תמונות בעמוד

should strive to make his condition better by the devil's promises. If God had been pleased to have promised to him the glories he hath promised to us, it is not to be supposed he had fallen so easily. But he did not, and so he fell, and all the world followed his example, and most upon this account; till it pleased God, after he had tried the world with temporal promises, and found them also insufficient, -to finish the work of his graciousness, and to cause us to be born anew by the revelations and promises of Jesus Christ.

69. II. A second cause of the universal iniquity of the world, is because our nature is so hard put to it in many instances; not because nature is originally corrupted, but because God's laws command such things, which are a restraint to the indifferent, and otherwise lawful inclinations of nature. I instance in the matters of temperance, abstinence, patience, humility, self-denial, and mortification. But more particularly thus: a man is naturally inclined to desire the company of a woman whom he fancies. This is naturally no sin : for the natural desire was put into us by God, and therefore could not be evil. But then God, as an instance and trial of our obedience, put fetters upon the indefinite desire, and determined us to one woman; which provision was enough to satisfy our need, but not all our possibility. This therefore he left as a reserve, that by obeying God in the so reasonable restraint of our natural desire, we might give him something of our own. But then it is to be considered, that our unwillingness to obey in this instance, or in any

of the other, cannot be attributed to original sin, or natural disability derived as a punishment from Adam, because the particular instances were postnate a long time to the fall of man; and it was for a long time lawful to do some things which now are unlawful. But our'unwillingness and averseness came by occasion of the law coming cross upon our nature; not because our nature is contrary to God, but because God was pleased to superinduce some commandments contrary to our nature. For if God had commanded us to eat the best meats, and drink the richest wines as long as they could please us, and were to be had, I suppose it will not be thought, that original sin would hinder us from obedience. But because we are forbidden to do some things which naturally we desire to do and love, therefore our nature is hard put to it; and this is the true state of the difficulty. “ Citò nequitia subrepit: virtus difficilis inventa est :” “ Wickedness came in speedily ; but virtue was hard and difficult?"

70. III. But then, besides these, there are many concurrent causes of evil which have influence upon communities of men, such as are, evil examples, the similitude of Adam's transgression, vices of princes, wars, impunity, ignorance, error, false principles, flattery, interest, fear, partiality, authority, evil laws, heresy, schism, spite, and ambition, natural inclination, and other principiant causes, which, proceeding from the natural weakness of human constitution, are the fountain and proper causes of many consequent evils. “ Quis dabit mundum ab immundo," saith Job; “ How can a clean thing come from an unclean® ?” We all naturally have great weaknesses, and an imperfect constitution, apt to be weary, loving variety, ignorantly making false measures of good and evil, made up with two appetites, that is, with inclination to several objects serving to contrary interests, a thing between angel and beast, and the later in this life is the bigger ingredient. 66 Hominem à naturâ noverca in lucem edi corpore nudo, fragili atque infirmo animo, anxio ad molestias, humili ad timores, debili ad labores, proclivi ad libidines, in quo divinus ignis sit obrutus, et ingenium, et mores :" so Cicero, as St. Austin" quotes him : “ Nature hath like a stepmother sent man into the world with a naked body, a frail and infirm mind, vexed with troubles, dejected with fears, weak for labours, prone to lusts, in whom the divine fire, and his wit, and his manners, are covered and overturned." And when Plato had fiercely reproved the baseness of men's manners, by saying, that they are even naturally evil; he reckons two causes of it, which are the diseases of the soul, but contracted he knew not how, ignorance and improbity; which he supposes to have been the remains of that baseness they had before they entered into bodies, whither they were sent as to a prison :- This is our natural uncleanness and imperfection, and from such a principle we are to expect proper and proportioned effects; and therefore f Sen. lib. 3. Quæst. Natur. c. 3.

& Job, xiv. 14. h Lib. 4. contra Julianum.

i In Sophisticâ.-Homines naturâ sunt mali: et non possunt induci, ut justi. tiam colant. lib. 2. de Rep.

we may


say with Job, “ What is man that he should be clean, and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteousk?” That is, our imperfections are many, and we are with unequal strengths called to labour for a supernatural purchase; and when our 'spirit is very willing, even then our flesh is very weak:' and yet it is worse if we compare ourselves, as Job does, to the purities and perfections of God; in respect of which, as he says of us men in our imperfect state, so he says also of the angels, or the holy ones of God, and of the heaven itself, that it is also unclean and impure:' for the cause and verification of which, we must look out for something besides original sin. Add to this, that vice is pregnant and teeming, and brings forth new instances, numerous as the spawn of fishes ; such as are inadvertency, carelessness, tediousness of spirit, and these also are causes of very much evil.


