufficiens, which brings it about that we are able to will, and gratia
efficax, which brings it about that we do will, and which is not
rejected by any obdurate heart but is given in order to remove this
hardness of heart. In addition to the general concursus we must
accept gratia sufficiens and gratia efficax especially
because of our fallen nature.
Gratia efficax is efficacious from its inner nature (ab
intrinseco). In connection with Congruism, which teaches that grace
moves only moraliter, Perusinus expressly states with St. Thomas, q.
3 de Malo, that a moral cause is not really a true cause. God, however,
is the true cause of our conversion ; therefore not only can He move us moraliter,
but He moves us physically as well 6). Thus as early as the end
of the 16th century this Augustinian theologian clearly teaches a physical
causality of grace, though he is not in complete accord about it with the
Dominican Fathers who extend it to a praedeterminatio physica 7).
The meaning of Perusinus’s still undeveloped opinion was to be further
elucidated by the Augustinians after him.
3. Jo. Bapt. de Plumbino (d. 1613),
Procurator General of his order, whom Portalié unjustly calls a defender of
Molina at the time of the Congregatio de Auxiliis 8),
when giving a votum for this Congregation expresses the opinion that
the Thomists asserting that God in his absolute and efficacious decree
predetermines all good actions are not in agreement with Calvin at all, but
that their assertion is the true doctrine of the Church. Moreover he
repudiates the so-called Scientia Media as well as the proposition
that God with his efficacious grace moves man’s free will by mere suasion,
enticement or some other way of acting moraliter only without
actually bringing it about that free will moved by grace consents freely
and infallibly (libere et infallibiliter). According to de Plumbino
the opposite opinion is definable as a dogma 9).
4. Gr. Nunnius Coronel, a Portuguese
Augustinian, appointed first secretary of the Congregatio de Auxiliis by
Clement VIII 10), was a fierce anti-Molinist. His autograph
writings are to be found also in the Biblioteca Angelica 11).
Gratia sufficiens, which in the state of man’s
fallen nature consists in interior inspirations, by v/hich God stimulates,
attracts, invites and persuades man, is given to aid man’s potentiality, in
this sense, however, that a richer grace is required for the willing and
acting done by man 12). But gratia efficax « habet
virtutem et efficaciam non ex futuro consensu liberi arbitrii, sed ex
intentione, voluntate et omnipotentia Dei et a dominio quod habet in
voluntatem hominum » 13). In contrast to gratia sufficiens
gratia efficax does not influence the will moraliter, but in a
real and physical manner « qua Deus facit ut delectet, quod non delectabat
et cum dilectione adimpleat, quod praecipit » 14). This real and
physical premotion of God upon man’s will is needed to preserve the
certainty and infallibility of the divine predestination, for they are not
so saved by a purely moral premotion. Finally, in making man consent freely
gratia efficax does not take away liberty, but it aids and perfects
5. Ph. Visconti, a Milanese, born in
1596. He taught the students of the Augustinian order with great succes at
Milan, Florence, Padua and Rome. In 1649 he was chosen as Prior General. In
1657 Alexander VII appointed him bishop of a diocese in Calabria. He died
in 1664. For a sketch of his life and a list of his writings see D. Perini
O. E. S. A., Bibliographia Augustiniana, Vol. IV, pp. 56-59.
In MS. 2290 of the Biblioteca Angelica we
read that he may be considered as a forerunner of Noris as regards
Augustinian doctrine, though at first he did not know Jansenius, whose
writings had not yet appeared. Visconti is said, however, to have followed
in the steps of his own forerunners 16). In MS. 895 we find a
summary made by Michael Heckius of a censura by Visconti 17).
Both of them start from a double aid in St Augustine, the adiutorium
sine quo non and the adiutorium quo, the former being the aid
for man’s state before the Fall, the latter being the aid for man’s fallen
nature. The distinction they make in grace is based on this double aid, for
to the second Adam a stronger grace is given by virtue of which man wills
and loves with such charity that the will of the flesh, desiring the
opposite, is overcome 18).
These few points herald as it were the
teaching of the Augustinians of the 18th century, in whose writings we also
find this double divine aid as well as concupiscence and gratia victrix.
6. Christianus Lupus, who was
friendly with Noris in Rome, further develops this teaching of victorious
grace against concupiscence. He describes it as a good concupiscence
fighting against evil concupiscence 19). Lupus calls grace also
charity (caritas), not as a theological virtue, but in so far as it
touches the human heart by the illumination and inspiration of the Holy
Ghost ; this happens « per luminosam actualem caritatem divinitus
inspiratam ac infusam » 20). We see here the ideas of
illumination of the intellect and infusion of charity already fully
developed. Moreover Lupus clearly indicates the necessity of grace, when he
calls it « bellicose and yet always shy » 21).
Finally he also seems to accept the
doctrine of degrees in grace, held by later Augustinians, for he teaches
that there is great variety in the powers of the different evil
concupiscences and that therefore grace has also its « incunabula,
incrementum, robur et perfectionem » 22).
7. From France we have an unusual
representative of the Augustinian school in Carolus Moreau 23).
As is indicated by the long subtitle of his work this Augustinian is in
every respect an adherent of the Thomistic school, and especially so in
teaching that physical predetermination does not take away liberty in the
case of acts of the natural order either. For his argumentation he has
recourse to St Thomas, whom he calls « in hac praedeterminatione physica
Augustini discipulum » 24). But even more than for the natural
acts, physical predetermination is required for the supernatural acts, for
which the human will has more need of the divine grace which moves it and
predetermines it. There is a twofold reason for this: through Adam’s sin
the will is inclined to evil and therefore it has to be bent into the right
direction again by grace, and secondly the intellect has also weakened and
has become obscured by ignorance so that, like the will, it has to be
restored by grace. According to Moreau therefore actual grace is primarily medicinalis,
that is to say it is given to overcome rebellious concupiscence in man.
This gratia sanans operates by virtue of a physical premotion 25).
Moreau differs from the other Augustinians
by accepting the praedeterrninatio physica without making any
distinction, that is to say accepting it also for the natural order, for
which according to the later Augustinians it was not necessary. In his
teaching of the physical premotion of grace, however, he is their
8. The Belgian School. This term is
used here to cover the theologians of the Augustinian order who taught at
Louvain mainly in the seventeenth century ; the Biblioteca Angelica in
Rome possesses a great number of manuscripts and unpublished theses written
by them. The considerable influence of these immediate predecessors of
theirs on Berti and Bellelli is unmistakable. It is evident for instance
from the numerous quotations from Belgian Augustinians in Berti’s works 26).
My study of the relation between the seventeenth century Belgian
Augustinians and their eighteenth century Italian brethern has only been
cursory and confined to the topic of grace. I surmise, however, that in
other matters as well very interesting points of agreement are to be found.
In order that the power of redeeming grace
— that is the grace for the state of fallen human nature — may appear to
fuller advantage these theologians distinguish with St Augustine between
the grace of Adam’s state of innocence before the Fall: the adiutorium
sine quo non, and the grace of fallen human nature: the adiutorium
quo. Adam needed grace, for he could not act salutarily without it, but
as he was without concupiscence which inclines the will to evil, he had no
need of the kind of grace which aids the will efficaciter. The first
grace of Adam was such that he could reject it if he wished, but in which
he could also persevere if he wished. Now the grace of fallen human nature
is much stronger ; it is the delectatio victrix 27).
And since this grace does not only give man
the ability, but also the will (in the case of gratia efficax), or —
as it is expressed by Petrus Clenaerts — not only the adiutorium
perseverantiae, but the perseverantia ipsa 28), it
can indeed be called a physical predetermination, which therefore with the
above distinction between man’s states is not present in the state of
innocence 29). The necessity of this gratia efficax,
which operates through the delectatio victrix and predetermines
physically, arises from the fact that through Adam’s sin the will has been
weakened and has received an inclination towards what is wrong, which, is
called concupiscence. The gratia efficax makes of man who is
unwilling (nolens) a « volentem et efficit ut homo tantum velit
tantoque ardore diligat, ut carnis voluntatem contraria concupiscentem
voluntate spiritus vincat » 30).
As the teaching on concupiscence forms the
basis on which the Augustinians build their theory of the grace of our
state, it is understandable that they call gratia efficax — which
has to fight against concupiscence — a victrix delectatio 31).
It is true that Bellelli and Berti were the first to develop the theory of
victorious delectation, but all the same by their quite frequent use of
this expression of St Augustine the earlier Belgian Augustinians prepared
the way for their Italian brethern who have expounded the doctrine of grace
in extensive publications.
On the subject of the doctrine of grace Joannes
Libens may well be considered one of the most important representatives
of the Belgian school. I have been able to establish his authorship of a
hitherto anonymous manuscript in the Biblioteca Angelica 32).
In the margin of this manuscript there is a note — apparently by a
different hand — to the effect that this treatise on grace was written in
the Augustinian school of Louvain under the supervision of a certain N. for
the purpose of having it examined by Rome. The manuscript is not paged ; I
follow my own pagination.
The conceptions occurring in this unknown
work by Libens seem to me to be of the utmost importance in connection with
the ideas on nature of actual grace developed later on by Berti. From
internal evidence I also concluded that Libens wrote his treatise in 1713,
that is two years after Bellelli published his Mens Augustini de statu
creaturae rationalis ante peccatum at Antwerp in Belgium, our author’s
country. It may therefore seem surprising that Libens’s list of
Augustinians who defend the gratia per se efficax does not include
Bellelli, who was one of its most ardent upholders. Nor does Libens make
any mention of Henricus Noris who had died in the meantime. It is possible
that he did not know Bellelli’s work published only recently ; but it seems
highly improbable that he did not know Noris. The fact that he does not
mention either of them may be an indication that he is independent of them
in his teaching.
On the other hand it is very remarkable
indeed that the works of Berti, who was for years librarian at the Biblioteca
Angelica and so knew exactly what writings of his Belgian brethern it
contained, show a great many points of resemblance to the treatise in
question, the author of which was probably unknown to him too, for he does
not mention his name anywhere. There are whole sentences in Berti which
occur word for word in this manuscript of Libens and the latter’s line of
thought is certainly a familiar one to Berti 33).
Though in his teaching J. Libens does not
differ from his Belgian brethern, he is conspicuous for his clear mode of
expression. He says of the distinction between the grace given to Adam and
that given to man’s fallen nature that Augustine bases thereon his whole
doctrine of grace 34). The grace of Adam was exactly similar to
what the Molinists call gratia sufficiens for the state of fallen
nature. Libens too finds the reason for the stronger grace of the Redeemer
in the concupiscence which is a consequence of original sin and which has
weakened the will and obscured the intellect ; in this state of misery the
perfect state of liberty no longer prevails 35).
Grace is distinguished into gratia
possibilitatis and gratia voluntatis et actionis: the former
gives only the ability, as the grace given to Adam in the state of
innocence, or the adiutorium sine quo non, also called gratia
mere sufficiens ; the latter is the adiutorium quo, which brings
about the exercise of the will and the performance of the act, that is to
say the gratia efficax of our fallen state 36). Libens
subdivides gratia per se efficax into the grace which brings about
an imperfect willing and acting and the grace which brings about the
perfect supernatural performance. The former he calls excitans, inefficax
in the same way as the Thomists regard gratia sufficiens ; the
latter corresponds to Thomistic gratia efficax 37). When
calling sufficient grace also per se efficax Libens, as we know, is
referring only to the grace, of whatever kind it may be, of fallen human
nature, which in contrast to the grace of the state of innocence intrinsically
(per se) moves the will and is not, inversely, either accepted or
rejected as it pleases the will 38).
From the above it is evident that the
Augustinians when speaking of gratia efficax often understand by
this also gratia sufficiens ; but according to Libens there is no
real difference of opinion between the Thomists and the Augustinians, even
if the choice of words is not always the same, « nam etiam Augustini
discipuli admittunt gratiam Thomistice sufficientem en inefficacem » 39).
