QUESTION 69: OF THE EFFECTS OF BAPTISM
We must now consider the effects of Baptism, concerning which there are
ten points of inquiry:
(1) Whether all sins are taken away by Baptism?
(2) Whether man is freed from all punishment by Baptism?
(3) Whether Baptism takes away the penalties of sin that belong to this
(4) Whether grace and virtues are bestowed on man by Baptism?
(5) Of the effects of virtue which are conferred by Baptism?
(6) Whether even children receive grace and virtues in Baptism?
(7) Whether Baptism opens the gates of the heavenly kingdom to those who
(8) Whether Baptism produces an equal effect in all who are baptized?
(9) Whether insincerity hinders the effect of Baptism?
(10) Whether Baptism takes effect when the insincerity ceases?
Article 1: Whether all sins are taken away by Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that not all sins are taken away by Baptism. For Baptism
is a spiritual regeneration, which corresponds to carnal generation. But
by carnal generation man contracts none but original sin. Therefore none
but original sin is taken away by Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, Penance is a sufficient cause of the remission of actual
sins. But penance is required in adults before Baptism, according to Acts
2:38: "Do penance and be baptized every one of you." Therefore Baptism
has nothing to do with the remission of actual sins.
Objection 3: Further, various diseases demand various remedies: because as
Jerome says on Mk. 9:27,28: "What is a cure for the heel is no cure for
the eye." But original sin, which is taken away by Baptism, is
generically distinct from actual sin. Therefore not all sins are taken
away by Baptism.
On the contrary, It is written (Ezech. 36:25): "I will pour upon you
clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness."
I answer that, As the Apostle says (Rm. 6:3), "all we, who are baptized
in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death." And further on he concludes
(Rm. 6:11): "So do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive
unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Hence it is clear that by Baptism man
dies unto the oldness of sin, and begins to live unto the newness of
grace. But every sin belongs to the primitive oldness. Consequently every
sin is taken away by Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: As the Apostle says (Rm. 5:15,16), the sin of Adam was not
so far-reaching as the gift of Christ, which is bestowed in Baptism: "for
judgment was by one unto condemnation; but grace is of many offenses,
unto justification." Wherefore Augustine says in his book on Infant
Baptism (De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. i), that "in carnal generation,
original sin alone is contracted; but when we are born again of the
Spirit, not only original sin but also wilful sin is forgiven."
Reply to Objection 2: No sin can be forgiven save by the power of Christ's
Passion: hence the Apostle says (Heb. 9:22) that "without shedding of
blood there is no remission." Consequently no movement of the human will
suffices for the remission of sin, unless there be faith in Christ's
Passion, and the purpose of participating in it, either by receiving
Baptism, or by submitting to the keys of the Church. Therefore when an
adult approaches Baptism, he does indeed receive the forgiveness of all
his sins through his purpose of being baptized, but more perfectly
through the actual reception of Baptism.
Reply to Objection 3: This argument is true of special remedies. But Baptism
operates by the power of Christ's Passion, which is the universal remedy
for all sins; and so by Baptism all sins are loosed.
Article 2: Whether man is freed by Baptism from all debt of punishment due to sin?
Objection 1: It seems that man is not freed by Baptism from all debt of
punishment due to sin. For the Apostle says (Rm. 13:1): "Those things
that are of God are well ordered [Vulg.: 'Those that are, are ordained of
God']." But guilt is not set in order save by punishment, as Augustine
says (Ep. cxl). Therefore Baptism does not take away the debt of
punishment due to sins already committed.
Objection 2: Further, the effect of a sacrament has a certain likeness to the
sacrament itself; since the sacraments of the New Law "effect what they
signify," as stated above (Question , Article , ad 1). But the washing of Baptism
has indeed a certain likeness with the cleansing from the stain of sin,
but none, seemingly, with the remission of the debt of punishment.
Therefore the debt of punishment is not taken away by Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, when the debt of punishment has been remitted, a man no
longer deserves to be punished, and so it would be unjust to punish him.
