תמונות בעמוד

Greek and Roman philosophers, upon the stock and account of the learning of all their schools, could never discern the excellences of the Gospel mysteries, as of God incarnate, Christ dying, resurrection of the body, and the like. For this word fuxicòs, or animal,' and another word used' often by the Apostle, capkçkòs, carnal,' are opposed to avevmatikÒS, * spiritual ;' and are states of evil, or of imperfection, in which while a man remains, he cannot do the work of God. For

animality,' which is a relying upon natural principles without revelation, is a state privatively opposed to the Spirit; and a man in that state cannot be saved, because he wants à vital part, he wants the Spirit, which is a part of the constitution of a Christian in that capacity, who consists of body, and soul, and Spirit; and therefore anima without Spiritus, * the soul without the Spirit,' is not sufficient. For as the soul is a sufficient principle of all the actions of life, in order to our natural end and perfection, but it can bear us no further; so there must be another principle in order to a supernatural end, and that is the Spirit; called by St. Paul, véa ktíois,' the new creation;' by St. Peter, divine nature; and by this we become renewed in the inner man: the infusion of this new nature into us is called regeneration; and it is the great principle of godliness, called, grace or the Spirit, omégua Ocot, the seed of God,' and by it we are begotten by God, and brought forth by the church to the hopes and beginnings of a new life, and a supernatural end. And although I cannot say, that this is a third substance distinct from soul and body, yet it is a distinct principle put into us by God, without which we cannot work, and by which we can; and therefore if it be not a substance, yet it is more than a metaphor; it is a real being, permanent and inherent; but yet such as can be lessened and extinguished.

But' carnality,' or the state of being in the flesh, is not privatively opposed, but contrarily also, to the spiritual state or the state of grace. But as the first is not a sin derived from Adam, so neither is the second. The first is only an imperfection, or want of supernatural aids ; the other is indeed a direct state of sin, and hated by God, but superinduced by choice, and not descending naturally. Now to the spiritual state, nothing is in Scripture opposed but these two; and neither of these, when it is sinful, can be pretended, upon the

[blocks in formation]

stock or argument of any scriptures, to descend from Adam ; therefore all the state of opposition to grace, is owing to ourşelves, and not to him. Adam indeed did leave us all in an animal estate, but this state is not a state of enmity, or direct opposition to God, but a state insufficient and imperfect. No man can perish for being an animal man, that is, for not having any supernatural revelations, but for not consenting to them when he hath, that is, for being carnal as well as animal; and that he is carnal, is wholly his own choice. In the state of animality he cannot go to heaven; but neither will that alone bear him to hell : and therefore God does not let a man alone in that state: for either God suggests to him what is spiritual ; or if he does not, it is because himself hath superinduced something that is carnal.

54. Having now explicated those scriptures which have made some difficulty in this question, to what topic soever we shall return, all things are plain and clear in this article, • Noxa caput sequitur,' The soul that sinneth, it shall die.'Neque virtutes, neque vitia parentum liberis imputantur, saith St. Jerome; “ Neither the vices nor the virtues of the parents are imputed to the children u.” And therefore when Dion Chrysostomus had reproved Solon's laws, which in some cases condemn the innocent posterity; he adds this in honour of God's law: Πλήν παίδας και γένος ουκ επέξεισιν, ώς εκεί, των αμαρτανόντων αλλ' έκαστος αυτό γίνεται της άτυχίας αίτιος;

That it does not, like the law of the Athenians, punish the children and kindred of the criminal; but every man is the cause of his own misfortune.”—But concerning this, it will not be amiss, in order to many good purposes, to observe the whole economy and dispensation of the divine justice in this affair.


How God punishes the Father's Sin upon the Children. 55. I. God may and does very often bless children to reward their father's piety; as is notorious in the famous descent of Abraham's family. But the same is not the reason of favours

u Epist. 3. de Morte Nepotian.

and punishments. For such is the nature of benefits, that he in whose power they are, may without injustice give them, why, and when, and to whom, he please. :56. II. God never imputes the father's sin to the son or relative, formally making him guilty, or being angry with the innocent eternally. It were blasphemy to affirm so fierce and violent a cruelty of the most mérciful Saviour and Father of mankind; and it was yet never imagined or affirmed by any that I know of, that God did yet ever damn an innocent son, though the father were the vilest person, and committed the greatest evils of the world, actually, personally, choosingly, and maliciously: and why it should by so many, and so confidently, be affirmed in a lesser instance, in so unequal a case, and at so long a distance, I cannot suspect any reason. Plutarch, in his book against Herodotus, affirms, that it is not likely they would, meaning that it was unjust to, revenge an injury which the Samians did to the Corinthians three hundred years before. But to revenge it for ever, upon