A very important feature of Libens’s
conception of grace is his insistence that grace has a physical causality
and not only a moral one 40). Moreover, what was said above
already implied the same idea, for grace which brings about the actual
willing in the will, as is taught by the Augustinians, must perforce
operate physically, since a moral motion is only suasion, or no more than
intellectual enlightenment, whereas physical causality operates on the will
directly and immediately, and even brings about the right will itself.
Libens calls this grace a delectatio
victrix in the same way as later Augustinians call it a victorious
In order that with the many distinctions
made in grace its unity shall not be lost sight of Libens finally indicates
this unity in a few words by saying that, considered from the side of God,
grace is also called uncreated grace and is nothing but God’s gratuitously
given mercy, His goodness, benevolence, goodwill or God Himself who effects
in us the exercise of the will and the performance of the act ; considered
from our side grace is also called created grace and is nothing but the
effect of God’s mercy, goodness, benevolence etc. 42).
In his definition of grace Libens uses, as
do his successors, the wonderful description of St Augustine: « Gratia est
inspiratio dilectionis, ut cognita sancto amore faciamus » 43).
This brief account gathered from a few
manuscripts in the Biblioteca Angelica may suffice as an indication
of the connection existing between the earlier Augustinians and their
Italian brethern of the eighteenth century whose doctrine of grace will be
discussed in the following pages.
Biblioteca Angelica (B. A.) MS. 2290, p. 413.
2) l. c., pp., 413 and 414. In Rome I
came across a booklet entitled Enciclica
del Rev. Padre Prior Generale degli Agostiniani e motivi pressanti per
mandarla a tutti i conventi, esposti in alcune lettere fedelmente tradotte
dalla francese nell’ italiana favella, Ratisbona, etc.; printed c.
1780, without name of author or publisher. The contents are one mass of
calumnies strung together without any thought of charity or even a spark of
3) B. A.
MS. 2295, pp. 91 ff., contains the full text of this second memorial under
the title: Supplex libellus a Rev. P.
Generali Augustiniano die 6 Augusti anni 1765 Clementi XIII exhibitus cum
adnexis thesibus a Patribus Societatis Jesuitaram die 8 eiusdem mensis in
Collegio Romano propugnatis.
4) See the
archives of the Augustinian Generalate in Rome. The unsigned codex is
marked on the back: Censura
Theologorum in materia de Divinis Auxiliis. From fol. 454 to 567 we
find a censura in regard to
Molina’s teachings, written by Magister Michael Salon O. E. S. A. by order
of the Holy Office; other copies of this same criticism are to be found in
the B. A. MS. 888, fol. 2-70 and 72-143; MS. 877, fol. 398-469; MS. 882,
fol. 199-251 (in Spanish; probably the autograph copy); MS. 1113, fol.
sketch of Salon’s life (d. 1621) see G. DE SANTIAGO VELA, Ensayo de una Biblioteca Ibero-Americana
de la Orden de San Agustin, Vol. VII, pp. 72-89. Escorial 1925.
5) B. A.
MS. 894, pp. 115-122: Summa brevis de
Gratia, tradita a M. Jo. Bapt. Perusino (Ord. S. Aug.) Card. Romae pro
6) l. c., p. 120: « Item causa moralis
non est vera et propria causa, ut docet D. Thomas q. 3 de Malo. Sed Deus
est propria causa nostrae conversionis. Ergo non movet per gratiam
moraliter, sed physice ».
Ib.: « Tertia (opinio) asserit gratiam efficacem esse physicam et physice
movere et praedeterminare, nihilominus non tollere libertatem... (p. 121)
Attamen remanet difficultas quomodo possit stare gratia efficaci physice
movente cum libero arbitrio. Ego tamen puto vere et physice gratiam
efficacem movere voluntatem salvo libero arbitrio, non tamen
praedeterminare, sed ut intelligatur, dico quod aliud est movere physice et
aliud determinare ».
PORTALIÉ, Augustinianisme. Dict.
de Théol. Cath., Vol. . 1, col. 2485.
9) B. A.
MS. 858 (an autograph signature proves Plumbinus to be the author), fol.
6v. and fol. 10.
10) Cf. Gr.
DE SANTIAGO VELA, o. c., Vol. VI,
pp. 46-56. His chief published works are: Libri X de vera Christi Ecclesia, Romae 1594; Libri VI de optimo Republicae statu,
Romae 1597; Apologeticum de
traditionibus Apostolicis, Romae 1597.
NARDUCCI, Codicum manuscriptorum...
in Bibliotheca Angelica, Romae 1892. I have used MS. 682, fol. 211 sq.
: De necessitate gratiae Christi et
12) B. A.
MS. 862. fol. 212 and 212v.
13) l. c., fol. 214, Prop. XIII.
218v: «... Quibus omnibus accedit, quod si Deus per gratiae suae auxilia
non aliter corda hominum moveret, quam suadendo, invitando aut quovis alio
modo moraliter tantum attrahendo, proculdubio tolleretur certitude et
infallibilitas fundamenti praedestinationis... » and: « Deus sua efficaci
gratia movet hommum voluntates... non solum moraliter per modum proponentis
obiectum divinis inspirationibus et suasionibus interius docendo et
illuminando, sed etiam vera, reali et in hoc sensu physica motione agendo
et efficiendo ut ipsae (fol. 219) sub eiusdem gratiae efficaci praemotione
certo, infallibiliter et insuperabiliter se determinent ad actus libere
16) B. A.
MS. 2290, p. 408: « L’anno 1657 il giorno 6 Febrajo l’accenato Generale
dell’Ordine Filipo Visconti, che certamente nella Scuola Agostiniana aveva
preceduto al Cardinale de Noris nella divisione de stati, e negl’altri
punti della dottrina de S. Agostino, e nulla avea potuto apprendere dai
libri di Giansenio non ancor publicati, quand’egli sequendo l’orme de suoi
maggiori era giá provetto in questi domestici studi, fú... ».
17) B. A.
MS. 895, fol. 536-540: « Censura 5 Propositionum Jansenii dicta a
Reverendissimo P. Nostro Phllippo Vicecomite totius Ordinis nostn.Generali
et Consultore et Qualificatore S. Officii, coram S. Congregatione et
Innocentio X. Per me M. Fr. Michaelem Hechium Gandavensem ex manuscriptis
eius congesta et in meliorem formam redacta ac notis illustrata ». M. van
Hecke (Heckius) was a Belgian Augustinian, who died at Rome in 1687. The
greater part of his manuscripts is preserved in the Bibliotceca Angelica.
Adeoque haec est gratia victrix, quae vincit omnem supervenientem
concupiscentiam, quali gratia Adam non egebat », MS. 895, fol. 539.
19) B. A.
MS. 895, fol. 419-453v, entitled: Iudicium
super quinque propositionibus Cornelii Jansenii oblatum Reverendissimo
Patri Vicecomiti tunc Generali, per Patrem Magistrum Christianum Lupum...
The manuscript is very hard to read because the ink has corroded the paper.
Fol. 428; «
Interior namque Jesu Christi gratia... est nihil aliud quam concupiscentia
bona pugnans adversus concupiscentiam malam »
20) l. c., fol. 430.
21) l. c., fol. 428: « Moderna quippe
nostra gratia nequaquam ad instar primae gratiae in paradise est quieta et
pacifica, sed bellicosa semperque pavida, utpote confligere habens non
adversum carnem et sanguinem, sed adversus spiritualia nequitiae in coelestibus
ac innumerabiles nobis ingenitas... animales cupiditates ».
22) Ib. Chr. Lupus (1612-1681) was an
Augustinian of the Belgian province and used to be called a « walking
library » on account of his great erudition. He taught ecclesiastical
history and canon law at Louvain. See OSSINGER, Bibliotheca Augustiniana, Ingolstadii et Augustae Vindeliorum
1768; this book also contains a list of his writings.
Lupus’s Opera omnia were published in twelve
volumes at Venice in 1724-1729.
23) B. A.
MS. 679; entitled: Spiritus medullae
defaecatissimae Doctrinae summae Sancti Augustini. For life and work of
C. Moreau see OSSINGER, Bibliotheca
Augustiniana, p. 613.
manuscript has no pagination. The text quoted is from the end of the first Homilia.
25) Homilia secunda: « Vis aperte
Augustinum audire asserentem Dei praedeterminationem physicam in omni bono
opere praemoventem, impellentem, incipientem, tamquam causam primam
efficientem et non solum moralem trahentem et allicientem, suavissimo
pellicientem motu gratiae ? Accipe quod habet exerta (?): Quoniam ipse ut velimus operatur
incipiens. ... Attendant hic quantum honori Dei detrahant... qui
fingunt sibi Deum solummodo causam finalem et moraliter tantum suavitate et
voluptate attrahere voluntatem ad bonum... ».
third homily are quoted several of St. Augustine’s texts which mention
grace operating through a certain delectation, and, though we do not find
Moreau using the word delectatio
victrix, he has already all the elements for the doctrine of grace as a
knew even these theses: « ... ad hanc usque diem omnes Augustiniani
Lovanienses tradiderunt et propugnarunt, ut constat ex eorum thesibus
collectis simul et in tria volumina distributis atque in Angelica Bibliotheca
asservatis » ; in Systema Vindicatum,
27) Cf. B.
A. MS. 421, fol. 17-20: Fr. PAUWENS, Assertlones
28) B. A.
MS. 421, fol. 207 sq.: Augustinus per
seipsum docens notis explanatus. Praesidebit F. Petrus Clenaerts etc. Lovanii
29) l. c., fol. 215: « Atqui
praedeterminatio physica non tantum dat posse, sed et ipsum velle: ergo non
habuit locum in natura integra, vel Angelis, inter quos et ipsam paritas
est Augustini ».
PAUWENS, o. c., fol. 20.
31) For a
summary on the doctrine of concupiscence as taught by the Augustinians see
my article in Augustiniana IV
(1954), pp. 178-184.
32) B. A.
MS. 1144; entitled: Tractatus de
arcano gratiae divinae mysterio.
1144 (fol. 7v) : «... unde solum transtulerunt Molinistae gratiam ab
Augustino naturae integrae descriptam in locum gratiae medicinalis Christi
quam S. Pater naturae lapsae et vulneratae ubique depredicat necessariam »
; and BERTI, Theol. Disc., lib.
XIV, c. 8, p. 14: « Quare Molina nihil aliud praestitit, nisi quod gratiam
Conditoris in gratiam Salvatoris commutavit, et pro adiutorio huius status
subrogavit illud, quod Augustinus tradit Angelis et primo homini
necessarium ». A little further on we shall find a similar resemblance.
34) l. c., fol. 7: « Siquidem in eo
discrimine, quod ponit inter adiutorium hominis integri et adiutorium
hominis lapsi fundat (Augustinus) totam doctrinam suam de gratia, ut videri
potest cap. 11 et 12 lib. De Corrept. et Gratia... ».
35) After a
quotation from St Augustine Libens concludes (fol. 12): « ... ideo in hoc statu opus esse
huiusmodi gratia, quod homo cum illam arbitrii libertatem et integritatem
amiserit, in qua sola gratia possibilitatis ad agendum sufficiebat, lapsus
sit in magnam infirmitatem, in qua ipsi non sufficiebat nisi gratia dans
ipsum velle ».
1144 (fol. 4) « Gratia actualis duplex est: alia possibilitatis, alia
voluntatis et actionis. Gratia possibilitatis est, quae dat tantum posse ut
gratia quae data erat Adamo in statu innocentiae. Gratia voluntatis et
actionis est, quae dat velle et agere: ut gratia quae datur in hoc statu
naturae lapsae. Gratia illa possibilitatis vocari solet ab Augustino adiutorium sine quo non; gratia
autem voluntatis et actionis adiutorium
quo. Hodie vero a theologis illa passim dicitur gratia mere sufficiens
; haec vero gratia per se efficax ».
