Of God and His Creatures

Of the Need of Sacraments

THE death of Christ is the universal cause of man's salvation: but a universal cause has to be applied to particular effects. Thus it was found necessary for certain remedies to be administered to men by way of bringing Christ's death into proximate connexion with them. Such remedies are the Sacraments of the Church. And these remedies had to be administered with certain visible signs: -- first, because God provides for man, as for other beings, according to his condition; and it is the condition of man's nature to be led through sensible things to things spiritual and intelligible: secondly, because instruments must be proportioned to the prime cause; and the prime and universal cause of man's salvation is the Word Incarnate: it was convenient therefore that the remedies, through which that universal cause reaches men, should resemble the cause in this, that divine power works invisibly through visible signs.

Hereby is excluded the error of certain heretics, who wish all visible sacramental signs swept away; and no wonder, for they take all visible things to be of their own nature evil, and the work of an evil author (B. III, Chap. XV).*

These visible sacramental signs are the instruments of a God Incarnate and Crucified (instrumenta Dei incarnati et passi).

4.51, 52 : Arguments against Original Sin, with Replies
4.57 : Of the Difference between the Sacraments of the Old and of the New Law