Of the Subject of Predication; Shewing that every one of Mankinde (Christ onely excepted) is involved in this common sinne and misery.
The Text opened and vindicated.
LUKE 1. 35.
WE have at large (though not according to the desert thereof) described and amplified the subject of original sinne, wherein it is seated. By which it appeareth, that man all over is be∣come corrupted, both the totus homo, and the totum hominus, the whole man, and the whole of man. The next thing to be considered is the omnis homo, or the Subject of predication, as Divines call it; The former being called the Subject of Inhesion.
Our work then is to shew, That Christ onely excepted, every one of mankind is involved in this common sinne and misery, there is none that can plead any ex∣emption from it; For seeing it is made the peculiar priviledge of Christ to be so born, because conceived after a miraculous manner, it therefore necessarily followeth, that all others are comprehended under this guilt; Though you may see some men from the youth up, lesse vicious then others, more ingenuous and civil then others, yet even these are by nature all over sinfull; so that there is no such thing as a natural probity and goodness, of which the Socinians dispute, as in time is to be shewed; That it is the prerogative of Christ only to be freed not only from all actual sinne, but also original and birth-sinne is evident by this Text, which containeth an answer of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, who with some trouble and amazement had questioned, how she should conceive a Sonne, who knew not a man? The Angels answer consisteth in the information of the manner, how it shall be, and the consequent issue, and event thereof; The Manner is expressed in the efficient cause, and his efficacy. The Efficient cause is said to be the holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest. A person not the vertue only of God, as the Socinians blaspheme, as appeareth •n that we are baptized into the name of the holy Ghost, who is reckoned one Page 388 of the three with the Father and Sonne, as also by the personal operations and characters attributed to him, which cannot be cluded with the figure of a Proso-〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as some endeavour: It is true, The works of God ad extra, are com∣mon to all the three Persons, yet there is a peculiar order and appropriation, and therefore the preparing and forming of Christs body out of the Virgin Mary, is peculiarly ascribed unto the holy Ghost.
The Efficacy is set down in two words, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is to be understood of the operation of the holy Ghost, not his essence, for that is every where; The like expression, though to another purpose is Acts 1. 8.
The second word is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, concerning which there is more difficulty; The word in the New Testament is applied to a Cloud covering a man, with a Dative Case, though Favorinus and Stephanus make it to have usually an Ac∣cusative, Matth. 17. 5. Mark 9. 7. and Acts 5. 15. such an overshadowing, as they expected virtue and efficacy thereby; So Heysichius〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. In the Old Testament by the Septnagint it is often rendreed for defence and pro∣tection, because in these hot Countreys the shadows of trees were a great pre∣servation against the extream scorchings of heat; And in this sense rather then in any other, we take the word in the Text, that the holy Ghost should protect and defend her, not only in the inabling of her against nature to conceive with∣out a man, but also against all accusations and dangers she was to be exposed unto by this means; Thus Virgil used the word,
The second particular is the consequent and event thereof, which is ex∣pressed;
1. By note of Inference.
2. The Subject. And
3. The Predicate.
The Subject is, That holy thing which shall be born of thee,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Pre∣sent for the Future, though some apply it not so properly to the conceiving, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, so Christ is called; the Neuter gender is emphatical, for though it be sometimes put for the Masculine, as 1 John 5. 4. yet here it is emphatical to shew the extensiveness of Christs holiness, that he is all over holy, having not the least spot of sinne, and that not only as God, for so he is essentially and Page 389 infinitely holy, nor only by the personal Union with the Godhead, but in his humane Nature, both originally having no natural sinne in him, and habitually and also actually, in which sense he is every way holy.
The Predicate is, He shall be called the Sonne of God, that is, he shall be in∣deed so, and also famously and publiquely declared to be so. And
Lastly, There is the note of Inference,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Therefore also. At this the Socinians greatly catch, for they denying Christ to be the Sonne of God by eternal generation, say, That he is called the Sonne of God for many other Reasons, whereof one is gradual to another; so that he was not com∣pleatly the Sonne of God, till after his Resurrection, when he was indowed with that glorious power God had given him, sitting down at the right hand of God.
Now the first reason, why Christ is called the Sonne of God, is (say they)
Again, That particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is urged both of old and late, That also which is born of thee, &c. implying, that he had no other being, though now he assu∣med this.
