St. Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologica

(Benziger Bros. edition, 1947)
Translated by
Fathers of the English Dominican Province

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Deinde considerandum est de effectu sacramentorum.
  • Et primo, de effectu eius principali, qui est gratia;
  • secundo de effectu secundario, qui est character.
We have now to consider the effect of the sacraments.
  • First of their principal effect, which is grace;
  • secondly, of their secondary effect, which is a character.
Circa primum quaeruntur sex. Concerning the first there are six points of inquiry:
Primo, utrum sacramenta novae legis sint causa gratiae. (1) Whether the sacraments of the New Law are the cause of grace?
Secundo, utrum gratia sacramentalis aliquid addat super gratiam virtutum et donorum. (2) Whether sacramental grace confers anything in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts?
Tertio, utrum sacramenta contineant gratiam. (3) Whether the sacraments contain grace?
Quarto, utrum sit in eis aliqua virtus ad causandum gratiam. (4) Whether there is any power in them for the causing of grace?
Quinto, utrum talis virtus in sacramentis derivetur a passione Christi. (5) Whether the sacraments derive this power from Christ's Passion?
Sexto, utrum sacramenta veteris legis gratiam causarent. (6) Whether the sacraments of the Old Law caused grace?

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Whether the sacraments are the cause of grace?

Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sacramenta non sint causa gratiae. Non enim idem videtur esse signum et causa, eo quod ratio signi videtur magis effectui competere. Sed sacramentum est signum gratiae. Non igitur est causa eius. Objection 1: It seems that the sacraments are not the cause of grace. For it seems that the same thing is not both sign and cause: since the nature of sign appears to be more in keeping with an effect. But a sacrament is a sign of grace. Therefore it is not its cause.
Praeterea, nullum corporale agere potest in rem spiritualem, eo quod agens est honorabilius patiente, ut Augustinus dicit, XII super Gen. ad Litt. Sed subiectum gratiae est mens hominis, quae est res spiritualis. Non ergo sacramenta possunt gratiam causare. Objection 2: Further, nothing corporeal can act on a spiritual thing: since "the agent is more excellent than the patient," as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii). But the subject of grace is the human mind, which is something spiritual. Therefore the sacraments cannot cause grace.
Praeterea, illud quod est proprium Dei, non debet alicui creaturae attribui. Sed causare gratiam est proprium Dei, secundum illud Psalmi, gratiam et gloriam dabit dominus. Cum ergo sacramenta consistant in quibusdam verbis et rebus creatis, non videtur quod possint gratiam causare. Objection 3: Further, what is proper to God should not be ascribed to a creature. But it is proper to God to cause grace, according to Ps. 83:12: "The Lord will give grace and glory." Since, therefore, the sacraments consist in certain words and created things, it seems that they cannot cause grace.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., quod aqua baptismalis corpus tangit et cor abluit. Sed cor non abluitur nisi per gratiam. Ergo causat gratiam, et pari ratione alia Ecclesiae sacramenta. On the contrary, Augustine says (Tract. lxxx in Joan.) that the baptismal water "touches the body and cleanses the heart." But the heart is not cleansed save through grace. Therefore it causes grace: and for like reason so do the other sacraments of the Church.
Respondeo dicendum quod necesse est dicere sacramenta novae legis per aliquem modum gratiam causare. Manifestum est enim quod per sacramenta novae legis homo Christo incorporatur, sicut de Baptismo dicit apostolus, Galat. III, quotquot in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis. Non autem efficitur homo membrum Christi nisi per gratiam. I answer that, We must needs say that in some way the sacraments of the New Law cause grace. For it is evident that through the sacraments of the New Law man is incorporated with Christ: thus the Apostle says of Baptism (Gal. 3:27): "As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ." And man is made a member of Christ through grace alone.
Quidam tamen dicunt quod non sunt causa gratiae aliquid operando, sed quia Deus, sacramentis adhibitis, in anima gratiam operatur. Et ponunt exemplum de illo qui, afferens denarium plumbeum, accipit centum libras ex regis ordinatione, non quod denarius ille aliquid operetur ad habendum praedictae pecuniae quantitatem; sed hoc operatur sola voluntas regis. Unde et Bernardus dicit, in quodam sermone in cena domini, sicut investitur canonicus per librum, abbas per baculum, episcopus per anulum, sic divisiones gratiarum diversae sunt traditae sacramentis. Sed si quis recte consideret, iste modus non transcendit rationem signi. Nam denarius plumbeus non est nisi quoddam signum regiae ordinationis de hoc quod pecunia recipiatur ab isto. Similiter liber est quoddam signum quo designatur traditio canonicatus. Secundum hoc igitur sacramenta novae legis nihil plus essent quam signa gratiae, cum tamen ex multis sanctorum auctoritatibus habeatur quod sacramenta novae legis non solum significant, sed causant gratiam. Some, however, say that they are the cause of grace not by their own operation, but in so far as God causes grace in the soul when the sacraments are employed. And they give as an example a man who on presenting a leaden coin, receives, by the king's command, a hundred pounds: not as though the leaden coin, by any operation of its own, caused him to be given that sum of money; this being the effect of the mere will of the king. Hence Bernard says in a sermon on the Lord's Supper: "Just as a canon is invested by means of a book, an abbot by means of a crozier, a bishop by means of a ring, so by the various sacraments various kinds of grace are conferred." But if we examine the question properly, we shall see that according to the above mode the sacraments are mere signs. For the leaden coin is nothing but a sign of the king's command that this man should receive money. In like manner the book is a sign of the conferring of a canonry. Hence, according to this opinion the sacraments of the New Law would be mere signs of grace; whereas we have it on the authority of many saints that the sacraments of the New Law not only signify, but also cause grace.
Et ideo aliter dicendum, quod duplex est causa agens, principalis et instrumentalis. Principalis quidem operatur per virtutem suae formae, cui assimilatur effectus, sicut ignis suo calore calefacit. Et hoc modo non potest causare gratiam nisi Deus, quia gratia nihil est aliud quam quaedam participata similitudo divinae naturae, secundum illud II Pet. I, magna nobis et pretiosa promissa donavit, ut divinae simus consortes naturae. Causa vero instrumentalis non agit per virtutem suae formae, sed solum per motum quo movetur a principali agente. Unde effectus non assimilatur instrumento, sed principali agenti, sicut lectus non assimilatur securi, sed arti quae est in mente artificis. Et hoc modo sacramenta novae legis gratiam causant, adhibentur enim ex divina ordinatione ad gratiam in eis causandam. Unde Augustinus dicit, XIX contra Faust., haec omnia, scilicet sacramentalia, fiunt et transeunt, virtus tamen, scilicet Dei, quae per ista operatur, iugiter manet. Hoc autem proprie dicitur instrumentum, per quod aliquis operatur. Unde et Tit. III dicitur, salvos nos fecit per lavacrum regenerationis. We must therefore say otherwise, that an efficient cause is twofold, principal and instrumental. The principal cause works by the power of its form, to which form the effect is likened; just as fire by its own heat makes something hot. In this way none but God can cause grace: since grace is nothing else than a participated likeness of the Divine Nature, according to 2 Pt. 1:4: "He hath given us most great and precious promises; that we may be [Vulg.: 'you may be made'] partakers of the Divine Nature." But the instrumental cause works not by the power of its form, but only by the motion whereby it is moved by the principal agent: so that the effect is not likened to the instrument but to the principal agent: for instance, the couch is not like the axe, but like the art which is in the craftsman's mind. And it is thus that the sacraments of the New Law cause grace: for they are instituted by God to be employed for the purpose of conferring grace. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xix): "All these things," viz. pertaining to the sacraments, "are done and pass away, but the power," viz. of God, "which works by them, remains ever." Now that is, properly speaking, an instrument by which someone works: wherefore it is written (Titus 3:5): "He saved us by the laver of regeneration."
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod causa principalis non proprie potest dici signum effectus, licet occulti, etiam si ipsa sit sensibilis et manifesta. Sed causa instrumentalis, si sit manifesta, potest dici signum effectus occulti, eo quod non solum est causa, sed quodammodo effectus, inquantum movetur a principali agente. Et secundum hoc, sacramenta novae legis simul sunt causa et signa. Et inde est quod, sicut communiter dicitur, efficiunt quod figurant. Ex quo etiam patet quod habent perfecte rationem sacramenti, inquantum ordinantur ad aliquid sacrum non solum per modum signi, sed etiam per modum causae. Reply to Objection 1: The principal cause cannot properly be called a sign of its effect, even though the latter be hidden and the cause itself sensible and manifest. But an instrumental cause, if manifest, can be called a sign of a hidden effect, for this reason, that it is not merely a cause but also in a measure an effect in so far as it is moved by the principal agent. And in this sense the sacraments of the New Law are both cause and signs. Hence, too, is it that, to use the common expression, "they effect what they signify." From this it is clear that they perfectly fulfil the conditions of a sacrament; being ordained to something sacred, not only as a sign, but also as a cause.
Ad secundum dicendum quod instrumentum habet duas actiones, unam instrumentalem, secundum quam operatur non in virtute propria, sed in virtute principalis agentis; aliam autem habet actionem propriam, quae competit sibi secundum propriam formam; sicut securi competit scindere ratione suae acuitatis, facere autem lectum inquantum est instrumentum artis. Non autem perficit actionem instrumentalem nisi exercendo actionem propriam; scindendo enim facit lectum. Et similiter sacramenta corporalia per propriam operationem quam exercent circa corpus, quod tangunt, efficiunt operationem instrumentalem ex virtute divina circa animam, sicut aqua Baptismi, abluendo corpus secundum propriam virtutem, abluit animam inquantum est instrumentum virtutis divinae; nam ex anima et corpore unum fit. Et hoc est quod Augustinus dicit, quod corpus tangit et cor abluit. Reply to Objection 2: An instrument has a twofold action; one is instrumental, in respect of which it works not by its own power but by the power of the principal agent: the other is its proper action, which belongs to it in respect of its proper form: thus it belongs to an axe to cut asunder by reason of its sharpness, but to make a couch, in so far as it is the instrument of an art. But it does not accomplish the instrumental action save by exercising its proper action: for it is by cutting that it makes a couch. In like manner the corporeal sacraments by their operation, which they exercise on the body that they touch, accomplish through the Divine institution an instrumental operation on the soul; for example, the water of baptism, in respect of its proper power, cleanses the body, and thereby, inasmuch as it is the instrument of the Divine power, cleanses the soul: since from soul and body one thing is made. And thus it is that Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. xii) that it "touches the body and cleanses the heart."
Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de eo quod est causa gratiae per modum principalis agentis, hoc enim est proprium Dei, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 3: This argument considers that which causes grace as principal agent; for this belongs to God alone, as stated above.

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Whether sacramental grace confers anything in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts?

Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod gratia sacramentalis non addat aliquid supra gratiam virtutum et donorum. Per gratiam enim virtutum et donorum perficitur anima sufficienter et quantum ad essentiam animae, et quantum ad eius potentias, ut patet ex his quae in secunda parte dicta sunt. Sed gratia ordinatur ad animae perfectionem. Ergo gratia sacramentalis non potest aliquid addere super gratiam virtutum et donorum. Objection 1: It seems that sacramental grace confers nothing in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts. For the grace of the virtues and gifts perfects the soul sufficiently, both in its essence and in its powers; as is clear from what was said in the FS, Question [110], Articles [3],4. But grace is ordained to the perfecting of the soul. Therefore sacramental grace cannot confer anything in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts.
Praeterea, defectus animae ex peccatis causantur. Sed omnia peccata sufficienter excluduntur per gratiam virtutum et donorum, quia nullum est peccatum quod non contrarietur alicui virtuti. Gratia ergo sacramentalis, cum ordinetur ad defectus animae tollendos, non potest aliquid addere super gratiam virtutum et donorum. Objection 2: Further, the soul's defects are caused by sin. But all sins are sufficiently removed by the grace of the virtues and gifts: because there is no sin that is not contrary to some virtue. Since, therefore, sacramental grace is ordained to the removal of the soul's defects, it cannot confer anything in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts.
Praeterea, omnis additio vel subtractio in formis variat speciem, ut dicitur in VIII Metaphys. Si igitur gratia sacramentalis addat aliquid super gratiam virtutum et donorum, sequitur quod aequivoce dicatur gratia. Et sic nihil certum ostenditur ex hoc quod sacramenta dicuntur gratiam causare. Objection 3: Further, every addition or subtraction of form varies the species (Metaph. viii). If, therefore, sacramental grace confers anything in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts, it follows that it is called grace equivocally: and so we are none the wiser when it is said that the sacraments cause grace.
Sed contra est quod, si gratia sacramentalis non addit aliquid super gratiam donorum et virtutum, frustra sacramenta habentibus et dona et virtutes conferrentur. In operibus autem Dei nihil est frustra. Ergo videtur quod gratia sacramentalis aliquid addat super gratiam virtutum et donorum. On the contrary, If sacramental grace confers nothing in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts, it is useless to confer the sacraments on those who have the virtues and gifts. But there is nothing useless in God's works. Therefore it seems that sacramental grace confers something in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut in secunda parte dictum est, gratia, secundum se considerata, perficit essentiam animae, inquantum participat quandam similitudinem divini esse. Et sicut ab essentia animae fluunt eius potentiae, ita a gratia fluunt quaedam perfectiones ad potentias animae, quae dicuntur virtutes et dona, quibus potentiae perficiuntur in ordine ad suos actus. Ordinantur autem sacramenta ad quosdam speciales effectus necessarios in vita Christiana, sicut Baptismus ordinatur ad quandam spiritualem regenerationem, qua homo moritur vitiis et fit membrum Christi; qui quidem effectus est aliquid speciale praeter actus potentiarum animae. Et eadem ratio est in aliis sacramentis. Sicut igitur virtutes et dona addunt super gratiam communiter dictam quandam perfectionem determinate ordinatam ad proprios actus potentiarum, ita gratia sacramentalis addit super gratiam communiter dictam, et super virtutes et dona, quoddam divinum auxilium ad consequendum sacramenti finem. Et per hunc modum gratia sacramentalis addit super gratiam virtutum et donorum. I answer that, As stated in the FS, Question [110], Articles [3],4, grace, considered in itself, perfects the essence of the soul, in so far as it is a certain participated likeness of the Divine Nature. And just as the soul's powers flow from its essence, so from grace there flow certain perfections into the powers of the soul, which are called virtues and gifts, whereby the powers are perfected in reference to their actions. Now the sacraments are ordained unto certain special effects which are necessary in the Christian life: thus Baptism is ordained unto a certain spiritual regeneration, by which man dies to vice and becomes a member of Christ: which effect is something special in addition to the actions of the soul's powers: and the same holds true of the other sacraments. Consequently just as the virtues and gifts confer, in addition to grace commonly so called, a certain special perfection ordained to the powers' proper actions, so does sacramental grace confer, over and above grace commonly so called, and in addition to the virtues and gifts, a certain Divine assistance in obtaining the end of the sacrament. It is thus that sacramental grace confers something in addition to the grace of the virtues and gifts.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod gratia virtutum et donorum sufficienter perficit essentiam et potentias animae quantum ad generalem ordinationem actuum. Sed quantum ad quosdam effectus speciales qui requiruntur in Christiana vita, requiritur sacramentalis gratia. Reply to Objection 1: The grace of the virtues and gifts perfects the essence and powers of the soul sufficiently as regards ordinary conduct: but as regards certain special effects which are necessary in a Christian life, sacramental grace is needed.
Ad secundum dicendum quod per virtutes et dona sufficienter excluduntur vitia et peccata quantum ad praesens et futurum, inquantum scilicet impeditur homo per virtutes et dona a peccando. Sed quantum ad praeterita peccata, quae transeunt actu et permanent reatu, adhibetur homini remedium specialiter per sacramenta. Reply to Objection 2: Vices and sins are sufficiently removed by virtues and gifts, as to present and future time. in so far as they prevent man from sinning. But in regard to past sins, the acts of which are transitory whereas their guilt remains, man is provided with a special remedy in the sacraments.
Ad tertium dicendum quod ratio sacramentalis gratiae se habet ad gratiam communiter dictam sicut ratio speciei ad genus. Unde, sicut non aequivoce dicitur animal communiter dictum et pro homine sumptum, ita non aequivoce dicitur gratia communiter sumpta et gratia sacramentalis. Reply to Objection 3: Sacramental grace is compared to grace commonly so called, as species to genus. Wherefore just as it is not equivocal to use the term "animal" in its generic sense, and as applied to a man, so neither is it equivocal to speak of grace commonly so called and of sacramental grace.

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Whether the sacraments of the New Law contain grace?

Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod sacramenta novae legis non contineant gratiam. Contentum enim videtur esse in continente. Sed gratia non est in sacramento, neque sicut in subiecto, quia subiectum gratiae non est corpus sed spiritus; neque sicut in vase, quia vas est locus mobilis, ut dicitur in IV Physic., esse autem in loco non convenit accidenti. Ergo videtur quod sacramenta novae legis non contineant gratiam. Objection 1: It seems that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain grace. For it seems that what is contained is in the container. But grace is not in the sacraments; neither as in a subject, because the subject of grace is not a body but a spirit; nor as in a vessel, for according to Phys. iv, "a vessel is a movable place," and an accident cannot be in a place. Therefore it seems that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain grace.
Praeterea, sacramenta ordinantur ad hoc quod homines per ea gratiam consequantur. Sed gratia, cum sit accidens, non potest transire de subiecto in subiectum. Ergo pro nihilo esset gratia in sacramentis. Objection 2: Further, sacraments are instituted as means whereby men may obtain grace. But since grace is an accident it cannot pass from one subject to another. Therefore it would be of no account if grace were in the sacraments.
Praeterea, spirituale non continetur a corporali, etiam si in eo sit, non enim anima continetur a corpore, sed potius continet corpus. Ergo videtur quod gratia, cum sit quoddam spirituale, non contineatur in sacramento corporali. Objection 3: Further, a spiritual thing is not contained by a corporeal, even if it be therein; for the soul is not contained by the body; rather does it contain the body. Since, therefore, grace is something spiritual, it seems that it cannot be contained in a corporeal sacrament.
Sed contra est quod Hugo de sancto Victore dicit, quod sacramentum ex sanctificatione invisibilem gratiam continet. On the contrary, Hugh of S. Victor says (De Sacram. i) that "a sacrament, through its being sanctified, contains an invisible grace."
Respondeo dicendum quod multipliciter dicitur aliquid esse in alio, inter quos duplici modo gratia est in sacramentis. Uno modo, sicut in signis, nam sacramentum est signum gratiae. Alio modo, sicut in causa. Nam, sicut dictum est, sacramentum novae legis est instrumentalis gratiae causa. Unde gratia est in sacramento novae legis, non quidem secundum similitudinem speciei, sicut effectus est in causa univoca; neque etiam secundum aliquam formam propriam et permanentem proportionatam ad talem effectum, sicut sunt effectus in causis non univocis, puta res generatae in sole; sed secundum quandam instrumentalem virtutem, quae est fluens et incompleta in esse naturae, ut infra dicetur. I answer that, A thing is said to be in another in various ways; in two of which grace is said to be in the sacraments. First, as in its sign; for a sacrament is a sign of grace. Secondly, as in its cause; for, as stated above (Article [1]) a sacrament of the New Law is an instrumental cause of grace. Wherefore grace is in a sacrament of the New Law, not as to its specific likeness, as an effect in its univocal cause; nor as to some proper and permanent form proportioned to such an effect, as effects in non-univocal causes, for instance, as things generated are in the sun; but as to a certain instrumental power transient and incomplete in its natural being, as will be explained later on (Article [4]).
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod gratia non dicitur esse in sacramento sicut in subiecto; neque sicut in vase prout vas est locus quidam, sed prout vas dicitur instrumentum alicuius operis faciendi, secundum quod dicitur Ezech. IX, unusquisque vas interfectionis habet in manu sua. Reply to Objection 1: Grace is said to be in a sacrament not as in its subject; nor as in a vessel considered as a place, but understood as the instrument of some work to be done, according to Ezech. 9:1: "Everyone hath a destroying vessel [Douay: 'weapon'] in his hand."
Ad secundum dicendum quod, quamvis accidens non transeat a subiecto in subiectum, transit tamen a causa per instrumentum aliqualiter in subiectum, non ut eodem modo sit in eis, sed in unoquoque secundum propriam rationem. Reply to Objection 2: Although an accident does not pass from one subject to another, nevertheless in a fashion it does pass from its cause into its subject through the instrument; not so that it be in each of these in the same way, but in each according to its respective nature.
Ad tertium dicendum quod spirituale existens perfecte in aliquo, continet ipsum, et non continetur ab eo. Sed gratia est in sacramento secundum esse fluens et incompletum. Et ideo non inconvenienter sacramentum dicitur gratiam continere. Reply to Objection 3: If a spiritual thing exist perfectly in something, it contains it and is not contained by it. But, in a sacrament, grace has a passing and incomplete mode of being: and consequently it is not unfitting to say that the sacraments contain grace.

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Article: 4  [ << | >> ]

Whether there be in the sacraments a power of causing grace?

Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod in sacramentis non sit aliqua virtus gratiae causativa. Virtus enim gratiae causativa est virtus spiritualis. Sed in corpore non potest esse virtus spiritualis, neque ita quod sit propria ei, quia virtus fluit ab essentia rei, et ita non potest eam transcendere; neque ita quod recipiat eam ab alio, quia quod recipitur ab aliquo, est in eo per modum recipientis. Ergo in sacramentis non potest esse aliqua virtus gratiae causativa. Objection 1: It seems that there is not in the sacraments a power of causing grace. For the power of causing grace is a spiritual power. But a spiritual power cannot be in a body; neither as proper to it, because power flows from a thing's essence and consequently cannot transcend it; nor as derived from something else, because that which is received into anything follows the mode of the recipient. Therefore in the sacraments there is no power of causing grace.
Praeterea, omne quod est, reducitur ad aliquod genus entis, et ad aliquem gradum boni. Sed non est dare in quo genere entis sit talis virtus, ut patet discurrenti per singula. Nec etiam potest reduci ad aliquem gradum bonorum, neque enim est inter minima bona, quia sacramenta sunt de necessitate salutis; neque etiam inter media bona, cuiusmodi sunt potentiae animae, quae sunt quaedam potentiae naturales; neque inter maxima bona, quia nec est gratia nec virtus mentis. Ergo videtur quod in sacramentis nulla sit virtus gratiae causativa. Objection 2: Further, whatever exists is reducible to some kind of being and some degree of good. But there is no assignable kind of being to which such a power can belong; as anyone may see by running. through them all. Nor is it reducible to some degree of good; for neither is it one of the goods of least account, since sacraments are necessary for salvation: nor is it an intermediate good, such as are the powers of the soul, which are natural powers; nor is it one of the greater goods, for it is neither grace nor a virtue of the mind. Therefore it seems that in the sacraments there is no power of causing grace.
Praeterea, si talis virtus est in sacramentis, non causatur in eis nisi per creationem a Deo. Sed inconveniens videtur quod tam nobilis creatura statim esse desinat sacramento perfecto. Ergo videtur quod nulla virtus sit in sacramentis ad gratiam causandam. Objection 3: Further, if there be such a power in the sacraments, its presence there must be due to nothing less than a creative act of God. But it seems unbecoming that so excellent a being created by God should cease to exist as soon as the sacrament is complete. Therefore it seems that in the sacraments there is no power for causing grace.
Praeterea, idem non potest esse in diversis. Sed ad sacramenta concurrunt diversa, scilicet verba et res, unius autem sacramenti non potest esse nisi una virtus. Ergo videtur quod in sacramentis nulla sit virtus. Objection 4: Further, the same thing cannot be in several. But several things concur in the completion of a sacrament, namely, words and things: while in one sacrament there can be but one power. Therefore it seems that there is no power of causing grace in the sacraments.
Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., quae tanta vis aquae ut corpus tangat et cor abluat? Et Beda dicit quod dominus tactu suae mundissimae carnis vim regenerativam contulit aquis. On the contrary, Augustine says (Tract. lxxx in Joan.): "Whence hath water so great power, that it touches the body and cleanses the heart?" And Bede says that "Our Lord conferred a power of regeneration on the waters by the contact of His most pure body."
Respondeo dicendum quod illi qui ponunt quod sacramenta non causant gratiam nisi per quandam concomitantiam, ponunt quod in sacramento non sit aliqua virtus quae operetur ad sacramenti effectum, est tamen virtus divina sacramento coassistens, quae sacramentalem effectum operatur. Sed ponendo quod sacramentum est instrumentalis causa gratiae, necesse est simul ponere quod in sacramento sit quaedam virtus instrumentalis ad inducendum sacramentalem effectum. Et haec quidem virtus proportionatur instrumento. Unde comparatur ad virtutem absolutam et perfectam alicuius rei sicut comparatur instrumentum ad agens principale. Instrumentum enim, ut dictum est, non operatur nisi inquantum est motum a principali agente, quod per se operatur. Et ideo virtus principalis agentis habet permanens et completum esse in natura, virtus autem instrumentalis habet esse transiens ex uno in aliud, et incompletum; sicut et motus est actus imperfectus ab agente in patiens. I answer that, Those who hold that the sacraments do not cause grace save by a certain coincidence, deny the sacraments any power that is itself productive of the sacramental effect, and hold that the Divine power assists the sacraments and produces their effect. But if we hold that a sacrament is an instrumental cause of grace, we must needs allow that there is in the sacraments a certain instrumental power of bringing about the sacramental effects. Now such power is proportionate to the instrument: and consequently it stands in comparison to the complete and perfect power of anything, as the instrument to the principal agent. For an instrument, as stated above (Article [1]), does not work save as moved by the principal agent, which works of itself. And therefore the power of the principal agent exists in nature completely and perfectly: whereas the instrumental power has a being that passes from one thing into another, and is incomplete; just as motion is an imperfect act passing from agent to patient.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod virtus spiritualis non potest esse in re corporea per modum virtutis permanentis et completae, sicut ratio probat. Nihil tamen prohibet in corpore esse virtutem spiritualem instrumentalem, inquantum scilicet corpus potest moveri ab aliqua substantia spirituali ad aliquem effectum spiritualem inducendum; sicut etiam in ipsa voce sensibili est quaedam vis spiritualis ad excitandum intellectum hominis, inquantum procedit a conceptione mentis. Et hoc modo vis spiritualis est in sacramentis, inquantum ordinantur a Deo ad effectum spiritualem. Reply to Objection 1: A spiritual power cannot be in a corporeal subject, after the manner of a permanent and complete power, as the argument proves. But there is nothing to hinder an instrumental spiritual power from being in a body; in so far as a body can be moved by a particular spiritual substance so as to produce a particular spiritual effect; thus in the very voice which is perceived by the senses there is a certain spiritual power, inasmuch as it proceeds from a mental concept, of arousing the mind of the hearer. It is in this way that a spiritual power is in the sacraments, inasmuch as they are ordained by God unto the production of a spiritual effect.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut motus, eo quod est actus imperfectus, non proprie est in aliquo genere, sed reducitur ad genus actus perfecti, sicut alteratio ad qualitatem, ita virtus instrumentalis non est, proprie loquendo, in aliquo genere, sed reducitur ad genus et speciem virtutis perfectae. Reply to Objection 2: Just as motion, through being an imperfect act, is not properly in a genus, but is reducible to a genus of perfect act, for instance, alteration to the genus of quality: so, instrumental power, properly speaking, is not in any genus, but is reducible to a genus and species of perfect act.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut virtus instrumentalis acquiritur instrumento ex hoc ipso quod movetur ab agente principali, ita et sacramentum consequitur spiritualem virtutem ex benedictione Christi et applicatione ministri ad usum sacramenti. Unde Augustinus dicit, in quodam sermone de Epiphania, nec mirum quod aquam, hoc est substantiam corporalem, ad purificandam animam dicimus pervenire. Pervenit plane, et penetrat conscientiae universa latibula. Quamvis enim ipsa sit subtilis et tenuis, benedictione tamen Christi subtilior, occultas vitae causas ad secreta mentis subtili rore pertransit. Reply to Objection 3: Just as an instrumental power accrues to an instrument through its being moved by the principal agent, so does a sacrament receive spiritual power from Christ's blessing and from the action of the minister in applying it to a sacramental use. Hence Augustine says in a sermon on the Epiphany (St. Maximus of Turin, Serm. xii): "Nor should you marvel, if we say that water, a corporeal substance, achieves the cleansing of the soul. It does indeed, and penetrates every secret hiding-place of the conscience. For subtle and clear as it is, the blessing of Christ makes it yet more subtle, so that it permeates into the very principles of life and searches the inner-most recesses of the heart."
Ad quartum dicendum quod, sicut eadem vis principalis agentis instrumentaliter invenitur in omnibus instrumentis ordinatis ad effectum, prout sunt quodam ordine unum; ita etiam eadem vis sacramentalis invenitur in verbis et rebus, prout ex verbis et rebus perficitur unum sacramentum. Reply to Objection 4: Just as the one same power of the principal agent is instrumentally in all the instruments that are ordained unto the production of an effect, forasmuch as they are one as being so ordained: so also the one same sacramental power is in both words and things, forasmuch as words and things combine to form one sacrament.

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Article: 5  [ << | >> ]

Whether the sacraments of the New Law derive their power from Christ's Passion?

Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sacramenta novae legis non habeant virtutem ex passione Christi. Virtus enim sacramentorum est ad gratiam causandam in anima, per quam spiritualiter vivit. Sed, sicut Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., verbum prout erat in principio apud Deum, vivificat animas, secundum autem quod est caro factum, vivificat corpora. Cum igitur passio Christi pertineat ad verbum secundum quod est caro factum, videtur quod non possit causare virtutem sacramentorum. Objection 1: It seems that the sacraments of the New Law do not derive their power from Christ's Passion. For the power of the sacraments is in the causing of grace which is the principle of spiritual life in the soul. But as Augustine says (Tract. xix in Joan.): "The Word, as He was in the beginning with God, quickens souls; as He was made flesh, quickens bodies." Since, therefore, Christ's Passion pertains to the Word as made flesh, it seems that it cannot cause the power of the sacraments.
Praeterea, virtus sacramentorum videtur ex fide dependere, quia, sicut Augustinus dicit, super Ioan., verbum Dei perficit sacramentum, non quia dicitur, sed quia creditur. Sed fides nostra non solum respicit passionem Christi, sed etiam alia mysteria humanitatis ipsius, et principalius etiam divinitatem eius. Ergo videtur quod sacramenta non habeant specialiter virtutem a passione Christi. Objection 2: Further, the power of the sacraments seems to depend on faith. for as Augustine says (Tract. lxxx in Joan.), the Divine Word perfects the sacrament "not because it is spoken, but because it is believed." But our faith regards not only Christ's Passion, but also the other mysteries of His humanity, and in a yet higher measure, His Godhead. Therefore it seems that the power of the sacraments is not due specially to Christ's Passion.
Praeterea, sacramenta ordinantur ad hominum iustificationem, secundum illud I Cor. VI, abluti estis, et iustificati estis. Sed iustificatio attribuitur resurrectioni, secundum illud Rom. IV, resurrexit propter iustificationem nostram. Ergo videtur quod sacramenta magis habeant virtutem a resurrectione Christi quam ab eius passione. Objection 3: Further, the sacraments are ordained unto man's justification, according to 1 Cor. 6:11: "You are washed... you are justified." Now justification is ascribed to the Resurrection, according to Rm. 4:25: "(Who) rose again for our justification." Therefore it seems that the sacraments derive their power from Christ's Resurrection rather than from His Passion.
Sed contra est quod, super illud Rom. V, in similitudinem praevaricationis Adae etc., dicit Glossa, ex latere Christi dormientis fluxerunt sacramenta, per quae salvata est Ecclesia. Sic ergo videntur sacramenta virtutem habere ex passione Christi. On the contrary, on Rm. 5:14: "After the similitude of the transgression of Adam," etc., the gloss says: "From the side of Christ asleep on the Cross flowed the sacraments which brought salvation to the Church." Consequently, it seems that the sacraments derive their power from Christ's Passion.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut dictum est, sacramentum operatur ad gratiam causandam per modum instrumenti. Est autem duplex instrumentum, unum quidem separatum, ut baculus; aliud autem coniunctum, ut manus. Per instrumentum autem coniunctum movetur instrumentum separatum, sicut baculus per manum. Principalis autem causa efficiens gratiae est ipse Deus, ad quem comparatur humanitas Christi sicut instrumentum coniunctum, sacramentum autem sicut instrumentum separatum. Et ideo oportet quod virtus salutifera derivetur a divinitate Christi per eius humanitatem in ipsa sacramenta. I answer that, As stated above (Article [1]) a sacrament in causing grace works after the manner of an instrument. Now an instrument is twofold. the one, separate, as a stick, for instance; the other, united, as a hand. Moreover, the separate instrument is moved by means of the united instrument, as a stick by the hand. Now the principal efficient cause of grace is God Himself, in comparison with Whom Christ's humanity is as a united instrument, whereas the sacrament is as a separate instrument. Consequently, the saving power must needs be derived by the sacraments from Christ's Godhead through His humanity.
Gratia autem sacramentalis ad duo praecipue ordinari videtur, videlicet ad tollendos defectus praeteritorum peccatorum, inquantum transeunt actu et remanent reatu; et iterum ad perficiendum animam in his quae pertinent ad cultum Dei secundum religionem Christianae vitae. Manifestum est autem ex his quae supra dicta sunt, quod Christus liberavit nos a peccatis nostris praecipue per suam passionem, non solum efficienter et meritorie, sed etiam satisfactorie. Similiter etiam per suam passionem initiavit ritum Christianae religionis, offerens seipsum oblationem et hostiam Deo, ut dicitur Ephes. V. Unde manifestum est quod sacramenta Ecclesiae specialiter habent virtutem ex passione Christi, cuius virtus quodammodo nobis copulatur per susceptionem sacramentorum. In cuius signum, de latere Christi pendentis in cruce fluxerunt aqua et sanguis, quorum unum pertinet ad Baptismum, aliud ad Eucharistiam, quae sunt potissima sacramenta. Now sacramental grace seems to be ordained principally to two things: namely, to take away the defects consequent on past sins, in so far as they are transitory in act, but endure in guilt; and, further, to perfect the soul in things pertaining to Divine Worship in regard to the Christian Religion. But it is manifest from what has been stated above (Question [48], Articles [1],2,6; Question [49], Articles [1],3) that Christ delivered us from our sins principally through His Passion, not only by way of efficiency and merit, but also by way of satisfaction. Likewise by His Passion He inaugurated the Rites of the Christian Religion by offering "Himself---an oblation and a sacrifice to God" (Eph. 5:2). Wherefore it is manifest that the sacraments of the Church derive their power specially from Christ's Passion, the virtue of which is in a manner united to us by our receiving the sacraments. It was in sign of this that from the side of Christ hanging on the Cross there flowed water and blood, the former of which belongs to Baptism, the latter to the Eucharist, which are the principal sacraments.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod verbum prout erat in principio apud Deum, vivificat animas sicut agens principale, caro tamen eius, et mysteria in ea perpetrata, operantur instrumentaliter ad animae vitam. Ad vitam autem corporis non solum instrumentaliter, sed etiam per quandam exemplaritatem, ut supra dictum est. Reply to Objection 1: The Word, forasmuch as He was in the beginning with God, quickens souls as principal agent; but His flesh, and the mysteries accomplished therein, are as instrumental causes in the process of giving life to the soul: while in giving life to the body they act not only as instrumental causes, but also to a certain extent as exemplars, as we stated above (Question [56], Article [1], ad 3).
Ad secundum dicendum quod per fidem Christus habitat in nobis, ut dicitur Ephes. III. Et ideo virtus Christi copulatur nobis per fidem. Virtus autem remissiva peccatorum speciali quodam modo pertinet ad passionem ipsius. Et ideo per fidem passionis eius specialiter homines liberantur a peccatis, secundum illud Rom. III, quem proposuit Deus propitiatorem per fidem in sanguine eius. Et ideo virtus sacramentorum, quae ordinatur ad tollendum peccata, praecipue est ex fide passionis Christi. Reply to Objection 2: Christ dwells in us "by faith" (Eph. 3:17). Consequently, by faith Christ's power is united to us. Now the power of blotting out sin belongs in a special way to His Passion. And therefore men are delivered from sin especially by faith in His Passion, according to Rm. 3:25: "Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in His Blood." Therefore the power of the sacraments which is ordained unto the remission of sins is derived principally from faith in Christ's Passion.
Ad tertium dicendum quod iustificatio attribuitur resurrectioni ratione termini ad quem, qui est novitas vitae per gratiam. Attribuitur tamen passioni ratione termini a quo, scilicet quantum ad dimissionem culpae. Reply to Objection 3: Justification is ascribed to the Resurrection by reason of the term "whither," which is newness of life through grace. But it is ascribed to the Passion by reason of the term "whence," i.e. in regard to the forgiveness of sin.

