Inasmuch as all these benefits are already offered

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inasmuch as all these benefits are already offered through the inner operation of the love of Christ, Aquinas has combined the theories of Anselm and Abelard by joining the one to the other. The Sacraments The doctrine of the sacraments follows the Christology; the sacraments "have efficacy from the incarnate Word himself". They are not only signs of sanctification, but bring it about. It is inevitable that they bring spiritual gifts in sensuous form, because of the sensuous nature of man. The res sensibiles are the matter, the words of institution the form of the sacraments. Contrary to the Franciscan view that the sacraments are mere symbols whose efficacy God accompanies with a directly following creative act in the soul, Aquinas holds it not unfit to agree with Hugo of St. Victor that "a sacrament contains grace", or to teach that they "cause grace". Aquinas attempts to remove the difficulty of a sensuous thing producing a creative effect, by distinguishing between the causa principalis et instrumentalis . God as the principal cause works through the sensuous thing as the means ordained by him for his end. "Just as instrumental power is acquired by the instrument from this, that it is moved by the principal agent, so also the sacrament obtains spiritual power from the benediction of Christ and the application of the minister to the use of the sacrament. There is spiritual power in the sacraments in so far as they have been ordained by God for a spiritual effect". This spiritual power remains in the sensuous thing until it has attained its purpose. At the same time Aquinas distinguished the gratia sacramentalis from the
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gratia virtutum et donorum , in that the former perfects the general essence and the powers of the soul, whilst the latter in particular brings to pass necessary spiritual effects for the Christian life. Later this distinction was ignored. In a single statement, the effect of the sacraments is to infuse justifying grace into men. That which Christ effects is achieved through the sacraments. Christ's humanity was the instrument for the operation of his divinity; the sacraments are the instruments through which this operation of Christ's humanity passes over to men. Christ's humanity served his divinity as instrumentum conjunctum , like the hand: the sacraments are instrumenta separata , like a staff; the former can use the latter, as the hand can use a staff. For a more detailed exposition cf. Seeberg, ut sup. , ii. 112 sqq. Eschatology Of Aquinas's eschatology , according to the commentary on the Sentences , this is only a brief account. Everlasting blessedness consists in the vision of God: and this vision consists not in an abstraction or in a mental image supernaturally produced, but the divine substance itself is beheld, and in such manner that God himself becomes immediately the form of the beholding, intellect; God is the object of the vision and at the same time causes the vision. The perfection of the blessed also demands that the body be restored to the soul as something to be made perfect by it. Since blessedness consists in operatio, it is made more perfect in that the soul has a definite operatio with the body, although the peculiar act of blessedness (i.e., the vision of God) has nothing to do with the body.
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