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mitatis ingenitæ vitium ;' so Arnobius calls our natural baseness; we are naturally weak:' and this weakness is a vice or defect of nature, and our evil usages make our natures worse; like butchers being used to kill beasts, their natures grow more savage and unmerciful; so it is with us all. If our parents be good, yet we often prove bad, as the wild olive comes from the branch of a natural olive, or as corn with the chaff come from clean grain, and the uncircumcised from the circumcised. But if our parents be bad, it is the less wonder if their children are so; a blackamoor begets a blackamoor, as an epileptic son does often come from an epileptic father, and hereditary diseases are transmitted by generation; so it is in that viciousness that is radicated in the body, for a lustful father oftentimes begets a lustful son; and so it is in all those instances where the soul follows the temperature of the body. And thus not only Adam, but every father, may transmit an original sin, or rather an original viciousness of his own. For a vicious nature, or a natural improbity, when it is not consented to, is not a sin, but an ill disposition: philosophy and the grace of God must cure it; but it often causes us to sin, before our reason and our higher principles are well attended to. But when we consent to, and actuate our evil inclinations, we spoil our natures, and make them worse, making evil still more natural. For it is as much in our nature to be pleased with our artificial delights as with our natural. And this is the doctrine of St. Austin, speaking of concupiscence. "Modo quodam loquendi voca tur peccatum, quòd peccato facta est ; et peccati, si vicerit, facit reum:" "Concupiscence, or the viciousness of our nature, is, after a certain manner of speaking, called sin; because it is made worse by sin, and makes us guilty of sin when it is consented to ".". b -"It hath the nature of sin;"-so the article of the church of England expresses it; that is, it is 'in eâdem materia;' it comes from a weak principle, ' à naturæ vitio,' 'from the imperfect and defective nature of man, and inclines to sin.' But (that I may again use St. Austin's words), “Quantum ad nos attinet, sine peccato semper essemus, donec sanaretur hoc malum, si ei nunquam consentiremus ad malum:" "Although we all have concupiscence, yet none of us all should have any sin, if we did not consent to this concupisb Lib. 1. de Nupt. et Concup. c. 23.
cence unto evil."-Concupiscence is 'naturæ vitium,' but not 'peccatum,'' a defect' or ' fault of nature,' but not formally 'a sin' which distinction we learn from St. Austin; "Non enim talia sunt vitia, quæ jam peccata dicenda sunt d❞ Concupiscence is an evil as a weak eye is, but not a sin, if we speak properly, till it be consented to; and then indeed it is the parent of sin. TíKTEL Tηv áμapríav: so St. James; "it brings forth sin.”—
85. This is the vile state of our natural viciousness, and improbity, and misery, in which Adam had some, but truly not the biggest share; and let this consideration sink as deep as it will in us, to make us humble and careful, but let us not. use it as an excuse to lessen our diligence, by greatening our evil necessity. For death and sin were both born from Adam, but we have nursed them up to an ugly bulk and deformity. But I must now proceed to other practical rules.
86. II. It is necessary that we understand that our natural state is not a state in which we can hope for heaven. Natural agents can effect but natural ends, by natural instruments and now supposing the former doctrine, that we lost not the divine favour by our guilt of what we never did consent to, yet we were born in pure naturals, and they some of them worsted by our forefathers, yet we were at the best born but in pure naturals, and we must be born again :' that as by our first birth we are heirs of death, so by our new birth we may be adopted into the inheritance of life and salvation.
87. III. It is our duty to be humbled in the consideration of ourselves, and of our natural condition. That by distrusting our own strengths we may take sanctuary in God through Jesus Christ, praying for his grace, entertaining and caressing of his Holy Spirit, with purities and devotions, with charity and humility, infinitely fearing to grieve him, lest he leaving us, we be left as Adam left us, in pure naturals, but in some degrees worsted by the nature of sin in some instances, and the anger of God in all, that is, in the state of flesh and blood,' which shall never inherit the kingdom of heaven.'
88. IV. Whatsoever good work we do, let us not impute it to ourselves, or our own choice. For God is the best es
c Lib. 2. ad Julian.
timator of that: he knows best what portion of the work we did, and what influence our will had into the action, and leave it to him to judge and recompense. But let us attribute all the glory to God, and to God's grace, for without him we can do nothing. But by him that strengthens us, that works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, by him alone we are saved. Giving all glory to God, will take nothing of the reward from us.
89. V. Let no man so undervalue his sin, or overvalue himself, as to lessen that, and to put the fault any where but where it ought to be. If a man accuses himself with too
great a rigour, it is no more than if he holds his horse too
hard when he is running down a hill. It may be, a less force would stop his running; but the greater does so too, and manifests his fear; which in this case of his sin and danger is of itself rewardable.