Of Liberty of Election remaining after Adam's Fall. Upon this account, besides that the causes of a universal impiety are apparent without any need of laying Adam in blame for all our follies and miseries, or rather without charging them upon God, who so ordered all things as we see and feel; the universal wickedness of man is no argument to prove our will servile, and the powers of election to be quite lost in us, excepting only that we can choose evil. For admitting this proposition, that there can be no liberty where there is no variety; yet that all men choose sin, is not any testimony that there is no variety in our choice. If there were but one sin in the world, and all men did choose that, it were a shrewd suspicion that they were naturally determined or strongly precipitated. But every man does not choose the same sin, nor for the same cause; neither does he choose it always, but frequently declines it, hates it, and repents of it: many men, even among the heathens, did so. So that the objection hinders not, but that choice and election still remain to man, and that he is not naturally sinful,

k Job, xv. 14.

as he is naturally heavy, or upright, apt to laugh, or weep. For these he is always, and unavoidable.

72. And indeed the contrary doctrine is a destruction of all laws, it takes away reward and punishment, and we have nothing whereby we can serve God. And precepts of holiness might as well be preached to a wolf as to a man, if man were naturally and inevitably wicked.

Improbitas nullo flectitur obsequio. There would be no use of reason or of discourse, no deliberation or counsel: and it were impossible for the wit of man to make sense of thousands of places of Scripture, which speak to us as if we could hear and obey, or could refuse. Why are promises made, and threatenings recorded? Why are God's judgments registered ? To what purpose is our reason above, and our affections below, if they were not to minister to, and attend upon the will ? But upon this account, it is so far from being true that man after his fall did forfeit his natural power of election, that it seems rather to be increased. For as a man's knowledge grows, so his will becomes better attended and ministered unto. But after his fall, his knowledge was more than before; he knew what nakedness was, and had experience of the difference of things, he perceived the evil and mischief of disobedience and the divine anger; he knew fear and flight, new apprehensions, and the trouble of a guilty conscience : by all which and many other things, he grew better able, and instructed with arguments to obey God, and to refuse sin for the time to come. And it is every man's case ; a repenting man is wiser, and hath oftentimes more perfect hatred of sin than the innocent, and is made more wary by his fall. But of this thing God himself is witness.

is Ecce homo tanquam singularis, ex se ipso habet scire bonum et malum :" so the Chaldee paraphrase reads Gen. iii. 22. Our Bibles read thus: “ And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Now as a consequent of this knowledge, God was pleased, by ejecting him out of Paradise, 'to prevent his eating of the tree of life:' “ Ne fortè mittat manum suam in arborem vitæ :" meaning, that now he was grown wise and apt to provide himself, and use, all such remedies as were before him. He knew more after

his fall than before; therefore ignorance was not the punishment of that sin: and he that knows more, is better enabled to choose, and lest he should choose that which might prevent the sentence of death put upon him, God cast him from thence where the remedy did grow. Upon the authority of this place Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon hath these words : " Potestas libera unicuique data est. Si vult inclinare se ad bonum et esse justus, penes ipsum est : sin vult se ad malum inclinare et esse impius, et hoc ipsum penes est. Hoc illud est quod in lege scribitur, Ecce homo tanquam singularis, ex seipso habet scire bonum et malum:" “ To every man is given a power that he may choose and be inclined to good if he please ; or else if he please to do evil. For this is written in the Law, Behold, the man is a single one, of himself now he knows good and evil: as if he had said, Behold, mankind is in the world without its like, and can, of his own counsel and thought, know good and evil, in either of these doing what himself shall choose.”_" Si lapsus es, poteris surgere, in utramvis partem habes liberum arbitrium," saith St. Chrysostom!" If thou hast fallen, thou mayest rise again. That which thou art commanded to do, thou hast power to do. Thou mayest choose either.”

73. I might be infinite in this; but I shall only add this one thing, that to deny to the will of man powers of choice and election, or the use of it in the actions of our life, de stroys the immortality of the soul. Κινδυνεύει γαρ εις το μή είναι υποφρέεσθαι η ανθρωπίνη ψυχή διά της εις το μη παρά φύσιν εκτροtñs, said Hierocles: “ Human nature is in danger to be lost, if it diverts to that which is against nature.”-For if it be immortal, it can never die in its noblest faculty. But if the will be destroyed, that is, disabled from choosing (which is all the work the will hath to do), then it is dead. For to live, and to be able to operate, in philosophy are all one. If the will therefore cannot operate, how is it immortal? And we may as well suppose an understanding that can never understand, and passions that can never desire or refuse, and a memory

that can never remember, as a will that cannot choose. Indeed all the faculties of the soul that operate by way of nature, can be hindered in individuals; but in the whole species never. But the will is not impedible, it cannot

In 50. Psal. hom. 2.

« הקודםהמשך »