Thus you have the Text vindicated, only one thing more is to be observed, the expression used by the Angel, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Which shall be born of thee, doth fully demonstrate, That Christ had a body framed by the holy Ghost of the substance of the Virgin Mary, that he had not a phantastical body, neither did he bring a body from Heaven, and so passe through the Virgin Mary, as some of old and late have dreamed; Therefore Marcion who denied the true body of Christ, and thereby also his Conception and Nativity, did wholly evade this Chapter of Luke, and would not receive it as Canonical, being cal∣led by Tertullian, Mus ponticus, because of his corroding and gnawing out of Page 390 Scripture, as he pleased, when he saw any place make against him. The words thus explained, Observe
That Christ onely is born holy, and that all the rest of mankind is polluted with sinne. It is a saying, Exceptio format regulam, if then Christ be exempted, so that it is his peculiar priviledge, then certainly all the rest are included: As there are some, who make all men pure by nature; So some have blasphe∣mously vented, That Christ had original sinne: Yea a Remonstrant writeth, That the humane nature of Christ had that fight and conflict in it which is between the reason and the appetite, which we say must necessarly be sinne. The Socinians they affirm, That Christ had a holy of sinne, but then by sinne they mean onely infirmities and weaknesses, not that which is truly so, for this alledging, Heb. 7. 27. Heb. 9. 28. The true meaning whereof we shall give anon, But with Christians we need not long to insist upon the proof of this, That Christ was without all sinne, either original or actual, typified therein by the High Priest in the Law, who had this written upon him, Ho∣linesse to the Lord, and therefore he is not onely holy 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but also 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, He that sanctifieth and maketh us holy by his bloud; And therefore the Apo∣stle demonstrateth his preheminency above all the Priests of the Law, That they were to offer for their own sinnes as well as for the sinnes of the people, but so it was not with him, if he had had sinne in him, he could not have been our Saviour, but he would have needed a Saviour himself; yea Dan. 9. 24. he is called Sanctum sanctorum, the Holy of holies, or most holy: And to this truth the Scripture speaketh clearly, not onely when it saith, That be knew no sinne, and that no guile was found in his mouth, which happily might be thought to be limited only to actual sinne, (but also as to the original and ra∣dical evil of mans nature,) that though he be a man of like nature with us, yet sinne is still exempted, Rom. 8. 3. He sent his own Sonne in the likenesse of sinfull flesh, not in the likeness of the flesh, for he had our true flesh upon him, but in the likeness of sinfull flesh, he had not the sinne of our nature, though he had the nature it self: As the brazen Serpent was like a Serpent, but it had not the poison and venom of a Serpent; And certainly speaking this as the peculiar commendation of the Sonne of God sent into the world, it plainly evidenceth that all other are indeed sinfull flesh, and not onely in the likeness of it; Now he is said to be in the likeness of sinfull flesh, because he was sub∣ject to misery and death, which is the reward due to sinners; We have like∣wise a comfortable place, Heb. 4. 15. for Christs holiness is the foundation of all our consolation; This is that which we must rest upon under the ac∣cusation of the Law, under the strict demands of justice, when God shall require, that righteousnesse we once had or call for that purity, which the Law doth command, our support is this, though we have not a perfect holinesse, yet Christ our High-Priest and Surety hath; and to this end is that place, when the Apostle had shewed, we had an High Priest who was touched compassion∣ately with a sense and feeling of all our infirmities, and that he was tempted in all things like unto us, he addeth, but without sinne; That temptation is not meant of enticing to sinne, but it is as much as exercise and affliction, he was subject unto the common miseries of mans nature; yea the Apostle meaneth more, not only the substance of mans nature, but the affections and qualities there∣of, he had grief and fear upon him, onely all these were without sinne; And this is to be our comfort, that in all the miseries, all the oppositions he confli∣cted with; yea in all those soul-affections and agonies, even when he cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou for saken me? yet still there was no sinne, now all this was for us, we needed a Saviour that could in an holy manner work out our redemption for us; So that it is not our inherent holiness, but Christs holiness that we must trust to, when we have to do with God. We have Page 391 the Apostle also again considering this property of our High-Priest, because it is so usefull, Heb. 7. 26. It behoved us to have such an High-Priest, who is holy, harmless, undefiled separate from sinners, How many glorious properties are here? The Socinians (Schlitingius in locum.) would apply this to Christs condition in Heaven, his immortality and glory there, expounding this holi∣ness and harmlesness not in respect of grace inherent, but freedom from infir∣mities and miseries, because it is added, Made higher then the Heavens; But these properties do belong to him while on earth, with relation to what he shall have hereafter, for that sheweth Christ is above Angels, and that no Angel could be our Mediator; Now those several properties in Christ signifie the same thing, only the last is very emphatical, Separate from sinners, not that he was not among sinners, while he was in the world, but this sheweth, that he was segregated, or divided from all men in respect of the sinne of their natures, though he communicated with them in their natures; and therefore, though happily some High-priests, as Aaron might be holy and unblameable, yet none of them was separate from sinners. These places may abundantly confirm this fundamental Article, That Christ only was pure from original sinne, and that all those who deny original sinne, make Christ to have no priviledge in this re∣spect, but that we are all alike, pure in respect of nature; Well then, How shall we understand those places, Heb. 7. 27. where it is said, Christ needed not to sacrifice first for his own sins, and then for the peoples, for this he did once, when he offered up himself? The Socinian Expositor Sci•laingius maketh this to relate to both the particulars going before, He offered up himself once for his own sinnes, and for the people, and at the first sight it would seem so. But you must know that the later clause (viz.) This he did once, doth relate to the last passage on∣ly, He once offered himself for the sinnes of the people, for if it should be con∣nected with the other passage, it would be contradictory to the Apostles scope, which is to shew, that he was separate from sinners, and therefore had no cause to offer for any of his own. The other Text is, Heb. 9. 28. where it is said, Christ shall appear the second time without sinne, which might seem to imply, that he had sinne in the first coming; but the Text doth not speak of any sinne of his own inherent in him, but of ours which was laid upon him, as the Apostle saith, He who knew no sinne became sinne, 2 Cor. 5. 21. And indeed to say with the So∣cinian, That Christ offered for his own sinnes, that is, his bodily infirmities, is a most absurd expression, for all Sacrifices were for sinne properly so, or le∣gally, and in a typical sense, not for what was a meer affliction or bodily mise∣ry; So that from these things we may undoubtedly conclude, That Christ and Christ only of all mankind, is not polluted with this original contagion.