37) Ib. : « ... gratia voluntatis et
actionis seu per se efficax iterum duplex est. Alia dat tantum velle et
agere imperfectum, ut quae peccatori dat tantum initium bonae voluntatis et
desiderium perfectae conversionis. Alia dat velle et agere perfectum, ut
quae dat peccatori confessionem perfectam. Illa dicitur excitans,
inefficax, sufficiens thomistice, haec vero thomistice efficax ».
here has in mind the gratia
sufficiens of the Molinists, as is shown by the following texts: «...
illa gratia Augustino-Thomistice sufficiens est gratia per se efficax, non
quidem ratione effectus quem excitat, sed ratione excitationis seu motus
imperfecti. Gratia autem Molinistice sufficiens nullo modo est per se
efficax, cum nullum saepe effectum producat, sed omni omnino effectu per
voluntatem frustretur » (fol. 36); and (fol. 35v): « Gratia sutficiens apud
Thormstas est gratia per se efficax quae voluntatem excitat ad effectum
quem non producit ».
1144, (fol. 36).
40) Ib. (fol. 19v) : « ... gratia
efficax est quae causalitatem habet physicam », and (fol. 19) : «
...Pelagiani admiserunt internas illustrationes, imo revelationes moraliter
suadentes et voluntatem in Dei desiderium suscitantes... atqui Augustinus
non est contentus ea morali suasione... ».
41) Ib. (fol. 19v) : « Gratia igitur
efficax est victrix delectatio supra ipsum liberum arbitrium, sic dicta ab
effectu, quia eius vincit renisum et duritiem, qua Deus operatur in homine
voluntatem, ipsam volitionem, ipsum velle, occultissima et efficacissima
potestate, qua in homine reluctante prius habitus divinae vocationis
procuratur, qua homines fiunt ex nolentibus volentes, ex repugnantibus
consentientes, ex oppugnantibus amantes, qua Deus tacit ut faciamus quod
iubetur, qua voluntas insuperabiliter et indeclinabiliter agitur, ratione
cuius Deus magis habet in potestate sua voluntates hominum quam ipsi suas, et
habet humanorum cordium quo placuerit inclinandorum omnipotentissimam
potestatem, qua Deus etiam rebellam ad se, citra tamen libertatis
dispendio, comprimit voluntatem ».
42) MS. 1144 (fol. 4): « Potest gratia intelligi
vel ex parte Dei, vel ex parte nostra; si ex parte Dei gratiam consideres,
gratia increata est nihilque aliud quam gratuita Dei misericordia, bonitas,
beneplacitum, bona voluntas, sive ipse Deus operans in nobis velle et
perficere pro bona voluntate... Si gratiam consideres ex parte nostra,
gratia est creata, nihilque aliud est quam effectus gratuitae Dei
misericordiae, bonitatis, beneplaciti, bonae voluntatis, sive ipsius Dei
gratuito in nobis operantis velle et perficere pro bona voluntate » .
distinction is made by BERTI in De
Theol. Discipl., lib. XIV, cap. 7, p. 38.
43) l. c. (fol. 4).
CHAPTER II. THE «
ADIUTORIUM SINE QUO NON » OF ADAM 44).
Though the subject of this treatise is the
actual grace of fallen human nature, a few words will have to be devoted to
the grace granted to Adam in the state of innocence, since it is difficult
to understand the Augustinian teaching on the nature and power of redeeming
grace without some previous knowledge of the so-called « gratia Conditoris
». As Berti himself says: « Sed cum videatur (i. e. this question)
necessaria ad percipiendum theologiae nostrae systema, in illam inquirendum
est modo ; et alibi si quae residua erunt opportunius colligenda »
45). In all Augustinian writings we find the teaching
that the grace of Christ is more powerful and abundant than the grace
received by Adam before the Fall.
In order to bring out clearly the great
benefit of the grace of Christ the Augustinians lay much stress on Adam’s
free will before he had sinned, so that with the will weakened by sin the
glory and the power of redeeming grace, seen especially as a « gratia
medicinalis », show to full advantage.
Adam then had much freedom of will. Noris
bases his assertion on St Augustine: « Ex tot locuplentissimis sententiis
(S. Augustini) colligimus Adamum habuisse magnas arbitrii vires, summam ac
tantam non peccandi potestatem » 46).
And the grace of Adam was a gratia
Conditoris not a gratia Salvatoris or healing grace, for, as the
Augustinians say, those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick
The grace of the state of innocence, which
consisted in an enlightenment of the mind and a certain inclination of the
will towards the bonum in communi by which the will could choose
this or that particular good, was indifferens and versatilis and
only efficax ab extrinseco 47). Indifferens and versatilis
is used of the kind of grace which does not determine the will since
there was no need for this before original sin 48).
According to Bellelli it is an established
fact that St Augustine teaches that gratia victrix et efficax is
only needed because of human weakness and the concupiscence which is an
effect of sin and inclines to sin. Therefore determining grace (or ab
intrinseco efficax) is only found in our state of misery ; before the
first sin there was in Adam no concupiscence rebelling against his reason
and therefore he did not need the grace which aids the weakened will. But,
as every supernatural act can only be achieved with the aid of grace, he
did need supernatural assistance without which he could not salutarily
perform acts (sine quo salutariter operari non poterat). It
rested with his free will, however, either to use this grace or to reject
If we now go a little further into the
nature of this grace given to Adam we must consider what has already been
indicated, namely that this grace is efficax ab extrinseco, that is
to say it becomes efficax through the consent given by the free will
and it is not such that it moves the will to consent as grace does in our
fallen state. The reason for this is that in his state of happiness Adam
did not have to fight against concupiscence and there was in him great
harmony between the lower and the higher order of things and thus he had
sufficient strength to perform supernatural acts with the aid of gratia
versatilis. His will was not yet enslaved by sin and had no need to arm
itself against the temptations which man now experiences. God had created
Adam with a good will ; Adam therefore did not need a grace that would
prepare this good will 49).
Noris, Bellelli and Berti agree in their
assertion that the grace of Adam was proxime sufficiens 50).
Their thesis shows affinity to Molinism ;
and in some measure our authors do admit as much, but the difference is at
once obvious, since the Molinists apply this kind of grace also to the
state of fallen human nature. And in regard to the grace of Adam itself
there is a further difference between the Molinists and the Augustinians,
who assume for Adam not only an illumination of the intellect but also an
inclination of the will to what is good 51). According to the
Augustinians Molina simply put the grace God had granted to Adam on a par
with the grace of the Redeemer, and introduced the adiutorium sine quo
non of Adam as a substitute for the healing grace of the fallen state 52).
Our authors are fully aware of the
considerable difficulty arising from this Augustinian teaching, namely how
God’s supremacy over the created beings is maintained if no concursus
praevius et determinativus is given to Adam ; Bellelli even calls this
problem a « res difficillima plerisque speculationum involucris foecata » 53).
I shall try to sum up in a few lines how they face this difficulty.
First of all to God’s supremacy (supremum
Dei dominium) corresponds an essential dependence of the created beings
which implies that whatever is subjected to God cannot perform anything, «
quin a supremo Domino in esse servetur et in quemlibet motum aut opus
provida administratione cieatur » 54). Bellelli then states that
every creature needs at least God’s concursus generalis in order to
act. When this concursus generalis is limited to the actus primus,
it is also called praemotio (generalis) ; and this praemotio
generalis is necessary for every created being because of his essential
Once it has been established that God
operates immediately upon the different causes, then this divine premotion
is distinguished as follows. With free causes it is called versatilis and
indifferens, but not praedeterminativa ; it is called praemotio,
not praedeterminatio. With necessary causes, however, it is rightly
As regards these free causes (such as man)
the Augustinians say that their essential dependence on the Creator does
not demand that they shall be physically predetermined by Him, since for
the performance of an act the general premotion (praemotio generalis)
is sufficient to ensure this essential dependence 55). Bellelli
indeed thinks that it is a contradiction if one and the same faculty (viz.
the will) is at once essentially indifferent, because it is free, and
essentially in actu primo determinata ad unum 56).
The followers of the Augustinian
school do demand — as we shall see below — victorious grace for the state
of fallen human nature, but as their main arguments for the necessity of gratia
ab intrinseco efficax are not based on God’s supremacy over the created
beings, but on the weakness consequent upon sin of the rational creatures
themselves, they recognize for the state of innocence (Adam’s), in which
there was no ignorance and no concupiscence, only a gratia « parva et
versatllis », the « adiutorium sine quo Adam operari non poterat », a grace
ab extrinseco efficax.
following chapters will be restricted mainly to the teaching of the
eighteenth-century Augustinians. A number of footnotes, however, indicating
the connection with their ancestors will make it clear that as regards the
doctrine of grace the Augustinian order has gone through a slow growth
which culminated in the 18th century.
45) BERTI, De Theol. Disc., lib. IV, c. 8, p. 109. In their treatises on actual grace
nearly all the earlier authors also discuss the grace given to Adam and,
with the exception of C. Moreau, they assume a fundamental difference
between the nature of grace before and after original sin. See e. g. Ph. Visconti,
B. A. MS. 895, fol. 539, and J. Libens, B. A. MS. 1144 (fol. 7) : «
Siquidem in eo discrimine, quod ponit (S. Augustinus) inter adiutorium
hominis integri et adiutorium hominis lapsi, fundat totam doctrinam suam de
46) NORIS, Diss. V. Jansenii erroris calumnia
sublata, c. 2. col. 164.
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini de statu
creaturae rationalis ante peccatum, lib. II, c 1, p. 147; « Adiutorium
versatile et indifferens voco gratiam Dei actualem adiuvantem nos ad bene
operandum, non ex natura sua determinatam ad certum opus, uti e. g. ignis
exurit et lumen illustrat, sed aeque indifferentem et vertibilem seu
versatilem ceu rotundum globum, quocumque illam voluerit arbitrium
inclinare. Nihil enim vetat quin illam reapse coniungat vel cum consensu
vel cum dissensu. Hoc adiutorii genus vocari consuevit efficax ab extrinseco, quoniam ideo in opus influit, quia
arbitrium eodem uti voluit ».
BELLELLI, o. c., lib. II, c. 2,
p. 161 : « Porro adiutorium vi sua inclinans et determinans arbitrium in
alteram partem, dum aequilibrium supponitur, omnino superfluum censendum
est et absque ulla indigentia in statum sanitatis intrusum. Quid enim
necesse est sanum arbitrium determinare et inclinare se ipsum ? ».
BERTI, o. c., lib. IV, c. 8. p.
BERTI, Theol. Disc., lib. IV, c.
12. Scholion p. 123.
BELLELLI, o. c., lib. II, c. 19,
p. 258-259: « Consectarium ex hucusque expositis descendit: gratiam
scilicet Adamo concessam proxime sutficientem fuisse ad perseverandum.
Illud namque adiutorium proxime sufficiens dicitur, cui nihil deest
necessarium, ut actus reapse possit effici ad quem datur, si arbitrium
velit. Iam vero liquet ex dictis nihil Adamo ad perseverandum defuisse, quoniam
adiutorium habebat per quod posset si vellet ».
BERTI, Dilucidatio, pars II. c. 3, p. 62: «
Sufficiens proxime est illa gratia ultra quam necessaria est alia gratia,
ut voluntas actu operetur; ut autem operetur vel non operetur, in libero
relinquitur arbitrio. Tails fuit gratia Condltoris collata Angelis et primo
homini et ab Augustlno... appellata Adiutorium
sine quo non... ».
5l) BERTI, Theol. Disc., lib. XII, c. 8, p.