If, therefore, the debt of punishment be remitted by Baptism, it would be
unjust, after Baptism, to hang a thief who had committed murder before.
Consequently the severity of human legislation would be relaxed on
account of Baptism; which is undesirable. Therefore Baptism does not
remit the debt of punishment.
On the contrary, Ambrose, commenting on Rm. 11:29, "The gifts and the
calling of God ate without repentance," says: "The grace of God in
Baptism remits all, gratis."
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article , ad 2; Question , Articles ,4,5) by
Baptism a man is incorporated in the Passion and death of Christ,
according to Rm. 6:8: "If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we
shall live also together with Christ." Hence it is clear that the Passion
of Christ is communicated to every baptized person, so that he is healed
just as if he himself had suffered and died. Now Christ's Passion, as
stated above (Question , Article ), is a sufficient satisfaction for all the sins
of all men. Consequently he who is baptized, is freed from the debt of
all punishment due to him for his sins, just as if he himself had offered
sufficient satisfaction for all his sins.
Reply to Objection 1: Since the pains of Christ's Passion are communicated to the
person baptized, inasmuch as he is made a member of Christ, just as if he
himself had borne those pains, his sins are set in order by the pains of
Reply to Objection 2: Water not only cleanses but also refreshes. And thus by
refreshing it signifies the remission of the debt of punishment, just as
by cleansing it signifies the washing away of guilt.
Reply to Objection 3: In punishments inflicted by a human tribunal, we have to
consider not only what punishment a man deserves in respect of God, but
also to what extent he is indebted to men who are hurt and scandalized by
another's sin. Consequently, although a murderer is freed by Baptism from
his debt of punishment in respect of God, he remains, nevertheless, in
debt to men; and it is right that they should be edified at his
punishment, since they were scandalized at his sin. But the sovereign may
remit the penalty to such like out of kindness.
Article 3: Whether Baptism should take away the penalties of sin that belong to this life?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism should take away the penalties of sin that
belong to this life. For as the Apostle says (Rm. 5:15), the gift of
Christ is farther-reaching than the sin of Adam. But through Adam's sin,
as the Apostle says (Rm. 5:12), "death entered into this world," and,
consequently, all the other penalties of the present life. Much more,
therefore, should man be freed from the penalties of the present life, by
the gift of Christ which is received in Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, Baptism takes away the guilt of both original and actual
sin. Now it takes away the guilt of actual sin in such a way as to free
man from all debt of punishment resulting therefrom. Therefore it also
frees man from the penalties of the present life, which are a punishment
of original sin.
Objection 3: Further, if the cause be removed, the effect is removed. But the
cause of these penalties is original sin, which is taken away by Baptism.
Therefore such like penalties should not remain.
On the contrary, on Rm. 6:6, "that the body of sin may be destroyed," a
gloss says: "The effect of Baptism is that the old man is crucified, and
the body of sin destroyed, not as though the living flesh of man were
delivered by the destruction of that concupiscence with which it has been
bespattered from its birth; but that it may not hurt him, when dead,
though it was in him when he was born." Therefore for the same reason
neither are the other penalties taken away by Baptism.
I answer that, Baptism has the power to take away the penalties of the
present life yet it does not take them away during the present life, but
by its power they will be taken away from the just in the resurrection
when "this mortal hath put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:54). And this is
reasonable. First, because, by Baptism, man is incorporated in Christ,
and is made His member, as stated above (Article ; Question , Article ). Consequently
it is fitting that what takes place in the Head should take place also in
the member incorporated. Now, from the very beginning of His conception
Christ was "full of grace and truth," yet He had a passible body, which
through His Passion and death was raised up to a life of glory.
Wherefore a Christian receives grace in Baptism, as to his soul; but he
retains a passible body, so that he may suffer for Christ therein: yet at
length he will be raised up to a life of impassibility. Hence the Apostle
says (Rm. 8:11): "He that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall
quicken also our [Vulg.: 'your'] mortal bodies, because of His Spirit
that dwelleth in us [Vulg.: 'you']": and further on in the same chapter
(Rm. 8:17): "Heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if
we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him."
