The Council of Trent condemns those who say that there is no difference except in the outward rite between the sacraments of the Old Law and those of the New Law (Sess. This means that they did not give grace themselves (i.e.
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Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. The subject may be treated under the following headings: Almighty God can and does give grace to men in answer to their internal aspirations and prayers without the use of any external sign or ceremony.
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God renewed, through the Patriarchs and the Prophets, the promise of salvation made to the first man; external symbols were used to express faith in the promised Redeemer: "all these things happened to them [the Israelites] in figure" (1 Corinthians ; Hebrews 10:1).
"So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. Thomas (III:61:2) and theologians generally there were no sacraments before Adam sinned, i.e., in the state of original justice.
The principal reason for a sacramental system is found in man. Thomas (III:61:1), to be led by things corporeal and sense-perceptible to things spiritual and intelligible; now Divine Providence provides for everything in accordance with its nature (); therefore it is fitting that Divine Wisdom should provide means of salvation for men in the form of certain corporeal and sensible signs which are called sacraments. For this reason the majority of theologians hold that no sacraments would have been instituted even if that state had lasted for a long time. Apart from what was or might have been in that extraordinary state, the use of sacred symbols is universal. Augustine says that every religion, true or false, has its visible signs or sacraments.