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


That Original Sinne which is in every man doth vent it selfe be∣times.

WE proceed to the second part in the Doctrine, which is, That this ori∣ginal sinne which is in every man doth vent it self betimes, his Ima∣gination is evil from his childhood. We told you, the Papists offer violence to the Text, when they limit it to a mans youth, excluding his childhood, as if that were innocent; The Rabbins they say (as Mercer relateth) this evil fig∣ment is in a mans heart, till he be thirteen year old, and afterwards a good fig∣ment cometh into a man. It is greatly disputed with the Schoolmen, When is the time that a child cometh to discern between good and evil, for till then (they say) the Law of God doth not bind, and so he is not capable of actual sinnes? Some limit the time of actual sinnes to four or six years of age; But certainly here cannot be any fixed or uniform Rule given; neither may we deny children to be guilty of actual sins, before they come to years of discretion: Certainly Austin speaketh of his observation of the envy which one child hath, while another sucketh the same breast; and therefore although we cannot say with the Lutherans, That Infants have either actual sinnes, or actual graces, yet no doubt but actual sins do very early proceed from them; neither is the time of their sinning to be limited to the time of their use of reason in a formal and de∣liberate manner. It is true, our Saviour took a little child, setting him in the midst of the company, saying, Vnlesse a man become like this child, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven, Mat. 18. 4. not that such a little child had not both original and actual sins in him, but because comparatively to grown per∣sons they are innocent, having not the pride and other sins as men of age have, therefore it is, that we are to be converted, and become like little children; yea there is no parent that desireth the salvation of his children, but he may observe, that from the very childhood there is a great aversness to what is holy and a natural inclination to evil; Insomuch that all do betimes give a discovery of that imbred and sinfull pollution that is in them. Solomon saith, That folly is bound up in the heart of a child, prov. 22. 15. And in Job 11. 12, Man isPage  416 said to be born like a wild Asses-Colt, because of the stupidity and unteachable∣ness that is in every one by nature to what is good. To consider this more throughly, we are to take notice, that original sinne doth not lye in a man asleep, or like a sluggish and muddy pool that doth not send forth its noisome streames, but by the Apostle, Rom. 7. is described as a sinne that is alwayes acting and rebelling against the Law of God; and therefore as soon as ever a child is capable of such sinfull actings, this original sinne doth put forth it self, it is not to be limited to yeares of discretion, but even in the childhood of man much folly and vanity, many actual motions of sinne, do put forth themselves: It's often said by Divines, that original sinne is peccatum actuosum, though not actuale, an active sinne though not an actual; and this should make us look back to our very childhood, and to mourn for all that folly and vanity we then committed; How quickly did thy enmity to holy things begin to appear? What a wild Asses Colt? or what a young Serpent wast thou, plainly manifesting, that as thy parts of mind and strength of body should encrease, so also would thy corruption break forth more powerfully: But of this childhood-sinfulness more is to be spoken.