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Question: 62 [ << | >> ]
Article: 6  [ << | >> ]

Whether the sacraments of the Old Law caused grace?

Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod sacramenta veteris legis gratiam causarent. Quia sicut dictum est, sacramenta novae legis habent efficaciam ex fide passionis Christi. Sed fides passionis Christi fuit in veteri lege, sicut et in nova, habemus enim eundem spiritum fidei, ut habetur II Cor. IV. Sicut ergo sacramenta novae legis conferunt gratiam, ita etiam sacramenta veteris legis gratiam conferebant. Objection 1: It seems that the sacraments of the Old Law caused grace. For, as stated above (Article [5], ad 2) the sacraments of the New Law derive their efficacy from faith in Christ's Passion. But there was faith in Christ's Passion under the Old Law, as well as under the New, since we have "the same spirit of faith" (2 Cor. 4:13). Therefore just as the sacraments of the New Law confer grace, so did the sacraments of the Old Law.
Praeterea, sanctificatio non fit nisi per gratiam. Sed per sacramenta veteris legis homines sanctificabantur, dicitur enim Levit. VIII, cumque sanctificasset eos, Moyses scilicet Aaron et filios eius, in vestitu suo, et cetera. Ergo videtur quod sacramenta veteris legis gratiam conferebant. Objection 2: Further, there is no sanctification save by grace. But men were sanctified by the sacraments of the Old Law: for it is written (Lev. 8:31): "And when he," i.e. Moses, "had sanctified them," i.e. Aaron and his sons, "in their vestments," etc. Therefore it seems that the sacraments of the Old Law conferred grace.
Praeterea, Beda dicit, in homilia circumcisionis, idem salutiferae curationis auxilium circumcisio in lege contra originalis peccati vulnus agebat quod Baptismus agere revelatae tempore gratiae consuevit. Sed Baptismus nunc confert gratiam. Ergo circumcisio gratiam conferebat. Et pari ratione alia sacramenta legalia, quia sicut Baptismus est ianua sacramentorum novae legis, ita circumcisio erat ianua sacramentorum veteris legis; propter quod apostolus dicit, Galat. V, testificor omni circumcidenti se, quoniam debitor est universae legis faciendae. Objection 3: Further, Bede says in a homily on the Circumcision: "Under the Law circumcision provided the same health-giving balm against the wound of original sin, as baptism in the time of revealed grace." But Baptism confers grace now. Therefore circumcision conferred grace; and in like manner, the other sacraments of the Law; for just as Baptism is the door of the sacraments of the New Law, so was circumcision the door of the sacraments of the Old Law: hence the Apostle says (Gal. 5:3): "I testify to every man circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to the whole law."
Sed contra est quod dicitur Galat. IV, convertimini iterum ad infirma et egena elementa? Glossa, idest ad legem, quae dicitur infirma, quia perfecte non iustificat. Sed gratia perfecte iustificat. Ergo sacramenta veteris legis gratiam non conferebant. On the contrary, It is written (Gal. 4:9): "Turn you again to the weak and needy elements?" i.e. "to the Law," says the gloss, "which is called weak, because it does not justify perfectly." But grace justifies perfectly. Therefore the sacraments of the old Law did not confer grace.
Respondeo dicendum quod non potest dici quod sacramenta veteris legis conferrent gratiam iustificantem per seipsa, idest propria virtute, quia sic non fuisset necessaria passio Christi, secundum illud Galat. II, si ex lege est iustitia, Christus gratis mortuus est. I answer that, It cannot be said that the sacraments of the Old Law conferred sanctifying grace of themselves, i.e. by their own power: since thus Christ's Passion would not have been necessary, according to Gal. 2:21: "If justice be by the Law, then Christ died in vain."
Sed nec potest dici quod ex passione Christi virtutem haberent conferendi gratiam iustificandi. Sicut enim ex praedictis patet, virtus passionis Christi copulatur nobis per fidem et sacramenta, differenter tamen, nam continuatio quae est per fidem, fit per actum animae; continuatio autem quae est per sacramenta, fit per usum exteriorum rerum. Nihil autem prohibet id quod est posterius tempore, antequam sit, movere, secundum quod praecedit in actu animae, sicut finis, qui est posterior tempore, movet agentem secundum quod est apprehensus et desideratus ab ipso. Sed illud quod nondum est in rerum natura, non movet secundum usum exteriorum rerum. Unde causa efficiens non potest esse posterior in esse, ordine durationis, sicut causa finalis. Sic igitur manifestum est quod a passione Christi, quae est causa humanae iustificationis, convenienter derivatur virtus iustificativa ad sacramenta novae legis, non autem ad sacramenta veteris legis. But neither can it be said that they derived the power of conferring sanctifying grace from Christ's Passion. For as it was stated above (Article [5]), the power of Christ's Passion is united to us by faith and the sacraments, but in different ways; because the link that comes from faith is produced by an act of the soul; whereas the link that comes from the sacraments, is produced by making use of exterior things. Now nothing hinders that which is subsequent in point of time, from causing movement, even before it exists in reality, in so far as it pre-exists in an act of the soul: thus the end, which is subsequent in point of time, moves the agent in so far as it is apprehended and desired by him. On the other hand, what does not yet actually exist, does not cause movement if we consider the use of exterior things. Consequently, the efficient cause cannot in point of time come into existence after causing movement, as does the final cause. It is therefore clear that the sacraments of the New Law do reasonably derive the power of justification from Christ's Passion, which is the cause of man's righteousness; whereas the sacraments of the Old Law did not.
