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and churches. For upon the denial of it, Pelagius also introduced this opinion, against which I am now disputing. And lest concupiscence might be reckoned a sin, he affirmed that no habitude, no disposition, nothing but an act, could be a sin. But on the other side, lest concupiscence should be accounted no sin, St. Austin" disputes earnestly, largely affirming and proving, that a sinful habit is a special sinfulness distinct from that of evil actions: 'malus thesaurus cordis,' 'the evil treasure of the heart,' out of which proceed all mischief, and a continual defluxion of impurities.

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27. VII. And therefore as God severely forbids every single action of sin, so with greater caution he provides, that we be not guilty of a sinful habit. "Let not sin reign in your mortal bodies ";" we must not be servants of sin, not sold under sin, that sin have no dominion over us. That is, not only that we do not repeat the actions of sin, but that we be not enslaved to it, under the power of it, of such a lost liberty that we cannot resist the temptation. For he that is so, is guilty before God, although no temptation comes. Such are they whom St. Peter notes, that cannot cease from sin.' And indeed we cannot but confess the reasonableness of this. For all men hate such persons, whose minds are habitually averse from them; who watch for opportunities to do them evil offices, who lose none that are offered, who seek for more; who delight in our displeasure; who oftentimes effect what they maliciously will. Saul was David's enemy, even when he was asleep. For the evil will, and the contradicting mind, and the spiteful heart, are worse than the crooked or injurious hand. And as grace is a principle of good, so is this of evil; and therefore as the one denominates the subject gracious, so the other, sinful; both of them inherent, that given by God, this introduced by our own unworthiness. He that sins in a single act, does an injury to God; but he that does it habitually, he that cannot do otherwise, is his essential enemy. The first is like an offending servant, who deserves to be thrown away; but in a vicious habit there is an antipathy: the man is God's enemy, as a wolf to the lamb, as the hyena to the dog. He that commits a single sin, hath stained his skin, and thrown dirt upon it; but an habitual sinner is an Ethiop3, and must be flayed alive before his blackness will disappear.

Lib. de Peccat. Orig. cap. 6. et 13. n Rom. vi. 13. 20.

• Jer. xiii. 32.

28. VIII. A man is called just or unjust by reason of his disposition to, and preparation for, an act: and therefore much more for the habit. "Paratum est cor meum, Deus:" "O God, my heart is ready, my heart is ready:" and St. John had the reward of martyrdom, because he was ready to die for his Lord, though he was not permitted; and St. Austin affirms, that the continency of Abraham was as certainly crowned as the continence of John, it being as acceptable to God to have a chaste spirit as a virgin body, that is, habitual continence being as pleasing as actual. Thus a man may be a persecutor, or a murderer, if he have a heart ready to do it and if a lustful soul be an adulteress, because the desire is a sin, it follows that the habit is a particular state of sin, distinct from the act, because it is a state of vicious desires. And as a body may be said to be lustful though it be asleep, or eating, without the sense of actual urtications and violence, by reason of its constitution: so may the soul by the reason of its habit, that is, its vicious principle and base effect of sin be hated by God, and condemned upon that account.

29. So that a habit is not only distinct from its acts in the manner of being, as rhetoric from logic in Zeno, as a fist from a palm, as a bird from the egg, and the flower from the gem: but a habit differs from its acts, as an effect from the cause, as a distinct principle from another, as a pregnant daughter from a teeming mother, as a conclusion from its premises, as a state of aversation from God, from a single act of provocation.

30. IX. If the habit had not an irregularity in it distinct from the sin, then it were not necessary to persevere in holiness by a constant regular course, but we were to be judged by the number of single actions; and he only who did more bad than good actions, should perish, which was affirmed by the pharisees of old: and then we were to live or die by. chance and opportunity, by actions, and not by the will,-by the outward, and not by the inward man; then there could be no such thing necessary as the kingdom of grace, Christ's empire and dominion in the soul; then we can belong to God without belonging to his kingdom; and we might be in God, though the kingdom of God were not in us. For without this we might do many single actions of virtue, and it might

a De Bono Conjugat. c. 21.

