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THE DOCTRINE OF ALEXANDER OF HALES ON THE NATURE OF SACRAMENTAL GRACE In the Glossa in Quattuor Libros Sententiarum1 of Alexander of Hales as also throughout some of his Quaestiones antequam esset frater2 we find the lineaments of a theory on the nature of sacramental grace which deserves attention. The purpose of these pages lies in presenting this theory as developed and applied by the author. To do this adequately we must first investigate its application to the sacraments of baptism and penance, since it is here that the author reveals his mind more openly, and then discuss its generalized principles as they pervade both the Glossa and the Quaestiones. I. THE SACRAMENTAL GRACE OF BAPTISM AND PENANCE a) The efficacy of baptism With Alexander as with the other authors of his milieu the question of the efficacy of baptism as a means of justification involves the efficacy likewise of its counterpart in the Old Covenant, namely circumcision. The latter as a sacrament of the Old Law shared with those of the New in some wise an efficacy ex opere operato whereby its signification became effected.3 This signification extended itself to the removal of guilt, and 1 Cf. Magistri Alexandri de Hales Glossa in Quattuor Libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi, Quaracchi, Florentiae, (Bibliotheca Franciscana Medii Aevi, Tom. XII—XV), I (1951), II (1952), III (1954), IV (1957). As to the date of the Glossa, the editors assign the entire work to the years 1222—1229 (Cf. IV, p. 44*). 2 With reference to the authenticity and history of these Quaestiones cf. V. Doucet, O. F. M., Alexandri de Hales Summa Theologica, Tom. IV, Prolegomena, Quaracchi, 1948; cf. pp. CLIII—CLXXII and passim; cf. p. CLVI with reference to tíxeQuaestio de paenitentia later utilized in this article. 3 Here it suffices to quote the following quaeritur: "Potest esse quaestio, si duae sunt res huius sacramenti, scilicet circumcisio, ab originali et circumcisio plena ab omni corruptione, et hoc sacramentum quoad quid convenit cum sacramento Novae Legis in hoc quod efficit quod figurât: propter quid respectu unius rei significatae, scilicet circumcisionis ab originali, est Signum et causa; respectu vero sequentis est Signum tantrum." Glossa IV, dist. 1, P- 37—38. 334 Alexander of Hales: Sacramental Grace335 the removal of the punishment of original sin, the loss of the vision of God, carentia visionis Dei, as also to the removal of all corruption in the glorified state.4 The removal, however, of the loss of the vision of God, or the exclusion of human kind from the possibüity of attaining to the beatific vision due to original sin, constituted its principal signification .5 In accomplishing this signification, however, according to the teaching of the author, the grace of circumcision betrayed a twofold imperfection. In the first place through its proper causality it conferred habitual grace only with respect to the removal of evil, the remission of guilt, and in accordance with the theory of the author on the nature of original sin, the sublimation of man from his dedication to evil inherent to his nature from original sin. The effects of habitual grace which constitute spiritual life, with its faculties the virtues, a life which proceeds from love, it being a sacrament of the Law of fear, it did not bestow, though these effects did follow by concomitance.6 Secondly, with respect to its principal signification, the removal of the punishment of original sin, circumcision attained but an imperfect efficacy; this punishment consisted in exclusion from the vision of God. As we shall see when discussing the connection of sacramental grace with the imago recreationis, the direction which the possession of habitual graces conveys rests in the attainment of the beatific vision. The collective guilt of original sin has as its concomitance in the individual a macula or 4 Glossa IV, dist. 3, p. 64: "Circumcisio vero quantum ad rem illam quae est diminutio fomitis, impleta est in baptismo; non autem quantum ad ablationem carentiae visionis Dei. Haec est autem impleta in Passione; et propter hoc circumcisio quoad illam rem totam impleta est in morte Christi. Praeterea, est alia res circumcisionis, scilicet ablatio ab omni corruptione ; et haec iterum non est...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 334-383
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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