Let the Use then be to humble every one under this truth, thou hearest none is free; Therefore let every one say, I am the man that am by nature the child of wrath; I am the man that was conceived and born in iniquity; This parti∣cular appropriation should astonish and amaze thee; In thy brest hath the spawn of all evil, there is a fountain of all impiety; What miserable objects are those persons who have cancers and wolves breeding in their brests, that live to see themselves dead (as it were) that do behold themselves as so many carkases, yet thy condition is farre more miserable, who hast this original sinne consuming soul and body also; Think not that any greatness of birth or nobility doth deli∣ver thee from this universal pollution, as sure as thou art a man so surely a pol∣luted and sinfull one.
CHrist (we heard) had this peculiar prerogative alone to be the holy one, the contrary in the Text is true of every one born in a natural way; To every mother, we may say, that unholy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the child of the Devil, for it is by nature the child of wrath, only it may seem difficult to give the reason why he is exempted; for seeing he is a man ejusdem speciei of the same nature with us, and though he had his humane nature in an extraordinary manner by the over-shadowing of the Holy Ghost, yet that doth not hinder but he is a man as well as we are: Even as Adam was made a man after a different manner from his posterity, they by generation but he by won∣derfull production out of the earth in respect of his body, yet we are men of the same kind with him; seeing then Christ was a man though he had a different original from us, will not that necessarily involve him in Adam's sinne? And if it be said that the power of the Holy Ghost sanctified that corpulent mass of which Christs body did consist, that may happily free him from original inhe∣rent sinne, but how can it from original imputed sinne? Must not Christ be said to sinne in Adam though he had no inherent defilement because he was a man? yea the Scripture doth not only make him a man, but calleth him the seed of David and of Abraham, that he came out of their loynes, and which is more, Luke reckoning the genealogy of Christ by his humane nature doth carry it up to Adam making him the son of Adam, and if the son of Adam how could he not but sinne in Adam by imputation, though he had none by inhesion. This consideration hath so much strength, that Bellarmine though he is labo∣rious to prove that the Virgin Mary was exempted from original inherent sinne, that she had an immaculate conception, yet be confesseth she had origi∣nal imputed sinne that she sinned in Adam, because she was in Adam.
To answer then this Objection about Christ. The Arminians (as you heard) glory in their invention of Arminius, as if he only had found out the true answer to this, and not the Reformed Divines; The reason (saith he) of Christs immunity from all sinne by Adam, was because Christ had his being not by vertue of that original blessing, Increase and multiply, but by a special promise made after Adam's fall; so that Christs being is not supposed till Adam had fallen, and then upon a special promise (viz.) The seed of the woman to bruise the head of the Serpent, Gen. 3. 15. Christ is to become man; Thus Christ could not be any way included in him. This hath some truth in it though the answer be not every way cogent; for Isaac was born (as we argued formerly) by a special promise, there being no possibility for his existence in a natural way, yet he was born in original sinne; and although to me it seemeth most consonant to Scripture, that Christ would not have been made man, unless Adam had fallen, because the end of his coming into the flesh is said to be a Saviour and a Redeemer; yet there are men of great learning that hold, Christ would have been made man howsoever, though Adam had stood, and to such this reason would be of no great validity. But it must be confessed, that Christ could not be included in Adam, for the Scripture maketh him a publique per∣son, and head to believers as Adam was to all men; hence he is called the se∣cond Adam, so that Christ was a publique person and head as well as Adam, and one publique person especially in an opposite way could not be represented by another; Though this be so, yet we shall adhere to the Answer that is com∣monly given by Reformed Divines, That Christ therefore was free from sinne, because conceived in that miraculous manner, and though he had his being in respect of his corpulent substance from the Virgin Mary, yet this was ma∣terially only, not by way of efficiency, and any active disposition; so that Page 393 Christ could not be said by imputation to be in Adam, seeing there was no efficient disposition in Adam's posterity to cause his humane being. That is justly rejected as a fond conceit of Galatinus and others, who that they might maintain the flesh of Christ to be free from sinne, as well in himself as parents, affirm,
Let us now consider this Doctrine as it is exclusive of all other of mankind, only Christ (we say) is free, all the rest born of mankind in a natural way are all over defiled with this native pollution. To clear this I shall proceed by se∣veral Propositions.
