A treatise of original sin ... proving that it is, by pregnant texts of Scripture vindicated from false glosses
Burgess, Anthony, d. 1664.
Page  105


Of the Name Body, given to Original Sinne.


ROM. 8. 13.
But if ye through the Spirit doe mortifie the deeds of the Body, ye shall live.

I Come now to the last Name, I shall insist upon, that the Scri∣pture giveth original sinne, and that is a Body; For al∣though the most famous, and notable name is flesh, yet because that will most properly be considered, when we speak of the Nature and Definition of it, I shall put it off till that time; Only we must necessarily take notice of this Title given to it here, and elswhere, (viz.) a Body: Not that this word is to foment the Illyrican absurdity, That original sinne is not an accident, but a substance; but hereby is manifested the real and powerfull efficacy of it upon the whole man: For the coherence of the words, the Apostle at vers. 12. from that glo∣rious and precious Doctrine of Justification by Faith, and also Sanctification begunne in us, doth inferre this Exhortation by way of Conclusion, That there∣fore we are not Debtors to the Flesh, we have received such great and unspeak∣able favours from God, that we owe all to him; as for sinne, called here the Flesh, we owe nothing at all to that, sinne will not justifie us, sinne will not save us: Neither hath the Devil shewed that love to us, which Christ hath done.

By this then we see, That though Justification and Gospel-mercies be not for any works or merits of ours, yet Believers are to study and abound in holiness, as that which Christ aimed at by the work of Redemption, as well as our Justification. Now for this reluctancy against, and mortification of sinne, the Apostle useth several Arguments, as in the Text, the danger that will accrew even to the godly, If they live after the flesh, they shall die, that is, eternally; The godly need this goad to prick them forward, they must not please themselves, as if because they were elected, justified, they may live as they list, and walk after the flesh; No, if they do so, they shall surely be damned.

Page  106


What is implied by the word Mortifie.

BUt on the contrary, If they mortifie the deeds of the body by the Spirit, they shall live; where you have the duty supposed, to mortifie; that im∣plieth, it is not enough to forbear from the actings of sinne, but they must kill it; Sinne may be left upon many considerations, yet not mortified; Look there∣fore that sinne be dead in thee, and not asleepy, or onely restrained for a season.

Again, To mortifie signifieth the pain and renitency that is in the unregene∣rate part against this Duty. A wicked man had almost as willingly be killed, as leave his lusts. This sheweth how fast sinne is rooted in us, more than a tooth in the jaw, or the soul in the body; and if any of these are not taken away with∣out much pain and trouble, no wonder if the leaving of our corruptions be so troublesom to us.

Lastly, This word supposeth, It's a constant work, we are alwayes mor∣tifying, alwayes crucifying; This is spoken to comfort the godly, that they should not wholly be dejected, if they find some actings and stirrings of sinne still within them.


SEcondly, There is the Object of this Duty, and that is The deeds of the body; Many translate it, The deeds of the flesh, for that which was called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 be∣fore, is here called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Now this body is not only sinne putting it self forth in bodily actions, but it is the same with flesh, which is original corruption defiling the whole man: So that the body here, as Beza doth well observe, is, The whole man in soul and body, while unregenerate; for the flesh, the body here spoken of by the Apostle, is in the soul as well as body, it is every thing that is opposite to God in a man, whether it be in his mind, or in his flesh. So that Austin said, The Epicurean he saith, Frui carne meâ est bonum, to enjoy the flesh is good; The Stock he saith, Frui mente meâ est bonum, to enjoy my mind is good, but both are deceived, for to enjoy God only is good, and both the body and the mind are all over defiled with sin.


LAstly, There is the Efficient Cause, by which we mortifie the deeds of the body, and that is the Spirit; It's not our power, but Gods Spirit that con∣quereth these lusts for us, Observe,

That original sinne is a body in us. It is a body both in our soul and body; it's called a body, not properly, as if it were a substance, but metaphorically and allu∣sively; So Rom. 6. 6. it's called The body of sinne; and certainly it may as well be called so as flesh and the old man.

Page  107


Why Original Sinne is called a Body.

