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The Council of Trent condemns those who say that there is no difference except in the outward rite between the sacraments of the Old Law and those of the New Law (Sess. This means that they did not give grace themselves (i.e.ex opere operato) but only by reason of the faith in Christ which they represented "ex fide significata, non ex circumcisione significante" ( The sacraments thus far considered were merely signs of sacred things.But about the time of Abraham, when faith had been weakened, many had fallen into idolatry, and the light of reason had been obscured by indulgence of the passions, even unto the commission of sins against nature, God intervened and appointed as a sign of faith the rite of circumcision (Genesis 17; III:70:2, ad 1; see CIRCUMCISION).The vast majority of theologians teach that this ceremony was a sacrament and that it was instituted as a remedy for original sin; consequently that it conferred grace, not indeed of itself (), but by reason of the faith in Christ which it expressed.It is not really a necessity, but the most appropriate manner of dealing with creatures that are at the same time spiritual and corporeal.In this assertion all Christians are united: it is only when we come to consider the nature of the sacramental signs that Protestants (except some Anglicans) differ from Catholics.Commentators on the Scriptures and theologians almost unanimously assert that there were sacraments under the law of nature and under the Mosaic Law, as there are sacraments of greater dignity under the Law of Christ.
"In nullum nomen religionis, seu verum seu falsum, coadunari homines possunt, nisi aliquo signaculorum seu sacramentorum visibilium consortio colligantur" ( XIX.11).What those signs should be God did not determine, leaving this for the people, most probably to the leaders or heads of families, who were guided in their choice by an interior inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Thomas, who says that, as under the law of nature (when there was no written law), men were guided by interior inspiration in worshiping God, so also they determined what signs should be used in the external acts of worship (III:60:5, ad 3).Afterwards, however, as it was necessary to give a written law: (a) because the law of nature had been obscured by sin, and (b) because it was time to give a more explicit knowledge of the grace of Christ, then also it became necessary to determine what external signs should be used as sacraments (III:60:5, ad 3; III:61:3, ad 2) This was not necessary immediately after the Fall, by reason of the fullness of faith and knowledge imparted to Adam.God renewed, through the Patriarchs and the Prophets, the promise of salvation made to the first man; external symbols were used to express faith in the promised Redeemer: "all these things happened to them [the Israelites] in figure" (1 Corinthians ; Hebrews 10:1)."So we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. Thomas (III:61:2) and theologians generally there were no sacraments before Adam sinned, i.e., in the state of original justice.
"The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands" (Psalm 18:2). God], from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity" (Romans ).