First, That the only way by which original sinne as inherent is communicated to Adaems posterity is by natural generation; Not indeed by generation simply, for that is by Gods institution, and a good thing in its kind, but by the genera∣tion of a man that is fallen and corrupt; some few have thought that if Adam had not fallen, Adams posterity would have been multiplyed not by gene∣ration but by some other way, which is a most irrational conceit: If then Adams children abiding in integrity had been by generation, then thereby would have been conveyed original righteousness, and an holy nature, as there is now a sinful and impure nature; original sinne cometh then to us by gene∣ration from sinful parents; so that if God should miraculously create some men de novo, make children to Abraham out of stones, these would have no ori∣ginal sinne; neither if they should beget children would original sinne be trans∣fused to them, because these would not be in Adam as a corrupt root; as for such a Question, What if God should make a man or woman out of the rib, or shoulder, or any other part of man now fallen, as Eve was at first made of a rib, whether such a person would have original sinne? It is a question of needless cu∣riosity, and so no Answer is to be formed to it: This is enough, That the or∣dinary way and meanes whereby we become polluted in sinne is, because we are begotten and born of sinful parents, as David acknowledgeth, Psal 51. Austin indeed limiteth it to the libidinous disposition of mankind in begetting of children, he seemeth to lay the whole cause upon that, but he is carried out too immoderately in that point against the Pelagians; for though parents should have no sinful actual lust, yet because they are sinful originally, this is enough to infect their posterity; and if this were so, it would follow, That godly parents the more sanctified and mortified they were, they would have children less infected with original sinne, then the children of those who are grossely wicked and unclean; It is then because we are born of parents pollu∣ted by Adam, that we also are polluted; as for that famous Question how ori∣ginal sinne should be communicated to the soul of a man by generation, seeing that is created? we have already spoken to that: The summe whereof is, That though we are to conceive of the soul, as pure, while coming from God, yet considering it in termino, as the part of man who descended from Adam, so it is polluted, not by any physical cause for that sinne cannot have, but a moral one, which is the first trangression of Adam; for although that hath had no being these thousand yeares, yet it is not requisite that a moral cause should exist to produce its effect. Because then the soul in the same instance it is created, it is also united, as a forme to the compositum, which is man, Therefore it is deprived of its primitive purity, not by any positive efficiency, but meerly ne∣gatively, God denying his image to it, because the soul is part of a man, it is corrupted; therefore if the soul were only an assistant form not inwardly compounding man, it would not receive pollution by generation. Hence
Page 394 The second Proposition is, That the children even of holy and sanctified persons, who have their original sinne in the guilt of it quite taken away, and in the filth and power of it much subdued, yet they beget children in original sinne, and such chil∣dren are by nature the children of wrath as well as of the most profligate and wicked men. It is usuall with Papists and Lutherans to charge upon the Calvinists, that they deny original sinne in part (at least) because they affirm, That the children of believers are holy; but herein they do either ignorantly or malici∣ously calumniate, for they say no more then what the Apostle speaketh in that famous place, 1 Cor. 7. 15. Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy; on the sense of which place I shall not here inlarge, having insisted upon it before; The summe of which then delivered is, That they are called holy, because of that external Covenant, whereby God takes believers and their seed into his family, so that they have not that uncleanness upon them which the children of Heathens have, but have a right of admission into Church-Com∣munion; so that this outward Covenant [holiness] may and doth consist with that inherent natural pollution that they bring with them into the world. And although parents be never so eminent in holiness, yet their children are full of sinne, and so obnoxious unto the wrath of God; and the reason is, be∣cause they are fathers to their children, not as godly, but as men, and original sinne is the consequent of mans nature, whereas the parents grace is a personal excellency, and so cannot be transmitted: Even as learned parents do not con∣veigh learning to their children, but they are born in ignorance as well as others; Those known similies of Augustine are full to this purpose, A Jew that was circumcised, be begat children not circumcised, but uncircumcised and the seed in the ground, though sewen without huskes, yet it produceth corn with huskes; seeing then holiness is a personal qualification of the parent, and original sinne the common consequent of mans nature inseperable from it, no wonder if parents, who are the children of God by grace, beget children of wrath by nature. Hence