BUt let us consider, Why it hath such a name given to it. And

First, It is to shew, That original sinne doth not lie latent in our breasts, but putteth it self forth visibly in all the operations of the body: That as the Godhead is said to dwell in Christ boaly, and the Word was made flesh, because the Divine Na∣ture which is immaterial and invisible, did through the body become as it were visible. Thus we may say, Original sinne dwelleth in us bodily, and that it is made our flesh, because in and through all bodily actions, it doth manifest it self both to our selves and others: It is then the body of sinne, because it makes it self outward visible, and doth as it were incarnate sinne, hence it is called the outward man: Indeed it is disputed, whether 2 Cor. 4. 16. where the Apostle saith, Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed daily; By outward man there is meant the body only, or original sinne in the bodily deeds thereof; Most do interpret it of the body only, yet Paraeus understands it of original sinne with the body, That as the body and original corruptions with the effects thereof are constantly dying, being mortified by the Spirit of God, so the inward man, which is the work of grace, is daily more confirmed; Howso∣ever this be, yet it is plain, Rom. 7. 22. That the work of grace within us, being called the inward man, that by opposition, original corruption must be the out∣ward man, and therefore called, The Law in our members. It is thought by Ne∣rimbergius, that the Apostle taketh this distinction of an outward and inward man from Plato, out of whom he quoteth a place, with some vicinity to Paul's expression. This is certain, That original sinne may well be called, a body, and the Law in our members, because by these it doth so palpably put forth its self: Insomuch that we may wonder any will not believe there is original sinne, for it is obvious to the sense, they may behold the effects of it, that as you may know a man hath a soul, because he speaketh and laugheth, though you cannot see the soul: Thus though you cannot see original sinne, yet because as soon as ever the child can speak or do any thing, you see vanity and sinne put forth it self, therefore you may conclude there is original sinne: Thou then, that wilt not be convinced of it by Scripture, by reasons and several Authorities, we send thee to experience; You cannot go from house to house, from Town to Town, from company to company, but you may see the effects and actings of original sinne: If you say, It's mens actual sins and custom therein, that makes them so vile; It is true; But still we ask, Whence came the custom? Whence came they to have those actings? Certainly, those streams could not have been polluted, if the fountain had not been; and if original sinne did not infect our natures, why should not men ge∣nerally as well act that which is good, and obtain a custom in that which is com∣mendable? Therefore experience, thy eyes, thy ears, may convince thee of this bodily sinne.

Secondly, The Apostle calleth it a Body, to answer those other expressions that he useth about it, for he often calleth upon us to mortifie, to kill, to crucifie this original sinne: Now to mortifie and crucifie are properly relating to a Body, we do not say properly accidents, or qualities are crucified. To make therefore the expres∣sion harmonious, he calleth it a Body; Howsoever therefore it is with our natu∣ral body, that no man ever yet hated his own flesh, we are to nourish and cherish that, and it would be murder to mortifie that body, yet this Body of sinne is to be kept under, we are not to spare it, but by the Spirit of God to be constantly crucifying of it; neither let that discourage thee, because (as you heard) this will be painfull and grievous to flesh and blood; for you must conclude upon this, Page  108 That the way to Heaven is narrow and straight, there must be constant violence and opposition to all natural inclinations: Every godly man may well be called a Martyr, for though he may feel no pain in the killing of his natural body, yet he must and will feel much exercise in killing the body of sinne, but better endure some grief here, than eternal torments hereafter. Our Saviour speaks to this twice, as it's mentioned by the Evangelist Matthew, Chap. 5. 30 & 18. 3. It is better (saith he) to go halt and blind into life, than with two hands and eyes to be cast into everlasting fire: Think then, whether will be more burdensom to leave the pleasures of sinne here, or hereafter to be tormented to all eternity.

Thirdly, Original sinne may be called a Body, To shew the reality of it, that it is not a meer fancy or humane figment, as some call it, or a non ens (as the late Writer D. J. T. Answ. to a letter.) We know the Scripture, and so our use of speech opposeth a body to a shadow; The Legal Rites are called a shadow, and Christ the body; Thus original sinne, it is not the shadow, or the notion of a sinne, it liveth and moveth as well as actual, it provoketh God, it curseth and damneth as well as actual sins; So that we are not to flight it, or to be fearless of it, but rather to tremble under it, as the fountain of all our evil and calamity. The word Body is sometimes taken for that which is substantial and real, in which sense some have excused Tertullian and others, that attributed a body to God and Angels, as if they intended nothing but a real substance, as the aiome of the Stoicks was, Omne quod est, est corpus; Hence they made Virtues and the Arts, Bodies: But whatsoever their intentions might be, the expression is dangerous, for God is a Spirit; but there is no danger to call original sinne a Body, thereby to express the full and real nature of it, and thus farre Illyricus his intention was good, though his opinion was absurd, to amplifie those terms the Scripture giveth to original sinne in opposition to Popery, wherein they speak so coldly and for∣mally of it, only that he should therefore make it to be more than an accident, even the substance of a man in a theological consideration; hence he did over∣throw all Philosophy and Divinity; So that properly the Lutheran Poet cannot be excused, when he saith,