52) BERTI, o. c., lib. XIV, c. 7, p. 38: « Quare Molina nihil aliud praestitit,
nisi quod gratiam Conditoris in gratiam Salvatoris commutavit, et pro
adiutorio huius status subrogavit illud quod Augustinus tradit angelis et
primo homini necessarium ».
In B. A.
MS. 1144 we find Libens writing almost literally the same: « ... unde solum
transtulerunt Molinistae gratiam ab Augustine naturae integrae descriptam
in locum gratiae mediclnalis Christi quam S. Pater naturae lapsae et
vulneratae ubique depredicat necessariam » (fol. 8).
53) Mens Augustini... ante peccatum,
lib. II, c. 21, p. 276.
54) Ib., p. 277.
BELLELLI, o. c., lib. II, c. 25,
56) Cf. ib. Note the mention of « in actu
primo », for in the case of the so-called actus secundus —
i. e. the applying oneself to act — Bert; (Theol. Disc.,
lib. IV, c. 12, Scholion p. 123) simply admits that in both states (before
sin and after sin) a physica
praedeterminatio is required, though not because of the essentialis dependentia: « ... ad
quem (i. e. actum secundum) in utroque sanae et infirmae naturae statu requiritur
physica praedeterminatio ».
CHAPTER III. GRACE IS «
INSPIRATIO DILECTIONIS, UT COGNITA SANCTO AMORE FACIAMUS ».
Discussing the actual grace of our fallen
state I shall deal first with the definition of it given by the
Augustinians, then very briefly with the question whether actual grace
consists « in actibus deliberatis an indeliberatis » ; and finally with the
question whether grace moves physically or only morally.
Since Henricus Noris concerns himself
rather more with historical questions than with speculative ones, we shall
find little or nothing pertinent to our subject in his writings. At any
rate he does not provide us with a systematic exposition on the nature of
actual grace. This does not imply that Noris did not have his own opinion
about it, but his idea is so much spread out over his books that he cannot
be said to treat this question, ex professo, as it is treated by the
Augustinians after him. For this reason we shall have to concentrate mainly
on Bellelli and Berti, who are the most important representatives of the
Augustinian school on the subject of grace. Their writings, however, as
they repeatedly mention, are based on the teachings of their predecessors
and mostly on those of Noris, to whose ideas they give a systematic form.
By means of quotations from Noris and from even earlier Augustinians I
shall endeavour always to show the historical background of what is taught
by Berti and Bellelli.
To a certain extent the previous chapter
has already indicated that the theologians of the Augustinian school
consider the grace of Christ mainly as a gratia medicinalis, i. e.
as a remedy for the wounds inflicted by original sin. The consequence of
Adam’s sin was that man — besides losing the title of child of God — was
left with a will which was weakened and sick, and tainted with
concupiscence or an earthly love inclining the will to evil. Therefore,
according to the Augustinians, it will be the task of grace to give new
health and strength to the weakened forces of the will and to inspire it
with the opposite love of heavenly things (the so-called delectatio
celestis in contrast to the delectatio terrestris). Grace will
also take away the darkness of the understanding so that with lucid
enlightenment it will be easier for the will to do what is good.
In this connection Berti quotes a passage
from St Augustine which clearly shows this double function of grace 57).
As Berti expresses it, grace considered in this way is an enlightenment of
the mind (illustratio mentis) and an inspiration in the will to what
is good (inspiratio dilectionis in voluntate) 58).
However, grace will mainly consist in the inspiratio dilectionis,
because though the enlightenment of the mind does show us what we should
do, it does not cause us actually to do it. Therefore the inspiration in
the will to what is good is more necessary, for it brings it about that man
does do that which he knows as good 59).
Berti draws another argument to prove this
thesis from the primacy of love: grace is ultimately nothing else but the
principle of good works ; now according to St Augustine it is love which is
the radix and the principium, for properly speaking an act
cannot be called good if it is not performed out of love 60).
Grace therefore consists mainly in love which inspires us to good acts,
since love is the source of all the movements of the heart.
All these elements taken together lead to
the description of actual grace which we frequently find in the writings of
our theologians: « Gratia est inspiratio dilectionis, ut cognita sancto
amore faciamus » 61).
For the sake of clearness a further
analysis of this definition must be preceded by the following observations.
Before he arrives at his definition of grace, Berti mentions a number of
opinions about the nature of actual grace. Several Thomists, he says, think
that it is an « actuosa qualitas » which brings about our willing
physically. He agrees with them in so far as grace works physically, but he
says he does not understand what is meant by this actuosa qualitas.
Others think that the nature of grace lies in the indeliberate movements of
mind and heart ; others again are of the opinion that it is also effected (effici)
by the faculties of the soul, because they are vital acts ; « this opinion
seems also to be fairly general with our theologians » 62). Then
there are those who teach that actual grace consists in a motion (motio)
of God, Who anticipates our indeliberate acts. Finally there is the opinion
of the theologians who consider grace to be nothing else but God’s will and
mercy in our hearts.
Berti himself, wishing to combine in one
statement what is true in each of the above assertions, concludes that
actual grace is an enlightenment of the mind and an inspiration of love,
but that it consists more in love than in enlightenment of the mind. It is
brought about by a motion of God, or God’s will, which infuses this love
and delectation, and in a certain sense it may be called a quality 63).
In Bertl’s opinion therefore grace consists
mainly in love 64). Since, however, as we have seen, several
theologians describe grace as a motio Dei which anticipates love,
Berti draws a distinction which must be explained in order to understand
clearly his definition of grace.
There is a double aspect in grace: it can
be considered from the standpoint of God, or from that of man. God is the causa
efficiens of grace in so far as He moves our will and we receive this
motion ; this kind of grace is called uncreated grace, which is nothing
else but God’s benevolence and God himself Who inspires the act of love in
us. But in so far as grace is considered from the standpoint of man it is
nothing else but the effect of this divine motion, i. e. a movement of the
soul (motus quidam animae) or love and delectation 65).
So Berti is in agreement with those
Thomists who hold that actual grace is a certain motus animae and
not a qualitas, for « if it were a quality, then performing an act
would require another grace, a movement of the soul, and then gratia
efficax would predetermine not only the actus secundus but also
the actus primus and thus reduce liberty to nothing » 66).
When the Augustinians speak of actual
grace, they consider mainly this aspect, i. e. the effect of the divine
motion in us or the pia cogitatio and the sancta delectatio or
the bona voluntas 67).
Again and again our Augustinian theologians
speak of delectation and love (delectatio, dilectio, caritas,
amor) as the principle of all our good works. A special difficulty
arising from this is: how is it that grace always infuses a
delectation in us, while we so often experience that we only do what is
good with difficulty, even with a certain fear or dislike ? The
Augustinians wish to keep as much as possible to St Augustine’s
terminology. So in describing the nature of actual grace they also use his
words inspiratio dilectionis in voluntate, because according to them
every act is performed only under the direction of love 68).
They add, however, that this love should not be simply identified with the
theological virtue of charity but that it is a kind of inchoata caritas
et dilectio 69). Now grace as dilectio or caritas is
according to Berti nothing else but a striving after good or the
inclination of the will towards what is good, that is to say an act of the
will to which it is proper to will or to love what is good. Thus man always
acts out of love. Berti quotes St Thomas for this pronouncement 70).
That one fears hell, says Berti, simply means that one loves beatitude ;
fear of death is really love of life, etc. 71).
So love is the principle of all good works,
and when the will is drawn by a certain delight (voluptas) and man
is moved by the loved good which causes a delectation — and in the last
instance no one loves what he dislikes —, then according to the teaching of
the Augustinians it follows that grace consists in an inspiration of love
by means of which what is known by the enlightened mind is pursued with a
holy love. Thus it is clear that in the Augustinian definition of actual
grace the terms dilectio, delectatio etc. are always used for
bona voluntas or the inclination of the will to what is good 72).
Our theologians also deal with the question
whether grace consists « in actis deliberatis an indeliberatis ». This
question is important in so far as it helps us to obtain a better insight
into the true nature of actual grace as it is taught in the Augustinian
School. What we are inquiring into is in how far created grace works in our
faculties and their acts (which are deliberati and indeliberati),
that is, we must try to discover what is the exact purport of that « sancta
cogitatio » of the mind and that « inchoata caritas » of the
will which come into being through God’s premotion. This is no easy task
and here it is perhaps more evident than anywhere else that the
Augustinians are not so much concerned about clear speculative expression
as about a true rendering of St Augustine’s way of thinking in this field.
The Augustinian sententia may be briefly reproduced as follows.
Bellelli says several times that the auxilia
actualia consist in motionibus indeliberatis which are aroused
in us by God’s mercy and by which we are incited to deliberate acts 73).
He also says that God s inspirations and excitations (piae inspirationes
et excitationes) are infused in the indeliberate acts of mind and will
by God 74).
These indeliberate movements are of a
supernatural kind ; therefore they cannot come into being by purely human
powers without the aid of grace. For that reason, says Bellelli, the
greater number and the best of the theologians, with whom he agrees, admit
some preceding supernatural power — a gift of God — which precedes also the
indeliberate acts 75). Now how it is that grace consists in
indeliberate acts and yet that for these indeliberate movements themselves
grace is required as well ?
It seems to me that the solution of this
apparent contradiction is to be found in the already mentioned distinction
of grace considered from the standpoint of God and from that of man. For we
can see that an indeliberate movement does not exist apart from a
deliberate movement, just as grace considered from the standpoint of God is
no other than grace considered from our standpoint.
Bellelli calls the above-mentioned previous
supernatural power (virtus praevia) God’s mercy ; it is nothing else
but uncreated grace or grace considered from the standpoint of God. The
holy enlightenment and the pious delectation are the first effects of this
prevenient grace ; and it are these movements which constitute grace
considered from the standpoint of man. As we are not lifeless instruments
under the working of this anticipating power of God, but have to co-operate
freely, it seems right to conclude that actual grace works in such a way
that the inspired divine motus reveals itself first by indeliberate
acts of supernatural insight and love, which in the next moment become
Berti’s statement is a little more clearly
expressed: by the sweet inspiration of the grace of the Holy Ghost God
makes us find greater pleasure in what He commands us to do than in what is
forbidden. This delectation and inspired love anticipate the movement of
the will and only become deliberate when the will freely consents to this
propelling dilectio. According to Berti Augustine’s words: « ut
velimus, operatur Deus in nobis sine nobis » refer to gratia operans ex
parte Dei, which — as long as we do not co-operate — only causes pias
cogitationes et affectiones indeliberatas. And if grace is thus
considered from the standpoint of God, in so far as it is the divine mercy
itself which moves us and inspires love, it is not connected with our
deliberating. If, however, it is considered from our standpoint, then grace
is that love which proceeds at once from the divine inspiration and from
our own will moved by God. And so the act of love is indoubtedly a
deliberate act 76).
A rather more important point from the
Augustinian teaching on grace is the question whether grace works in us physically
or only morally. The terminology and the words: delectatio,
suavitas, dilectio etc. might lead one to conclude that the
Augustinians advocate a moral premotion of grace and not a physical one, as
is evident from the general interpretation of the Augustinian teaching on
grace by non-Augustinian writers 77). In the following lines I
intend to show briefly that these writers labour under a misconception in
this matter ; in the chapter on gratia efficax we shall return to
We understand by God’s physical premotion
the effecting, intrinsic and immediate divine influence (divinus
influxus efficiens, intrinsecus et immediatus) in man’s
faculties to perform supernatural acts, while moral motion is one which is
extrinsic and acts by way of causa finalis. We have already seen
that by His grace God enlightens the mind and causes a good will especially
by inspiring love. The reason why according to the Augustinians grace
consists more in the inspiration of love than in a supernatural
enlightenment of the mind is this that the enlightening, though it makes us
know what we have to do, does not in actual fact bring it about that we do
it. To make us do it requires a grace which works directly in the will and
immediately inspires the holy delectation which brings it about that we do
what is good. Moreover God is the causa efficiens of grace and as
such He moves our will and causes in us the good will by means of which we
can act salutarily. If I am not mistaken all this does not point to a moral
causality but to a physical one 78).
