« PreviousContinue »
Greek opgunpece repxos, which some do expound the Wisdom, some Sensuality, some the Affection, some the Desire of the Flesh, is not
subject to the Law of God. 4. Although there is no Condemnation for them
that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confefs, that Concupiscence and Luft hath of it self the Nature of Sin.
The First Proposition. The Words ftandeth not are in the Latin express’d by situm est. This being noted,
The Truth of our Church's Account of the Doĉtrin of the Pelagians is evident from the express Words of that Heretic and St. Austin's Testimony. The Works of Pelagius are indeed almost all loft ; but St. Austin frequently quotes him, particularly he has preserv'd
these few Passages, which I shall give you for a Taft.
for a Taft. In Adam peccafe omnes, non propter peccatum nafcendi origine attractum, fed propter imitationem, dictum est. Apud D. Auguft. De Nat. & Gratia contra Pelagianos, cap. 9. Non tantum primo homini, sed etiam humano generi primum illud obfuisse peccatum, non propagine, sedexemplo
. Apud Auguft. contra Pelagium & Cæleftium de peccato Origin. lib. 2. cap. 15. Sicut sine virtute, ita nos fine vitio procreari. ibid. cap. 41. The foregoing Passages St. Austin cites from Pelagius himself. And the same Doctrin is attributed to him and his Followers in St. Austin's own Words. Quantum autem ex aliis comperi, hocibi fentiunt, quod & mors ifta quæ illic commemorata est, non fit corporis, quam nolunt Adam peccando meruisse, sed animæ quæ in ipfo peccato fit: & ipfum peccatum, non propagatione in alios homines ex primo bomine, fed imitatione tranfile. D. Auguft. de peccat. Meritis & Remissione contra Pelagianos, lib. 1. cap. 9. Afferentes
boc ideo di&tum esse, quod Adam peccaverit primum, in quo de cætero quisquis peccare voluit, peccandi invenit exemplum : ut peccatum scilicet non generatione ab illo uno in omnes homines, fed illius unius imitatione tranfiret. D. Auguft. de Nuptiis & Concupifcentia, lib. 2. cap. 27. 'Twere easy to heap up more Authorities ; but these are sufficient.
Now this First Proposition has two Branches. The First is Negative, That Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, and therein our Church condemns the Pelagians. The Second is positive, that Original Sin is the Fault and Corruption of the Nature of every Man, that naturally is ingendred of the Ofspring of Adam, whereby Man is very far gone from
from Original Righteousness, and is of his own Nature inclined to Evil ; so that the Flesh lufteth always contrary to the Spirit.
I begin with the latter. Compare the Ninth and Tenth Questions of Turretin's Locus Nonus, with the whole Third Chapter, and the First Section of the Fourth
Chapter, of the Third Book of Limborch's System. You'll perceive, that how much soever they differ about the Imputation of Adam's Sin; and the Explication of some Texts which are usually allegd to prove the universal Corruption of Mankind; yet they agree in this, that there is such an universal Corrruption as our Church maintains. And as Experience teaches us the Truth of what they jointly affert'; so some at least of thofe Texts which are examined by them, bear witness to the fame. Then subjoin the Twelfth and Thirteenth Chapters of the Second Volume of Dr. Jenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion
As for the former Branch of this First Proposition, it is the necessary Consequence of the lat
For it there be such an universal Corruption, then Original Sin can't consist in the bare Imitation of our first Parent Adam. 'Tis true, we do in Fact follow his Example; but that is the Effect of Original Sin, and not the thing it self. 'Tis true also, that we might have sinned, if Adam had not done so before us: But Original Sin makes Actual Transgression necessary to those that are defiled with it ; so that in our present Circumstances we cannot wholly abstain from Sin, as we might well have done, if a Corruption had not been entail'd upon us.
The Second Proposition has perplex'd many honest Minds; for no other Reason, I am persuaded, but because they have not sufficiently consider'd what our Church afferts. I shall therefore offer some Hints.
Upon Supposition, that our Original Corruption had continued in full Force, without any such Restraint, as the Grace and good Providence of God do now afford us; every Man would naturally and necessarily grow worse and worse, and at length become utterly harden'd by a Course of Sin ; in consequence of which he could not but have an utter Aversion to that God, in the Enjoyment of whom all racional Happiness consists. Such a Person therefore would be unavoidably miserable ; and if he continued ever in that State, would be everlastingly miserable. Nor could God himself hinder it, without changing the Man, from a State of inveterate Wickedness, to a State of sincere Holiness; which is contrary to the Supposition we are now arguing upon.
From hence it follows, that Original Sin doth (that is, the Person infected therewith doth upon the account of it) deserve God's Wrath and Dam
nation. For Desert has relation to the Justice of
Because, unless Mercy prevents 'it
Let us therefore always bear in our Minds, that
of the utmost positive Injustice, in plunging their Posterity into such dreadful Circumstances ; yet
God is not to be impeach'd for the bare Permission of that Punishment, which as long as the Creature continues evil, he is not in Justice obliged to remove. For how can that Creature, which is jųftly odious to God in its own Nature, chal
lenge God's Justice to make it happy, whilst it concinues odious to him?
Perhaps it may be faid, That 'twas unjust in God to appoint such an Order of things, as that One Man's Misery should be the unavoidable Consequence of another's Wickedness. To this I answer, That in Fact God has acted thus in ano: ther Instance. For one Man may cripple or otherwise ruin another; and in the present_Order of Things this is sometimes unavoidable: But surely the Justice of God must not be impeach'd, because he was the Author of that Order. I confefs, there is a vast Difference between Temporal and Eternal Misery; but yet it must be observ'd, that as to Mifery it self, as oppos’d to Happinefs, this vast Difference is not in Kind but in Degree only. And consequently, if it be really unjust in God to appoint such an Order of Things, that the eternal Mifery of one Man depends upon the Will of ano ther : then’tis as certainly, tho' not equally, unjuft for him to appoint such an Order of Things, as that any the smallest Injury should be unavoidably done by one Man to another. For the smallest Injustice is as impoffible to God, and as inconsistent with his Justice, as the greatest that can be imagined. And yet, surely no Man will accuse God of Injustice
. upon the account of this present Order of Things; because whatever is properly his, is a Kindness to us, and all the Irregularity must be charged only on fuch as pervert his Order, and abuse it to, the Misery of their Fellow Creatures. Wherefore let the Solution of the one Difficulty be applied to the other. For this Argument against the Justice of God, with respect to Original Sin, has no more Strength in it, than that which may be urg'd with Parity of Reason against ordinary Providence. And