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of the flesh, incentives and arguments to sin; therefore both of them are punished, as being guilty by consociation.' But then thus it was also before the fall for by this it was that Adam fell. So the same Prudentius :
Hæc prima est natura animæ, sic condita simplex
The soul was created simple and pure, but fell into vice by the evil combination with the flesh.' But at first the appetites, and necessities, and tendencies, of the body, when it was at ease, and health, and blessed, did yet tempt the soul to forbidden instances; much more will this be done, when the body is miserable and afflicted, uneasy and dying. For even now we see, by a sad experience, that the afflicted and the miserable are not only apt to anger and envy, but have many more desires, and more weaknesses, and consequently more aptnesses to sin in many instances, than those who are less troubled. And this is that which was said by Arnobius, "Proni ad culpas, et ad libidinis varios appetitus vitio sumus infirmitatis ingenitæ:""By the fault of our natural infirmity, we are prone to the appetites of lust and sins d."
7. From hence it follows, that naturally a man cannot do or perform the law of God; because being so weak, so tempted by his body; and this life being the body's day, that is, the time in which its appetites are properly prevailing; to be born of Adam, is to be born under sin, that is, under such, inclinations to it, that as no man will remain innocent, so no man can of himself keep the law of God; " Vendidit se prior, ac, per hoc, omne semen subjectum est peccato. Quamobrem, infirmum esse hominem ad præcepta legis servanda;" said the author of the commentary on St. Paul's epistles usually attributed to St. Ambrose".
But beyond this there are two things more considerable; the one is, that the soul of man being divested by Adam's fall, by way of punishment, of all those supernatural assistances, which God put into it; that which remained was a reasonable soul, fitted for the actions of life and of reason, but not of any thing that was supernatural. For the soul, being immerged in flesh, feeling grief by participation of evils from the flesh, hath and must needs have discourses in
d Lib, 1. advers. Gentes.
e In cap. 7. Rom.
order to its own ease and comfort, that is in order to the satisfaction of the body's desires; which, because they are often contradicted, restrained, and curbed, and commanded to be mortified and killed, by the laws of God, must of necessity make great inlets for sin; for while reason judges of things in proportion to present interests, and is less apprehensive of the proportions of those good things which are not the good things of this life, but of another; the reason abuses the will as the flesh abuses the reason, And for this there is no remedy but the grace of God, the Holy Spirit, to make us be born again, to become spiritual; that is, to have new principles, new appetites, and new interests.
The other thing I was to note is this; that as the devil was busy to abuse mankind, when he was fortified by many advantages and favours from God so now that man is naturally born naked, and divested of those graces and advantages, and hath an infirm sickly body, and enters upon the actions of life through infancy, and childhood, and youth, and folly, and ignorance; the devil, it is certain, will not omit his opportunities, but will with all his power possess and abuse mankind; and upon the apprehension of this, the primitive church used, in the first admission of infants to the entrance of a new birth to a spiritual life, to pray against the power and frauds of the devil; and that brought in the ceremony of exsufflation, for ejecting of the devil. The ceremony was fond and weak, but the opinion that introduced it was full of caution and prudence. For as Optatus Milevitanus said, "Neminem fugit, quod omnis homo qui nascitur, quamvis de Christianis parentibus nascitur, sine spiritu immundo esse non possit ; quem necesse sit, ante salutare lavacrum, ab homine excludi ac separari f." It is but too likely the devil will take advantages of our natural weaknesses, and with his temptations and abuses enter upon children as soon as they enter upon choice, and indeed prepossess them with imitating follies, that may become customs of sinfulness before they become sins; and therefore with rare wisdom it was done by the church, to prevent the devil's frauds and violences, by an early baptism, and early offices.
8. As a consequent of all this, it comes to pass, that we being born thus naked of the divine grace, thus naturally
f Lib. 4. contr. Parmen.
weak, thus encumbered with a body of sin, that is, a body apt to tempt to forbidden instances, and thus assaulted by the frauds and violences of the devil; all which are helped on by the evil guises of the world, it is certain, we cannot with all these disadvantages aad loads soar up to heaven; but, in the whole constitution of affairs, are in sad dispositions to enter into the devil's portion, and go to hell: not that if we die before we consent to evil, we shall perish; but that we are evilly disposed to do actions that will deserve it, and because if we die before our new birth, we have nothing in us that can, according to the revelations of God, dispose us to heaven; according to these words of the Apostle; "In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing ""
But this infers not, that in our flesh, or that in our soul, there is any sin properly inherent, which makes God to be our present enemy; that is, the only or the principal thing I suppose myself to have so much reason to deny ; but that the state of the body is a state not at all fitted for heaven, but too much disposed to the ways that lead to hell. For even in innocent persons, in Christ himself it was a hinderance or a state of present exclusion from heaven; "he could not enter into the second tabernacle" (that is, into heaven), "so long as the first tabernacle of his body was standing;" the body of sin, that is, of infirmity, he was first to lay aside, and so by dying unto sin once, he entered into heaven; according to the other words of St. Paul," Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God"," it is a state of differing nature and capacity; Christ himself could not enter thither, till he had first laid that down, as the divine author to the Hebrews rarely and mysteriously discourses.
