Of Adam's Actual Transgression.
NOw for the aggravation of original sinne, we may speak either of A∣dams actual iransgression, which is our original imputed sinne, or of that inherent corruption which we have from our birth, and both do ad∣mit of great aggravations, It is true, some Orthodox Writers doe deny the imputation of Adam's actual disobedience unto us, as Josua Placeus, who bringeth many Arguments (Thes. Salm. Dis. de statu hominis lapsi ante gratiam.) but my work is not to answer them, I suppose it for granted, as a necessary truth. Concerning Adam's sinne, which is thus ours by im∣putation; Bellarmine maketh the Question, An sit gravissimum? Whether it was the greatest of all sinnes? And he concludeth, following the School∣men, that absolutely it is not, only respectively, Secundum quid, in some considerations, which he mentioneth. Bonaventure saith, It is the greatest sinne extensive not intensive. But we are to judge of the hainousness of sinne, as we see God doth, who esteemeth of sinne without any errour: Now it is certain, there was never any sinne that God punisheth, as he doth this; The sinne indeed against the holy Ghost, in respect of the ob∣ject matter of it, and the inseparable concomitant of unpardonablenesse is greater, as to a particular person, but this being the sinne of the com∣mon nature of mankind, doth bring all under the curse of God; So that we may on the contrary to Bellarmine say, That it is absolutely the high∣est sinne against God, but in some respects it is not. I shall be brief in aggravating of that (not at all touching upon the other Question) which hath more curiosity in it, (Whether Adam's sinne, or Eve's was the great∣est?) then edification: Because our proper work is to speak of original inherent sinne, yet it is good to affect our souls with the great guilt there∣of, for some have been ready to expostulate with God, Why for such a small sinne (as they call it) no more then eating the forbidden fruit, so many millions of persons, even all the posterity of mankind should there∣by be made children of wrath, and obnoxious to eternal damnation? Doth not the Pelagian opinion, that holdeth, it hurteth none but Adam himself, and his posterity, onely if they willingly imitate him, agree more with the goodnesse of God? But if we do seriously consider, how much evil was in this one sinne, which Tertullian maketh to be a breach of the whole Law of God, we will then humble our selves, and acknowledge the just hand of God. For
Page 406 First, This is hainously to be aggravated from the internal qualification of the subject. Adam who did thus offend was made upright, created in the Image of God; In his understanding he had a large measure of light and knowledge; For though the Socinians would have him a meer I deot and innocent, yet it may ea∣sily be evidenced to the contrary: The Image of God consisteth in the perfecti∣on of the mind, as well as in holiness of the other parts of the soul: Neither did El•phaz in his discourse with Job, apprehend such ignorance in Adam, when he saith, Art thou the first man was born? Wast thou made before the hils?—Dost thou restrain wisdom to thy self? Job 15. 7 8. implying, that the first man was made full of knowledge; If then Adam had such pure light in his mind, this made his sinne the greater, yea because of this light some have proceeded so far as to make.Adam's sinne the sinne against the holy Ghost; but I shall not af∣firm that; Certainly in that Adam had so great knowledge, this made his of∣fence the more evil; hence because there was no ignorance in his mind, nor no passions in the sensitive part at that time to disturb him, his sinne was meerly and totally voluntary, and the more the will is in a sinne the greater it is: Hence Rom. 5. It is called expresly disobedience, By one mans disobedience; Yea learned men say, That this was the proper specifical sinne of Adam, eve• diso∣bedience; For although disobedience be in a large sense in every sinne, yet this sinne of Adams was specifically disobedience, for God gave him a positive command meerly, that thereby Adam should testifie his obedience to him. The thing in it self, was not intrinsecally evil to eat of the forbidden fruit, it was sin∣full, only because it was forbidden; and by this God would have Adam demon∣strate his homage to him, but in offending, he became guilty in a particular way of disobedience.
Secondly, If you consider Adam in his external condition; His fin is very great, God placed him in Paradise, put him into a most happy condition, gave him the whole world for his portion; Every thing was made for his use and delight; now how intolerable was Adams ingratitude for so small a matter, to rebell against God? Therefore the smalness of the matter of the sinne doth not diminish but aggravate; he might the more easily have refused the temptation, so that this unthankfulness to God must highly provoke him.
Thirdly, The sinne was an aggregate sinne, It had many grievous sins ingre∣dient into it; It was a Beelzebub sin, a big-bellied sinne, full of many sins in the womb of it; his sinne was not alone in the external eating of the forbidden fruit, but in the internal causes that made him do so; There was unbelief, which was the foundation of all the other sinfulness, he believeth the Devil rather then God; There was pride and ambition, He desired to be like God; There was apostasie from God, and communion with him; There was the love of the crea∣ture more than of God, and thereby there was the hatred of God: Thus it was unum malum in quo omnia mala, as God is unumbonum in quo omnia bona.
Lastly, (Not to insist on this, because formerly spoken to) There was the unspeakable hurt and damage, which hereby he brought to his posterity. (Not to mention the curse upon the ground, and every creature) The damning of all his posterity in soul and body, it the grace of God did not interpose; It cannot be rationally conceived, but that Adam knew he was a publique person, that he was acquainted upon what terms he stood in reference to his posterity; That the threatning did belong to all his as well as himself, if he did eat of the forbidden fruit. Now for Adam to be a murderer of so many souls and bodies, to be the cause of temporal, spiritual and eternal death to all mankind, who can acknow∣ledge but that this sinne is out of measure sinfull.