Again, as silencing all boastfulness on the part of those who counted themselves somewhat, S. Paul appeals upbraidingly to their hearts ; "who maketh thee to differ from another ; and what hast thou that thou didst not receive ; now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it ? " If we had not received from God the grace whereby the faint and inoperative velleity, which is the highest attainment of the natural man, is changed into resolute and effective will, then man might have said, " the very foundation of all faith, our own will to believe, we have altogether from ourselves, not from God : we did not receive that upon which our salvation turns." But now in no part of our life in God, or, (which is the same) of the life of God in our soul, is the root or first spring of our acts from ourselves. We make and can make no one effort or motion ; we can exercise no will or desire, without the grace of God. This only have we, that we receive and have what God giveth ; plainly we do not receive or have without our will ; nor do we against or with out our choice receive irresistibly our good will ; but the will to receive and have we receive of God. We cannot will by a separate act of our own, without the grace of God. " Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think," or account, "any thing as from ourselves."
Nor as though part were our's, part God's. The Apostle denies that we may claim any thing, any one thing, to proceed from ourselves ; but all, even although in ourselves, or with ourselves, from God. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." He produceth not our will in us, as He produceth ourselves without ourselves ; nor doth He work in us, as He worketh in the brute creation. He willeth to do nothing in us without ourselves; we can do nothing good, not even will without Him. But He willeth so to restore in us the harmony with Himself, that whereas He reserveth to Himself the prerogative of re-creating in us what is good, yet in all the rest, He willeth that we should co-operate with Him. He awakeneth, healeth, strengtheneth, upholdeth our will. " God," says S. Bernard, ' " worketh in us these three things, to think, to will, to perform what is good ; to think, without us ; to will, with us; to perform, through us. From God then, doubtless, is the beginning of our salvation, and not either through us, nor with us. But consent and act, although not from us, are not yet without us. We must beware lest, when we feel these things done invisibly in us or with us, we attribute them either to our will, which is weak ; or to a necessity from God, which is none ; but to the grace of God wherein He aboundeth. Grace arouseth free will, when it soweth the thought ; healeth, when it changeth the affection ; strengtheneth, when it leadeth to act ; preserveth, lest it fail. But grace so worketh with free will, that it forecometh only in thought, in the rest accompanying ; to this end forecoming, that henceforth it may be co-operated with. Yet so what was begun by grace alone is perfected conjointly, so that in each advance they operate unitedly not severally, together not alternately. Gracedoth not act in part and free will in part ; but they each by an undivided operation, accomplish the whole. Free will doth all, and grace doth all ; yet as the whole is in free will, so the whole is from Grace."