Inner Help to Love
Augustine's doctrine of grace has roots in his Platonism, in which happiness is attained by wisdom (i.e., intellectual vision of divine Truth) and wisdom is attained by virtue, which consists of rightly ordered love, involving purification from attachment to lower (external, sensible, temporal) things and conversion to higher (inner, intelligible, eternal) things. Free will therefore means not autonomy from God but the capacity to love divine Beauty, and grace means that God inwardly helps human free will turn from slavish obedience out of fear (which Augustine associates with the Jews) to an inner delight in God that is like falling in love (a theme he picks up from Platonism). As Augustine's doctrine of grace develops, our dependence on this inward divine help, which any Platonist regards as necessary to achieve the goal of intellectual vision, gradually expands “outward” to include rightly ordered love and even Christian faith.
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