Secondly, this is suitable for our spiritual training: namely, in order
that, by fighting against concupiscence and other defects to which he is
subject, man may receive the crown of victory. Wherefore on Rm. 6:6,
"that the body of sin may be destroyed," a gloss says: "If a man after
Baptism live in the flesh, he has concupiscence to fight against, and to
conquer by God's help." In sign of which it is written (Judges 3:1,2):
"These are the nations which the Lord left, that by them He might
instruct Israel . . . that afterwards their children might learn to fight
with their enemies, and to be trained up to war."
Thirdly, this was suitable, lest men might seek to be baptized for the
sake of impassibility in the present life, and not for the sake of the
glory of life eternal. Wherefore the Apostle says (1 Cor. 15:19): "If in
this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
Reply to Objection 1: As a gloss says on Rm. 6:6, "that we may serve sin no
longer---Like a man who, having captured a redoubtable enemy, slays him
not forthwith, but suffers him to live for a little time in shame and
suffering; so did Christ first of all fetter our punishment, but at a
future time He will destroy it."
Reply to Objection 2: As the gloss says on the same passage (cf. ad 1), "the
punishment of sin is twofold, the punishment of hell, and temporal
punishment. Christ entirely abolished the punishment of hell, so that
those who are baptized and truly repent, should not be subject to it. He
did not, however, altogether abolish temporal punishment yet awhile; for
hunger, thirst, and death still remain. But He overthrew its kingdom and
power" in the sense that man should no longer be in fear of them: "and at
length He will altogether exterminate it at the last day."
Reply to Objection 3: As we stated in the FS, Question , Article ; FS, Question , Article , ad 2
original sin spread in this way, that at first the person infected the
nature, and afterwards the nature infected the person. Whereas Christ in
reverse order at first repairs what regards the person, and afterwards
will simultaneously repair what pertains to the nature in all men.
Consequently by Baptism He takes away from man forthwith the guilt of
original sin and the punishment of being deprived of the heavenly vision.
But the penalties of the present life, such as death, hunger, thirst, and
the like, pertain to the nature, from the principles of which they arise,
inasmuch as it is deprived of original justice. Therefore these defects
will not be taken away until the ultimate restoration of nature through
the glorious resurrection.
Article 4: Whether grace and virtues are bestowed on man by Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that grace and virtues are not bestowed on man by
Baptism. Because, as stated above (Question , Article , ad 1), the sacraments of
the New Law "effect what they signify." But the baptismal cleansing
signifies the cleansing of the soul from guilt, and not the fashioning of
the soul with grace and virtues. Therefore it seems that grace and
virtues are not bestowed on man by Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, one does not need to receive what one has already
acquired. But some approach Baptism who have already grace and virtues:
thus we read (Acts 10:1,2): "There was a certain man in Cesarea, named
Cornelius, a centurion of that which is called the Italian band, a
religious man and fearing God"; who, nevertheless, was afterwards
baptized by Peter. Therefore grace and virtues are not bestowed by
Objection 3: Further, virtue is a habit: which is defined as a "quality not
easily removed, by which one may act easily and pleasurably." But after
Baptism man retains proneness to evil which removes virtue; and
experiences difficulty in doing good, in which the act of virtue
consists. Therefore man does not acquire grace and virtue in Baptism.
On the contrary, The Apostle says (Titus 3:5,6): "He saved us by the
laver of regeneration," i.e. by Baptism, "and renovation of the Holy
Ghost, Whom He hath poured forth upon us abundantly," i.e. "unto the
remission of sins and the fulness of virtues," as a gloss expounds.
Therefore the grace of the Holy Ghost and the fulness of virtues are
given in Baptism.
I answer that, As Augustine says in the book on Infant Baptism (De Pecc.
Merit. et Remiss. i) "the effect of Baptism is that the baptized are
incorporated in Christ as His members." Now the fulness of grace and
virtues flows from Christ the Head to all His members, according to Jn.
