Scotists, a philosophico-religious school which arose at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century. It derived its origin from John Duns Scotus (q.v.), and was especially opposed to the Thornists (q.v.). Scotus supposed that rational knowledge arose indirectly from divine illumination, in so far as the human mind discovers divine ideas in the objects of which they have been the types. Hence all science belongs to theologians. The struggle between the Scot-ists and the Thomists turned principally upon theological questions relative to liberty, grace, and predestination. One great question in particular was keenly discussed by the two rival sects for a long period, and indeed still divides the doctors of the Church of Rome at the present day — viz, whether the sacraments confer grace morally or physically? The physical efficacy of the sacraments was maintained by the Thomists, while their moral efficacy was inculcated by the Scotists. The followers of Duns Scotus alleged both original sin and grace to be the invariable attributes of all men, and thus they held them to be developments of the spiritual world in the ordinary course of providence. At the Reformation in the 16th century, when the Protestant party had succeeded in directing the attention of the Church to these delicate points, the Jesuits adopted the views of the Scotists. The Scotists defend the pretended immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary.

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