The third Proposition is, That if any Infants should be converted even in the womb, yet we may truely say of them, that they are by nature polluted with sinne, and deserve the wrath of God, for what they have by meer grace, doth not take away, but suppose they have sinne by nature: There are two instances in Scripture of Infants, that might be thought to be freed from original sinne; The first is of Jeremiah cap 1. 5. where the Lord saith to Jeremiah, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before then camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet to the Nations. But
First, Every one may easily see this is nothing to the Prophets conception or birth in sinne, for what is said here in the Text, is attributed to Jeremiah before any of these; so that all that could be prooved from hence would be, that Je∣remiah had no original sinne, either before he was conceived or born, and who saith a man hath original inherent sinne before he hath a being? But
Secondly, There is a two-fold sanctification, the one by setting a part to an office, and the other by making internally holy through renovation: now the Context is clear, that this Verse speaketh of the former sanctification, (viz.) That God had from his very beginning, while in the womb, purposed and de∣creed, that he should in time be a Prophet to preach to the people of Israel, for that is expresly added, to shew what kind of sanctification he meaneth, I ordained thee to be a Prophet to the Nations; we have two expressions like this, one to the Prophet Isa. 49. 1, 5. which though in an eminent manner is to be ap∣plied to Christ, yet was in some sense also true of the Prophet, The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name: And again, The Lord formed me from the womb to be his servant: This is spoken of the office he was set apart unto; The other instance is, Gal. 1. 15. Paul saith of himself, That God had seperated him from his mothers womb, that Page 395 was not surely from original sinne, for he speaketh immediately before of the sinfulness he had once been guilty of; but his meaning is, he was separated from the womb in Gods Decree to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, though for a long while he was a persecutor of his Church; Thus you see it is the former sanctifi∣cation the Apostle speaketh of, and not the latter, and if we do suppose that Jeremiah even in his mothers womb was then also sanctified in the later way (for none can deny, but that even then God might renew his nature by grace) yet that will not exclude him from sinne but necessarily suppose it, for he that needed to be made holy in the womb, it is plain he was sinfull in the womb; Ludovicus de Tena. who handleth this Question about Jeremiah (lib. 2. Isa. scrip. diffic. 12a) concludeth, That by this expression is meant the cleansing of Jere∣miah from original sinne in the womb of his mother, and in debating arguments pro & con, doth refuse that interpretation of the deputation of the Prophet to his ministerial office, because otherwise here would be no more peculiar thing promised to Jeremiah: And making an Objection to himself from Austin, Renasci per gratiam supponit nasci per naturam, whereas Jeremiaeh is thus sancti∣fied before he was born, therefore we cannot understand it of regeneration; He answereth it thus, That their is a nativity in the womb, for the person hath a being before his local egress, and such a birth is enough for regeneration; by which it appeareth, that if this should be interpreted of Jeremiah's purgation from original sinne, (which is not probable) it doth not incommodate us. And so we come to the second example, and that is, John the Baptist, while in his mothers womb, of whom we read this admirable thing recorded by the E∣vangelist Luke, cap. 1, 41. that when Elizabeth was saluted by the Virgin Ma∣ry, The babe leaped in the womb, which is repeated again, v. 44. Assoon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my eares, the babe leaped in my womb for joy; now you must know, that this great motion of the child was not in a meer na∣tural way, as sometimes children may do in the womb, when the mother is greatly affected, but it was in a divine and supernatural way, even as Rebeckah, when her twinnes did strive in the womb; this was an extraordinary progno∣stick caused in a supernatural way by God. And although Calvin on the place saith,
IT is the peculiar and incommunicable prerogative of Christ alone in respect of his humane nature, to be exempted from original sinne (as you have heard) And therefore it's an inseparable and inevitable property following every one of mankind: As it is said of Justification by Christ, Bond and free, Jew and Gre∣cian, all are out, Gal. 3. 28. So there is neither rich or poor, Christian or Heathen, Noble or ignoble, civil or prophane, male or female, but all are one in original sinne, because all are of Adam by natural generation, and thereby original sin is propagated to all, which Doctrine is to be explicated in more pro∣positions. And
