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we should be ruined: for neither really, nor by interpretation, could we have dissented, But if we could by interpretation have dissented, it were certainly more agreeable to God's goodness, to have interpreted for us in the better sense, rather than in the worse ; being we did neither, really and actually; and if God had so pleased, he rather might with his goodness have interpreted us to have dissented, than he could with justice have interpreted us to have consented : and therefore, certainly he did so, or would have done, if there had been need.
37. XIV. Lastly; the consequent of these is this. That because God is true, and just, and wise, and good, and merciful, it is not to be supposed that he will snatch infants from their mother's breasts, and throw them into the everlasting flames of hell for the sin of Adam, that is, as to them, for their mere natural state, of which himself was author and creator: that is, he will not damn them for being good. For
God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good :' and therefore, so is that state of descent from Adam. God is the author of it, and therefore it cannot be ill. It cannot be contrary to God, because it is his work.
38. Upon the account of these reasons I suppose it safe to affirm, that God does not damn any one to hell merely for the sin of our first father, which I sum up in the words of St. Ambrose, or whoever is the author of the commentaries upon the epistles of St. Paul attributed to him ; “ Mors autem dissolutio corporis est, cum anima à corpore separatur. Est et alia mors, quæ secunda dicitur, in Gehennâ, quam non peccato Adæ patimur, sed ejus occasione propriis peccatis acquiritur:” “Death is the dividing soul and body. There is also another death which is in hell, and is called the second death, which we do not suffer for the sin of Adam ; but, by occasion of it, we fall into it by our own sins P.”'
Next we are to inquire, whether or no it does not make us infallibly, naturally, and necessarily vicious, by taking from us original righteousness, by discomposing the order of our faculties, and enslaving the will to sin and folly, concerning which the inquiry must be made by parts.
39. For if the sin of Adam did debauch our nature, and corrupt our will and manners, it is either by a physical or
p In cap. 5. Rom.
natural efficiency of the sin itself; or, 2. Because we were all in the loins of Adam; or, 3. By the sentence and decree of God.
40. I. Not by any natural efficiency of the sin itself: because then it must be that every sin of Adam must spoil such a portion of his nature, that before he died, he must be a very beast. 2. We also, by degeneration and multiplication of new sins, must have been at so vast a distance from him at the very worst, that by this time we should not have been so wise as a fly, nor so free and unconstrained as fire. 3. If one sin would, naturally and by physical causality, destroy original righteousness, then every one sin in the regenerate can as well destroy habitual righteousness, because that and this differ not but in their principle, not in their nature and constitution. And why should not a righteous man as easily and as quickly fall from grace, and lose his habits, as Adam did ? Naturally it is all one. 4. If that one sin of Adam did destroy all his righteousness and ours too, then our original sin does more hurt, and is more punished, and is of greater malice, than our actual sin. For one act of sin does but lessen and weaken the habit, but does not quite destroy it. If therefore this act of Adam (in which, certainly, at least we did not offend maliciously) destroys all original righteousness, and a malicious act now does not destroy a righteous habit, it is better for us in our own malice, than in our ignorance, and we suffer less for doing evil that we know of, than for doing that which we knew nothing of.
41. II. If it be said, that this evil came upon us, because we all were in the loins of Adam, I consider, 1. That then by the same reason we are guilty of all the sins, which he ever committed while we were in his loins ; there being no imaginable reason why the first sin should be propagated, and not the rest ; and he might have sinned the second time, and have sinned worse. Add to this, that the later sins are commonly the worse, as being committed not only against the same law, but a greater reason, and a longer experience, and heightened by the mark of ingratitude, and deeply noted with folly, for venturing damnation so much longer : and then he that was born last, should have most original sin ; and Seth should in his birth and nature be worse than Abel, and Abel be worse than Cain. 2. Upon this account all the
sins of all our progenitors will be imputed to us, because we were in their loins when they sinned them; and every lustful father must have a lustful son, and so every man, or no man, will be lustful. For if ever any man were lustful, or intemperate, when or before he got his child, upon this reckoning his child will be so too, and then his grandchild, and so on for ever. 3. Sin is seated in the will, it is an action, and transient; and when it dwells or abides, it abides no where but in the will by approbation and love, to which is naturally consequent a readiness in the inferior faculties to obey and act accordingly; and therefore sin does not infect our mere natural faculties, but the will only, and not that in the natural capacity, but in its moral only. 4. And indeed to him that considers it, it will seem strange and monstrous, that a moral obliquity, in a single instance, should make a universal change in a natural suscipient, and in a natural capacity. When it is in nature impossible, that any impression should be made but between those things that communicate in matter or capacity; and therefore if this were done at all, it must be by a higher principle, by God's own act or sanction, and then should be referred to another principle, not this against which I am now disputing. 