The Qualities or Adjuncts of Original Sinne.
The Text explained.
GEN. 8. 21.
I Have formerly treated on that parallel Text to this, Gen. 6. 5. but wholly to another purpose; Though therefore this be of great affinity with the former, yet I shall deliver altogether new matter from it.
From the two-fold Subject of original sinne, of Inhesion and Predication, I proceed to the consideration of the Quali∣ties and Adjuncts of it, and begin with this Text, which containeth a gracious promise from God never to bring such an universal deluge, or any other gene∣ral judgement upon the world for mans sake any more.
This promise is made a consequent of Gods Reconciliation with Noah, upon whose Sacrifice it is said, God smelled a sweet savour, speaking after the manner of men, not that God did regard the material Sacrifice, for the smell of that must needs be distastfull and unsavoury, but because Noah did it with a pure and holy heart, and withall chiefly, because this Sacrifice of Noah was typical of Christs sacrificing himself in time, by whom alone God becometh propitious; For Christs offering up of himself is said to be Ephes. 5. 2. A Sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour, which was chiefly in the Eucharistical Sacrifices, not that Christs death is compared to them only, as the Socinians would have it, but principally and chiefly to the Expiatory Sacrifices, as appeareth in the Epi∣stle to the Hebrews, only in Christs death, there was that which was in Eucha∣ristical Offerings, a sweet savour unto God, whereby he became propitious unto mankind; God being thus graciously pleased, we have this promise of God de∣clared in the Text, wherein is considerable,
First, The Cause of it, and that is Gods Deceree, The Lord said in his heart, that is an expression after the manner of men; For you must not conceive of God as changing his mind, or altering his purposes upon better considerations, or as if he took up a contrary resolution to that, when he intended to destroy the world, but this is wholly spoken to our capacity; By this is meant no more Page 403 then Gods purpose and secret Decree, which yet he manifested to the comfort of Noah, and therefore we have Moses recording of it.
Secondly, There is the object matter of this promise, and that is two-fold, I will not curse the ground, neither will I smite any more every living thing, as I have done; God cursed the ground at first upon Adam's fall, but this is meant of the Deluge, as appeareth by the other particular, for by that general floud it is conceived the ground was made worse then before; The meaning then is, That God will not bring any more universal judgement, not but that particular Towns or Nations may be consumed by water or other punishments, but there shall not be such a general one by water any more, no, nor any general punish∣ment; For what comfort would it have been to Noah, if that the world should be preserved only from drowing, if it might have been destroyed any other way; Therefore when at the Day of Judgement the whole world shall either be destroyed or renewed by fire, that will not be so much by way of punishment to the inhabitants, as to change its use, and to prepare for the great alteration, that God is then to make.
Thirdly, There is the aggravation of this mercy; God will do this, Though the imagination of mans heart be evil; This clause is to be considered, first as a Reason, then Absolutely in it self. If as a reason, then here is the difficulty ta∣ken notice of, how it can be made the ground why God will not destroy the world, seeing formerly Chap. 6. 5. it is there made the only reason why he would destroy it, can it be the motive for two contrary effects? Some there∣fore do not make it a reason at all, but part only of the description of Gods promise, he will not destroy the earth again for this sinfull disposition, but there must necessarily be some reason, either expresly or tacitly implied, for God is here declaring his purpose to take a more gracious and mercifull way, now that he had given such a dreadfull demonstration of his justice and anger against sinne already: Some then make the reason to be ab incommdo, that if God should destroy the world, because of mans original corruption breaking forth daily, there would never be an end, we should have flouds upon flouds; Therefore as the Psalmist saith, He remembreth that we are but dust, he knoweth our frame (Psal. 103. 14.) therefore he will not alwayes pour cut his wrath. Thus (say they) it is here, and this is probable: Others make it an Argument ab aeqno, to which Pererius inclineth, as if God did hereby declare, That being man is thus originally polluted, and incurably sinfull, as to his own power, therefore God would pity him; so that though formerly God looked upon it, as the matter of his wrath; now as the matter of pity being sinne maketh us mise∣rable, so some think David, Psal. 51. urgeth his natural corruption, as an Ar∣gument to move God to pity him, but this is not so probable, because this doth directly contradict Gods former proceedings, when his wrath was poured out on the world, because of this sinne breaking forth into actual rebellions; I ra∣ther therefore go with those that take the particle Ci adversatively, Although, God would not again destroy the world, although mankind was of such a cor∣rupt frame; and thus it is to be taken in many places, the neglect whereof hath caused many Disputes about some Texts of Scripture, whereas the rendring of this particle adversatively, would easily have cleared it, as might be shewed, if it were to my purpose. (Vide Tarn. Exerc.)
