—Thomas Aquinas, In Rom. 1.6.108; trans. Fr. Fabian Richard Larcher, OP (Lander, WY: The Aquinas Institute, 2012).
Augustine points poignantly to the necessity of grace both to the sinner and to the one who avoids sinning:
—Augustine, Confessions II.15.
Perhaps there is a small adumbration here of the restraint-of-sin aspect of the much later Protestant conceptions of gratia communis.
Thomas Manton deduces three rules for making sound judgments in accordance with the apostle James’s command to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2 ESV). The second is as follows:
—Thomas Manton, The Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 4, A Practical Commentary: or an Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of James (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1871), 22.
In light of the odium commonly hurled against classical Protestant doctrine by modern Protestant theologians it is interesting to compare one of Augustine’s definitions of God with that of the Westminster Divines:
Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong, stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing.
—Augustine, Confessions I.4.
God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, every where present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.
[I]f I were to essay to express in one word what it is in [the Westminster Standards] which has proved so perennial a source of strength to generation after generation of Christian men, and which causes us still to cling to them with a devotion no less intelligent than passionate, I think I should but voice your own conviction were I to say that it is because these precious documents appeal to us as but the embodiment in fitly chosen language of the pure gospel of the grace of God.
—Benjamin B. Warfield, The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed: An Address Delivered before the Presbytery of New York, November 8, 1897, on the occasion of the celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Completion of the Westminster Standards (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1898), 1, 2.
—John Weemes (c.1579–1636), “Advertisement,”
in The Portraiture of the Image of God in Man (1632), a3r.
—Origen, De Principiis, 1.1.1.
— Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto, § 27.
— Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto, § 2.