57) BERTI, Augustini... Quaestionum de gratia
Reparatoris Dilucidatio, Pisis, 1766, Pars II, c. 3. pp. 65-66; « Nolunt
homines facere quod iustum est, sive quia latet an iustum sit, sive quia
non delectat ; tanto enim quidque vehementius volumus, quanto certius, quod
bonum est, novimus eoque delectamur ardentius. Ignorantia igitur et
infirmitas vitia sunt, quae impediunt voluntatem, ne moveatur ad faciendum
opus bonum vel ab opere malo abstinendum. Ut autem innotescat quod latebat
et suave fiat quod non delectabat, gratia Dei est, quae hominum adiuvat
58) BERTI, De Theol. Disc., lib. XIV, c. 7, p.
61) BERTI, o. c., lib. IV, c. 11, p. 117: «
Appellatur itaque Dei gratia supernaturalis quaedam vis nobis Dei
liberalitate collata, unde omnes sanctae cogitationes et omnes motus bonae
voluntatis proveniunt: quae definiri potest verbis Augustini lib. 4 contra
duas Epist. Pelagianas cap. 5: Gratia est inspiratio dilectionis, ut
cognita sancto amore faciamus ».
62) ID., o. c., lib. XIV, c. 7, p. 38.
63) Ib. : « Ex his omnibus unam
sententiam conficio, quam arbitror esse certissimam, nam in singulis veri
aliquid inesse deprehenditur. Gratia est actus intellectus et voluntatis,
sed magis in delectatione quam in illuminatione sita est; efficitur autem
motione Dei, quae est ipsa Dei voluntas subministrans hanc delectationem et
caritatem et potest sensu non malo qualitas appellari ».
64) l. c. : « in amore gratia
potissimum sita est ».
65) De Theol. Disc., lib. XIV, c. 7, p.
39: « Deus enim dilectionem inspirans est gratia considerata ex parte Dei,
et ita assentimur theologis qui gratiam nihil aliud putant, nisi voluntatem
et misericordiam Dei sive Deum ipsum qui nobis voluntatem bonam inspirat.
Ipsa dilectionis inspiratio nihil est aliud quam Dei motio intellectum
illuminans et inflammans: ideoque non recedimus omnino ab illorum opinione,
qui gratiam constituunt in motionis
quadam virtuosa. At caritas, quae nobis inspiratur, est motus animi et
sancta delectatio trahens ad opera salutaria et faciens ut faciamus : et
consequenter in caritate vere et proprie consistit gratia, si consideretur
ex parte nostri ».
66) Ib. : « nam si esset qualitas,
necessaria foret ad operationem alia gratia, motus scilicet animae, et
gratia efficax non tantum praedeterminaret actum secundum, sed etiam primum
et libertatem everteret ».
I, p. 24 we found this same teaching in the Belgian Augustinian J Libens.
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini... ante
peccatum, lib. I, c. 14, p. 63: « Quocirca firmiter primo tenendum est
iuxta Augustini principia omne et quodcumque bonum opus, quod fit a nobis
quemadmodum fieri oportet, non nisi caritate dirigente fieri ; ...
propterquam sexcenties Augustinus repetit caritatem radicem esse omnium
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini de modo rep.,
lib. II, c. 2, p. 3.
70) Summa Theol., I-II, q. 28, art. 6,
corp. and ad 2.
71) BERTI, Dilucidatio,
II, c. 3, p. 67; c. 4, pp. 152-153: « Nuilus voluntatis actus potest
cogitari, qui non sit ab aliquo amore, licet plures actus sint, qui non
oriuntur ex Charitate proprie dicta, ut modo in Scholis accipitur, nempe a
gratia sanctificante vel ab amore Dei benevolo ».
72) BERTI, Augustinianum
Systema vindicatum, Diss. I, c. 3, p. 116: « ... vir doctissimus
(Bellelli) ... testatur in definitione gratiae actualis caritatem accipi
ampliori significatione, nec semper esse caritatem actualem expressam,
sed universim loquendo desiderium amoremque virtutis, dilectionem
iustitiae, inchoatam boni dulcedinem, piam animi affectionem, bonam voluntatem,
cupiditatem boni et delectationem auxiliatricem » ; cf. also Dilucidatio,
P. II, c. 3, p. 67.
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini ante peccatum, lib. II, c. 23, p. 290.
74) ID., Mens
Augustini de modo reparationis, lib. I, c. 1, p. 1 : « Fiunt autem hi a
Deo in nobis suntque a nobis ipsis sed non libere agentibus ».
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini de modo rep., lib. I, c. 3, p. 6 : « Optima
proinde ratione plerique insignes theologi, quibus plane assentimur,
praevenientem quandam virtutem supernaturalem, quae Dei donum est, praeviam
ad singulos etiam indeliberatos actus agnoscunt et confitentur ».
BERTI, Theol. Disc., lib. XIV, c. 8, p. 41 ; also Dilucidatio,
Pars II, c. 4, p. 151; Aug. Syst. Vindic., Diss. IV, c. 1, p. 96 ff.
Augustinian system of grace is called the « systema praemotionis moralis »
by almost everybody; e. g. ct, Fr. DIEKAMP, Theologiae dogmaticae
manuale, Parisiis, Tornaci, Romae 1935, Vol. III, p. 100; E. PORTALIÉ
in Dictionnaire de Théol. Cath., Vol. I, col. 2485 (s. v. Augustinianisme).
writes in his De Theo. Disc., lib. XIV, c. 7, p. 38: « Et de
efficientia quidem physica ego sane doctis viris plenissime adhaereo, cum
moralem efficientiam attrahentem sola propositione obiecti, salva aliorum
opinatione, non valeat tarditas ingenii mei a lege atque doctrina
CHAPTER IV. GRATIA EFFICAX
IS A « VICTRIX DELECTATIO » OR AN ARDOUR OF LOVE BY WHICH THE OPPOSITE
CONCUPISCENCE IS CONQUERED.
In this chapter we shall examine the
question whether the Augustinians teach the idea of gratia efficax ab
extrinseco, like the Molinists and Congruists, or that of gratia
efficax ab intrinseco, like the Thomists. We shall also see what they
mean by delectatio victrix and in what the efficacy of grace
It is right to mention here that we are
merely concerned with controversial theological questions. For centuries
theologians of different schools of thought had been fighting to reach the
clearest possible insight into the extremely difficult matter of the
mystery of grace which is so narrowly bound up with our life, since it
concerns the co-operation of God and man. The ultimate intention of all the
disputes was none other than to represent the mystery in such a way as to
safeguard it against contradictions. Through faith we know that God effects
in us willing and acting by his efficacious grace. Furthermore we believe
in the integrity of the free human will, which can resist even the most
efficacious grace, for the very reason that it is free. For the believer
there is not too great a difficulty, because the ways of God are
inscrutable to us and God does not operate in a human manner. But when
theologians probe into the mystery — not in order to solve it, which is impossible,
but in order to reconcile the dogmata of God’s grace and human liberty,
where the philosopher thinks he can see a contradiction — then each one of
them seeks to indicate the most plausible way to this reconciliation. It is
after all for this same reason that the Augustinians consider the mystery
of grace, while in their investigations they pursue a psychological course
rather than a purely philosophical or speculative course.
First of all the Augustinian theologians
stand side by side with the Thomists in accepting a gratia efficax ab
intrinseco, because they believe that this acceptance provides them
with a better insight in the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Fathers
of the Church, especially St Augustine. Several times the Augustinians
affirm that in accepting a grace which is efficax by its nature (ab
intrinseco) they are in agreement with the Thomists 79). The
grace which inspires us to carry into effect with a holy love that which we
know is called efficax, when it makes us act (facit ut faciamus)
by giving strength to our will to do so. There is no obdurate heart that
repudiates it, for it is given to remove that very hardness of heart 80).
It is evident that in the view of the Augustinian School the efficacy of
grace does not arise from a co-operation of free will or from a concurrence
of certain circumstances (Congruism), but from a fixed decision of the will
of God, Who by a special premotion accords to us that we can, that we will
and that we carry into effect. Grace does not co-operate because we will,
but we will because grace operates in us 81). This grace, which
in our fallen state is stronger than the grace given to Adam before the
Fall, assists the free will in its fight against wrong inclinations. Here
again it is especially evil concupiscence and the wrong inclination of the
wounded free will which determine the kind of grace ; it is above all medicinalis,
that is to say it cures the will of its sickness and frees it from the
bonds of concupiscence. This liberation can only come about because the
inclination of concupiscence is overcome by an opposite inclination of
As is shown by the words « evil
concupiscence », « weakened will », « wrong inclination » and so on, which
we regularly find in Augustinian parlance, the Augustinians explain the
efficacy of grace first of all from the state of fallen human nature. The
Thomists defend the praedeterminatio physica on the ground of God s
omnipotence and omni-causality and the total dependence of the creature
upon the Creator. They teach that there is praedeterminatio physica in
the state of man before as well as after the Fall. The Augustinians on the
other hand are of the opinion that God’s causality and the dependence of
the creature are sufficiently taken care of by a general praemotio Dei,
which is indeed physical but not praedeterminativa ad unum.
Therefore they exclude the Thomist praedeterminatio physica from the
state of unfallen nature and from all natural actions before as well as
after the Fall.
As I hope to show further on our authors do
accept the praedeterminatio physica for all supernatural actions of
the state of fallen nature, not relying, however, on Thomist arguments, but
starting from the will weakened by sin, which cannot determine itself to
this or that individual action without a predetermining grace. In chapter
II we saw how the Augustinians try to demonstrate that the essential
dependence of the creature does not require that he is physically
predetermined by God 83).
I shall not go further into this question
The Augustinian writers define grace which
is efficax ab intrinseco as a victorious delectation (victrix
delectatio) or as an inspiration of love by which the opposite desire
is conquered: inspiratio caritatis quae superat contrariam cupiditatem 84).
This grace of man’s fallen state, which makes our weak will to will
efficaciously, brings about the victory over evil concupiscence. Fallen man
needs help which is by its nature efficax, because he is impelled by
such a desire that he cannot conquer it by himself. But he can do so if God
by His grace inspires such a love in him that his hardness of heart and the
opposite desire are conquered.
Because, according to the Augustinians,
grace rouses in man love and delectation (dilectio and delectatio)
as a remedy against evil concupiscence and the love for earthly goods, this
grace itself is also called love (amor, dilectio) delighting
in heavenly things (delectatio coelestis) ; and the qualification «
victrix » is added because this grace conquers earthly love and
The Augustinians teach that love is always
the principle of good works, even if man acts from fear, hope etc. 85).
Now in this kind of love and this delighting — when conquering « amor non
castus » — our writers see the nature of gratia efficax 86).
In Berti’s opinion his own pronouncement
that the nature of gratia efficax lies in delectatio victrix is
supported by writers of other schools, even though they do not agree with
him in their explanation of gratia efficax itself. (In this
connection he says e. g. that he differs from Bellarminus because the
latter sees in grace only a moral attraction, whereas he — Berti — teaches
that the delectatio victrix works in us physically 87).