In the next place we are to consider the words absolutely, and they are very emphatical, the Heart, the Imagination, and is evil. In the former place, Chap. 6. 5. there is a greater aggravation, Every Imagination, and only evil, and all the day long; but one supposeth the other; here in this Text, in stead of continu∣ally, or every day, as in the Original, we have From the youth, and therefore doth more palpably demonstrate the original filth or all men by nature; Nei∣ther can the Adversaries to this Doctrine of original sinne put in the exception Page 404 to this place, as they did to the former, for there they would evade, by say∣ing, it was spoken of those evil and wicked men, who had in a more notorious manner corrupted all their doings; But how can they open their mouth against this place, for God speaketh this as true at that present of all mankind by na∣ture, when yet the great prophane ones were destroyed, and Noah with his fa∣mily was preserved? So that this is a perpetual and inseparable qualification from the nature of man, more than actual death; For Enoch and Elijah did not actually die, yet they were born with original sinne: As for some Exposi∣tors who would limit to the time of youth, when a man is past his Infantia and Pueritia, his infancy and childhood, arrived at his Adolescentia, his youth, that is not to be admitted, for the word is to be applied to his whole time since he was born; The word Nagnar doth signifie one cast or shut out, and properly belongeth to a new born Infant, and so doth signifie the tender Infancy of a child, although we grant that it is sometimes extended to the youth, as Genes. 37. Joseph is called Nagnar a youth, when he was seventeen years old feeding the flock. So 1 Kings 3. sometimes it's applied to a Disciple or Servant, be∣cause they were ordinarily young, 2 King. 9. Isa. 37. which the Septuagint render 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and it is applied to Christ; and therefore whereas Acts 4. 27. it is rendred Thy holy child Jesus; Some think it better according to the use of the word, by the Septuagint, Thy holy servant, for so Christ is sometimes in re∣spect of his Mediatory Office, called the servant of God. But it is plain, that children are capable of sinne before their youth, and therefore we are not to limit it, but to expound if of their very first being in original sinne, which doth vent it self actually in after years. Some make the Plural number to be observable, they render it à pueritiis, as containing the whole age of a man from his tender years, till he be grown up. Hence Grotius will extend it to the very time from the womb, but then runneth to his Socinian Hyperbole, which hath been sufficiently confuted. To determine the time indeed, when Infants begin to be capable of actual sinnes, is very difficult, but that is not my work here.
Now though it is said to be evil from the youth, yet that is some limitation: It is not evil from Gods first creation of mans heart, not from its original being, and therefore the essence of a man is not evil: So that it is an horrible calumny of Tirinus the Jesuite upon this place, to say, That from this Text Luther and Calvin do inferre,
The Text thus explained, there are two Doctrines contained in it.
First, Original sinne is an heavy and grievous sinne.
Secondly, That there is a particular original sinne in every one, which breaketh out into its actings betimes. From which we shall take occasion to discourse of the equality and inequality of original sinne in every man. Let us begin with the first,
Original sinne is a most grievous and heavy sinne. In the Text is put an Al∣though upon it, God will not destroy the world, although this sinne be in man, implying, the infinite mercy of God, that is not provoked by this utterly to cut of mankind,
The Aggravaiions of Original Sinne.
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.
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.
An Objection Answered.
