Chapter 56.—God Gives Means as Well as End.
Wherefore if I am unwilling to appear ungrateful to men who have loved me, because some advantage of my labour has attained to them before they loved me, how much rather am I unwilling to be ungrateful to God, whom we should not love unless He had first loved us and made us to love Him! since love is of Him, 3698 as they have said whom He made not only His great lovers, but also His great preachers. And what is more ungrateful than to deny the grace of God itself, by saying that it is given to us according to our merits? And this the catholic faith shuddered at in the Pelagians, and this it objected to Pelagius himself as a capital crime; and this Pelagius himself condemned, not indeed from love of Gods truth, but yet for fear of his own condemnation. But whoever as a faithful catholic is horrified to say that the grace of God is given according to our merits, let him not withdraw faith itself from Gods grace, whereby he obtained mercy that he should be faithful; and thus let him attribute also perseverance to the p. 549 end to Gods grace, whereby he obtains the mercy which he daily asks for, not to be led into temptation. But between the beginning of faith and the perfection of perseverance there are those means whereby we live righteously, which they themselves are agreed in regarding as given by God to us at the prayer of faith. And all these things—the beginning of faith, to wit, and His other gifts even to the end—God foreknew that He would bestow on His called. It is a matter therefore, of too excessive contentiousness to contradict predestination, or to doubt concerning predestination.
1 John iv. 7.