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


THe second Objection is in effect to this sense, What is a punishment cannot be a sinne: But the deprivation of Gods Image in man upon Adam's disobedience is a punishment; And therefore it cannot be a sinne. Original sinne, if not totally, yet principally consists in the losse of that original Righteousnesse and rectitude, which God made man in: Seeing therefore the privation of this came upon man by way of punishment, when Adam transgressed; We cannot conceive it (say they) to be a sinne also, for a punishment and a sinne, are wholly contradictory; a sinne must be voluntary, a punishment involuntary, a sinne is an action, and a punish∣ment is a passion; a sinne is an evil, and God cannot be the author of it; a punish∣ment is good, and an act of Justice; so that God cannot be said to permit that, but to inflict it.

This Argument (at the first view) hath likewise some colour, but upon the examination of it, it will quickly vanish: I shall not answer in a large dispute about that famous Question, Whether the same thing may be a sin and a punish∣ment? Or, whether God doth punish one sin with another, but shall speak as much, briefly, as is convenient for this Objection. And

First, You must know that Arminius began to dislike this Doctrine of original sinne (Respons. ad Artic. 31.) which was mentioned in their publique Cate∣chism, upon this very reason, because it was a punishment; and he gave this Reason to the Minister then conferring with him,

Because if God did punish Adam's sinne with this sinne, then he must punish this with another, and that other with another, and so there must be a processus in infinitum.
But his followers the Remonstrants (in their Apology for their Confession contra Censuram) seem to disclaim this opinion,
That our original corruption is either malum culpae, or poenae, properly so called, Because where there is an evil of punish∣ment, it must be for some sinne: But Infants have committed no voluntary sinne, and therefore could not deserve such a punishment.
So that they pro∣fess themselves to be of Zuinglius his mind, whether he retracted it, or not after∣wards they are not certain, viz. That it is a morbus, a vitium, a languor, an imbecillity of nature, but neither the evil of sinne or punishment. Some Papists as Pighius, Catharinus, Mayro, and some Scotists hold,
That native pollution to be no sinne, because it's a punishment, and that for Adam's sinne imputed to all, concluding on this, That it cannot be a sinne, because it's a pu∣nishment. The Socinians they say, The necessity of dying with other punish∣ments, is the punishment of Adam's sinne; and therefore that repugnancy and contrariety which is between the flesh and the Spirit, is from our very Creation; The sensitive appetite rebels against the rational, from the very first Creation of man, and would have been whether Adam had sinned or no; yea, it was from this vehement opposition of the appetite to reason, that he did sin.

Page  41 I shall consider the strength of their Objection, as it lieth in this, The same thing cannot be a sin and a punishment too. The Remonstrants affirm this, and Papists likewise, but with some explication. And

1. It is confessed, That there are some punishments of sinne, which are not sinne, as when God for Adam's disobedience hath made man obnoxious to mise∣ries, to sickness and death; These are not sinnes; It comes from sinne to have pain, and to die, but they are not sinnes; and the Reason is, Because these are malum naturale, not morale, they are a natural evil, not a moral.

In the second place, Austin saith, and he saith it truly from Scripture,

That original inherent sinne, which he calleth concupiscence, is both a sinne, a pu∣nishment of sinne, and a cause of sin; Even as blindness of mind, or hardness of heart, is both a sinne, a punishment, and a cause of further sinne, (Lib. 5. contra Juhan. cap. 3.)
That it is a sinne appeareth by the many Texts already brought: And Austin's Reason in that place is very cogent, Quia inest illi ino∣bedientia contra dominatum mentis; There is in it a disobedience against the domi∣nion of mind and spirit, therefore the Spirit lusteth against it. That it is a pu∣nishment is manifest by the event, for upon Adam's disobedience he lost Gods Image, and so hath blindness in mind, perversness in his will, and a disorder over the whole man, in which dreadfull and horrible estate we all succeed him: and this the Text in hand speaketh to. That it is the cause of sinne is manifest, Gen. 6. 5. for from that corrupt heart of man, it is, That the imaginations of a mans heart are only evil, and that continually. This is a furnace red hot, which alwayes sends forth those sparks. Thus you see that original sinne is all these three, a sin, a punishment, and a cause of sin.

3. It is very clear and plain by Scripture, that God doth punish one sinne by another; So that when a man hath committed one sinne, he is justly given up by God to commit more. Amongst the many instances that may be given, I shall pitch on two only, 2 Thess. 2. 10, 11. where you have a sinne mentioned that God will punish, viz. They received not the truth of God in love: A sinne that is very ordinary: But then observe how dreadfully God punisheth this, God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie; This is their punishment; a spiritual punishment, more than any corporal one; and that this is a sinne, as well as a punishment, is plain, Because to believe a lie is a sinne, to take falshood for truth, the delusions of the Devil, for the voice of Gods Spirit; This is a sinne and a very hainous one. The other instance is Rom. 1. 21. where you have the Heathens sinnes mentioned, Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not. &c. There you have their punishment, to be given up to uncleanness, to all vile lusts and sins against nature. None can deny but these were sinnes, and that they were a punishment for corrupting their natural light implanted in them, is plain, for the Apostle, vers. 24, 26, 28. saith, For this cause, or therefore God gave them up to these lusts, and vers 27. the expression is observable, That they received in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Hearken to this with both ears, and tremble all you who live under Gospel light, if natural light corrupted bring such heavy soul-judgments, no wonder, if supernatural; And therefore if you see men, notwithstanding all the preaching of Gods word, yet given up to be beastly sots, or obstinate malicious men in their wickedness; Wonder not at it, for they receive in themselves a just recompence for the abu∣sing of that light God hath vouchsafed to them. Many other instances there are, wherein it is plain, That God makes one sinne a punishment of another; Yea, it's said, That every sinne since the first, is both a sinne and a punishment; There∣fore the want of Gods Imagine us, as soon as we are born, with a proneness to all evil may be the punishment of Adam's actual disobedience, and yet a sinne in us.