Of the Thomists Berti repeatedly mentions
Massoulié 88). His efforts to minimize the difference between
his own and the Thomist interpretation of grace are quite obvious. There is
indeed a difference in the fact that the Thomists accept gratia ab
intrinseco efficax also for the state of innocence, but when we speak
about gratia ab intrinseco efficax we are in agreement on this grace
89). Elsewhere too he tries to show that the difference between
the Thomist and the Augustinian system of grace is not so great as is
generally accepted. The two systems, he says, are based on the same
principles. For the Thomist statement he quotes Didacus Alvarez, because in
his opinion Alvarez is the most accurate writer on the controversies about
grace 90). Well then, he continues, in explaining the efficacy
of grace and in placing its origin in the will and power of God — excluding
Molinism and Congruism — we agree with the Thomist school. « Furthermore we
are also in complete agreement in our definition and argumentation of gratia
efficax » 91). For according to Berti and Alvarez gratia
efficax is that divine assistance by which God brings it about that we
proceed to act (facit ut faciamus et operatur ut operemur) not only
by exhortations or invitations or by attracting us in whatever way moraliter
only, but by determining our acting in a physical manner, even by
predetermining it, so that our free will moved by God freely determines
itself to an act 92).
Bellelli also admits that the praedeterminatio
physica, on account of our weakened human nature, is necessary for the
performance of salutary acts 93).
Berti expressly uses the words «
praedeterminatio physica », which — he says — according to learned people
are eminently suitable to indicate the promotio Supremae Causae. « I
myself », he writes, « have repeatedly admitted, when speaking about the
grace of our fallen state and expressing the opinion that a moral power of
attraction was not enough to explain the energy of gratia efficax,
that we need physica praedeterminatio » 94). I fail to
see in which respect Berti here differs from Thomistic opinion except in
the fact that he excludes physical predetermination from our natural
actions, from the salutary actions in the state before original sin, and in
the case of what the Thomists call the « materiale peccati ». From this one
may perhaps conclude that Berti (and the greater part of the Augustinians
as well) does not demand the praedeterminatio physica for the
secondary causes to proceed to act and thus express their dependence on the
first cause ; for this a general praemotio non determinativa ad unum suffices
Though from what we have already discussed
it is clear that so far the Augustinians do not differ much from the
Thomist theologians, they do go another way when explaining the efficacy of
One of the specifically Augustinian theses
is that there are gradations in grace, so that it cannot be said that gratia
efficax and gratia sufficiens differ specifically and
essentially ; they are but different degrees of the same grace 96).
In support of this Berti adduces the following argument. Grace, he says, is
medicinalis and sanans. And just as some illness can be more
serious or less serious and evil concupiscence (which is also a weakness
left in us by original sin) may be less violent or more violent, so a less
strong or a stronger medicine will be administered to the sick. It is
obvious that the movements of concupiscence are not always of the same kind
and the same violence ; one time they are hardly noticeable, another time
they are very vehement. So a slight or less ardent delectatio bona suffices
to conquer a slight concupiscence ; but if there is a violent struggle God
will infuse so much and such a strong ardor caritatis that the great
contrary concupiscence can be conquered. To prove this Berti instances a
martyr who will undoubtedly need more and stronger grace from God to endure
the terrible tortures, than someone who only has to submit to a very slight
injustice 97). In both cases what is needed for the performance
of the act is gratia ab intrinseco efficax, but in the one case more
grace is needed than in the other. This is what the Augustinians call a
difference of degree.
Even in one and the same person grace has
not always the same intensity: a stronger concupiscence requires more grace
than does the conquering of a slight temptation. The final issue of all
this is that grace is called efficax when the possibility to act (possibilitas
agendi per gratiam sufficientem) passes into the supernatural act, that
is to say when God imparts such a delectatio and caritas that
the contrary delectatio terrestris or concupiscentia is
overcome. Therefore it is said that the efficacity of grace lies in the delectatio
victrix, « sive in delectatione quae relative superior est contraria
cupiditate et per quam, salva libertate indifferentiae, delectatio
contraria vincitur et substernitur » 98). So when grace is
comparatively stronger than the contrary desire and overcomes it, grace is
called victorious delectation and gratia efficax, because it grants
victory which consists in not obeying the evil desire, but doing what is
If one has a clear notion of the
Augustinian terminology, all this, I think, presents no further
difficulties. Keeping in mind that grace (taken generally) consists in an
enlightenment of the mind and a holy delectation in the will, it is obvious
that gratia efficax is grace which inspires and brings about a
certain knowledge and a victorious delectation 100).
Since it has been established that all the
Augustinians teach that the physical nature of actual grace consists in the
delectatio victrix which overcomes the contrary desire 101),
that is to say which is given with regard to the less or more violent
contrary concupiscence, the question may arise whether this statement does
not resemble Congruism. Our authors themselves have faced up to this
difficulty. Berti deals with it as follows:
« Est etiam inter nos et Congruistas
discrimen maximum ; quoniam illi putant conferri gratiam congruam, scilicet
hominem vocari in hac opportuna circumstantia ob praescientiam boni usus
liberi arbitrii ; quia nempe Deus praevidit quod in tali opportunitate
vocatus obtemperabit et praebebit assensum: nos contra affirmamus non
pendere a tali praescientia quod Deus talem gratiam inspiret, sed a
voluntate efficaci, qua vult ac praedefinit eius qui vocatur assensum ; et
ne voluntas illa absoluta ac divina frustretur effectu, inspirat talem
dilectionem quae superat pugnantem cupiditatem, et ex qua certo atque
infallibiliter, omnino tamen libere, effectus ipse consequitur. Ita docuit
Antoninus Massoulie, ita Aegidiani nostri,... ita nos Lib. XVIII, cap. 8 et
9 » 102).
If one wishes to call grace congrua,
the term must be used because of the congruitas brought about by
grace itself, not because of any congruity caused by circumstances. 103)
79) BERTI, o.
c., lib. XIV, c. 9, p. 45: « Postrema sententia est Thomistarum et
Augustiniensium omnium affirmantium gratiam efficacem esse seipsa, non
talem reddi aut cooperatione liberi arbitrii aut ex circumstantiis
congruis... ». Cf. also ID., Systema Vindic., Diss. IV, c. 1, p. 90
and Dilucidatio, P. II, De Gratia, c. 4, p. 155.
80) Cf. Theol.
Disc., lib. IV, c. 11. p. 117.
c., lib. XIV, c. 9, p. 45. We have already seen this same teaching in
the writings of the earlier Augustinian theologians discussed in chapter I.
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini... ante peccatum, lib. II, c. 5, pp.
above, p. 29. BELLELLI, o. c., lib. II, c. 33, p. 331 : « Gratia
efficax Salvatoris ex capite dependentiae essentialis necessaria a nobis
nullo pacto statuitur ; sed dumtaxat ut infirmitati per peccatum relictae
succurrat ». Cf. also BERTI, Aug. Syst. Vind., Diss. IV, c. 3, p.
84) BERTI, Theol.
Disc., lib. XIV, c. 8, p. 40.
H. BUZIUS, Jo.
Laurentii; Berti... librorum XXXVII de Theol. Disc. accurata Synopsis,
Tom. II, lib. XIV, diss. III, c. 2, p. 82. Even earlier writers of the
Augustinian school called grace a victrix delectatio: Fr. PAUWENS, Assertiones
Theologicae ex Prima Secundae..., Bibliotheca Angelica MS. 421, fol.
20: « Atque haec est gratia quam Augustinus Hipponensis non semel
delectationem victricem appellat ». J. LIBENS, B. A., MS. 1144, fol. 19v: «
Gratia igitur efficax est victrix delectatio supra ipsum liberum arbitrium,
sic dicta ab effectu, quia eius vincit renisum et duritiem, qua Deus
operatur in homine voluntatem, ipsam volitionem, ipsum velle... ». BERTI, Dilucidatio,
P. II, c. 4, p. 150: « Hospes itaque est in Augustini doctrina quisquis
ignorat a beatissimo Pelagianorum impugnatore gratiam effectricem in
inspiratione dilectionis sanctae, quae superat oppositam pravamque
cupiditatem et in voluntate robusta, quae Spiritus Sancti ardore
inflammatur, apertissime collocari ».
85) BERTI, Theol.
Disc., lib. XIV, c. 8, p. 42: « Quisquis enim bene timet, bonam
voluntatem habeat necesse est. Et quoniam timor supernaturalis referetur in
Deum eumque respicit ut Judicem justum et rectum, nec aliud est pondus, quo
fertur animus, nisi Amor; timor sanctus non sine aliquo amore excitatur ».
86) ID., Aug.
Syst. Vind., Diss. IV, c. 1, p. 70: « Gloriosissimus gratiae Vindex (St
Augustine) appellat auxilium efficax ardorem dilectionis et voluntatem
spiritus, qua voluntas carnis contraria concupiscens vincitur ac
superatur; appellat delectationem animi, quae superat quodcumque
impedimentum alterius voluptatis aut doloris; appellat quoque expressis
terminis certam scientiam ac delectationem victricem, adeo ut
in meridie caecutiat necessum sit quisquis negat praemissam propositionem
nostram esse Augustini ».
c., p. 71 : (gratiae efficacia requirit) « ut Deus inspirando certam
scientiam et victricem delectationem physice in nobis operetur velle
ac tam robustam voluntatem efficiat, ut quaelibet duritia cordis frangatur
c., Diss. IV, c. 1, p. 114 he says that the teachings of Noris and Massoulié
are contained in his books. In his Expostulatio, App., c. 2, p. 58
he writes: « Sacra Indicis Congregatio prohibet donec corrigatur Censuram
Duacensem et mandat ut illinc deleatur nota Jansenismi inusta systemati P.
Massoulié; et tale est systema nostrum ».
c., p. 71.
., p. 89.
BELLELLI, Mens Augustini ante peccatum, lib. II, c. 27, p. 307; see
also Mens Aug. de modo Rep., lib. IV, cc. 37/38.
94) « ...
non semel fassus sum egere nos physica praedeterminatione », Theol.
Disc., lib. IV, c, 12, p. 120. On p. 125 he writes: « Falsum est autem
(in the system « aliquorum Recentiorum ») hanc illuminationem et
delectationem moraliter et non physice praedeterminare liberum hominis
arbitrium ». In Diet. de Theol. Cath., I, col. 2485 (s. v.
Augustinianisme) Portalié writes that the Augustinian theologians deny the praedeterminatio
physica and uphold a praedeterminatio moralis. Nearly all
writers of theological textbooks repeat Portalié’s incorrect observation;
cf. e. g. Fr. DIEKAMP, Theol. Dogm. Manuale (1935), Vol. III, p.
100: « gratia efficax Augustinianorum... voluntatem non physice sed
moraliter tantum praedeterminat ».
95) BERTI, Dilucidatio.
Pars II, c. 4, p. 173: « Verum quidquid sit de hisce questionibus alibi
discussis, certissimum puto inspirationem sanctae dilectionis, qua voluntas
indeclinabiliter agit, physice, non moraliter tantum trahere ac
determinare ipsam voluntatem ad actum, cum intrinseca sit, corda immutet et
contrariam cupiditatem superet... ». As indicated above in chapter I even
the earlier Augustinian writers — with the exception of J. B. Perusinus — teach the physical
predetermination. In his Systema Augustinianum de Divina Gratia
excerptum ex operibus RR. PP. F. Bellelli et L. Berti, Venetiis 1770,
Qu. XII, p. 257 Bernenc writes: « Quaeres 2. utrum delectatio illa victrix
physice praemoveat voluntatem an moraliter tantum ? Resp. physice
praemovere, ex eo quod, ut ait S. Augustinus, illa delectatio suam habet
efficaciam ab omnipotentia Dei et a supremo quod habet in voluntates
hominum dominio... ». I am at a loss to understand how the Spanish
Augustinian theologian H. Del Val. 0. S. A. in his Sacra Theologia
Dogmatica, Vol. II, p. 513 can say that the Augustinian system of grace
rejects the praemotio physica and accepts « a certain praemotio
moralis » in its place.
BERTI, Theol. Disc.. lib. XIV, c. 8, p. 41.