THere remaineth one great Objection against the hainousness of this sinne,
That it is wholly involuntary, and therefore we are traduced in this particu∣lar, that we charge our sinnes hereby upon Adam, or God himself, freeing our selves; Thus we accuse others, and excuse our selves, Is not this to do as A∣dam, who put off all to the woman whom God had given him, so we to clear our selves put all upon Adam's score? Therefore many Papists and others complain of us, as aggravating it too much, whereas one of them saith (Run∣dus Tappor, Disp. de peccato origin.) that it is minus minimo peccato veniali, lesse then the most least venial sinne. But to answer this:
First, As this Doctrine about original sinne is wholly by revelation, so we are to judge of the hainousness of it according to Scripture-principles. It is true, (as hath been said formerly) the Heathens did complain of the effects of this original sinne, but they did not know the cause; so that as by the Word we come to know that from our descendency from Adam we do contract this original pollution, thus also by the Word we are to passe sentence about the greatness of the sinne: If the Scripture saith, We are by nature the children of wrath; If God in destroying of the world, doth not simply look to actual sins, but as they flow from such a polluted principle; If by this we are in bondage to Satan, and are under his power, though there were no actual sinnes com∣mitted by us, then let us not matter the speculations of Philosophers, nor the Political sentences of Civil Magistrates, for by these nothing is accounted culpa∣ble, but what is voluntary by our own personal will: Hence Austin explained that assertion of his, when dealing against the Manichees, Vsque adeò peccatum est voluntarium, &c. Voluntariness is so necessary to the being of a sinne that it cannot be any sinne; if this be wanting in this (saith he) all Laws, all Nations, all Governours, &c. do agree: The Pelagians commended this of Austin, and improved it against him; but in his explication of himself, he cal∣leth it Politica sententia; This is true according to the political Laws of Gover∣nours, and withall agreeth to actual sins: But the truth about original sinne meerly by revelation, we need not then regard, what Aristotle and other Phi∣losophers say in this matter, who as they knew nothing of the creation of Adam, so neither of his fall; and this caution is necessary to every one that would not be deceived in this point.
Secondly, Although in one particular respect this sinne may not be so hai∣nous as others, yet in many other respects it doth farre exceed, and they are abundantly compensative for that one consideration: It is true, This sin hath nothing of our own personal voluntariness; yea if a man should now consent Page 411 to this birth-defilement, and even rejoyce, because he was born thus estranged from God, this subsequent will would not make original sin to be a voluntary sin unto him, for this is an actual sinne committed a new by the personal will of a sinner: But though this be granted, yet there are many other respect which do exceedingly aggravate it, even those we have mentioned before. Hence a learned Schoolman (Dela Rua contra Theolog. cont. 2.) speaking of the com∣parisons made by Aquinas and others of original sinne with venial ones, excu∣seth them, saying,
Thirdly, The chiefest and highest aggravation of a sinne, is from the con∣trariety of it to the Law of God; for seeing the Apostle doth define sinne, 1 John 3. 4. to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, The transgression of the Law, then the more irregu∣larity there is in sinne, the greater is that sinne: Now this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, it is either habitual or actual, and if habitual sins are greater then actual, because of the greater dissonancy to Gods Law, then must original be more then habitual, and so greater then all sins; if then we compare original sinne with the Law we shall find it contrary to it in the highest manner that can be; For Gods Law doth not require only actual obedience, but such obedience flowing from a pure and holy heart; and holiness in the heart is more answerable to the Law then holiness in actions: Thus on the contrary, sinne in the habitual inclination of a man is more opposite to Gods holy Law, then the expression of it in several actings; If then the Apostle define a sinne by the contrariety of it to Gods Law, not by knowledge or voluntariness, then where there is the greatest obliquity and de∣clension from this rule, though there be not so much voluntariness, there is the greater evil; So that this respect may silence all those cavils and disputes which are usually brought in to diminish the guilt of this sinne, still have recourse to the Law of God, and there thou wilt find, that whereas actual sins are respe∣ctively against respective commands, this is against every Law; It is against the whole Law, and therefore hath as much evil in it, in some sense, as the Law hath good.
So that the Use is, To exhort every one who would have his heart deeply affected in this point, who would be humbled greatly, because his sinne is great, to take off his thoughts from all those Philosophical or humane argu∣ments which are apt to lessen it; Because a Magistrate will not put a man to death, unless where he is guilty by some voluntary personal act of his own; do not thou therefore think it cruel and unjust with God, if he condemn for that sinne, wherein though we have not own proper will ingredient, yet by impu∣tation it is voluntary: But of this more when we are to justifie God in these proceedings against cavilling Sophisters.
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.
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.
How soon a Child may commit actual Sinne.
