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sonable they should be expounded so as to agree with Scripture and reason, and as may best glorify God, and that they require it. I will not pretend to believe that those doctors who first framed the article, did all of them mean as I mean; I am not sure they did or that they did not, but this I am sure, that they framed the words with much caution and prudence, and so as might abstain from grieving the contrary minds of differingmen. And I find that in the Harmony of Confessions' printed in Cambridge 1586, and allowed by public authority, there is no other account given of the English confession in this article, but that “every person is born in sin, and leadeth his life in sin, and that nobody is able truly to say his heart is clean. That the most righteous person is bụt an unprofitable servant: that the law of God is perfect, and requireth of us perfect and full obedience : that we are able by no means to fulfil that law in this worldly life: that there is no mortal creature which can be justified by his own der serts in God's sight.” Now this was taken qut of the English confession inserted in the General Apology' written in the year 1562, in the very year the articles were framed. I therefore have reason to believe, that the excellent men of our church, bishops and priests, did with more candour and moderation opine in this question ; and therefore, when by the violence and noises of some parties they were forced to declare something, they spake warily, and so as might be expounded to that doctrine, which in the General Apology was their allowed sense. However, it is not unusual for churches, in matters of difficulty, to frame their articles so as to serve the ends of peace, and yet not to endanger truth, or to destroy liberty of improving truth, or a further reformation. And sinde there are so very many questions and opinions in this point, either all the dissenters must be allowed to reconcile the article and their opinion, or must refuse her communion, which whosoever shall enforce, is a great schismatic and an uncharitable man. This only is certain, that to tie the article and our doctrine together, is an excellent art of peace, and a certain signification of obedience; and yet is a sécurity of truth, and that just liberty of understanding, which, because it is only God's subject, is then sufficiently submitted to men, when we consent in the same form of words.
The Article is this.
Original Sin standeth not in the followiny of Adam, as the
Pelagians do vainly talk. 28. “The following of Adam,”, that is, the doing as he did, is actual sin, and in no sense can it be original sin; for that is as yain as if the Pelagians had said the “ second' is the
first;' and it is as impossible that what we do should be Adam's sin, as it is unreasonable to say that his should be really and formally our sin; imitation supposes a copy, and those are two terins of a relation, and cannot be coincident, as 'like is not the same. But then if we speak of original sin as we have our share in it, yet cannot our imitation of Adam be it, possibly it may be an effect of it, or a consequent. But therefore Adam's sin did not introduce a necessity of sinning upon us : for if it did, original sin would be a fatal curse, by which is brought to pass, not only that we do, but that we cannot choose but, follow him : and then the following of Adam would be the greatest part of original sin expressly against the article.
29, “ But it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man.'
“The fault:" vitium naturæ;' so it is in the Latin copies, not a sin properly, “non talia sunt vitia, quæ jam peccata dicenda sunts,” but a disease of the soul, as blindness, or crookedness; that is, it is an imperfection or state of deficiency from the end whither God did design us : we cannot with this nature alone go to heaven; for it having been debauched by Adam, and disrobed of all its extraordinaries and graces whereby it was, or might have been, made fit for heaven,
it is returned to its own state, which is perfect in its kind, that is, in order to all natural purposes, but imperfect in order to supernatural, whither it, was designed. The case is this. The eldest son of Croesus, the Lydian, was born dumb, and by the fault of his nature was unfit to govern the kingdom; therefore his father, passing him by, appointed the crown to his younger brother; but he in a battle seeing his father in danger to be slain, in zeal to save his father's life, strained the ligatures of his tongue, till that broke which
s S. Ang
bound him; by returning to his speech, he returned to his title. We are born thus imperfect, unfit to reign with God for ever, and can never return to a title to our inheritance, till we by the grace of God be redintegrate and made perfect like Adam: that is, freed from this state of imperfection by supernatural aids, and by the grace of God be born again.
Corruption.” This word is exegetical of the other, and though it ought not to signify the diminution of the powers of the soul,-not only because the powers of the soul are not corruptible, but because if they were, yet Adam's sin could not do it, since it is impossible that an act proper to a faculty should spoil it, of which it is rather perfective : and an act of
will can no more spoil the will, than an act of understanding can lessen the understanding :-yet this word 'corruption' may mean a spoiling or disrobing our nature of all its extraordinary investitures, that is, supernatural gifts and graces, ‘á comparative corruption:' so as Moses's face, when the light was taken from it; or a diamond, which is more glorious by a reflex ray of the sun, when the light was taken off, falls into darkness, and yet loses nothing of its nature. But 'corruption' relates to the body, not to the soul, and in this article may very properly and aptly be taken in the same sense as it is used by St. Paula; “The body is sown in corruption,” that is, in all the effects of its mortality; and this indeed is a part of original sin, or the effect of Adam's sin, it introduced natural corruption, or the affections of mortality, the solemnities of death; for indeed this is the greatest part of original sin ; fault and corruption, mean the concupiscence and mortality.