5. No man can transmit a good habit, a grace, or a virtue, by natural generation; as a great scholar's son cannot be born with learning, and the child of a judge cannot upon his birthday give wise sentences; and Marcus the son of Cicero was not so good an orator as his father : and how can it be then, that a naughty quality should be more apt to be disseminated than a good one; when it is not the goodness or the badness of a quality that hinders its dissemination, but its being an acquired and superinduced quality that makes it cannot descend naturally? Add to this, how can a bad quality, morally bad, be directly and regularly transmitted by an action morally good ? And since neither God that is the Maker of all, does amiss, and the father that begets, sins not, and the child that is begotten, cannot sin,-by what conveyance can any positive evil be derived to the posterity ? 6. It is generally, now-a-days especially, believed, that the soul is immediately created, not generated, according to the doctrine of Aristotle, affirming τον νούν μόνον θύραθεν έπεισvéves, xai Detov aivan móvov; that the soul is from without, and
is a divine substance"; and therefore sin cannot descend by natural generation, or by our being in Adam’s loins. And how can it be, that the father, who contributes nothing to her production, should contribute to her pollution ? That he who did not transmit life, should transmit his sin ? And yet if the soul were traduced from the parents, and begotten, yet sin could not descend, because it is not a natural, but a superinduced quality; and if it could, then it would follow, that we should from every vicious father derive a proper original sin, besides the general. 7. If in him we sinned, then it were but just, that in him we should be punished : for as the sin is, so ought the punishment to be. But it were unjust, or at least it seems so, that he should sin for be punished for him, or that he should sin for us and for himself, and yet be punished for himself alone.
42. III. But if it be said, that this happened because of the will and decree of God; then there is no more to be done, but to look into the record, and see what God threatened, and what he inflicted. He threatened death and inflicted it, with all its preparations and solemnities in men and women : hard labour in them both ; which St. Chrysostom thus expresses: Εκείνου πεσόντος, και οι μη φαγόντες από του ξύλου, γεγόνασιυ παρ' εκείνου τσάντες θνητοί : « Adam falling, even they that did not eat of the tree, were of him all born mortala.” He and all his posterity were left in the mere natural state ; that is, in a state of imperfection, in a state that was not sufficiently instructed and furnished with abilities in order to a supernatural end, whither God had secretly designed mankind. In this state he could never arrive at heaven, but that was to be supplied by other means; for this made it necessary that all should come to Christ, and is the great aŭlevtia and necessity for the baptism of infants, that they, being admitted to supernatural promises and assistances, may be lifted up to a state above their nature; not only to improve their present good, as the Pelagians affirmed, but to take off that evil state of things whither by occasion of the fall of Adam they were devolved,--and to give them new birth, adoption into Christ, and the seeds of a new nature, so to become children of God and heirs of the promises, who in their mere naturals did inherit from Adam nothing but misery, and imperfection, and death.
Tam dives verd hoc donum baptismatis esse,
p Lib. 2. de gen. an.
9 In 5. Rom.
Coelorum regnum sperate, hoc fonte renati ;
Non recipit felis yita semel genitos.
Seu patrio premeris crimine, seu proprio. So Xystus in the verses written upon the fount of Constantine. But, 2. It is not to be supposed that God did inflict any necessity of sinning upon Adam or his posterity, because from that time even unto this, he by new laws hath required innocence of life, or repentance and holiness. For besides that it is a great testimony of the divine favour that God will still employ us, and exact more services of us, and that there is no other argument of joy to us in the world, than that we are God's servants, and there can be no greater testimony, that God is our God; and that of this employing us in his service, there can be no greater evidence, than the giving to us new laws : besides this, I say, if man could not obey, it is not consistent with the wisdom of God, to require of man, what he knows man cannot do; nor with his justice to punish that in man, which he knows man cannot avoid.
43. But if it be objected, that man had strengths enough in his first creation, but when in Adam he sinned, in him also he forfeited all his strengths; and therefore his consequent disability being his own fault, cannot be his excuse; and to whatsoever laws God shall be pleased afterward to impose, he cannot plead his infirmity, because himself having brought it on himself, must suffer for it: it being just in God to exact the law of him, even where he is unable to keep it, because God once made him able, and he disabled himself. I answer many things.
44. I. That Adam had any more strengths than we have, and greater powers of nature, and by his fall lost them to himself and us, being part of the question, ought not to be pretended, till it be proved. Adam was a man, as his sons are, and no more ; and God gave him strength enough to do his duty; and God is as just and loving to us as to him, and