WE are treating upon the second part of the Doctrine, which is, That the proper original sinne that is in every man, doth break forth into actual evil betimes, [From the youth] The word is observed by learned men, to be used in the Plural number for Emphasis sake, and therefore is not to be limited to such a time, as when one cometh to years of discretion, but even to our childhood, therefore the Hebrew word is used of Infants, as Moses, Exod. 2. 6. and Sampson, Jud. 13. 5. although we deny not but that it is also in Scripture applyed to those that are grown up; Hence Divines have a Rule, Secundum Hebraorum idioma, Infans vocatur emnis filius ad comparationem pa∣rentum, according to the Hebrew custome, every son is called an Infant com∣paratively to his parents, and happily we may adde a Disciple and servant re∣spectly to their Superiours. This word Obadiah applyeth to himself, 1 Kings 18. 12. Thy servant feareth God from his youth; This time then of sinning is to be extended further, then usually it is imagined, for commonly we look not upon the actions of young ones as sinnes, till they come to some discretion, or if we do, we count them very little, and venial, they are matter of delight more then of humiliation; so few are there who do rightly affect themselves with the vanity and folly, as also enmity to holy things that they were guilty of even while little children. But because this truth hath some difficulty in the doctrinal part thereof, let us more exactly enquire into the nature of it, which will be seen in several Propositions. And
First, The Lutherans have a peculiar opinion, that even Infants, whether in the mothers womb or new born, are guilty of actual sinnes: for whereas they make the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, (Steg. Photin. dis. de peccato Orig. Fewrborn. disput. 1a.) to be applyed sometimes to the Infant in the womb, Luk. 1. 41. sometimes to Infants new born, 1 Pet. 2. 2. They conclude, that even such as these, before they have any use of reason, are guilty of actual sinnes, only concerning actual sinnes they distinguish, that such are either taken strictly and precisely for those that came from deliberation, and the will, or largely for any motions or stir∣rings of the soul against Gods Law, though without the act of will and reason, Page 417 and in this latter sense (they say) Infants partake of actual sinnes. But al∣though original sinne is an active quality in a man, and doth begin to work very early, yet it cannot be thought to produce actual sinne, till the soul by its powers and faculties is able to produce operatins. It is true, we read of Timothy, that he is said to know the Scriptures from 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but that doth signifie Timothy something grown up, and attaining to some understanding (for the Lutherans are too peremptory, who think, a place cannot be brought; where 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth signifie a child something grown up; Timothy therefore is said, 2 Tim. 35. To know the Scriptures from a child, because his godly Mother and Grandmother did as soon as he was able to receive, instruct him in the faith, which could not be, while a meer Infant. Therefore
In the next place, A second Proposition is, That even in the state of integrity, had not Adam fallen, children new born would have been without actual knowledge, as well as in corrupted nature, they would not have been born with perfect use of their reason, no more then they would have been born with perfect and compleat bodies, for such could not have been contained in the womb. We take it for granted, (though some have been for the negative) that in the state of innocency there would have been multiplication of children by generation, which appeareth in the Creation of a woman for a man, and if so, then that the children at that time born, though they would have been free from original sinne, and all the general effects thereof, yet would not have been born in a perfect ability actu∣ally to use their reason. Indeed the Scripture is wholly silent, what would have been done, if man had not fallen, and therefore nothing can be certainly de∣termined, unless we had some divine revelation about it, yet there is a good Rule given, that we must think God would then keep to that ordinary way of nature, which we now find, except where sinne and the effects thereof have made a difference; we are not to make miracles and extraordinary workings of God, unless some necessity of reason compell thereunto, and thus it would be here, if children new born should have had perfect actual knowledge. It is true, Austin doth seem to incline (Vide Augustin. de peccator. Mer. & Rmeist. lib. 1. cap. 35, 36. especially cap. 37. that as soon as ever the children were come forth from the womb, God would have made them great and perfect bodies, as he did Eve of Adam's rib immediately, or at least made them fit for all mo∣tions of the body; but this is so improbable, that Austin cannot be excused, unless we think he spake it doubtingly, and by way of inquisition, yea not only concerning the body, but even the soul also, that a child is so long without the use of reason, he seemeth to make it not from meer nature, but vitiated and polluted; This (we say) hath no probability, for we must not think that God would have alwayes in the state of innocency, wrought miraculously in the constant propagation of mankind. It is true, the blindness that is habitually upon the mind of every Infant, whereby it is indisposed to receive the Truths of God when grown up, would not then have been in Infants; There would not have been any privation of such light as was necessary, but it would have been meer nesciency and so no sinne, and therefore such a nesciency was in Christs humane nature, while and Infant, Luk. 2. 52. He encreased in wisdome and stature, as also, Isa. 7. 15. Butter and honey shall be eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, that is, he should eat on childrens usuall food, till he did encrease in knowledge, but all this was without sinne. This Proposition may satisfie that Infants cannot have any actual sinne, while meer∣ly so, because the want of use of reason in them is no sinfull imperfection; nei∣ther are they under the commands of God to beleive and know him, as also to love him with all their soul: Therefore it is absurd in the Lutherans to say, that these commands of actual knowledge, fear, or love do bind them, while thus under a natural nesciency that floweth from their very nature, as nature not as vitiated and defiled.