1. c. N. B. For a clear perception of the difference from the
Thomists’ view one should note especially the different starting-points of
the two theological schools. It may be said that the Thomistic approach is
more speculative and the Augustinian more psychological.
98) BERTI, Expostulatio,
App., c. II, p. 53. BELLELLI in Mens. Aug. de modo Rep., P. I, lib.
III, pp. 128-129: « Efficacitas autem gratiae in eo sita est, quod sancta
delectatio et illuminatio tantum accendatur et tantum crescat, ut vincat.
Hoc est, ut homo gratia operante tantum velit, tantoque ardore diligat, ut
carnis voluntatem contraria concupiscentem voluntate spiritus vincat ».
99) BERTI, Theol.
Disc., lib. IV, p. 117: « Quod si sancta delectatio carnalem superat
concupiscentiam, reapse effectum sortitur et victrix est, ut dicitur ab
Augustino ». Cf. also BERNENC, Syst. Aug., Qu. XII, pp. 211 ff.
Dilucidatio, P. II, p. 150: « Hospes itaque est in Augustini
doctrina quisquis ignorat a Beatissimo Pelagianorum impugnatore gratiam
effectricem in inspiratlone dilectionis sanctae, quae superat oppositam
pravamque cupiditatem et in voluntate robusta, quae Spiritus Sancti ardore
inflammatur, apertissime collocari ».
MARCELLI, Institutiones Theologicae, lib. XXIX, p. 198.
Aug. Syst. Vind., diss. IV, p. 77; and ID., Theol. Disc., lib.
XIV, p. 44: « Nec inde sequitur nos scientiam mediam aut sententiam
Congruistarum probare: siquidem, ut supra cum Augustino monuimus, quod Deus
adiuvet illum tantum, istum non tantum, non pendet a circumstantiis
extrinsecis personae, loci vel temporis, neque a praescientia boni usus
arbitrii, sed a secretae aequitatis ratione et potestatis divinae
excellentia ; et cum Deus efficaciter vult, inspirat tam vividam
delectationem, quae facile vincat, salva semper indifferentia liberi
arbitrii, contrarios motus pugnantis concupiscentiae ».
o. c., p. 49: « etiam Augustinenses Poncius, Mansius et Hispani
communiter gratiam per se efficacem sanctam vocationem congruam appellitant
CHAPTER V. THE INSPIRATION
OF LOVE IS SOMETIMES SLIGHT AND ONLY « REMOTE
A logical consequence of the theory of
degrees of grace is that there will not always be an « ardor caritatis »,
but that sometimes God will inspire a lesser delectation which, however, is
sufficient to enable the recipient to act.
On this point the terminology of the
Augustinians does not differ much from that of the Jansenists, but unless I
am mistaken the points of difference in doctrine are far from slight. In
spite of the fact that the term « gratia sufficiens » was unknown to St
Augustine and that the Augustinians like to follow the teaching of the Doctor
gratiae as closely as possible, this term and the concept meant by it
are to be found in their writings. It is, however, quite noticeable that these
writings contain much more about gratia efficax than about gratia
sufficiens. For the rest the Augustinians teach that every grace is efficax
in a sense, because God never grants His gift without it having at
least some effect. But to believe that our authors repudiate gratia
sufficiens is a misconception 104).
Sufficient grace then is an inner
stimulating force which according to law is given to all men and to each
man obliged to obey the commandments of God. It is, however, possible to
resist it and it is in fact resisted 105). Thus gratia
sufficiens — also called gratia possibilitatis — is a power by
means of which the free will can act (agere potest) ; which
therefore does not bring about the act itself, but the possibility for it 106).
In his defence against the Jansenists
Bellelli accepts gratia sufficiens « Thomistico sensu » and then he
goes on to say that this kind of grace is really sufficient to give the
power to obey or at least to pray 107). Berti does not speak
otherwise and once more expressly states the difference of the Molinistic gratia
sufficiens which would give to the will only the posse without
producing any effect if it were not determined by the human will (without
further grace which gives the performing of an act) 108).
This grace which brings it about that we
can act — a gratia inefficax or the adiutorium sine quo non —
is the same as the gratia excitans which enlightens our mind and
kindles the will, but not the same as the gratia efficax which gives
certain knowledge and a delectatio victrix 109).
As we noted above it follows from the
theory of degrees in grace that not every grace is efficax ; for if
grace is described as a « superna illustratio mentis et inspiratio sanctae
dilectionis » 110), and experience as well as faith teaches us
that in comparison with gratia efficax inspiring certa scientia and
delectatio victrix not every grace is efficax, then it is
obvious that we are also to accept — as the Augustinians formulate it — a parva
et debilis voluntas spiritus which does not conquer the opposing will
of the flesh 111).
The objection that there is no distinction
between gratia efficax and gratia sufficiens, because both
are an inspiration of love and always achieve some effect, is not a very
serious matter, since we know that the Augustinians with their theory of
degrees only deny a specific (essential) difference between the two kinds
of grace. The teaching that gratia sufficiens is frustrated in its
effect by a hardened concupiscence does not smack of Molinism or Congruism,
for « quod Deus adiuvet ilium tantum, istum non tantum, non pendet a
circumstantiis extrinsecis personae, loci vel temporis, neque a
praescientia boni usus arbitrii, sed a secretae aequitatis ratione et
potestatis divinae excellentia ; et cum Deus efficaciter vult, inspirat tam
vividam delectationem quae facile vincat, salva semper indifferentia liberi
arbitrii, contrarios motus pugnantis concupiscentiae » 112).
From the above it is evident that on the
one hand the Augustinians agree with the Thomists 113), but that
on the other hand they differ from them by denying a specific
differentiation between the two kinds of grace thereby according not only a
potency to gratia sufficiens 114). The Augustinian
theologians also like to speak of gratia « inefficax » when
they mean gratia sufficiens. They consider the use of this term,
however, more a question of grammar than of theology 115). It
certainly is their conviction that gratia inefficax is only remote
and not proximo sufficiens 116). The theological
basis for this statement is briefly as follows: the free will in Adam
(before sin) was just as « expeditum » to commit a sin as to do good. But
after the Fall the weakened and wounded will has lost this potentia
expedita to do good. True, man has not lost his free will, but it is
now ill, wounded and blinded by ignorance and evil concupiscence. It is
still able to do good, but not without considerable difficulties. That is
what the Augustinians wish to express when they say that the wounded nature
of man lacks the potentia proximo expedita, i. e. the ease to act 117).
Moreover they only call proxime sufficiens the grace which does not
require any other to make the will act ; this is the kind of grace the
angels and unfallen man had 118). Remote sufficiens is
applied to the grace aided by which man still needs a stronger grace in
order to act 119).
I do not think it is necessary
to go further into this question. It often gives the impression of
theological quibbling without a very clear picture emerging. Finally, it
also seems to me that this whole question of gratia sufficiens belongs
rather to the realm of the necessity of grace. This essay, however,
must be restricted to the nature, the character of grace.
Theol. Disc., lib. XVIII, p. 139: « Dari in hoc statu hanc gratiam
surficientem fide firmissima tenendum est ».
BELLELLI, Mens Aug. de modo Rep., lib. I, c. 4, p. 7: « Haec autem
interior virtus excitans est illa gratia sufficiens, quae urgente lege
omnibus et singulis datur hominibus, qui Dei mandatis obedire tenentur ».
Cf. also o. c., lib. I, c. 5.
c., lib. IV, c. 16, p. 209: « Gratia vero sufficiens dat posse: sed
posse supernaturale adjunctum libertati, non posse quod idem sit cum
arbitrii potestate ».
c., c. 12, p. 199. On the same page: « Tribuit autem gratia sufficiens
sufficientem virtutem et possibilitatem; nee aliud utique exigitur, quam ut
per illam virtus et potestas homini conferatur. Cur ergo non sufficit ? At
insuper exigitur, inquies, gratia per se efficax, qua virtus potestasque
illa operi complendo applicetur. Ita profecto est: sed non ut virtus,
efficax exigitur gratia; sed ea exigitur ratione, qua genarum aperitio
necessaria est, ut illuminatus oculus videat. Igitur, quemadmodum oculorum
sufficiens virtus est, tunc etiam quando non vident, simplicis quoque
gratiae auxiliatricis potestas, tunc etiam quando non adhuc operi complendo
est applicata, sufficiens dicenda erit ».
Theol. Disc., lib. XIV, c. 8, p. 40: « Est ergo gratia sufficiens
sensu Thomistico ac nostro illa quae dat posse, non velle ; aut si dat
velle, istud adeo est invalidum atque impertectum, ut desideria carnis
contraria concupiscentis non vincat, nisi superveniente flagrantissima et
potentissnna caritate. Huiusmodi sunt inspirationes et pia animi desideria,
quae perversam animam movent atque excitant aliquantulum, sed illam ad
conversionem non trahunt... Ex quibus liquet gratiam sufficientem semper
effectum producere, nempe pium animi motum et bonam voluntatem, sed
invalidam et cui liberum arbitrium resistit ».
o. c., lib. XVIII, post c. 8, p. 139 (Opusculum. In quo de Gratia
sufficiente pertractatur): « Est autem auxilium sufficiens idem ac
gratia excitans, nempe nobis mentis illustrationem et voluntatis affectum
inspirans, at non illam certam scientiam et victricem delectationem...
Theol. Disc., lib. XIV, c, 7, p. 38; ID., Aug. Syst. Vind.,
Diss. IV, c. 1, p. 74.
111) Cf. e.
g. BERTI, Theol. Disc., lib. XVIII, Opusculum, p. 141; Aug
Syst. Vind., 1. c., p. 73.
112) ID., Theol.
Disc., lib. XIV, c. 7, p. 44. The difference between the gratia
parva of the Jansenists and that of the Augustinians is dealt with at
length by Berti in his Augustinianum Systema de Gratia ab iniqua Baiani
et Jansenii erroris insimulatione Vindicatum, Pars II (in Theol.
Discipl., Venetiis 1760, tomus sextus).
We have seen Berti mentioning more than once that he accepts gratia
sufficiens « sensu thomistico ».
BERNENC, Syst. Aug. de Divina Gratia, Proemium. pp. 3-4: «
Augustiniani vero docent gratiam sufficientem penes tantum gradus distingui
a gratia efficaci; unde sequitur gratiam sufficientem, quam admittunt ex
voluntate Dei antecedente, non tantum ordinari ad potentiam, sed etiam ad
actum. Ita ut si gratia illa sufficiens non sortiatur suum effectum, illud
non se tenet ex parte gratiae, quasi ex se sola non sufficiat, sed ex parte
voluntatis, quae huic gratiae nimiam concupiscentiam opponit, ut illam
BERTI, Aug. Syst. Vind., diss. IV, p. 79.
116) Passim; therefore it seems most strange to me that in 1758,
in the 23 theses containing the official Augustinian teaching, Vasquez, the
General of the Order, says in the eleventh thesis that gratia sufficiens
« proximam tribuit potestatem agendi », whereas Noris, Bellelli and Berti
manifestly teach the opposite. Unless. perhaps by proximo potestas
Vasquez means realis et vera potestas.
117) NORIS, Jansenii erroris calumnia sublata, cap. 4,
118) BERTI, Dilucidatio, pars II, c. 3, pp. 62-63. ID., Theol.
Disc., lib. XVII, c. 3, p. 94: « Invasit in Scholis nostris illa
distinctio: potentia alia est expedita ab omni impedimenta impotentiae,
alia est expedita ab omni impedimento nolentiae; prima est cum gratia
sufficiente, altera cum gratia efficaci, Utere, si lubet, hac distinctione:
non aliud dices barbarizans, quam plane et latine Norisius tuus » (NORIS, Jans.
err. Calumn. subl., c. 4, col. 177 t.).
CHAPTER VI. GRACE, WHICH IS
AN INSPIRATION OF THE GOOD WILL, DOES NOT
DESTROY LIBERTY BUT MAKES IT MORE PERFECT.
