A treatise of original sin ... proving that it is, by pregnant texts of Scripture vindicated from false glosses
Burgess, Anthony, d. 1664.
Page  412


That every one by Nature hath his peculiar proper Original Sinne.

THe second Doctrine offereth it self in the next place to be considered of, which is,

That every one by nature hath his peculiar proper original sinne, which doth be∣times vent it self into actual evil. For the Text speaketh universally, there is not any to be exempted. It is made a Question in the Schools, Whether there be many, or one original sinne onely? Aquinas bringeth two Arguments for more original sinnes than one; The one is from the Text according to the Vulgar Translation, Psal. 51. 5. where it is rendred, In sinnes did my mother conceive me, in the Plural number; And then the second from Reason, because there being many actual sinnes, it cannot seem rational, that one original sinne should incline to them all, seeing many times these sinnes flow from con∣trary principle; How may it be thought this one sinne should carry a man out concupiscentially to so many contrary lusts? Therefore that this truth may be fully demonstrated, let us consider these Propositions:

First, That such who deny any original inherent corruption, and make Adam's actual sinne to be ours onely by imputation, as Pighius and Catharinus, they will say, That there is but one original sinne, which is by imputation made every mans; Even as by the light of one Sunne, every man seeth, or (as some Philosophers say) there is one common Intelleotus agens, by which all men are inabled to understand; So that by this opinion every man hath not his peculiar inherent defilement, but that one actual transgression by imputation, is made the one common sinne of mankind. Now although this is to be granted, That Adam's actual sinne is made ours (which Chamier, and some French Prote∣stants following him do dangerously deny) yet the Texts heretofore brought in this point, do evidently convince, That every one hath his peculiar native de∣filement that he is born in: So that original sinne, though it may be called one in specie and proportione, yet when we come to every particular man, he hath his numerical and individual original sinne in him: Although therefore there be as many original sinnes in the world, as there are men and women, yet in one man or one woman, there is but one original sinne: Thus David, Psal. 51. 5. confessed his particular birth-sinne, not that it was his case alone, not that any other ought not say so, as well as David, but because this consideration doth most humble and affect a man, for what is it to hear that in the general there is such a thing as original sinne, unless a man make particular application to him∣self, unless he bring it home to his own heart, unless he cry out, Ah wretched and undone sinner, I, even I am the man that am thus born in sinne, even though there were no other men in the world, yet I should be by nature the child of wrath! And truly this is one reason of our large discoursing upon this point, that you might at last bring this coal of fire (as it were) into your bo∣some to kindle there, not only to think of the undone estate of mankind in the general, but to think this is true of thee, I am the man of whom all this evil is spoken; Believe thy self to be such a Toad, such a Devil; Hearken to the Word more then to these flattering and soothing suggestions which thy own deluded heart, or corrupt teachers may obtrude upon thee.

Secondly, That although this original sinne be commonly called the sinne of the nature, yet that is not to be so understood, as if it were not also existent in the person, and so a personal sinne. Catharinus (Opusc. casu hominis.) confesseth he doth not understand how original sinne can be called the sinne of the nature, Page  413 for the nature is an abstract, and it is a Chymerical sigment, to say, an univer∣sal nature is capable of sinne, because Actiones sunt suppositorum; and the late known Enemy to this truth, doth (as it were) triumph in his Arguments against this expression, when it is called, The sinne of our Nature (Further Explicat. of the Doctrine of Orig. pag. 493.) For while he is wresting and wrecking the miserable 9th Article of the Church of England, adding and de∣tracting (Procrustus-like) to make it commensurate to his prepossessed imagi∣nation (although he should remember, that according to the Civil Law, no credit is to be given to confessions extorted upon the rack) he positively di∣ctates, that sin is an affection of persons, not of natures; The humane nature cannot be said to be drunk or commit adultery, Actiones sunt suppositorum, and sin is a breach of the Law, to which persons not natures are obliged. This Argument I remember is urged also by some against Christs obedience, that the Law did not bind his humane nature, because it was not a person, and therefore the com∣mand did not reach to him as he was man, to do this or that. But the answer is very obvious, That although the Law doth immediately bind the persons, yet mediately it doth also the nature, Who can deny, but that the Law to love God, though immediately it be commanding the person, Thou shalt love the Lord, &c? yet thereby the soul of a man is also reached unto, so that hatred of God in the soul, as it is there inherent is forbidden mediately; Otherwise there could be no habitual sins or graces, because the command or threatning did no wayes reach to them.

In the next place (to our purpose in hand concerning original sinne) it is ignorantly objected, That Actiones sunt suppositorum; For we doe not say, Original sinne is an action, it is in the nature of habits; So that this ariseth from a gross mistake, That a child doth actually sinne in partaking of this nature-defilement; We say it doth contrahere peccatum, or receive this pollution with its nature, not that it doth actually sinne in the reception of it. But then