happen that these might be more than the single actions of sin, even though the habit, and affection, and state of sin remain. Now if the case may be so (as in the particular instance), that the man's final condition shall not be determined by single actions, it must be by habits, and states, and principles of actions: and, therefore, these must have in them a proper good and bad respectively, by which the man shall be judged, distinct from the actions by which he shall not, in the present case, be judged. All which considerations being put together, do unanswerably put us upon this conclusion that a habit of sin is that state of evil, by which we are enemies to God, and slaves of Satan, by which we are strangers from the covenant of grace, and consigned to the portion of devils: and therefore, as a corollary of all, we are bound, under pain of a new sin, to rise up instantly after every fall, to repent speedily for every sin, not to let the sun go down upon our wrath, nor rise upon our lust, nor run his course upon our covetousness or ambition. For not only every period of impenitence is a period of danger, and eternal death may enter; but it is an aggravation of our folly, a continuing to provoke God, a further aberration from the rule, a departure from life, it is a growing in sin, a progression towards final impenitence, to obduration and apostasy, it is a tempting God, and a despising of his grace, it is all the way presumption, and a dwelling in sin by delight and obedience; that is, it is a conjugation of new evils, and new degrees of evil. As pertinacy makes error to be heresy, and impenitence makes little sins unite and become deadly, and perseverance causes good to be crowned, and evil to be unpardonable so is the habit of viciousness, the confirmation of our danger, and solemnities of death, the investiture and security of our horrible inheritance.

31. The sum is this. Every single sin is a high calamity ; it is a shame and it is a danger; in one instant it makes us liable to God's severe anger. But a vicious habit is a conjugation of many actions, every one of which is highly damnable; and besides that union which is formally an aggravation of the evils, there is superinduced upon the will and all its ministering faculties, a viciousness and pravity, which make evil to be beloved and chosen, and God to be hated and despised. A vicious habit hath in it all the physical,

metaphysical, and moral degrees of which it can be capable. For there is not only a not repenting, a not rescinding of the past act by a contrary nolition; but there is a continuance in it, and a repetition of the same cause of death, as if a man should marry death, the same death so many times over: it is an improving of our shame, a taking it upon us, an owning and a securing our destruction, and before a man can arrive thither, he must have broken all the instruments of his restitution in pieces, and for his recovery nothing is left, unless a palladium fall from heaven; the man cannot live again, unless God shall do more for him than he did for Lazarus, when he raised him from the dead.


Sinful Habits do require a distinct Manner of Repentance, and have no Promise to be pardoned but by the Introduction of the contrary.

32. THIS is the most material and practical difficulty of the question: for upon this depends the most mysterious article of repentance, and the interest of dying penitents. For if a habit is not to be pardoned without the extirpation of that which is vicious, and the superinducing its contrary; this being a work of time, requires a particular grace of God, and much industry, caution, watchfulness, frequent prayers, many advices and consultations, constancy, severe application: and is of so great difficulty and such slow progression, that all men who have had experience of this employment, and heartily gone about to cure a vicious habit, know it is not a thing to be done upon our death-bed. That therefore which I intend to prove, I express in this proposition.

A vicious habit is not to be pardoned without the introduction of the contrary, either in kind, or in perfect affection, and in all those instances in which the man hath opportunities to work.

33. The church of Rome, whose chairs and pulpits are dangerous guides in the article of repentance, affirms that

any sin, or any habit of sin, may be pardoned by any single act of contrition; the continued sin of forty years may be washed off in less than forty minutes, nay, by an act of attrition with the priestly absolution: which proposition, if it be false, does destroy the interest of souls; and it cannot be true, because it destroys the interest of piety, and the necessities of a good life. The reproof of this depends upon many propositions, of which I shall give as plain accounts as the thing will bear.

34. I. Every habit of vice may be expelled by a habit of virtue naturally, as injustice by justice, gluttony by temperance, lust by chastity: but by these it is not meritoriously remitted and forgiven; because nothing in nature can remit sins, or be the immediate natural disposition to pardon. All this is the gift of God, a grace obtained by our holy Redeemer, the price of his blood; but in this, the case is all one as it is in the greatest innocence of the best of men, which, if it be not allowed by incorporation into Christ, and sanctified by faith, wants its proper title to heaven: and so it is with repentance. For nature cannot teach us this lesson, much less make it acceptable. For it depending wholly upon God's graciousness and free forgiveness, can be taught only by him, by whom it is effectual, and this is conveyed to us by our blessed Lord, according to that saying, 'Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.'

35. II. Although a habit cannot be the meritorious cause of pardoning the contrary habit, yet to him that hath contracted a vicious habit, it is necessary, in order to his pardon, that he root out that habit and obtain the contrary in some degrees of prevalency, so that the scales be turned on that side where is the interest of virtue: and this depends upon the evidence of the former proposition. If to be an habitual sinner be more than to be guilty of those actual sins by which the habit was contracted; then as it is necessary to rescind the act of sin by an act of contrition and repentance: so also it is as necessary that the habit be retracted by a habit, that every wound may have its balsam, and every broken bone be bound up and redintegrate.

36. III. But in the case of habitual sins the argument is more pressing. For if the act which is past and remains not, yet must be reversed by its contrary, much rather must that

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