Page 418Prop. 3. The reason why Infants have not the actual use of reason, as soon as they are born ariseth not from their soult, but the constitution of their bodies; As in natural fools, mad men, or men in sleep, there is no defect in their souls, but in the body, which is the organical instrument of the soul; Therefore when Infants die, as soon as ever their souls are seperated from the body, they have perfect knowledge and reason; but the want of the use of reason ariseth from the abundance and overflowing of humours, whereby the sensitive powers of the soul are make indisposed for their operations.
Prop. 4. Seeing therefore that the soul cometh to work rationally by the successive alteration of the complexion of the body, as the organs are disposed, which in some is sooner, in some later, it is impossible to give not only the metaphysical indivisible instant, but even the moral time wherein a child doth first begin to have an actual sinne. As we cannot observe it in our selves when we first had any use of rea∣son, so neither can we in another; and therefore the limiting of the works of understanding, to the fourth, sixth or seven years, is altogether uncertain, only we are to conclude, That children sinne long before they know what sinne is, or can understand what it is to offend God, for those peevish 〈◊〉 vexa∣tions which are in little ones, even while sucking, are not to be freed 〈◊〉 some kind of guilt, for such things would not have been in the state of innocent•: And if you say, Why should we think those are sins, seeing they do not flew from the use of reason and free-will? Therefore.
The fifth Proposition is, That contrariety to the Law of God is of the essence of a sinne, not voluntariness in actu secundo (as they say) as if immediately elicit∣ed by the will; For habitual sins are not voluntary in that, but because they are the effect produced by voluntary acts of sinning that did precede, therefore they have as much voluntariness, as is required to make an habitual sinne, and thus original sinne with the immediate effects that flow thence, have as much volun∣tarness as is required to make them sinnes, for as habitual sinnes are therefore sins, because contracted by our own personal will, so original sinne is volun∣tary, because descending upon as by his will, who was our Head, both quoad esse naturale, and morale, as it is in time more to be explained: Therefore that Position of Socinians and others, That nothing can be a sinne which is not com∣mitted by the voluntary consent of our own personal will, is to be rejected as that false foundation upon which they build so many erroneous Doctrines.
The sixth Proposition is, That even young children very early have imperfect workings of understanding and will; So that those obscure actings of a rational soul begin farre sooner to put themselves forth, then many do think; Hence it is that they know and love those that give them suck, we must then con∣sider, that there are imperfect workings of reason and perfect formed ones; These later indeed are not so soon, but the former are very early; Lapide in Psal. 25. speaketh out of Gregory, of a child but five year old guilty of bla∣sphemy; And certainly Austin in his Confessions, doth much bewail his sins, while he was a child, he was but tantillus puer, yet tantus peccator, a little boy, but a great sinner. This truth is very usefull, not only to confute Pelagiant and Socinians, who make in a child an indifferency to good or evil; or with Aristotle a blank table to receive any impression, but especially to quicken up Parents to their duty in diligent admonition and institution of them; For Sola∣mon, wiser than any Pelagian, saith, Prov. 22. 15. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; The word signifieth, is close bound to his soul, as if it were with ropes: Now if besides this natural folly, there be wicked education and evil example, this will be such a three-fold cord that will not easily be broken: Oh then do not think it is no matter what children do, their sins are but sports and jests, you will not have them displeased or corrected, for this is contrary also to Solomon's counsel, Prov. 22. 5. Train up a child in the way he should go, &c. Page 419 Some render it dedicate, some instruct, it cometh all to one sense, but who must be thus trained? Even a child, in the Hebrew it is Gnal pene, super es viae, which causeth divers Interpretations; Some understand it of the very first be∣ginnings of a childs course, when he in bivio, whether he shall take to virtue or vice; Some for the very time that any entrance can be made upon them; for children are to learn many things by meer memory before they have under∣standing, neither is that, though in holy things, a taking of Gods name in vain, but a serving of God according to their capacity; Some understand it accord∣ing to the capacity of the child, as a vessel with a narrow mouth must have liquour poured into it by degrees; all these senses tend to the same purpose, (viz.) that Parents should not put off the instruction of their children, or to think, because they are children, therefore their sins are not to be much regard∣ed, for you have Job sharply bewailing these, Job 13. 23. What were those iniquities for which God did so severely chastice Job? Why did God write such bitter things against him, it was because of the sins of his youth, the same word in the Text: And Psal. 25. 7. David in great affection prayeth God would not remember the sins of his youth, the same word also in the original, as is in my Text: And certainly, we have a dreadfull example of Gods anger, even against the sins of little children, 2 King. 2. 23. for such came out of the City, and mocked the Prophet, saying, Go up thou bald head, and there presently came two she-bears that did tare in pieces two and fourty of them: They were but little children, and you would think none would regard what they said, but behold the heavy judgement of God upon them: Therefore let Parents be more deeply affected with the lies and sinfulness of their children, then commonly they are. The wicked man is said, Job 20. 11. to have his bones full of his puerilities, or as we translate it, the sinne of his youth, because sinne acted in the youth, doth cleave more inseperably then other sins, even as he who had been possessed with a Devil from his youth, was more difficultly cured, there∣fore the Text addeth, Those sins lie down in the dust with him; Thy youth-sins will go to the grave with thee, if grace make not a powerfull change.