1:16: "Of His fulness we all have received." Hence it is clear that man
receives grace and virtues in Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: As the baptismal water by its cleansing signifies the
washing away of guilt, and by its refreshment the remission of
punishment, so by its natural clearness it signifies the splendor of
grace and virtues.
Reply to Objection 2: As stated above (Article , ad 2; Question , Article ) man receives the
forgiveness of sins before Baptism in so far as he has Baptism of desire,
explicitly or implicitly; and yet when he actually receives Baptism, he
receives a fuller remission, as to the remission of the entire
punishment. So also before Baptism Cornelius and others like him receive
grace and virtues through their faith in Christ and their desire for
Baptism, implicit or explicit: but afterwards when baptized, they receive
a yet greater fulness of grace and virtues. Hence in Ps. 22:2, "He hath
brought me up on the water of refreshment," a gloss says: "He has brought
us up by an increase of virtue and good deeds in Baptism."
Reply to Objection 3: Difficulty in doing good and proneness to evil are in the
baptized, not through their lacking the habits of the virtues, but
through concupiscence which is not taken away in Baptism. But just as
concupiscence is diminished by Baptism, so as not to enslave us, so also
are both the aforesaid defects diminished, so that man be not overcome by
Article 5: Whether certain acts of the virtues are fittingly set down as effects of Baptism, to wit---incorporation in Christ, enlightenment, and fruitfulness?
Objection 1: It seems that certain acts of the virtues are unfittingly set
down as effects of Baptism, to wit---"incorporation in Christ,
enlightenment, and fruitfulness." For Baptism is not given to an adult,
except he believe; according to Mk. 16:16: "He that believeth and is
baptized, shall be saved." But it is by faith that man is incorporated in
Christ, according to Eph. 3:17: "That Christ may dwell by faith in your
hearts." Therefore no one is baptized except he be already incorporated
in Christ. Therefore incorporation with Christ is not the effect of
Objection 2: Further, enlightenment is caused by teaching, according to Eph.
3:8,9: "To me the least of all the saints, is given this grace . . . to
enlighten all men," etc. But teaching by the catechism precedes Baptism.
Therefore it is not the effect of Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, fruitfulness pertains to active generation. But a man is
regenerated spiritually by Baptism. Therefore fruitfulness is not an
effect of Baptism.
On the contrary, Augustine says in the book on Infant Baptism (De Pecc.
Merit. et Remiss. i) that "the effect of Baptism is that the baptized are
incorporated in Christ." And Dionysius (Eccl. Hier. ii) ascribes
enlightenment to Baptism. And on Ps. 22:2, "He hath brought me up on the
water of refreshment," a gloss says that "the sinner's soul, sterilized
by drought, is made fruitful by Baptism."
I answer that, By Baptism man is born again unto the spiritual life,
which is proper to the faithful of Christ, as the Apostle says (Gal. 2:20): "And that I live now in the flesh; I live in the faith of the Son
of God." Now life is only in those members that are united to the head,
from which they derive sense and movement. And therefore it follows of
necessity that by Baptism man is incorporated in Christ, as one of His
members. Again, just as the members derive sense and movement from the
material head, so from their spiritual Head, i.e. Christ, do His members
derive spiritual sense consisting in the knowledge Of truth, and
spiritual movement which results from the instinct of grace. Hence it is
written (Jn. 1:14,16): "We have seen Him . . . full of grace and truth;
and of His fulness we all have received." And it follows from this that
the baptized are enlightened by Christ as to the knowledge of truth, and
made fruitful by Him with the fruitfulness of good works by the infusion
Reply to Objection 1: Adults who already believe in Christ are incorporated in
Him mentally. But afterwards, when they are baptized, they are
incorporated in Him, corporally, as it were, i.e. by the visible
sacrament; without the desire of which they could not have been
incorporated in Him even mentally.
Reply to Objection 2: The teacher enlightens outwardly and ministerially by
catechizing: but God enlightens the baptized inwardly, by preparing their
hearts for the reception of the doctrines of truth, according to Jn.