Page 397 First, Though our natural generation from corrupted Parents, be the means by which we all are born polluted and depraved, yet this doth not exclude the justice of God, and his righteous Decree, that from a sinfull fountain shall arise such polluted streams, from such a bitter root also bitter fruit, but doth necessarily presuppose it. So that the just judgement of God in punishing of all mankind, for Adam's first transgression must alwayes be acknowledged, and we must not separate the natural propagation of sinne from the sentence and Decree of God; For if this were the only reason, that we became guilty of Adam's sinne, because in his lions, then all Adam's other sinnes should be made ours, as well as that first act of disobedience in eating of the foridden fruit, and the sinnes of our immediate parents in whose loines we were, should be transmitted to us, as well as Adam's; yea happily, if this were so, then the longer original sinne hath been propagated, it would still grow more evil, and thereby men in the later age of the world become more polluted with original sinne, then men in the former age; but Cain and Abel, who were the imme∣diate off-spring of Adam, were as deeply plunged in this native defilement, as any are now. Therefore some learned men, though in this Controversie they do allow the phrase of the Propagation of original sinne, because commonly used, yet would gladly have a more commodious and fit expression; Hence they do more willingly use the word Traduction, or happily transmitting and transfusing; for the sinne is not properly propagated, but the humane nature to which original corruption adhereth, because we have not that so properly from our parents, though by them, as of Adam; for the reason why upon the conjunction of soul and body an Infant is immediately defiled with sinne, is not because born of such parents, but because of Adam; and therefore though they be the cause of being a man, yet Adam is of being a sinfull man; So that as all the lines from the circumference do equally meet in the center; Thus do all mankind in Adam, and he that is now born, doth as immediately partake of Adam's sin, as Cain did, though so many thousand years ago born immediately of Adam; Original sin then doth not in length of time either increase or de∣crease, but we all have our polluted natures, as polluted, directly from Adam, and immediately, though as nature from our parents, and so administer the sub∣ject to which original is applied, and so in a remote distance from our common parent; Let not then any man think, what should we trouble our selves with Adam's sinne, and complain of him, who lived so many years ago? What is his transgression to us, who live so many generations after him? For thou hast this natural pollution, as immediately from him, as if thou hadst been his immediate son, neither is thy parents sinfulness communicated to thee, simply because thy parents, but because Adams, who was the common pa∣rent; This rightly considered would affect us as much as if we had lived immedi∣ately upon Adam's fall, neither would the space of so many years since his trans∣gression at all abate our sad and aggravating thoughts of it.
Whether the Virgin Mary was born with Original Sinne.
IT being thus the nature-sinne,*and not a personal individual one, it is very absurd, either from a preposterous admiration, or some other respect to exempt any born in a natural way from this birth sinne. In this way we find the Papists greatly offending concerning the Virgin, out of a sinfull admiration of her, thinking thereby to honour Christ: Some of them do peremptorily conclude, That the Virgin Mary was born without original sinne, and thereupon they keep the feast of her Immaculate and undefiled Con∣ception: Yea some have gone so farre as to say the Virgin Mary's mother, was also without original sinne; And if we proceed upon their principles. Why should they not affirm so? For as they say, It is for the honour of Christ to have a Mother without original sinne, so it would be for the honour of the Vir∣gin, to have her Mother without sinne likewise. Now (I say) some of the Pa∣pists determine, That the Virgin Mary was conceived without sinne. Trithe∣mius his great zeal and devotion in this point, is abundantly declared by him in his Tractate of the praises of S. Anna, especially Chap. 7. yea he is so confi∣dent in his assertion of the immaculate Conception of the Mother of Christ, that he saith, Si erramus pietas (imo Deus ipse) est in causâ; Piety, yea God himself is the cause of it. It hath been a very hot Dispute between the Deminicans and the Franciscans. Bellarmine goeth a middle way, he will not have it an Article of Faith to believe she was thus pure, but yet he saith, It is a most pi∣ous opinion, and therefore, he giveth several Arguments for it: But Estius saith in Rom. 5. the Scriptures and ancient Fathers speak exclusively, that none but Christ was freed from original sinne; as if it would be an high offence in him to depart from them, though he doth not judge others. The late heretical Writer D. J. T. (as Austin would call him if alive, for he maketh every one that think∣eth not all mankind, except Christ, to be born in original sinne, so as the flesh of Christ and of other men should be of equal purity, to be Detectandus Hae∣reticus, Lib. 5. contra Julian. cap 9.) gloryeth in this; (Vnum Necessar. cap. 6. Sect. 6.) Concerning the Dispute between the Papists, which could never be ended upon their accounts, that he Alexander-like hath cut in pieces this Gordian-knot, Therefore he affirmeth, not only her, but all her family (and why not all mankind?) were free from it: but it is a Thrasonical boast, and withall full of falshood, for hereby original sin is wholly removed, made to be a meer Non ens; The Subject of the Question is quite taken away, so that by his principles, all the Disputations about original sin will be de non ente, as he acknowledgeth in some sense, a striving about a shadow; yea, and which is the most horrible, every one shall now be born as pure as Christ, in respect of his humane nature; There is no difference between Christ and all the rest of man∣kind, as in respect of their natural immunity from sinne. His Clemens Alex∣andrinus would have informed him better, when he saith, Stromatum lib. 1, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The Word (that is, Christ) is only