Et tamen per fidem passionis Christi iustificabantur antiqui patres, sicut et nos. Sacramenta autem veteris legis erant quaedam illius fidei protestationes, inquantum significabant passionem Christi et effectus eius. Sic ergo patet quod sacramenta veteris legis non habebant in se aliquam virtutem qua operarentur ad conferendam gratiam iustificantem, sed solum significabant fidem, per quam iustificabantur. Nevertheless the Fathers of old were justified by faith in Christ's Passion, just as we are. And the sacraments of the old Law were a kind of protestation of that faith, inasmuch as they signified Christ's Passion and its effects. It is therefore manifest that the sacraments of the Old Law were not endowed with any power by which they conduced to the bestowal of justifying grace: and they merely signified faith by which men were justified.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod antiqui patres habebant fidem de passione Christi futura, quae, secundum quod erat in apprehensione animae, poterat iustificare. Sed nos habemus fidem de passione Christi praecedenti, quae potest iustificare etiam secundum realem usum sacramentalium rerum, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 1: The Fathers of old had faith in the future Passion of Christ, which, inasmuch as it was apprehended by the mind, was able to justify them. But we have faith in the past Passion of Christ, which is able to justify, also by the real use of sacramental things as stated above.
Ad secundum dicendum quod illa sanctificatio erat figuralis, per hoc enim sanctificari dicebantur quod applicabantur cultui divino secundum ritum veteris legis, qui totus ordinabatur ad figurandum passionem Christi. Reply to Objection 2: That sanctification was but a figure: for they were said to be sanctified forasmuch as they gave themselves up to the Divine worship according to the rite of the Old Law, which was wholly ordained to the foreshadowing of Christ's Passion.
Ad tertium dicendum quod de circumcisione multiplex fuit opinio. Quidam enim dixerunt quod per circumcisionem non conferebatur gratia, sed solum auferebatur peccatum. Sed hoc non potest esse, quia homo non iustificatur a peccato nisi per gratiam, secundum illud Rom. III, iustificati gratis per gratiam ipsius. Reply to Objection 3: There have been many opinions about Circumcision. For, according to some, Circumcision conferred no grace, but only remitted sin. But this is impossible; because man is not justified from sin save by grace, according to Rm. 3:24: "Being justified freely by His grace."
Et ideo alii dixerunt quod per circumcisionem conferebatur gratia quantum ad effectus remotivos culpae, sed non quantum ad effectus positivos. Sed hoc etiam videtur esse falsum. Quia per circumcisionem dabatur pueris facultas perveniendi ad gloriam, quae est ultimus effectus positivus gratiae. Et praeterea, secundum ordinem causae formalis, priores sunt naturaliter effectus positivi quam privativi, licet secundum ordinem causae materialis sit e converso, forma enim non excludit privationem nisi informando subiectum. Wherefore others said that by Circumcision grace is conferred, as to the privative effects of sin, but not as to its positive effects. But this also appears to be false, because by Circumcision, children received the faculty of obtaining glory, which is the ultimate positive effect of grace. Moreover, as regards the order of the formal cause, positive effects are naturally prior to privative effects, though according to the order of the material cause, the reverse is the case: for a form does not exclude privation save by informing the subject.
Et ideo alii dicunt quod circumcisio conferebat gratiam etiam quantum ad aliquem effectum positivum, qui est facere dignum vita aeterna, non tamen quantum ad hoc quod est reprimere concupiscentiam impellentem ad peccandum. Quod aliquando mihi visum est. Sed diligentius consideranti apparet hoc etiam non esse verum, quia minima gratia potest resistere cuilibet concupiscentiae et mereri vitam aeternam. Hence others say that Circumcision conferred grace also as regards a certain positive effect, i.e. by making man worthy of eternal life, but not so as to repress concupiscence which makes man prone to sin. And so at one time it seemed to me. But if the matter be considered carefully, this too appears to be untrue; because the very least grace is sufficient to resist any degree of concupiscence, and to merit eternal life.
Et ideo melius dicendum videtur quod circumcisio erat signum fidei iustificantis, unde apostolus dicit, Rom. IV, quod Abraham accepit signum circumcisionis, signaculum iustitiae fidei. Et ideo in circumcisione conferebatur gratia inquantum erat signum passionis Christi futurae, ut infra patebit. And therefore it seems better to say that Circumcision was a sign of justifying faith: wherefore the Apostle says (Rm. 4:11) that Abraham "received the sign of Circumcision, a seal of the justice of faith." Consequently grace was conferred in Circumcision in so far as it was a sign of Christ's future Passion, as will be made clear further on (Question [70], Article [4]).

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