Of God and His Creatures

Of the Number of the Sacraments of the New Law

THE remedies that provide for spiritual life are marked off, one from another, according to the pattern of corporal life. Now in respect of corporal life we find two classes of subjects. There are some who propagate and regulate corporal life in others, and some in whom corporal life is propagated and regulated. To this corporal and natural life three things are ordinarily necessary, and a fourth thing incidentally so. First, a living thing must receive life by generation or birth. Secondly, it must attain by augmentation to due quantity and strength. The third necessity is of nourishment. These three, generation, growth, and nutrition, are ordinary necessities, since bodily life cannot go on without them. But because bodily life may receive a check by sickness, there comes to be incidentally a fourth necessity, the healing of a living thing when it is sick. So in spiritual life the first thing is spiritual generation by Baptism: the second is spiritual growth leading to perfect strength by the Sacrament of Confirmation: the third is spiritual nourishment by the Sacrament of the Eucharist: there remains a fourth, which is spiritual healing, either of the soul alone by the Sacrament of Penance, or of the soul first, and thence derivatively, when it is expedient, of the body also, by Extreme Unction. These Sacraments then concern those subjects in whom spiritual life is propagated and preserved. Again, the propagators and regulators of bodily life are assorted according to a twofold division, namely, according to natural origin, which belongs to parents, and according to civil government, whereby the peace of human life is preserved, and that belongs to kings and princes. So then it is in spiritual lite: there are some propagators and conservators of spiritual life by means of spiritual ministration only, and to that ministration belongs the Sacrament of Order: there are others who propagate and preserve at once corporal and spiritual life together, and that is done by the Sacrament of Matrimony, whereby man and woman come together to raise up issue and educate their children to the worship of God.*

4.57 : Of the Difference between the Sacraments of the Old and of the New Law
4.59 : Of Baptism