all generations, and with an eternal anger upon some persons, even the most innocent, cannot without trembling be spoken or imagined of God, who is the great lover of souls.' Whats soever the matter be in temporal inflictions, of which in the next propositions I shall give account, yet if the question be concerning eternal damnation, it was never said, never threatened, by God to pass from father to the son. When God punishes one relative for the sin of another, he does it as fines are taken in our law, salvo contenemento,' the principal stake being safe;' it may be justice to seize upon all the smaller portions; at least it is not against justice for God in such cases to use the power and dominion of a lord. But this cannot be reasonable to be used in the matter of interest; because if God should as a, lord use his power over innocents, and condemn them to hell, he should be author to them of more evil than ever he conveyed good to them; which but to imagine, would be a horrible impiety. And therefore when our blessed Saviour took upon him the wrath of God due to all mankind, yet God's anger even in that case extended no further than a temporal death. Because, for the eternal, nothing can make recompense, and it can never turn to good,

57. III. When God inflicts a temporal evil upon the son for his father's sin, he does it as a judge to the father, but as

any man

a lord only of the son. He hath absolute power over the lives of all his creatures, and can take it away

from without injustice, when he please, though neither he nor his parents have sinned ; and he may use the same right and power when either of them alone hath sinned. But in striking the son, he does not do to him as a judge; that is, he is not angry with him, but with the parent: but to the son he is a supreme lord, and may do what seemeth good in his

own eyes.

58. IV. When God, using the power and dominion of a lord, and the severity of a judge, did punish posterity, 'it was but so long as the fathers might live and see it,' lvπούσα μάλλον ετέρα κόλασις ή τους εξ αυτών κακά πάσχοντας de' aŭtoùs opąv, said St. Chrysostom", to the third and fourth generation, no longer. It was threatened to endure no longer, in the second commandment; and so it happened in the case of Zimri and Jehu; after the fourth generation they prevailed not upon their masters' houses. And if it happen that the parents die before, yet it is a plague to them that they know, or ought to fear the evil shall happen upon their posterity; "quo tristiores perirent,” as Alexander said of the traitors, whose sons were to die after them; “ They die with sorrow and fear.”

59. V. This power and dominion which God used, was not exercised in ordinary cases, but in the biggest crimes only. It was threatened in the case of idolatry; and was often inflicted in the case of perjury, of which the oracle recited by Herodotus said,

Impete magno

Advenit, atque omnem vastat stirpemque domuinque. And in sacrilege the anger of God uses also to be severe ; of which it was observed even by the heathens taught by the Delphic priests :

Sed capiti ipsorum, quique enascuntur ab ipsis,

: Imminet; inque domo cladem subit altera clades. Those sins which the Greeks called äyn, and which the Christians called 'crying sins,' are such, in the punishment of which God did not only use his severe justice as to the offending person; but for the enlargement and extension of

[ocr errors]

: Homil. 29. in 9. Gen.

his justice, and the terror of the world, he used the rights of his power and dominion over their relatives.

60. VI. Although God threatened this, and hath a right and power to do this, yet he did not often use his right, but only in such notable examples as were sufficient to all ages to consign and testify his great indignation against those crimes, for the punishment of which he was pleased to use his right, the rights of his dominion. For although he often does miracles of mercy, yet seldom it is that he does any extraordinaries of judgment : he did it to Corah and Dathan, to Achan and Saul, to Jeroboam and Ahab; and. by these and some more expressed his severity against the like crimes sufficiently to all ages.

61. VII. But his goodness and graciousness grew quickly weary of this way of proceeding. They were the terrors of the law, and God did not delight in them. Therefore, in the time of Ezekiel the prophet, he declared against them, and promised to use it no more, that is, not so frequently, not so notoriously, not without great necessity and charity, 'Ne ad parentum exempla succresceret improbitas filiorum:'. -“As I live, saith the Lord, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. The soul that sinneth, it shall dies.”

62. VIH. The iniquity of the people, and the hardness' of their heart, did force God to use this harsh course, especially since that then there was no declaration, or intermination, and threatening the pains of hell to great sinners. Duritia populi ad talia remedia compulerat, ut vel posteritatibus suis prospicientes·legi divinæ obedirent,” said Tertullian. Something extraordinary was then needful to be done to so vile a people to restrain their sinfulness. But when the Gospel was published, and hell-fire threatened to persevering, and greater sinners, the former way of punishment was quite left off. And in all the Gospel there is not any one word of threatening passing beyond the person

of fending “ Desivit uva acerba” (saith Tertulliana), “à patribus manducata, dentes filiorum obstupefacere: unusquisque enim in suo delieto morietur:” “Now”.(that is, in the time of the Gospel)," the sour grape of the fathers shall no more

2 De Monag.

[ocr errors]

y Ezek. xviii. 3.

« הקודםהמשך »