4. As for the distinction assigned between sinne and punishment, the one vo∣luntary, Page  42 and an action, the other involuntary and a passion. Though there be learned men, both Papists and Protestants, viz. Vasquez and Twisse, who dis∣prove this by instances, yet (if it be granted) it will not hinder or enervate our Position, That original inherent sinne is both a sinne, and a punishment also; For when the learned say,

That sinne may be a punishment of a sinne, they do not mean sin, quâ sinne, peccatum, quâ peccatum, for that is, wholly of man, but peccatum quâ poena, as a judgment it is of God.

To understand this therefore, take notice, That in sinne there is the Obliquity, and the Action to which this Obliquity is annexed; Now sinne in the Obliquity of it, so it is not a punishment, but in the action or materiale of it, to which it doth adhere: As for instance, Those vile and unclean lusts the Heathens were given up unto, were a punishment of their rebellion unto the light; Now as they were sinnes in their formality, so they were onely permissivè and ordina∣tivè of God; but take the Actions substracted to that Obliquity, which was in them, so they were efficienter of God, and he gave them up to their lusts.

2. When God doth punish one sinne with another, the meaning is not, as if he did infuse this wickedness, but only he denieth that mollifying and softning grace, which if a man had, he would resist the temptations of sinne, as in this particular of original sinne; You must not conceive of God, in the Creation of the soul, as if a man were pouring poison in a vessel, so he did put sinne into our natures, but he denieth to give and continue that Righteousness Adam had, and then our souls do necessarily receive the clean contrary, darkness for light, Atheism for faith, disorder for order: Even as if God should withdraw the Sunne at noon-day, continue the light thereof no longer to us, it would upon that sub∣duction be immediately dark, there needed no other cause to introduce it: Thus it is here upon Adam's fall, God denying to continue his Image, and ori∣ginal righteousness in us, original sinne without any other positive cause cometh in the stead thereof; and therefore we are not, as Austin of old well observed, to seek after the causa efficiens, but deficiens peccati, sin hath no efficient, but defi∣cient cause.

Therefore thirdly, In this original sinne we may consider that which is pecca∣tum, and so it's evil, and that which is poena, and so it's good; For as you look∣on it, being the deprivation of that rectitude which ought to be in a man, so it is a sinne; but as you consider it to be the denying of that holiness on Gods part, which once we had, so it's poena, or rather punitio; The denying of this Image o God at first was punitio, but this loss continued is poena; so that the want and loss of that righteousness which once we enjoyed, if considered on Gods part, who continueth his denial of it, is a just punishment, and a good thing ordained by God; but if you consider it as inherent in man, who hath deserved this at Gods hand, so it's an evil, and properly a sin in him.

4. The same thing may be a sinne and a punishment also, in divers respects, As it may be a sinne in respect of a sinner, but a punishment in respect of others. Thus Absolom's sinne was a sinne in respect of himself, but a punishment in re∣spect of David; So Parents sinnes may be sinnes in respect of themselves, but punishments in respect of their children; and we are especially to take heed of such sinnes, as are not our sinnes onely, but others punishments, such are passions and unmortified anger, this is a sinne to thee, and a punishment to others.

5. Every sinne is a punishment, in this respect, That it brings anxiety, ter∣ror, and fear with it, a guilt of conscience is contracted upon every sinne. Thus some expound that known saying of Austin, Jussisti Domine, & sic est, ut omnis animus inordinatus sit sibi ipsi poena; O Lord, thou hast so commanded, and thus it is, that a soul immoderate any way, should be a punishment to it self. Thus, Page  43 as the moral Philosophers say, Virtus est sibiipsi praemium, so peccatum est sibiipsi poena, Virtue is a reward to it self, because it brings sweetness and comfort of conscience, so a sinne is a punishment to it self, because it brings terror and fear with it.

Lastly, The same thing may be both a sinne and a punishment, both poena dam∣ni, and poena sensus, a punishment of loss, and so every sinne, in that it is a sin, depriveth the soul of that spiritual good and glory which it ought to have, and so is a kind of disease or death it self; and then in some sins they are a punishment of sense, as in envy and anger. Thus when Ahitophel and Judas hanged them∣selves, their self-murder was both a sinne and a punishment of loss, and sense also.