6:45: "It is written in the prophets . . . They shall all be taught of
Reply to Objection 3: The fruitfulness which i ascribed as an effect of Baptism
is that by which man brings forth good works; not that by which he begets
others in Christ, as the Apostle says (1 Cor. 4:15): "In Christ Jesus by
the Gospel I have begotten you."
Article 6: Whether children receive grace and virtue in Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that children do not receive grace and virtues in
Baptism. For grace and virtues are not possessed without faith and
charity. But faith, as Augustine says (Ep. xcviii), "depends on the will
of the believer": and in like manner charity depends on the will of the
lover. Now children have not the use of the will, and consequently they
have neither faith nor charity. Therefore children do not receive grace
and virtues in Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, on Jn. 14:12, "Greater than these shall he do,"
Augustine says that in order for the ungodly to be made righteous "Christ
worketh in him, but not without him." But a child, through not having the
use of free-will, does not co-operate with Christ unto its justification:
indeed at times it does its best to resist. Therefore it is not justified
by grace and virtues.
Objection 3: Further, it is written (Rm. 4:5): "To him that worketh not, yet
believing in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reputed to
justice according to the purpose of the grace of God." But a child
believeth not "in Him that justifieth the ungodly." Therefore a child
receives neither sanctifying grace nor virtues.
Objection 4: Further, what is done with a carnal intention does not seem to
have a spiritual effect. But sometimes children are taken to Baptism
with a carnal intention, to wit, that their bodies may be healed.
Therefore they do not receive the spiritual effect consisting in grace
On the contrary, Augustine says (Enchiridion lii): "When little children
are baptized, they die to that sin which they contracted in birth: so
that to them also may be applied the words: 'We are buried together with
Him by Baptism unto death'": (and he continues thus) "'that as Christ is
risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in
newness of life.'" Now newness of life is through grace and virtues.
Therefore children receive grace and virtues in Baptism.
I answer that, Some of the early writers held that children do not
receive grace and virtues in Baptism, but that they receive the imprint
of the character of Christ, by the power of which they receive grace and
virtue when they arrive at the perfect age. But this is evidently false,
for two reasons. First, because children, like adults, are made members
of Christ in Baptism; hence they must, of necessity, receive an influx of
grace and virtues from the Head. Secondly, because, if this were true,
children that die after Baptism, would not come to eternal life; since
according to Rm. 6:23, "the grace of God is life everlasting." And
consequently Baptism would not have profited them unto salvation.
Now the source of their error was that they did not recognize the
distinction between habit and act. And so, seeing children to be
incapable of acts of virtue, they thought that they had no virtues at all
after Baptism. But this inability of children to act is not due to the
absence of habits, but to an impediment on the part of the body: thus
also when a man is asleep, though he may have the habits of virtue, yet
is he hindered from virtuous acts through being asleep.
Reply to Objection 1: Faith and charity depend on man's will, yet so that the
habits of these and other virtues require the power of the will which is
in children; whereas acts of virtue require an act of the will, which is
not in children. In this sense Augustine says in the book on Infant
Baptism (Ep. xcviii): "The little child is made a believer, not as yet by
that faith which depends on the will of the believer, but by the
sacrament of faith itself," which causes the habit of faith.
Reply to Objection 2: As Augustine says in his book on Charity (Ep. Joan. ad
Parth. iii), "no man is born of water and the Holy Ghost unwillingly
which is to be understood not of little children but of adults." In like
manner we are to understand as applying to adults, that man "without
himself is not justified by Christ." Moreover, if little children who are
about to be baptized resist as much as they can, "this is not imputed to
them, since so little do they know what they do, that they seem not to do
it at all": as Augustine says in a book on the Presence of God, addressed
to Dardanus (Ep. clxxxvii).
Reply to Objection 3: As Augustine says (Serm. clxxvi): "Mother Church lends
other feet to the little children that they may come; another heart that
they may believe; another tongue that they may confess." So that children
believe, not by their own act, but by the faith of the Church, which is
applied to them: by the power of which faith, grace and virtues are
bestowed on them.
