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September 19, 2005

Ch. XXVII. Q. 144. What are the benefits of Baptism?

THE BENEFITS of Baptism are (a.) incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, and consequent regeneration and remission of sins: (b.) adoption as children of God and heirs of everlasting life, accompanied by the impression of a spiritual character suitable to such estate: (c.) spiritual capacity to receive the benefits of other Sacraments.1

2. Regeneration2 and justification are the immediate effects of incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ.3 Such contact with the source of grace is necesssarily life giving4; and a spiritual germ is imparted which by its subsequent growth must gradually transform the old man, utterly abolish the whole body of sin5, and conform the person baptized to the image of God's Son6, the likeness after which he was created7, insuring a resurrection from the dead and everlasting life and glory8. But this growth in grace may be hindered and even permanently nullified by post-baptismal sin9; and also needs to be strengthened and sustained by other sacramental means of grace.10

3. The cleansing effect of the new life is described as a "death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness: for being by nature born in sin. and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace"11. The effect in detail is that (a.) the guilt, reatus pænæ, of original sin is at once removed, germs of Faith, Hope and Charity are imparted, and grace is given to overcome the natural concupiscence with which all men are born by use of the Sacraments, and by personal discipline: (b.) The actual sins of those who repent, are also remitted; and grace is given to enter upon a new life of righteous warfare against sin. The victory over sin and growth in virtue thus made possible is gradual, and is not completed except by life-long struggle.12

4. By Baptismal union with Christ, Who is Son of God by nature, men become children of God by adoption; and by the grace of God's Holy Spirit imparted to them, they are brought into filial relations with God, and may truly call Him their Father and make the Lord's prayer their own.13 By this adoption they become heirs in their Father's home of everlasting life and blessedness, if they make their calling and election sure.14

5. This adoption is accompanied by the imparting of a character or spiritual mark by which the children of God are distinguished. It can neither be denned nor seen in this life, but is indelible and permanent, adding to the glory of those who are finally saved and to the shame of those who are lost.15

6. Baptism makes men members of Christ's Body; and the organic relation thus established enables the Holy Ghost, Who operates in Baptism and dwells especially in that Body, to impart its manifold graces to the souls and bodies of the baptized by sacramental means and under the conditions which God has ordained.16

1 S. Thos. Sum. Th. III. 69: Grueber's Sacrament of Regeneration, 52-55, 85: Forbes' N. Creed, 303-305: 39 Arts., XXVII, 492-495: Sadler's Second Adam: Schouppe, XI. 83-89: Ewer's Holy Spirit, Lec. Ill: Dix's Sacramental System, Lec. IV: Hutchings on the Holy Ghost, 180-184.

2 S. John I. 12, 33: III. 5: Tit. III. 5

3 Rom. VI. 3: Gal. III. 27: I. Cor. XII. 13; Ephes. V. 30

4 S. Mark V. 28-30: S. Luke VI. 10: Ephes. IV. 16: Col. II 19

5 Rom. VI. 6: I. John III. 9

6 Psa. XVII. 15:Rom.VI. 5: VIII. 29: I. John III. 2

7 Gen. I. 26

8 I. Cor. XV. 22, 23

9 Acts VIII. 13, 18-23: Heb. X. 26-29

10 S. John VI. 53: XIII. 6-10: Acts VIII. 14-17. Sadler's Second Adam, ch. III: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., IX. 5, 7: S. Thos. III. 69. 9,10: Forbes' 39 Arts. 486, 487: Percival's Digest, 123, 124: Hutching's, 181-184.

11 Catechism: cf. Ephes. II. 3

12 Nicene Creed: Ezek. XLVII. 1-12: Zech. XIII. 1: Acts. II, 38: XXII. 16: Ephes. V. 26: Tit. III. 5: Heb. X. 22: I. Pet. III. 21. cf. I. Cor. IX. 27: Phil. II. 12: III. 12: II. Tim. IV. 7, 8. S. Thos., III. 69. 1-6: Forbes' 39 Arts., XVI. 235, 236: XXVII. 487, 488: Mason, IX. 6.

13 Rom. VIII. 1-1-17: Gal. Ill, 26-29: IV. 5-7: Ephes. I. 5

14 S. John XIV. 2, a: Rom. VIII. 17: Ephes. I. 11: Tit. III. 5-7. cf. II. Pet. I. 10, 11. S. Thos., III. 7: Hutchings, 265, 266.

15 II. Cor. I. 21, 22: Ephes. I. 13: IV. 30: II. Tim. II. 19: Rev. IX. 1. Grueber, 85: S. Thos., III. 66. 9: Hutchings, 160, 184.

16 S. Matt. III. 11: S. John III. 5, 6: Tit. III. 5: Ephes. V. 30: Rom. VIII. L-l-15: I. Cor. XII

Posted by Trevor at September 19, 2005 11:42 AM