idea of favour, whether that in which one stands to others or that which one shows to others
See also:Dictionary groups the meanings of the word under three
See also:main heads: (I) Pleasing quality, gracefulness, (2) favour,
See also:goodwill, (3) gratitude, thanks . It is in the second general sense of " favour bestowed " that the word has its most important connotations . In this sense it means something given by
See also:superior authority as a concession made of favour and goodwill, not as an
See also:obligation or of right . Thus, a concession may be made by a
See also:sovereign or other public authority " by way of
See also:grace." Previous to the Revolution of 1688 such concessions on the
See also:part of the
See also:crown were known in constitutional
See also:law as " Graces." " Letters of Grace " (gratiae, gratiosa rescripta) is the name given to papal rescripts granting
See also:special privileges, indulgences, exemptions and the like . In the language of the
See also:universities the word still survives in a
See also:shadow of this sense . The word " grace " was originally a
See also:dispensation granted by the
See also:congregation of the university, or by one of the faculties, from some statutable conditions required for a degree . In the English universities these conditions ceased to be enforced, and the " grace " thus became an essential preliminary to any degree; so that the word has acquired the meaning of (a) the licence granted by congregation to take a degree, (b) other decrees of the governing
See also:body (originally dispensations from statutes), all such degrees being called " graces " at Cambridge, (c) the permission which a
See also:candidate for a degree must obtain from his
See also:college or
See also:hall . To this general sense of exceptional favour belong the uses of the word in such phrases as " do me this grace," " to be in some one's
See also:good graces " and certain meanings of " the grace of
See also:God." The
See also:style " by the grace of God,"
See also:borne by the
See also:king of
See also:Great Britain and
See also:Ireland among other sovereigns, though, as implying the principle of "
See also:legitimacy," it has been since the Revolution sometimes qualified on the continent by the addition of " and the will of the
See also:people," means in effect no more than the " by Divine
See also:Providence," which is the style borne by archbishops . To the same general sense of exceptional favour belong the phrases implying the concession of a right to delay in fulfilling certain obligations, e.g . " a fortnight's grace." In law the " days of grace " are the
See also:period allowed for the payment of a
See also:bill of
See also:exchange, after the
See also:term for which it has been
See also:drawn (in England three days), or for the payment of an
See also:insurance premium, &c . In religious language the "
See also:Day of Grace " is the period still open to the sinner in which to repent .
In the sense of clemency ormercy, too, " grace " is still, though rarely used: " an
See also:Act of Grace " is a formal
See also:pardon or a
See also:free and general pardon granted by act of parliament . Since to
See also:grant favours is the
See also:prerogative of the great, " Your Grace," " His Grace," &c., became dutiful paraphrases for the
See also:simple " you " and " he . " Formerly used in the royal address (" the King's Grace," &c.), the style is in England now confined to dukes and archbishops, though the style of " his most gracious
See also:majesty " is still used . In Germany the
See also:equivalent, Euer Gnaden, is the style of princes who are not Durchlaucht (i.e . Serene
See also:Highness), and is often used as a polite address to any superior . In the language of
See also:theology, though in the English Bible the word is used in several of the above senses, " grace " (Gr . X&pcs) has special meanings . Above all, it signifies the spontaneous, unmerited activity of the Divine Love in the salvation of sinners, and the Divine influence operating in man for his regeneration and sanctification . Those thus regenerated and sanctified are said to be in a " state of grace." In the New Testament grace is the forgiving mercy of God, as opposed to any human merit (Rom. xi . 6; Eph. ii . 5; Col. i . 6, &c.); it is applied also to certain gifts of God freely bestowed , e.g. miracles, tongues, &c .
(Rom. xv . 15; 1
See also:Cor. xv. so; Eph. iii . 8, &c.), to the Christian virtues, gifts of God also, e.g. charity, holiness, &c . (2 Cor. viii . 7; 2 Pet. iii . 18) . It is also used of the
See also:Gospel generally, as opposed to the Law (
See also:John i . 17; Rom. vi . 14; i Pet. v . 12, &c.); connected with this is the use of the term "
See also:year of grace " for a year of the Christian era . The word " grace " is the central subject of three great theological controversies: (1) that of the nature of human depravity and regeneration (see PELAGIUS), (2) that of the relation between grace and free-will (see
See also:CALVIN, JOHN, and ARMINIUS, JACOnus), (3) that of the " means of grace " between Catholics and Protestants, i.e. whether the efficacy of the sacraments as channels of the Divine grace is ex opere operato or dependent on the faith of the recipient . In the third general sense, of thanks for favours bestowed, " grace " survives as the name for the thanksgiving before or after meals .
The word was originally used in the plural, and " to do, give, render, yield graces " was said, in the general sense of theFrench rendre graces or Latin gratias agere, of any giving thanks . The close, and finally exclusive, association of the phrase " to say grace " with thanksgiving at meals was possibly due to the
See also:formula " Gratias Deo agamus " ("
See also:jet us give thanks to God ") with which the ceremony began in monastic refectories . The
See also:custom of saying grace, which obtained in pre-Christian times among the Jews, Greeks and Romans, and was adopted universally by Christian peoples, is probably less widespread in private houses than it used to be . It is, however, still maintained at public dinners and also in
See also:schools, colleges and institutions generally . Such graces are generally in Latin and of great antiquity: they arc sometimes
See also:short, e.g . " Laus Deo," "
See also:Benedictus benedicat," and sometimes, as at the
See also:Oxford and Cambridge colleges, of considerable length . In some countries grace has sunk to a polite formula; in Germany, e.g. it is usual before and after meals to
See also:bow to one's neighbours and say " Gesegnete Malzeit ! " (May your
See also:meal be blessed), a phrase often reduced in practice to " Malzeit " simply .
WILLIAM GILBERT GRACE (1848– )
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