This is a simple chapter, no longer controversial. It is not difficult to get us moderns to believe we are not required to act rightly.
1 Now, it might seem to someone that by divine help some external compulsion to good action is exercised on man, because it has been said: “No man can come to Me, except the Father, Who hath sent Me, draw him” (John 6:44); and because of the statement in Romans (8:14): “Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”; and in 2 Corinthians (5:14): “the charity of Christ presses us.” Indeed, to be drawn, to be led, and to be pressed seem to imply coaction.
2 But that this is not true is clearly shown. For divine providence provides for all things according to their measure, as we have shown above. But it is proper to man, and to every rational nature, to act voluntarily and to control his own acts, as it is clear from what we have said before. But coaction is contrary to this. Therefore, God by His help does not force men to right action.
3 Again, that divine help is provided man so that he may act well is to be understood in this way: it performs our works in us, as the primary cause performs the operations of secondary causes, and as a principal agent performs the action of an instrument. Hence, it is said in Isaiah (26:1213): “You have wrought all our works for us, O Lord.” Now, the first cause causes the operation of the secondary cause according to the measure of the latter. So, God also causes our works in us in accord with our measure, which means that we act voluntarily and not as forced. Therefore, no one is forced to right action by the divine help.
4 Besides, man is ordered to his end by his will, for the object of the will is the good and the end. Now, divine help is chiefly afforded us so that we may obtain our end. So, this help does not exclude from us the act of our will, but, rather, in a special way, produces this act in us. Hence, the Apostle says, in Philippians (2:13): “it is God Who works in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to good will.” But coaction excludes the act of the will in us, since we do under force that whose contrary we will. Therefore, God does not force us by His help to act rightly.
5 Moreover, man reaches his ultimate end by acts of the virtues, for felicity is assigned as a reward for virtue. Now, forced acts are not acts of the virtues, since the main thing in virtue is choice, which cannot be present without voluntariness to which violence is opposed. Therefore, man is not divinely compelled to act rightly.
6 Furthermore, the means to the end should be in proportion to the end. But the ultimate end which is felicity is appropriate only to voluntary agents, who are masters of their acts. Hence, we call neither inanimate things nor brute animals, happy, just as they are neither fortunate nor unfortunate, except metaphorically. Therefore, the help that is divinely given men to attain felicity is not coercive.
7 Hence, it is said in Deuteronomy (30:15-18): “Consider that the Lord has set before you this day life and good, and on the other hand death and evil; that you may love the Lord your God, and walk in His ways… But if your heart turns away so that you will not hear… I foretell you this day that you shall perish.” And in Sirach (15-18): “Before man is life and death, good and evil; what he chooses shall be given him.”