The Aggravation of Original Sinne inherent in us.
OUr next work is, to consider the aggravation of original sinne inherent in us; and this is our duty to do, that so being sensible of our own conta∣gion, we may not flatter our selves in the power of our free-will, but fly alone to Christ, who is a Phisitian and Saviour even to Infants, as well as grown men; and the rather we are to be serious and diligent in this, because of all those prophane opinions which do either wholly deny it, or in a great measure extenuate it. Some Papists make it less then a venial sinne, and many of them plead hard, that it doth not deserve hell, and eternal damnation: But no won∣der this is done in Babylon, seeing in Jerusalem there are such oppugnators and extenuators of it; vs if the Welsh Pelagius had not been enough, there is now a new English one started up, who, what with some absurd opinions from the So∣cinians, some from the most Heterodox of the Papists, as Durand, Pigbius Catharinus, &c. and many things from the old Pelagian, hath stuffed his late writings with much glory and pomp of words, especially against this original sinne; what with his Hyperbolyes and Metonymyes it is made no sinne, but an original curse, rather then original sinne, (Answ. to the Letter of Rom.) so plea∣sing it is to be Pigmilions, and to fall in love with our own purity, unwilling to be shut up under sinne, that the gracious mercy of God may be alone exalted: And as the Socinians plead their reverence and zeal of honour to the Father, while they deny the Deity of the Son; so here is pleaded much reverence and tender regard to the Justice, Mercy and Goodness of God, much zeal to holi∣ness and piety, as if the Doctrine of original sinne did undermine all these; But of these cavills in time; for the present, let us not judge of sinne and the guilt thereof by humane principles, and phylosophical Arguments, but by the Word of God. And
First, The hainousness of it doth appear (as heretofore hath been hinted) In that it is not like any actual sinne, that hath its proper specifical guilt, and so is opposite to one vertue only, and thereby doth contaminate but one power of the soul; but it is the universal dissolution and deordination of all the parts of the soul. Vn∣cleanness hath the guilt of that sinne only, and is opposed to that particular grace of chastity, and so of every sinne else; but now this hereditary defile∣ment is contrary to that original righteousness God created man in, and as that was not one single habit of grace. but the systeme of all; Thus original sinne is not one particular sinne, but the comprehension of all; It is the sinne of the mind, of the will, of the affection, of the body, of the whole man; so that as when we would aggravate the goodness of God, we say, all the particular respective goodnesses in the creatures are eminently contained in God, so we may say, all the particular pollutions, and guilt which is in respective sinnes is eminently contained in this; so that if there could be a summum malum in man, (though that is impossible, because malum moris fundatur in bono naturae) this original sinne would be it: Look upon this original sinne then, as the deordination of the whole man, as that which maketh every part of thee sinfull and cursed, as that which maketh thee to bear the image of a Devil, who once hadst the glo∣rious and holy Image of God.
Secondly, This sinne is greatly to be aggravated, Because it is the root and cause of all actual sinnes. Some question, Whether all our actual sinnes pro∣ceed from this fountain or no? And certainly we may conclude, that all kind of actual sinne, whether internal or external, soul sinnes, or body-sinnes, do either mediately, or immediately flow from it. This is the evil treasure of the Page 408 heart, Mat. 12. 35. Hence one of the Names that original sinne hath, is Fomes peccati, because that is the womb in which all sinnes are conceived: The A∣postle James fully confirmeth this, Chap. 1. 14. Every man is tempted and drawn aside by his own lust; neither is it any wonder that many sinnes being in their particular nature opposite to one another, that yet they should all come from one common principle, seeing they all have the same generical nature of filthi∣ness; and the particularization of them is according to several temptations: Even as out of the same dunghill several kinds of vermine which are produced out of putrid matter may be brought forth; so that all the streames of iniquity do meet in this ocean, they all come from this root, even as all men do from Adam; Not that the most flagitious crimes are instantly committed, but by de∣grees they do at last biggen into such enormities; if then that Rule be true, That there is more in the cause then in the effect, and what is causa causae, is, causa causati, then certainly may all our iniquities be reduced to this as the fountain; hence David, Psal. 51. in his humiliation for his murder, doth go up to the cause of all, even that he was born in iniquity.
Thirdly, It is to be aggravated, In the incurableness of it; for though A∣dam had power to cast himself into this defiled condition, yet he had no power to recover himself out of it; as Austin expresseth it, A living man may kill himself, but when dead he cannot recover himself to life; This (you heard) is made part of the reason why God would not proceed to destroy the world again, although mans corrupt heart is so corrupt, even because there was no hope that any judgments would cure them; They would proceed still further in impieties, all that water did not wash the Blackmore nature of man: hence it is that the grace of God whereby we are quickened out of this death, is wholly supernatural; It's no wonder that they who are doting to set up the Idol of free-will, do begin to lay their foundation in this, that there is no such thing, as this natural pravity in man; But there was no more in man to recover him out of this original filth, then is in the Devils to restore them to their pristine fe∣licity: So that thy actual sinnes are not alone to be humbled, for were it possi∣ble for thee to live with this sinne alone, thou didst need the grace of Christ to redeem thee from this bondage.