Reply to Objection 4: The carnal intention of those who take children to be
baptized does not hurt the latter, as neither does one's sin hurt
another, unless he consent. Hence Augustine says in his letter to
Boniface (Ep. xcviii): "Be not disturbed because some bring children to
be baptized, not in the hope that they may be born again to eternal life
by the spiritual grace, but because they think it to be a remedy whereby
they may preserve or recover health. For they are not deprived of
regeneration, through not being brought for this intention."
Article 7: Whether the effect of Baptism is to open the gates of the heavenly kingdom?
Objection 1: It seems that it is not the effect of Baptism, to open the gates
of the heavenly kingdom. For what is already opened needs no opening. But
the gates of the heavenly kingdom were opened by Christ's Passion: hence
it is written (Apoc. 4:1): "After these things I looked and behold (a
great) door was opened in heaven." Therefore it is not the effect of
Baptism, to open the gates of the heavenly kingdom.
Objection 2: Further, Baptism has had its effects ever since it was
instituted. But some were baptized with Christ's Baptism, before His
Passion, according to Jn. 3:22,26: and if they had died then, the gates
of the heavenly kingdom would not have been opened to them, since none
entered therein before Christ, according to Mic. 2:13: "He went up
[Vulg.: 'shall go up'] that shall open the way before them." Therefore it
is not the effect of Baptism, to open the gates of the heavenly kingdom.
Objection 3: Further, the baptized are still subject to death and the other
penalties of the present life, as stated above (Article ). But entrance to
the heavenly kingdom is opened to none that are subject to punishment: as
is clear in regard to those who are in purgatory. Therefore it is not the
effect of Baptism, to open the gates of the heavenly kingdom.
On the contrary, on Lk. 3:21, "Heaven was opened," the gloss of Bede
says: "We see here the power of Baptism; from which when a man comes
forth, the gates of the heavenly kingdom are opened unto him."
I answer that, To open the gates of the heavenly kingdom is to remove
the obstacle that prevents one from entering therein. Now this obstacle
is guilt and the debt of punishment. But it has been shown above (Articles ,2) that all guilt and also all debt of punishment are taken away by
Baptism. It follows, therefore, that the effect of Baptism is to open the
gates of the heavenly kingdom.
Reply to Objection 1: Baptism opens the gates of the heavenly kingdom to the
baptized in so far as it incorporates them in the Passion of Christ, by
applying its power to man.
Reply to Objection 2: When Christ's Passion was not as yet consummated actually
but only in the faith of believers, Baptism proportionately caused the
gates to be opened, not in fact but in hope. For the baptized who died
then looked forward, with a sure hope, to enter the heavenly kingdom.
Reply to Objection 3: The baptized are subject to death and the penalties of the
present life, not by reason of a personal debt of punishment but by
reason of the state of their nature. And therefore this is no bar to
their entrance to the heavenly kingdom, when death severs the soul from
the body; since they have paid, as it were, the debt of nature.
Article 8: Whether Baptism has an equal effect in all?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism has not an equal effect in all. For the
effect of Baptism is to remove guilt. But in some it takes away more sins
than in others; for in children it takes away only original sins, whereas
in adults it takes away actual sins, in some many, in others few.
Therefore Baptism has not an equal effect in all.
Objection 2: Further, grace and virtues are bestowed on man by Baptism. But
some, after Baptism, seem to have more grace and more perfect virtue than
others who have been baptized. Therefore Baptism has not an equal effect
Objection 3: Further, nature is perfected by grace, as matter by form. But a
form is received into matter according to its capacity. Therefore, since
some of the baptized, even children, have greater capacity for natural
gifts than others have, it seems that some receive greater grace than
Objection 4: Further, in Baptism some receive not only spiritual, but also
bodily health; thus Constantine was cleansed in Baptism from leprosy. But
all the infirm do not receive bodily health in Baptism. Therefore it has
not an equal effect in all.
