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Was grace given in the baptism of John?

No. The Council of Trent (Sess. VII, Canon I. on baptism) anathematized the teaching that the baptism of John had the same effect as the baptism of Christ.

St. Thomas Aquinas also answered that

The whole teaching and work of John was in preparation for Christ: just as it is the duty of the servant and of the under-craftsman to prepare the matter for the form which is accomplished by the head-craftsman. Now grace was to be conferred on men through Christ, according to John 1:17: "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." Therefore the baptism of John did not confer grace, but only prepared the way for grace; and this in three ways: first, by Johnís teaching, which led men to faith in Christ; secondly, by accustoming men to the rite of Christís baptism; thirdly, by penance, preparing men to receive the effect of Christís baptism. (Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, available at: www.newadvent.org)




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