Fourthly, Herein also it is unspeakably to be aggravated, That it taketh away all spiritual sense and feeling. It's the spiritual death of the soul; we are dead men by nature in respect of spiritual things, and therefore though exposed to all the curses in the Law, yet we feel nothing, we do not tremble and cry out for help; The Physitian seeketh us, not we him; grace finds us out, not we grace; and hence it is, that we think we have no such thing as original sinne in us: Oh it is an heavy temptation to be given up unto, to think there is no such thing as original sinne, that we have no such enmity against God naturally in our hearts! Wo be to that man, who begineth to think this thing little or none at all! What can we pray for such a man, but that which the Prophet did for the Sy∣rians when they were brought into the midst of their enemies, Lord open their eyes (saith he?) which when done, they saw themselves in the midst of their adversaries, and so looked upon themselvet but as so many dead men; Thus if the Spirit of God by the Word make thee see the dunghill in thy heart, the ge∣neral pollution of thy soul, thou wilt cry out, Oh how blind was I till now! how sensless till this time! Oh I am a damned man, an undone man, if God do not recover by his grace! Therefore that of Austin (though formerly men∣tioned can never enough be inculcated) That in their controversie with Pela∣gians there is more need of prayer then syllogismes; The truth of this Doctrine, as it is primarily discovered by the Scripture, so secondarily by the experience of the regenerated, who (as Paul said) were alive once secure and blessed, according to their own thoughts in the state they were in, but when once con∣vinced Page 409 of the spirituality of the Law, and their own carnality and contrariety ther∣unto, then sinne becometh out of measure sinfull, and they die and are undone in their own thoughts: Therefore concerning the Writers in this Controversie, we are not only to enquire, what acquired learning they have, but what inspi∣red grace; what experimental workings of Gods Spirit in the humbling of them, and to make them renounce all their own righteousness and fullness that Christ may be all in all: Thus Austin, who of all the Fathers hath most ortho∣doxly propugned this truth, so none of them discover such an experimental conversion to God, and a gracious change upon their hearts, as he doth in his Books of Confessions; I do not detract from the piety of the other Ancients; only it is plain, Austin discovereth a more peculiar and higher degree of an ex∣perimental knowledge of his own unworthiness, and Gods gracious power in bringing him out of darkness into light; and no question, but the efficacy and power of this experience made him so orthodox, and couragious in maintain∣ing that truth, which political and phylosophical principles did much gainsay; but this is the wofull effect of original sinne, that it taketh away all power to discover it self; and as those deseases are most dangerous which take away the sense of them, so is original sinne to be aggravated in this respect, that it ma∣keth a man insensible of it.
Fifthly, The aggravation of this sinne is seen, That it is the habituall aversion of the soul from God, and conversion to the creature. It is true, original sinne is not an habitual acquired sinne, but yet it is per modum habitus, (as Aquinas expresseth it) That is, the soul of every Infant born into the world cometh with an innate and habitual averseness to God, and what is holy; as also a concupiscential conversion to the creature; so that the two parts expressed in an actual sinne of commission, mentioned by the Prophet Jermiah, Chap. 2. 13. My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of life (there is the aversio, à Creatore,) and have hewed to themselves broken cisterns, there is the (conversio ad creaturam) the same hath some representa∣tion in original sinne; for every man by this hereditary pollution stands with his back upon God, and his face to the creature; Even as the child cometh bodily into the world, with his face downwards and his back upon the heavens; so it is with the soul of a man, and this maketh our sinne of native pol∣lution to be out of measure sinfull, in that a man standing thus at a di∣stance, yea at enmity against God, can never turn his face again towards God, but by a supervenient grace from above.
Sixthly, The great heightening of this sinne is, In the deep radication of it; It is so intimately and deeply rooted in all the powers of the soul, that while a man is in this life, he can never be freed from it; hence it is that the ordinary determination of the Protestant Writers, concerning original sinne, even in regenerate persons is, That it is taken away, Quoad reatum, though not Quoad actum; There is original sinne in every man living, yea in the most holy, only it is removed from them, Quoad reatum, the guilt shall not be im∣puted, and Quoad Dominum, though it be in them, yet it doth not reign in them, only it is in some degree present there, and therefore called by the same Divines, Reliquiae peccati, which expression, though scorned by Corvinus, yet both Scripture and some experience doth justly confirme such a phrase; And although the late Adversary against original sinne (Tayl. a further Expli∣cation of the Doct. of Orig. pag. 501.) doth positively and magisterially accor∣ding to his custome dogmatize, that it is a contradiction to say sinne remain∣eth, and the guilt is taken away, and that in the justified no sinne can be inhe∣rent; yet herein he betrayeth his symbolizing with Papists, for all our learned Protestants have maintained this Position against Papists, Bishops and others distinguishing between reatus simplex, that is inseperable from sinne, or the Page 410merit of damnation, and Reatus redundans in personam, which is, when this is imputed; There is therefore alwayes abiding in every man, though justified, original sinne in some measure, it is the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The sinne dwelling in us (as the Apostle calleth it, Rom 7.) and therefore in regard of the immobili∣ty and inseperability of it from mans nature, while here on the earth, it is more to be aggravated then all actual and habitual sins; For though in Regeneration, there is an infusion of gracious habits, whereby the habits of sinne are expel∣led, yet this original depravation is not totally conquered by it. And thus much may suffice for the aggravating of it, because something hath already been spo∣ken to this Point.