90, VI. Let no man when he is tempted, say that he is tempted of God. Not only because, as St. James affirms most wisely," every man is tempted, when he is led away by his own concupiscence;" but because he is a very evil speaker that speaks evil things of God, Think it not therefore in thy thought, that God hath made any necessities of sinning. He that hath forbidden sin so earnestly, threatened it so deeply, hates it so essentially, prevents it so cautiously, dissuades us from it so passionately, punishes it so severely, arms us against it so strongly, and sent his Son so piously and charitably to root out sin, so far as may be, from the face of the earth; certainly it cannot be thought that he hath made necessities of sinning. For whatsoever he hath made necessary, is as innocent as what he hath commanded; it is his own work, and he hateth nothing that he hath made, and therefore he hath not made sin. And no man shall dare to say at doomsday unto God, that he hath made him to sin, or made it unavoidable. There are no two cases of conscience, no two duties in any case, so seemingly contradictory, that whichsoever a man choose he must sin: and therefore much less is any one state a state of necessary unavoidable enmity against God.
91. VII. Use thyself to holy company and pious employment in thy early days: follow no evil example, live by rule,
e Jam. i. 13.
and despise the world; relieve the usual necessities of thy life, but be not sensual in thy appetite, accustom thyself to religion and spiritual things, and then much of that evil nature thou complainest of, will pass into virtuous habits. It was the saying of Xenocrates in Aristotle, Εὐδαίμονα εἶναι τὸν τὴν ψυχὴν ἔχοντα σπουδαίαν· ταύτην γὰρ ἑκάστῳ εἶναι δαίμονα : Happy is he that hath a diligent studious soul: for that is every man's good angel, and the principle of his felicity." 92. VIII. Educate thy children and charges strictly and severely. Let them not be suffered to swear before they can pray, nor taught little revenges in the cradle, nor pride at school, nor fightings in company, nor drinkings in all their entertainments, nor lusts in private. Let them be drawn from evil company, and do thou give them holy example, and provide for them severe and wise tutors; and what Alexander of Ales said of Buonaventure, Adam non peccavit in Buonaventurâ,' will be as truly said of young men and maidens. Impiety will not peep out so soon. It was wisely observed by Quintilian, who was an excellent tutor for young gentleman, that ourselves with ill breeding our children are the authors of their evil nature. "Antè palatum eorum, quàm os, instituimus. Gaudemus, si quid licentius dixerint. Verba, ne Alexandrinis quidem permittenda deliciis, risu et osculo excipimus." We teach their palate before we instruct the tongue. And when the tongue begins first to prattle, they can efform wantonness before words; and we kiss them for speaking filthy things:' Fit ex his consuetudo, deinde nara. Discunt hæc miseri antequam sciant vitia esse.' The poor wretches sin before they know what it is; and by these actions a custom is made up, and this custom becomes a nature."
Rules and Measures of Deportment when a Curse doth descend upon Children for their Parents' Fault, or when it is feared.
93. I. If we fear a curse upon ourselves or family for our fathers' sin, let us do all actions of piety or religion, justice or * Lib. 1. c. 2. 7. Spalding.
f Arist. 2. Topic. c. 3.
charity, which are contrary to that crime which is suspected to be the enemy; in all things being careful that we do not inherit the sin." Si quis paterni vitii nascitur hæres ; nascitur et pœnæ :" "The heir of the crime must possess the revenue of punishment."
94. II. Let the children be careful not to commend, not to justify, not to glory in, their fathers' sin, but be diligent to represent themselves the more pious, by how much their fathers were impious; for by such a contrariety and visible distance, they will avoid their fathers' shame. Eiúbaoi oi πλɛtστοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων, οὐχ οὕτως ἐπαινεῖν καὶ τιμᾷν τοὺς ἐκ τῶν πατέρων τῶν εὐδοκιμούντων γεγονότας, ὡς τοὺς ἐκ τῶν δυσκόλων καὶ χαλεπῶν, ἤνπερ φαίνονται μηδὲν ὅμοιοι τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὄντες. "For most men love not to honour and praise the sons of good men so much as the sons of wicked men, when they study to represent themselves better, and unlike their wicked parents h." Therefore,
95. III. Let no child of a wicked father be dejected and confounded in his spirit, because his fathers were impious. For although it is piety to be troubled for their fathers' regard, and because he died an enemy to God; yet in reference to themselves they must know, that God puts on every head his own punishment. Πατρὸς ὀνείδη καὶ τιμωρίας, παίδων οὐδενὶ EVVETEOSα, said Plato. For every one is submitted to his own fortune by his own act. The father's crime and the father's punishment make no real permanent blot upon the son. “No man is forced to succeed in his father's crime;" said Callistratus the lawyer.
96. IV. Every evil that happens to a son for his father's fault, hath an errand of its own to him. For as God is à just judge to his father; so he is an essential enemy to sin, and a gracious Lord to the suffering person. When God sent blindness upon the man in the Gospel, neither for his parents' sins, nor his own, yet he did it for his own glory. Let the afflicted person study by all ways to advance God's glory in the sufferance, and the sharpness of the evil will be taken off.
97. V. Let not a son retain the price of his father's sin, the purchase of his iniquity. If his father entered into the fields of the fatherless, let not the son dwell there. If his
Isocrat. ep. ad Tim. Lange. p. 746.