Thomists a name often given to the followers of Thomas Aquinas, who, besides adopting the Aristotelian philosophy, in opposition to Duns Scotus, who held the Platonic, also taught the doctrines of Augustine on the subject of original sin, free grace, etc. He condemned the dogma of the immaculate conception, in opposition to Scotus. The two sects were also divided on the question of the sacraments, as to 'whether grace was conferred by them physically or morally; the Thomists holding the former, the Scotists the latter. Dens, who was a Thomist, in his theology, explains what is meant by the view of his party. He says, "The sacraments possess a physical causality, as the instruments of divine omnipotence, and truly and properly concur towards the production of their effects on the mind by a supernatural virtue from the principal agent, communicated to and united with it in the manner of a transient action; and, moreover, such a causality is more conformable to the declarations of Scripture, and demonstrates more fully the dignity of the sacrament, and the efficacy of the divine omnipotence and of the merits of Christ. Besides, they say that this is also more conformable to the sentiments of councils and fathers, who, as they explain the causality of the sacraments use various similitudes which: undoubtedly designate a causality more than moral." On the contrary, the Scotists teach that "the sacraments do not cause grace physically, but morally; that is, they do not produce grace as physical causes do, but as moral causes; inasmuch as they efficaciously move God to produce the grace which they signify, and which God himself promises infallibly to give as often as they are rightly administered and worthily received," etc. The Thomists were Realists, while the Scotists were Nominalists; and although the Roman see naturally inclined to favor the doctrines of the Scotists, the prestige of Aquinas was so great that the Thomists ruled the theology of the Church up to the time of the controversy between the Molinists (q.v.) and the Jansenists, when the views of the Scotists substantially prevailed. SEE AQUINAS, THOMAS A.

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