It is according to Austin's Judgement the great Instrument of conveying Original Sinne to the child.
16. THe Imagination is so greatly polluted, That according to Austin's judgement, it is the great instrument of conveying original sinne to the child; For when he is pressed to shew how original sinne cometh to be pro∣pagated, how the soul can be infected from the flesh, though this be not his chief answer, yet he doth in part runne to this (viz.) the powerfull effect of the imagination; The vehement affection and lust in the parent is according to him the cause of a libidinous disposition in the child, hereupon he instanceth in the fact of Jacob, who by working upon the imagination of the females, did by the parti-coloured sticks produce such a colour in their young ones; Yea one thinketh, that this instance was by a special providence of God, chiefly to represent how original sinne might be propagated from parents to children; Page 369 And it cannot be denied but that many solid Philosophers and Phisitians do grant, that the imagination hath a special influence upon the body, and the child in the womb to make great immutation and change: Austin instanceth (lib 5. contra Julian. cap. 9) in the King of Cyrus, who would have a curious picture of exquisite beauty in his chamber for his wife to look upon in the time of her conception; Yea Histories report strange, and it may be very fabulous things herein, therefore we are not to runne to this of the imagination when we would explain the traduction of this sinne: It is true, some imbre qualities are many times transfused from parents to children, parents subject to the Gout and Stone have children also subject to such diseases, and blackmores do alwaies beget blackmores, and so no doubt but in the conveighing of ori∣ginal sinne there is a seminal influence, but how and in what manner it is hard to discover; but though the corrupt imagination cannot be the cause, yet it may in some sense dispose for the propagating of it.