Ipse Deo eoram sine Christo culpa scelumque,
Ipse ego peccatum sum, proprieque vocer.
In a figurative expression it may pass, but he intended Flaccianism; hence Cont∣zen speaks of Illyricus by scorn, Cujus vel substantia est peccatum. Yet thus much we must take notice of, That the Scripture doth not in vain use such substantive names about our natural defilement, for hereby it doth aggravate it, and would have us also know the greatness and vileness of it; For how few are there, till san∣ctified and enlightned by the Spirit of God, that do bewail this as an heavy bur∣den? They can complain of the pains, the aches, the troubles of their natural body, but do not at all regard this body of sin, whereas to a spiritual tender heart, this body of sinne is farre more grievous than any bodily diseases, or death it self, yea death is therefore welcome to them, because that alone will free from this bo∣dy of sinne, so that they shall never be molested with it more.

Fourthly, Original sinne is called the Body of sinne, Because it is a mass of sin, a lump of all evil: It is not one sinne, but all sinne seminally: And this seemeth to be the most formal and express reason, why the Apostle giveth it this name, cal∣ling it a Body, and attributing members to it; for as a body is not one member, or one part, but the whole compounded of all; Thus is original sinne, it is not the defilement, or pollution in one part of the soul, but it diffuseth it self through all. It is a body of sinne, and herein it doth exceed all actual transgressions, and for this reason, we ought the more to grieve and mourn under it; The body is heavier than one part, why are actual sins a load upon thee, but this which is the cause of all, and comprehends all, thou art never affected with? O pray more Page  109 for the Spirit of conviction by the Word! Look oftner into the pure glass of the Law! Compare thy universal deformity with that exact purity! It is for want of this the pharisaical and the natural man is so self-confident, trusteth so much in his own heart, doth so easily perswade himself of Gods love, whereas if we come to a Christian like Paul, complaining of this Law of sinne within him, finding it captivating and haling of him whither he would not, then we have much a do to comfort such an one, all our work is to make him have any hope in Christ, he thinketh none are so bad as he, that the very devils have not worse in them, than he feeleth in himself; and all this is, because original sinne is such a loathsom dung∣hill in his brest, that as those who have putrified arms, or other parts of their body, they cannot endure themselves, they would flie from themselves: Thus it is with them, because of this original pollution.

Fifthly, Original sinne may be called a Body, Because it inclineth onely to car∣nal, earthly and bodily things, not at all savouring the things of God and his Spirit. Hence it is called so often the flesh, because it only carrieth a man to fleshly things, being contrary to God, and full of enmity to his will, as Rom. 8. And doth not experience confirm this? Take any man, till renewed by grace, and all the bent and impulse of his soul, are to such things alone, that are earthy and sensual, Jam. 3. 17. The Apostle James doth there excellently describe the nature of all natural wisdom, It is earthy, sensual and devilish; Every one by nature is both beastly and devillish; This body of sinne presseth him down to the earth and hell: Inso∣much that you may as soon see a worm flying in the air like a bird, as a man abi∣ding in this natural pollution, having his conversation in heaven; So that being made thus bodily and carnal, all the spiritual things of God are both above our ap∣prehension, and contrary to our affections. Now this very particular, if there were no more, is as deep as the Sea, and containeth unspeakable matter of humiliati∣on, viz. That by this natural pollution, we are destitute of Gods Spirit; Spiri∣tual things are no more apprehended by us, than melody by the deaf ear: Do ye not see wise men, learned men, yea great Scholars, when you come to discourse with them about spiritual things, they are very fools, and are as blind as moles that live wholly in the earth? But of this more in the effects of original sin.

Lastly, In the Scripture, Body is used sometimes for the strength and power of a thing; And thus original sinne is the body, as that which giveth life and motion to all actual sins.

Let the Use be greatly to humble thee under this notion Gods word gives ori∣ginal sinne, This sinfull body; It troubleth thee thou hast a mortal body, a cor∣ruptible body, but above all this body of sinne should be a burden to thee; What shall God give all these names to it, to make thee afraid, and to groan under it, yet shall thy heart continue still like the rock and adamant?