9. This is the whole sum of original sin, which now I have more fully explicated than formerly; it being then only fitting to speak of so much of it, as to represent it to be a state of evil, which yet left in us powers enough to do our duty, and to be without excuse (which very thing the Belgic confession in this article acknowledges), and that not God but ourselves are authors of our eternal death in case we do perish.
But now though thus far I have admitted as far as can be consonant to antiquity, and not unreasonable, though in
Rom, vii. 18.
h 1 Cor. xv. 50.
i Heb. ix. 8. vii. 27. v. 2, 3.
Scripture so much is not expressed; yet now I must be more restrained, and deny those superadditions to this doctrine, which the ignorance, or the fancy, or the interest, or the laziness, of men have sewed to this doctrine.
Adam's Sin is in us no more than an imputed Sin, and how it is so.
10. ORIGINAL sin is not our sin properly, not inherent in us, but is only imputed to us, so as to bring evil effects upon us: for that which is inherent in us, is a consequent only of Adam's sin, but of itself no sin; for there being but two things affirmed to be the constituent parts of original sin, the want of original righteousness, and concupiscence, neither of these can be a sin in us, but a punishment and a consequent of Adam's sin they may be for the case is thus:
One half of Christians that dispute in this article, particularly the Roman schools, say, that concupiscence is not a sin, but a consequent of Adam's sin: the other half of Christians (I mean in Europe), that is, the protestants, generally say, that the want of original righteousness is a consequent of Adam's sin, but formally no sin. The effect of these is this, that it is not certain amongst the churches, that either one or the other is formally our sin, or inherent in us; and we cannot affirm either, without crossing a great part of Christendom in their affirmative.
There have indeed been attempts made to reconcile this difference; and therefore in the conference at Worms, and in the book offered at Ratisbon to the emperor, and in the Interim' itself they jumbled them both together, “saying, Originale peccatum est carentia justitiæ originalis, cum concupiscentiâ." But the church of England defines neither, but rather inclines to believe that it consists in concupiscence, as appears in the explication of the article which I have annexed. But because she hath not determined, that either of them is formally a sin, or inherent in us, I may with the greater freedom, discourse concerning the several parts.
The want of original righteousness is not a thing, but the privation of a thing, and therefore cannot be inherent in us; and therefore if it be a sin at all to us, it can only be such by imputation. But neither can this be imputed to us as a sin formally, because, if it be at all, it is only a consequent or punishment of Adam's sin, and unavoidable by us: for though Scotus is pleased to affirm, that there was an obligation upon human nature, to preserve it; I doubt not but as he intended it, he said false. Adam indeed was tied to it, for if he lost it for himself and us, then he only was bound to keep it for himself and us; for we could not be obliged to keep it, unless we had received it; but he was, and because he lost it, we also missed it; that is, are punished, and feel the evil effects of it. But besides all this, the matter of original righteousness is a thing framed in the schoolforges, but not at all spoken of in Scripture, save only that "God made man upright,' that is, he was brought innocent into the world, he brought no sin along with him, he was created in the time and stature of reason and choice; he entered upon action when his reason was great enough to master his passion, all which we do not: it is that which, as Prosper describes it, made a man 'expertem peccati, et capacem Dei ;' for by this is meant that he had grace and helps enough, if he needed any, besides his natural powers; which we have not by nature, but by another dispensation.
11. Add to all this, that they who make the want of original righteousness to be a sin formally in us, when they come to explicate their meaning by material or intelligible events, tell us it is an aversion from God; that is, in effect a turning to the creature, and differs no otherwise from concupiscence, than going from the west directly does from going directly to the east; that is, just nothing. It follows then, that if concupiscence be the effect of Adam's sin, then so must the want of original righteousness, because they are the same thing in real event: and if that be no sin in us, because it was only the punishment of his sin, then neither is the other a sin, for the same reason.
But then for concupiscence, that this is no sin, before we consent to it, appears by many testimonies of antiquity, and of St. Austin himself: "Quantum ad nos attinet, sine peccato semper essemus, donec sanaretur hoc malum, si nunquàm