Whether the Infusion of Grace is Naturally the First of the Things Required for the Justification...
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Collect: Grant us, O Lord, that grace which is the beginning of our Justification, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In the Sed Contra, St. Thomas provies an argument by using a clear principle of philosophy, i.e., cause proceeds effect in nature. It is appropriate here to dwell on the liceity of such an argument.
In philosophy we distinguish between two types of syllogism, 1. Objectively Illative Syllogism, and 2. Formally Illative Syllogism. In the former, we draw a conclusion from two premises, the conclusion really distinct from the premises. For example, "Socrates is a man, men are mortal, therefore, Socrates is mortal." In this case, the conclusion is virtually contained in the premises. We are truly drawing out a new judgment that has not between made before, either in itself, or to us.
In the later, we draw a conclusion from two premises, the conclusion materially identical to one of the premises. For example, "Socrates is a man, a man is a rational animal, therefore, Socrates is a rational animal." In this case, the conclusion is implicitly contained in the premises. The judgment we are drawing out in the conclusion, is materially identical to the major premise, yet, it is formally distinct, in that we are considering the same truth under a different aspect. In other words, the conclusion is identical to the major premise in itself (quoad se), yet not identical to the major premise IN RELATION TO US (quoad nos).