“ Of the nature of every man.” This gives light to the other, and makes it clear it cannot be in us properly a sin, for sin is an affection of persons, not of the whole nature : for a universal cannot be the subject of circumstances, and particular actions, and personal proprieties; as human nature cannot be said to be drunk, or to commit adultery; now because sin is an action or omission, and it is made up of many particularities, it cannot be subjected in human nature : for if it were otherwise, then a universal should be more particular than that which is individual, and a whole should
t 1 Cor. xv.
be less than a part; · actiones sunt suppositorum,' and so for omissions ; now every sin is either one or other : and therefore it is impossible that this, which is an affection of a universal, viz. of human nature, can be a sin, for a sin is a breach of some law, to which not natures, but persons, are obliged; and which natures cannot break, because not natures, but persons only, do or neglect.
30. “That naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam."
· This clause is inserted to exclude Christ from the participation of Adam's sin. But if concupiscence, which is in every man's nature, be a sin, it is certain Christ had no concupiscence or natural desires, for he had no sin. But if he had no concupiscence or natural desires, how he should be a man, or how capable of law, or how he should serve God with choice, where there could be no 'potentia ad oppositum,' I think will be very hard to be understood : Christ felt all our infirmities, yet without sin : all our infirmities are the effects of the sin of Adam, and part of that which we call original sin; therefore all these our infirmities which Christ felt, as in him they were for ever without sin, so as long as they are only natural, and unconsented to, must be in us without sin. For whatsoever is naturally in us, is naturally in him ; but a man is not a man without natural desires; therefore these were in hiin, in him without sin; and therefore so in us, without sin, I mean, properly, really, and formally.
But there is a catachresis also in these words, or an alderfis, “naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam :" Cain, and Abel, and Seth, and all the sons of Adam, who were the first offspring, and not engendered of the offspring of Adam, were as guilty as we: but they came from Adam, but not from Adam's offspring, therefore the article is to be expounded to the sense of these words, "naturally engendered," or are “ of the offspring of Adam."
31. “Whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness.'
That is, men are devolved to their natural condition, divested of all those gifts and graces which God gave to Adam, in order to his supernatural end, and by the help of which he stood in God's favour, and innocent, until the fatal period of his fall: this original righteousness or innocence, we have
not naturally, for our natural innocence is but negative, that is, we have not consented to sin. The righteousness he had before his fall, I suppose, was not only that, but also his doing many actions of obedience, and intercourse with God, even all which passed between God and himself till his eating the forbidden fruit: for he had this advantage over us. He was created in a full use of reason;.we his descendants enter into the world in the greatest imperfection, and are born under a law, which we break before we can understand, and it is imputed to us as our understanding increases; and our desires are strongest when our understanding is weakest : and therefore by this very economy, which is natural to us, we must needs, in the condition of our nature, be very far from Adam's original righteousness, who had perfect reason before he had a law, and had understanding as soon as he had desires. This clause thus understood is most reasonable and true, but the effect of it can be nothing in prejudice of the main business, and if any thing else be meant by it, I cannot understand it to have any ground in Scripture or reason; and I am sure our church does not determine for it.
32.And is inclined to evil."
That every man is inclined to evil, some morę, some less, but all in some instances, is very true: and it is an effect or condition of nature, but no sin properly. Because that which is unavoidable, is not a sin. 2. Because it is accidental to nature, not intrinsical and essential. 3. It is superinduced to nature, and is after it, and comes by reason of the laws which God made after he made our nature; he brought us laws to check our nature, to cross and displease, that by so doing we may prefer God before ourselves: this also with some variety ; for in some laws there is more liberty than in others, and therefore less natural inclination to disobedience. 4. Because our nature is inclined to good and not to evil in some instances, that is, in those which are according to nature, and there is no greater endearment of virtue, than the law and inclination of nature in all the instances of that law. 5. Because that which is intended for the occasion of virtue and reward, is not naturally and essentially the principle of evil. 6. In the instances in which naturally we incline to evil, the inclination is naturally good, because it is to its proper object, but that it becomes morally evil, must be per