In this final chapter I shall discuss some
of the most important points concerning the compatibility of divine grace
with our free will. On this point in particular the Augustinian theologians
are often mentioned in the same breath with the Jansenists, who deny that
grace leaves man free, in spite of the fact that the Augustinians have been
repeatedly exonerated from Jansenist error, even in papal documents 120).
I do not want to write an apology for the Augustinians, however, I only
wish to investigate whether it is true what e. g. Portalié alleges in the Dictionnaire
de Théologie Catholique, when he says that Berti proclaims the death of
liberty and that Jansenism is a logical consequence of the system of deleciatio
The difficulty of reconciling grace and
free will was realised from the moment the subject came to be considered.
Already St Augustine wrote in De peccatorum merit. et remiss. (2,
18, 28): « Ne sic defendamus gratiam ut liberum arbitrium auferre videamur
; rursus ne liberum sic asseramus arbitrium, ut superba impietate ingrati
Dei gratiae iudicemur » 122).
All our Augustinian authors candidly
recognize that it is extremely difficult to reconcile the so-called libertas
indifferentiae with gratia efficax 123). The crux of
the matter is whether liberty can co-exist with the decretum Dei
efficax, absolutum et antecedens 124). All the Augustinians
admit that it is not grace by itself which achieves in us the good work,
but only grace together with our free will, the former inciting the latter
and bringing it to activity. Therefore one may say that out of grace and
the free will arises the complete principle of good works but in such a way
that the will is subject to grace. And as without grace nothing salutary
can be done, human liberty can only be put to a good use by grace 125).
Yes, as Noris says, the will does not obtain grace by its being free, but
it obtains liberty by grace 126).
When we look back on the Augustinian way of
approaching the nature of gratia efficax and victrix, the
reconciliation between grace and free will seems less difficult, for grace aids
the weakened will, it does not remove it, because aid is always given
in order to make it possible to act better. This holds good all the more
when we speak of gratia efficax, which consists even in bringing
about the willing. How then could gratia victrix, by inspiring a
great love and actually helping the will, destroy the liberty of the will?
And what is more: grace brings about (efficit) the good and free
It is common parlance used a thousand times
by the Augustinian theologians that grace causes a delectatio and a dilectio
or a bona voluntas and heals and strengthens the sin-weakened
forces of the will and that thus from being a slave to sin the will is set
free by grace to do what is good. Here I would like to refer the reader
back to the part of this essay in which the nature of grace is discussed 127).
In the above way the difficulty may be
obviated theologically, but philosophically the fact remains that it seems
impossible to reconcile predeterming grace with the neutrality of liberty.
This is not the place for an exposition of the philosophical ideas of the
Augustinians on the will and human liberty. According to their own words
these are the same as those of other scholastics of their time 128).
In order to distinguish, however, between
the Augustinian and the Jansenistic view of grace and liberty it is worth
noting that Berti and his followers expressly teach that the free will is
not a thing like a lifeless pair of scales moving between the good
delectation and the wrong concupiscence so that it cannot but incline to
what is more pleasing to it. No, the will is an active faculty and even
after Adam’s sin it possesses, when it is drawn either by concupiscence or
by the good delectation, a so-called indifferentia potentiae. And it
is this same indifference which is denied by the Jansenists ; they only
accept a libertas a coactione. It was Jansenius’s mistake to think
that man is all the time being coerced as it were by the stronger
delectation be it a heavenly or a purely earthly one. The Augustinian
teaching on the contrary is that the free will is never reduced to nothing
by a relatively stronger grace, but is healed and aided in its weakness.
Jansenius only recognized gratia efficax which invincibly draws
the will to agreement 129).
As regards the Augustinian system of grace
and free will it seems best to quote here its most important
representative, Laurentius Berti:
« At principium duarum delectationum, prout
in Schola nostra defenditur, in hoc situm est, quod amor ac delectatio est
pondus animi quo fertur, sive prosequendo bonum, sive fugiendo malum, quod
ipsi bono adversatur, adeo ut semper voluntas bono aliquo sibi proposito
alliciatur, praecedatque actionem liberam inspiratio quaedam delectationis,
aut carnalis dum peccat, aut coelestis dum recte agit, aut naturalis dum
officia exercet humana ; sed hac inspiratione praemissa operetur libera
delectatione ac potestate ad utrumlibet indifferente: quoniam etsi
amplectitur quod magis delectat fugitque malum quod bono delectanti
adversatur, dummodo tamen bonum istud non sit summum, incommutabile et
propositum absque indifferentia iudicii, utitur eligendo iure liberrimae
potestatis ; neque succumbit necessitate sub maiori delectatione, nee
indita potestate privatur sub delectatione minori. Hoc autem systema duarum
delectationum est illud quod innoxie defendi potest » 130).
I shall not go into the difference between
the two systems ; this subject would require an essay to itself.
For a further understanding of the
Augustinian teaching on this point there is no need for expatiating on how
the different Augustinian theologians try to solve philosophically the
problem of reconciling grace and free will. In this matter they proceed in
the same way as the Thomists. We may think for instance of the famous
distinction between « sensus compositus » and « sensus divisus », which is
also employed by Bellelli 131). Another distinction is that
between « actus primus » and « actus secundus » 132) ; and
between « necessitas antecedens » and « necessitas consequens » 133).
But all this is of course not specifically Augustinian.
The main object of my investigation was to
examine, exclusively in its sources, the original teaching of the
Augustinians concerning gratia actualis. On comparing the result
with what is written about the Augustinian conception of grace by
contemporaries of our authors as well as by later theologians it is at once
obvious that the Augustinian system is always described as « systema praemotionis
moralis », whereas the theologians of our School unmistakably uphold
a « systema praemotionis physicae ». Perhaps the important
Augustinian distinction between the state of man before and after the Fall
has been rather overlooked. It is true that for the blessed state of
paradise the Augustinians reject the praedeterminatio physica together
with gratia efficax, but they insist on both all the more
emphatically in the case of fallen man. And it is unscholarly to extend the
grace of paradise to all granting of grace without making any distinction.
We have also seen that most of the
non-Augustinian theologians found it very hard to form a clear idea of the
so-called « delectatio victrix ». That was why the Augustinians used to be
looked upon as Jansenists. In later times the manualia theologiae especially
show that their conception of the notion « delectatio » is very different
indeed from the Augustinian one.
This is one of quite a few reasons why a
further study of the authentic teachings of the 18th century Augustinian
writers would be far from superfluous.
Finally, it is my opinion that a
study of the conception of grace in the writings of the Augustinians
mentioned, who repeatedly refer to the Doctor gratiae, will be a
usefull means to obtain a better insight into the teaching on grace of St
120) Cf. Litteras
Benedicti XIV ad Supremam Hispaniae Inquisitorem, in DENZ., Enchiridion
Symbolorum 1090, nota 1.
the Augustinian Generalate’s archives in Rome possess a manuscript (Cc 78)
which contains on fol. 17-31: « Votum D. Gioacchino Besozzi Abbata di S
Croce in Gierusalemme. Consultore del Santo Offizio » ; on fol. 29-127: «
Osservazioni », also issued from a high quarter and comprising an acquittal
for Bellelli’s works. The two texts by consultors of the Holy Office find
not a vestige of Bajanism or Jansenism in the works of Bellelli and Berti.
The first part has been published under the title Censurarum Operum PP.
Bellelli et Berti in: Alcuni apologetici scritti contro I’Autore
della Storia Letteraria d’Italia. P. I, pp. I2I-I52 (Napoli 1757).
PORTALIÉ, D. T. C., vol. I, col. 2488 and col. 2489.
L., 44, 168.
BELLELLI, Mens Aug. de Modo Rep., I, lib. 3, p. 116: « Difficultas
quam maxima est quod duo extrema. libertas videlicet et gratia, quorum
alterum indifferens est, alterum vero determinatum, invicem ad agendum
componantur, cum indifferens et determinatum ex diametro videantur pugnare:
». O. c., lib. 4, p. 299 Bellelli argues that our Faith knows more
such apparently contradictory mysteries (like: Deus simul unus et trinus;
Christus simul homo et Deus, etc.); but this makes our believing
Aug. Syst. Vind., diss. IV, p. 77: « Praeterea difficultas, quae
invenitur in concilianda libertate cum gratia per se efficaci, non est an
libertas indifferentiae consistere queat cum qualitate physica, cum motione
divina, cum delectatione aut absoluta aut relativa ; sed an consistere possit
cum decreto efficaci, absoluto et antecedenti, cum praemotione inferente
certo et infallibiliter actum praedefinitum ante exploratum voluntatis
consensum, cum praedeterminatione ad unum actum trahente liberum arbitrium,
priusquam illud sese ad agendum determinet. Hie nodus est; et haec
difficilis quaestio, quomodo gratia conciliari possit cum libertate ».
Vindiciae Augustinianae, c. 2, col. 284: « unde ex gratia et libero
arbitrio fit completum principium actuum bonorum, ita tamen ut libertas
gratiae ancilletur. Et sane cum sine gratia nihil fieri potest, prout
oportet ad salutem, a sola gratia humana libertas in bonum et meritorium
usum agi potest ».
126) ID., Historia
Pelagiana, lib. I, c. 23, col. 206.
chapters III and IV. BERTI, Dilucidatio, P. II, c. 5, p. 210: « Haec
libertas ea est, per quam cum simus mancipati peccato, nascamur filii irae,
filii vindictae, et inolita carnis concupiscentia seu lege membrorum, servi
simus et captivati in lege peccati, per gratiam Salvatoris eruimur a
potestate tenebrarum, acquirimus adoptionem filiorum Dei atque efficaci
suffulti adiutorio non gravamur sub dominatu peccati, sed erigimur et sumus
iustitiae liberi. De hac libertate legimus in Evangelio Joan. 8, 36: Si
vos Filius liberavit, cere liberi estis, et in lib. de Corr. et Gratia,
cap. 1 : In bono liber esse nullus potest, nisi fuerit liberatus ab eo,
qui dixit: si Filius vos liberavit, cere liberi estis ».
MOREAU in MS. B. A. 897, in Homilia quarter: « Ubi Spiritus per
gratiam agit et movet fideles, ibi libertas : nulla coactio, necessitas
nulla, sed gratia secundum naturam dirigit intellectum in rectum et verum ;
natura intellectus enim appetit verum ; et voluntatem dirigit in verum
bonum. Et has veluti duas alas humani arbitrii ignorantiae et
concupiscentiae visco et laqueo impeditas solvit et expedit gratia... ».
Dilucidatio, P. II, p. 196 f. ID., Theol. Disc., lib. IV, c.
13, p. 125. Cf. MARCELLI, Institutiones Theologicae, lib. XXIX,
chapters 1, 2 and 3.
I29) In Dict.
de Theol. Cath., s. v. Augustinianisme, col. 2491. Portalié also
wrongly ascribes this teaching to the Augustinians, attributing to them the
words « délectation invinciblement victorieuse ». His arguments to refute
them are of course valueless. Expressions like « impuissante á resister »,
« elle (la volonte) est fatalement poussée », etc. prove that the author
knows the doctrine of the Augustinians only from the writings of their
opponents, who in former centuries reproached them with the same errors.
Aug. Syst. Vind., diss. V, c. 3, p. 164, where he also writes: «...
(nos) demonstrantes victricem delectationem idem praestare quod praestat
physica praedeterminatio, applicare scilicet ad actum secundum liberi
arbitrii facultatem, salva in actu primo potestate ad oppositum ».
BELLELLI, Mens Aug. de Modo Rep., P. I, lib. II, c. 16, p. 95.
note 130; o. c., p. 127.
c., lib. IV, c. 39, p. 288; BERTI, Aug. Syst. Vind., diss. IV,
pp. 138 and 140.