On the contrary, It is written (Eph. 4:5): "One Faith, one Baptism." But
a uniform cause has a uniform effect. Therefore Baptism has an equal
effect in all.
I answer that, The effect of Baptism is twofold, the essential effect,
and the accidental. The essential effect of Baptism is that for which
Baptism was instituted, namely, the begetting of men unto spiritual life.
Therefore, since all children are equally disposed to Baptism, because
they are baptized not in their own faith, but in that of the Church, they
all receive an equal effect in Baptism. Whereas adults, who approach
Baptism in their own faith, are not equally disposed to Baptism; for some
approach thereto with greater, some with less, devotion. And therefore
some receive a greater, some a smaller share of the grace of newness;
just as from the same fire, he receives more heat who approaches nearest
to it, although the fire, as far as it is concerned, sends forth its heat
equally to all.
But the accidental effect of Baptism, is that to which Baptism is not
ordained, but which the Divine power produces miraculously in Baptism:
thus on Rm. 6:6, "that we may serve sin no longer," a gloss says: "this
is not bestowed in Baptism, save by an ineffable miracle of the Creator,
so that the law of sin, which is in our members, be absolutely
destroyed." And such like effects are not equally received by all the
baptized, even if they approach with equal devotion: but they are
bestowed according to the ordering of Divine providence.
Reply to Objection 1: The least baptismal grace suffices to blot out all sins.
Wherefore that in some more sins are loosed than in others is not due to
the greater efficacy of Baptism, but to the condition of the recipient:
for in each one it looses whatever it finds.
Reply to Objection 2: That greater or lesser grace appears in the baptized, may
occur in two ways. First, because one receives greater grace in Baptism
than another, on account of his greater devotion, as stated above.
Secondly, because, though they receive equal grace, they do not make an
equal use of it, but one applies himself more to advance therein, while
another by his negligence baffles grace.
Reply to Objection 3: The various degrees of capacity in men arise, not from a
variety in the mind which is renewed by Baptism (since all men, being of
one species, are of one form), but from the diversity of bodies. But it
is otherwise with the angels, who differ in species. And therefore
gratuitous gifts are bestowed on the angels according to their diverse
capacity for natural gifts, but not on men.
Reply to Objection 4: Bodily health is not the essential effect of Baptism, but a
miraculous work of Divine providence.
Article 9: Whether insincerity hinders the effect of Baptism?
Objection 1: It seems that insincerity does not hinder the effect of Baptism.
For the Apostle says (Gal. 3:27): "As many of you as have been baptized
in Christ Jesus, have put on Christ." But all that receive the Baptism of
Christ, are baptized in Christ. Therefore they all put on Christ: and
this is to receive the effect of Baptism. Consequently insincerity does
not hinder the effect of Baptism.
Objection 2: Further, the Divine power which can change man's will to that
which is better, works in Baptism. But the effect of the efficient cause
cannot be hindered by that which can be removed by that cause. Therefore
insincerity cannot hinder the effect of Baptism.
Objection 3: Further, the effect of Baptism is grace, to which sin is in
opposition. But many other sins are more grievous than insincerity, which
are not said to hinder the effect of Baptism. Therefore neither does
On the contrary, It is written (Wis. 1:5): "The Holy Spirit of
discipline will flee from the deceitful." But the effect of Baptism is
from the Holy Ghost. Therefore insincerity hinders the effect of Baptism.
I answer that, As Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii), "God does not
compel man to be righteous." Consequently in order that a man be
justified by Baptism, his will must needs embrace both Baptism and the
baptismal effect. Now, a man is said to be insincere by reason of his
will being in contradiction with either Baptism or its effect. For,
according to Augustine (De Bapt. cont. Donat. vii), a man is said to be
insincere, in four ways: first, because he does not believe, whereas
Baptism is the sacrament of Faith; secondly, through scorning the
sacrament itself; thirdly, through observing a rite which differs from
that prescribed by the Church in conferring the sacrament; fourthly,
through approaching the sacrament without devotion. Wherefore it is
manifest that insincerity hinders the effect of Baptism.
