Of God and His Creatures

A salient thought and favourite principle with St Thomas. It comes out remarkably in his speculations on grace. The final end for which God made mankind, according to St Thomas and his school, is not the salvation of this and that individual soul, taken as isolated units: it is a social construction, an organic whole, in which each soul and every man has his proper place divinely allotted, -- not of course irrespective of the efforts of his will to secure it, -- and places vary in quality and honour. But of them all no place is a bad place as God designed it. If any man's career ends in final woe, he must, by some wilfulness of his own, have traversed and defeated God's special and particular purpose on his behalf. The axiom, De minimis non curat praetor, does not hold of God's dealings with His creatures (B. III, Chap. LXXVI), least of all with His rational creatures (B. III, Chap. CXIII). The humblest place that God's special providence has prepared for any spirit or human soul created by Him, is a good place, good with a twofold goodness, good for the order and beauty of the universe, and good in view of the particular end of that individual, which is happiness. Only in consequence of a man's own sin (B. III, Chap. CLXIII) undoing the special providence that made for his peace (Luke xix, 42), does the man fall under another order of providence, which still secures the general good, but no longer his gain.

Of God and His Creatures: 2.44