3. When it's called the sinne of our nature, it is not meant, as if this nature did universally exist any where, that indeed would be a meer Chimera, or as if mans nature were any where but in a person, But that wheresoever the nature of a man is any where subsistent in individuums, there is also this corruption; Even visibility and mortality are the universal properties of the nature of man: There is no man but hath these affections; So also is original sinne thus insepa∣rably annexed to the nature of man, wheresoever it doth particularly subsist. To this purpose Julius Sirenius a Scholastical Writer (Promptu, Theolog. lib. 20. & 22.) When we say, Original sinne is a siane of the humane nature, Non ita velim intelligas quasi naturae per se considerata actio aliqua convenire possit, &c. do not understand it as if any action could agree to nature, consider∣ed in it self; for not the action (which is of the suppositum) but the modus agendi belongeth the nature existent in the suppositum, for sin is not an action, but the mode, or rather the defect of the mode in an action. The Sum is this, A man is born thus in sin, not because he is this or that person, but because he is a man de∣scending from lapsed Adam; So that by this we see, that it is the sin of our nature, and yet so as it is the sin of every person new born, but we are necessitated to call it, the sin of our corrupt nature, to distinguish it from all actual and habitual sinnes, which are the sinnes of one person, that they are not necessarily the sinnes of others; Every man is not necessarily a proud man, an unclean man, but every one is thus a defiled man, destite of the Image of God; only this must alwayes be remembred, That it is not our nature-sinne, as we had it from Creation, but as vitiated by Adam's voluntary transgression, and if he would put it in the definition of man, that he was animal rationale mortale, we may adde ad peccata prenum, prone and inclming to sinne; for we must consider Page  414 man otherwise in Divinity, and by Scripture-light, then we do in Philosphy; Hence to be a man, or to walk as a man in Scripture-phrase sometimes, is to be sinfull, and to do a thin sinfully: You see then that upon good grounds original sinne is called the sinne of our natures, and that as in actual sinnes the person doth defile the nature: So on the contrary in original sinne the nature defileth the person; for the humane species was in Adam, as we say, the whole species of the Sunne is in the Sunne, though with some dissimilitude. Hence it is that according to the Exposition of some learned men, it is called, The sinne of the world, not my sinne or thy sinne, but the sinne of the world, John 1. 29. For this Rule is given, that wheresoever 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used with the empha∣tical Article in the Singular number, as in this place, there we must alwayes understand original sinne; but perhaps that is no more true then another Rule, (viz.) where the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 hath the Article 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 there alwayes it signifieth the holy Ghost, I rather therefore think, that by the sinne of the world is meant all sinne, any sinne committed and repented of; for Christ did not only come to take away original sinne, as some would have it, but all actual sinne as well; So that the expression is here used in the Singular number for the greater em∣phasis: Hence Divines have two Rules, first, Nomen terminatione singulare saepe significatione est plurale, a word that hath a singular termination, may have a Plural signification, as sinne in the Text signifieth all sinne. The other Rule is, Quando Scriptura sacra singulari numere utitur pro plurali, tum saepe plus singularitate significat quam pluralitate when the holy Scripture useth a sin∣gular number for the plural, then it often signifieth more in the singular number then if it had used the plural, as Exod. 15. 22. He hath cast the horse and rider into the sea, that is the great company of Pharaoh's hoast; we do not then exclude ori∣ginal sin from this place, only we say, actual sin is also comprehended in this propitiatory Sacrifice of Christ.

Propos. 3. By this then it appeareth, That seeing every one hath his proper peculiar original sinne, that the Infants sinne is distinct from the parents ori∣ginal defilement, and so our inherent pollution doth differ from Adam's sinful∣nesse inherent in him; For you must know, that the sinne, which is original in us, was personal in him, he did by his own voluntary transgression offend God, and so deprived himself of all that spiritual honour and glory God had crowned him with; Immediately upon the deprivation of Gods Image, there was an habitual inclination unto all manner of evil, and this pollution is trans∣fused from Adam to all his posterity, not that the same sinne numerically in Adam is communicated to every one descending from him, but the same in kind; Therefore that Argument which the Pelagians gloried in, in their conflict with Austin, fetched out of Aristotle, That accidens non migrat de subjecto in sub∣jectem, is foolish and absurd; For we grant that the same numerical sinne which was in Adam is not propagated to us no more then the same personal hu∣mane subsistency, but as we have an humane being distinct from his; so also an original pollution is in every man distinct from that sinfulness in Adam. It's true, some learned men have doubted, whether we are to conceive original sinne inherent in us, as having a distinct guilt from Adam's transgression, they think it more consonant to truth, if we say that his sinne and our native pol∣lution, do make up the formal guilt of it; But as we have heretofore shewed, that cannot be, therefore though we are alwayes to judge of this original pol∣lution with this respect to Adam's sinne, that being the original effici∣ent sinne, and this the original formal one, yet in it self considered there is a damnable guilt, and therefore by it alone we are said to be children of wrath.

Lastly, Although original sinne be but one in every man, yet we may call Page  415 it many in respect of the efficacy of it, and the innumerable issue that cometh from it: So that we may say it is one and many in several respects, for all the sinnes of the world have their rise mediately and immediately from it, all these springs come from that Ocean; Thus Aquinas and the Schoolmen answer that place, Psal. 51. 5. Although the proper answer to that place is, that in the Hebrew it is in the singular number, the plural is only according to the Vulgar Translation; and if you say, How can all these actual sins which are of a contra∣ry nature come from this one spring? How can one sin dispose to many contrary sinnes? We answered this before, and shall adde one thing more to clear it, (viz.) That though one sinne may not dispose directly, and per se to all sinne, yet per accidens, it may by removing that which did keep off all sinne; for original righteousness did incline to all duties, and thereby preserved from all sinne; now original sinne excluding this, thereby all sins are committed, as temptations and occasions do intervene; Even as if a musical instrument be marred, every string maketh a different jarre according to the nature of it, or as when a mixed body is dissolved, every element goeth to his proper place, which is Aquinas his similitude, of which when we shall shew how original sinne is equal and inequal in all.