without sinne, for in all men it is imbred to sinne, whatsoever Clemens at other times may deliver about this original sinne, here he acknowledgeth it, and indeed it is easie out of the Ancients to bring con∣trary passages that seem to savour opposite Doctrines; But concerning this poisonous opinion, we shall have constant occasion to treat of. As for the Franciscans and other Popish Writers, that plead for the Virgin Mary's purity, they can bring no Scripture, but urge some plausible reasons, as thinking Page 399 thereby to give her the more honour, especially revelations and miracles are strongly urged in this point; But the Scripture is to be our Rule in this matter, and there we see none exempted. Besides the Virgin Mary cals Christ her Savi∣our, which implieth necessarily, that she had sinne, yea she had also actual sins, as might be proved, although the Papists will not endure to hear of it; Neither doth this make to the dishonour of Christ, to be born of a mother that had sinne in her, for seeing he is separated from it, it is his greater glory that he alone is exempted: And besides, we see that the more Christ was debased and made low (but without sinne) hereby is he the more honoured as a Mediator: Hence it was that he was born of one that was very poor and mean, not of a rich and great person, as appeareth by the Sacrifice offered of two pigeons for her purification, he was also born in a stable, laid in a manger, all which demonstrate the lowliness of Christs humane being; Hence the Evangelist Matthew in re∣cording the Genealogy of Christ, doth name Thamar and Bathsheba whose un∣cleanness was famous, and yet hereby there is no dishonour to Christ, because the lower he humbled himself for our sake, the greater is his love demonstrated; and so his glory of a Saviour more exalted: This opinion of honouring Christ in an humane way, hath brought in several errours into the Church; for it was because of this in part, that the Marcionists denied Christ to have a true real body, they thought it ignominious to him to be born as other children are, and so in Popery there are marvellous legends, and wonderfull miracles feigned about Christ while an Infant; The surest way then to honour Christ is to keep close to his Word, and we see how one error begetteth another; for from the opinion that she was without original sinne, they have proceeded to horrible Idolatry, attributing that which is proper to Christ unto her, she is called the Mediatrix, she is called their hope; There is a Roman Psaltery full of blasphemy in this kind, turning Dominus into Domina, what is said of the Lordunto her the Lady: It is true, we do as she fore-told, acknowledge her blessed, among women; There was an high dignity bestowed upon her in being the mother of Christ, but she was more happy in having Christ in her heart by faith, then conceiving him bo∣dily in her womb: It is well observed by Cartwright in his Harmony, That whereas the parents of John the Baptist are highly commended as righteous be∣fore God, walking in all the Commandments of the Lord, Luk. 1. 6. there is no∣thing recorded of the holiness of the Virgin Mary, that hereby she rather then other women had this priviledge vouchsafed to her, as if thereby the holy Ghost would prevent that horrible Idolatry, which he foresaw would creep into the Church concerning her: As the Papists, so the Turks they do fondly and fool∣ishly boast of the impeccability of their Mahomet, insomuch that one of their learned men was forced to flie for his life, because he held Mahomet might have sinned a venial sinne if he would. (Vide Hornbeek summa. cent. de Mahume∣disme.) And although they do not say, Mahomet was born without sinne, yet they have a prodigious fable concerning him, That when he was a child of four years old, some Angels laid hold on him, and carried him into a mountain, where they diffected him, washed his guts clean, took out a black drop, which (they say) is in every man, as the seed of the Devil, and all this without any grief, and by this meant he was freed from sinne. It is most dreadfull to consider, what impie∣ties and impostures are in that Mahumetan Religion, and yet how greatly the propugners thereof have prevailed, and that where Christian Churches were plant••; They have also their religious persons, which they call Nefesogli that they held are without sinne, yea that they are not born in an humane way of generation, of whose extasies they do relate very stupendious things; by which we see how greatly the Devil can prevail by bodily devotions, and such extatical raptures, as well as by traditional superstitions; The Devil doth not only by heresi and Idolatry, but also by devotions and strange bodily raptures prevail, Page 400 and inlarge his Kingdom. But these are so fabulous they are not worth insisting on. Theodoret (as Sixtus Senensis relateth, Annot. in c. 5. Rom) speaketh as if Seth, Euceh, Noah, and such eminent men were free from original sinne, as the Rabbins of Beaz, and others, that they were without evil concupiscence: But though these had the grace of God regenerating them, yet they were by nature full of sinne; and although when it is said, That the imaginations of mans heart were only evil from the youth, it is said of Noah, But he was a righteous man and feared God, and so found favour with him; This doth not inferre, that by nature his imaginations were not as evil as others, but only by the grace of God he had obtained a mighty change and translation from that natural condition.
How absurd it is to exempt any from this Natural Pollution upon any ground whatsoever.