Reply to Objection 1: "To be baptized in Christ," may be taken in two ways.
First, "in Christ," i.e. "in conformity with Christ." And thus whoever is
baptized in Christ so as to be conformed to Him by Faith and Charity,
puts on Christ by grace. Secondly, a man is said to be baptized in
Christ, in so far as he receives Christ's sacrament. And thus all put on
Christ, through being configured to Him by the character, but not through
being conformed to Him by grace.
Reply to Objection 2: When God changes man's will from evil to good, man does not
approach with insincerity. But God does not always do this. Nor is this
the purpose of the sacrament, that an insincere man be made sincere; but
that he who comes in sincerity, be justified.
Reply to Objection 3: A man is said to be insincere who makes a show of willing
what he wills not. Now whoever approaches Baptism, by that very fact
makes a show of having right faith in Christ, of veneration for this
sacrament, and of wishing to conform to the Church, and to renounce sin.
Consequently, to whatever sin a man wishes to cleave, if he approach
Baptism, he approaches insincerely, which is the same as to approach
without devotion. But this must be understood of mortal sin, which is in
opposition to grace: but not of venial sin. Consequently, here
insincerity includes, in a way, every sin.
Article 10: Whether Baptism produces its effect when the insincerity ceases?
Objection 1: It seems that Baptism does not produce its effect, when the
insincerity ceases. For a dead work, which is void of charity, can never
come to life. But he who approaches Baptism insincerely, receives the
sacrament without charity. Therefore it can never come to life so as to
Objection 2: Further, insincerity seems to be stronger than Baptism, because
it hinders its effect. But the stronger is not removed by the weaker.
Therefore the sin of insincerity cannot be taken away by Baptism which
has been hindered by insincerity. And thus Baptism will not receive its
full effect, which is the remission of all sins.
Objection 3: Further, it may happen that a man approach Baptism insincerely,
and afterwards commit a number of sins. And yet these sins will not be
taken away by Baptism; because Baptism washes away past, not future,
sins. Such a Baptism, therefore, will never have its effect, which is the
remission of all sins.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Bapt. cont. Donat. i): "Then does
Baptism begin to have its salutary effect, when truthful confession takes
the place of that insincerity which hindered sins from being washed away,
so long as the heart persisted in malice and sacrilege."
I answer that, As stated above (Question , Article ), Baptism is a spiritual
regeneration. Now when a thing is generated, it receives together with
the form, the form's effect, unless there be an obstacle; and when this
is removed, the form of the thing generated produces its effect: thus at
the same time as a weighty body is generated, it has a downward movement,
unless something prevent this; and when the obstacle is removed, it
begins forthwith to move downwards. In like manner when a man is
baptized, he receives the character, which is like a form; and he
receives in consequence its proper effect, which is grace whereby all his
sins are remitted. But this effect is sometimes hindered by insincerity.
Wherefore, when this obstacle is removed by Penance, Baptism forthwith
produces its effect.
Reply to Objection 1: The sacrament of Baptism is the work of God, not of man.
Consequently, it is not dead in the man, who being insincere, is baptized
Reply to Objection 2: Insincerity is not removed by Baptism but by Penance: and
when it is removed, Baptism takes away all guilt, and all debt of
punishment due to sins, whether committed before Baptism, or even
co-existent with Baptism. Hence Augustine says (De Bapt. cont. Donat.
i): "Yesterday is blotted out, and whatever remains over and above, even
the very last hour and moment preceding Baptism, the very moment of
Baptism. But from that moment forward he is bound by his obligations."
And so both Baptism and Penance concur in producing the effect of
Baptism, but Baptism as the direct efficient cause, Penance as the
indirect cause, i.e. as removing the obstacle.
Reply to Objection 3: The effect of Baptism is to take away not future, but
present and past sins. And consequently, when the insincerity passes
away, subsequent sins are indeed remitted, but by Penance, not by
Baptism. Wherefore they are not remitted, like the sins which preceded
Baptism, as to the whole debt of punishment.