615. XI. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS REGENERATION IS IMPOSSIBLE.
Who, except a stupid person, cannot see that without freedom of choice in spiritual things man cannot be regenerated? Can he without this approach the Lord, acknowledge Him as the Redeemer and Savior and the God of heaven and earth, as He himself teaches (Matt. 28:18)? Without that freedom of choice who can believe in the Lord, that is, from faith look to Him and worship Him, and adapt himself to receiving the means and benefits of salvation from Him, and from Him cooperate in the reception of them? Who without freedom of choice can do any good to the neighbor, can practice charity, or take into his thought and will other things pertaining to faith and charity, bring them forth, and put them into acts? Otherwise, what is regeneration but a mere word dropped from the lips of the Lord (John 3), which either remains in the ear, or having dropped upon the lips from the thought nearest to speech, becomes merely an articulated sound of twelve letters, which sound cannot by any meaning be raised into any higher region of the mind, but falls upon the air and is dissipated?