THirdly, Original sinne being thus a sinne of the nature, as it is absurd to ex∣empt any from it upon Theological considerations, so likewise from any Philo∣sophical niceties; For there are some that bring forth strange and paradoxal opi∣nions about the nature of man, and these will not have all men involved in A∣dam's sinne, for there is an anonimous Author (truly nullius nominis) hath a written book De praeadomitis, his whole scope is to shew, that there were men before Adam, though the Scripture doth not mention them, and he saith, A negative argument in matter of fact doth not hold; There were none, because the Scripture doth not name them; no more then we can say, Melchizedech had no father or mother indeed, because they are not mentioned, But Moses relateth what was in the beginning, and thereby doth exclude any before Adam, yea in the Scripture Adam is expresly called the first man, 1 Cor. 15. 45. There are others, and they would from Philosophy prove, That all men are not of the same kind, no more then birds and beasts, and therefore they did not all come from Adam; They instance in the Antipodes, in those that are in the other world or Hemisphere. The ancient Clement in his Epistle to the Corinthiant, pag. 29. speaketh of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, worlds beyond the sea. But these all come from Adam, for Act. 17. 26. it is expresly said, That God hath made of one blend all Nations of men that dwell on the earth; Therefore we need not matter these fancies, no more then those that hold a world in the Moon, and men there; Paracelsus that gloried he would reform Luther, as Luther had the Pope (Vid• Ludev. Crec. Syntag. cap. 28. pag. 811.) telleth us of men found in mines, and that there are Marini homines and Satyrs, who are capable of blessedness, and that Christ died for them, as a certain Satyr is said to the famous Ermit Anthony. Some also speak of men begotten in that unnatural way with beasts, that are beasts and men, have these original sinnes; But we are to despise all these nice∣ties; Neither are fancies to be minded against the clear Doctrine of the Scri∣pture, wheresoever there is the nature of man in a natural way, there the Scri∣pture pronounceth all obnoxious to this sinne.
The last Proposition is, That this original sinne is communicated to all mankind, although they have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression; For you may happily think, it is indeed just with God to punish all such who sinne like Adam, that imitate him in his wickedness; But as for others, how doth that appear becoming the righteousness and mercy of God? Now for this we have a clear attestation, Rom. 5. 14. Death reigned over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adams transgression; But what is meant by this description is Page 401 controverted. Those that leave out the negative, making it to runne affirma∣tively (viz.) Who sinned after the transgression of Adam, and also those who read it thus, Death reigned after the similitude of Adams transgression, upon those who did not sinne. As Verstius following Erasmus and Chrysostom, are not to be regarded; neither is that Exposition to be endured of that late Writer, with whom we have so often to do; As if the Apostle meant, That death relatively to Adams sinne had no effect further then to Moses, and there it ceased, for this doth palpably contradict the Apostle, 1 Cor. 15. 22. where by Adam all are said to die. Therefore by those who sinne not after the similitude of Adams transgres∣sion; Some understand it thus (viz.) not so capitally and atrociously as he did, for he sinned against an express Law; but the Apostle speaketh of such, who sinned without such a declared Law, as Hos. 6. 7. They like men have transgres∣sed (in the original) like Adam. Many Expositors make it the proper name of Adam, hereby the Prophet aggravating their sin, That as Adam in Paradise did voluntarily transgress Gods Law; So the Jews in the good Land God had given them, did treacherously against him. But Mercer rejecteth this, because in the He∣brew it is not C•hadam with 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 emphatical, as it is commonly applied to Adam. There is such an expression in Job, which some understand of Adam, Job 31. 33. where it is translated, If I covered my transgressions as Adam, or as in the mar∣gin, After the manner of men: This interpretation may be admitted as part; but 2. we are to understand it more largely of all those who sinne without a Law revealed; for the Apostle had said, That sinne is not imputed, viz. (to a mans conscience) where there is no Law, men are apt to be secure in sinne, when there is no Law expresly threatning them; Now saith the Apostle, let none think so, For as death so sinne was in the world before Moses his time, though there was not such severe precepts against it; and therefore those who had not such an ex∣press command as Adam had, yet death and sinne was imputed to them; So that by this is understood, That all those who live out of the Church, all Heathens and Pagans, who have not the revealed will of God to walk by, even those who never heard of Adam, and so could not imitate him in sinning are in this clause comprehended.
Lastly, By this also is declared, That all Infants, though they cannot actually sinne, yet because of original sinne, death reigneth over them likewise, Though Calvin think the former sort chiefly aimed at, yet he confesseth Infants are herein included.
Thus we have finished this Text, the Doctrine whereof should make the world a valley of tears in respect of godly humiliation, as it is indeed in respect of mi∣series; As the shadow followeth the body, so should holy sorrow the truth of this point; Believe it and tremble, for it is every ones case, she out of thy self to that Saviour who delivereth from original sinne, as well as actual. This is most properly the sinne of the world.