Whether Original Sinne be alike in All.
THe last thing to be treated on, is to answer that Question, Whether original sinne be alike in all? Do we not see some even from the very womb more pro∣pense to iniquities then others? And if it be equal in all, Why should not all be car∣ried out to the same sins alike? Why is not every one a Cain, a Judas?
To this we answer these things, 1. If we take original sinne for the privative part of it (viz.) the want of Gods Image, so all are alike; Every one hath equally lost this glorious Image of God, none hath any more left of it in them then another: Even as it is concerning those that are damned in hell; They are all equal in their punishment in respect of the poena damni, they lose the presence of the same God, and are all alike cast out from his presence, but there is a difference in respect of the poena sensus, some have greater torments then others.
2. Original sinne is alike in all in the positive part, if you do respect the re∣mote power of sinne, that is, there is in all equally an habitual conversion to the creature: Even as all have the same remote power of dying alike, though for the proxim power some die sooner, and some later; The seed then of all evil is alike in all, all are equal in respect of the remote power of sinning.
Page 420 3. By original depravation, all are alike in respect of the necessity of sinning; There is no man in this lost estate, but he doth necessarily sinne quoad specifica∣tionem (as they say) whatsoever he doth, he sinneth, though not quoad exer∣citium, this sinne or that sinne one is more ingaged unto then another: Neither is this necessity of sinning like the necessity of hunger and thirst; for these are meer natural and not culpable, but this necessity of sinning is voluntarily brought upon us, and though it be necessary, yet is voluntary and with delight also: As Bernard expresseth it, The voluntariness taketh not off from the ne∣cessity, nor the necessity from the voluntariness and delight.
Lastly, Original sinne is equal in all, in respect of the merit and desert; it deserveth death, it deserveth hell; There is none cometh into the world thus polluted, but he is obnoxious to death, and an heir of Gods wrath; For al∣though some are freed from hell, yea and one or two have been preserved from death, yet is wholly by the grace of God; The desert of original sin is equal in all.
But then you will say, How cometh it about that some are more viciously given then others, some more propense to one sinne then another?
I answer, 1. From the different complexions and constitutions of the body, with their different temptations and external occasions of sinne as they meet with; Though the remote power be equal in all, yet the immediate and proxim disposition is the bodies complexion, and other concurring circumstances; For original righteousness being removed, then a man is carried out to sinne vi∣olently, according as his particular torrent may drive him; Even as if the pil∣lars or supporters of an house should fall to the ground, every piece of wood would fall to the ground more heavily or lightly, as the weight is, or as you heard Aquinas his similitude, when the mixt body is dissolved every element hath his proper motion, the air ascends upward, the earth downwards; and this is the cause of the divers sins in the world, and some mens particular incli∣nations to one sinne more than another. And then
2. The grace of God either sanctifying or restraining doth also make a great difference; It is God that saith to the sea of that corruption within thee, Hi∣therto thou shalt go and no further. Think not that thou hadst a better nature, or lesse original sinne than Judas or Cain, but God doth either change thy nature, or else he doth several wayes restrain thee, that thou canst not accomplish all that actual wickedness thy heart would carry thee unto.