Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAP. VII.

A FURTHER EXPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF

ORIGINAL SIN.

SECTION I.

Of the Fall of Adam, and the Effects of it upon him and us. It was well said of St. Austin in this thing, though he said many others in it less certain, “Nihil est peccato originali ad prædicandum notius, nihil ad intelligendum secretius.” The article we all confess; but the manner of explicating it, is not an apple of knowledge, but of contention. Having therefore turned to all the ways of reason and Scripture, I at last apply myself to examine how it was affirmed by the first and best antiquity. For the doctrine of original sin, as I have explicated it, is taxed of singularity and novelty; and though these words are very freely bestowed upon any thing we have not learned, or consented to ; and that we take false measures of these appellatives ; reckoning that new that is but renewed, and that' singular that is not taught vulgarly, or in our own societies; yet I shall easily quit the proposition from these charges; and though I do confess, and complain of it, that the usual affirmations of original sin are a popular error ; yet I will make it appear, that it is no catholic doctrine, that it prevailed by prejudice, and accidental authorities; but after such prevailing, it was accused and reproved by the greatest and most judicious persons of Christendom.

And, first, that judgment may the better be given of the allegations I shall bring from authority, I shall explicate and state the question, that there may be no impertinent allegations of antiquity for both sides, nor clamours against the persons interested in either persuasion, nor any offence taken by error and misprision. It is not therefore intended, nor affirmed, that there is no such thing as original sin ; for it is certain, and affirmed by all antiquity, upon many grounds of Scripture, that Adam sinned, and his sin was personally his, but derivatively ours; that is, it did great hurt to us,

to our bodies directly, to our souls indirectly and accidentally.

2. For Adam was made a living soul,' the great representative of mankind, and the beginner of a temporal happy life; and to that purpose he was put in a place of temporal happiness, where he was to have lived as long as he obeyed God (so far as he knew nothing else being promised to him, or implied); but when he sinned, he was thrown from thence, and spoiled of all those advantages, by which he was enabled to live and be happy. This we find in the story; the reasonableness of the parts of which, teaches us all this doctrine. To which if we add the words of St. Paul, the case is clear. “The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit, that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth; earthly; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthly, such are they that are earthly; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly; and as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly: now this I say, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." This discourse of the Apostle hath in it all these propositions, which clearly state this whole article. There are two great heads of mankind, the two Adams; the first and the second. The first was framed with an earthly body, the second had (viz. after his resurrection, when he died unto sin once) a spiritual body. The first was earthly, the second is heavenly: from the first we derive an earthly life, from the second we obtain a heavenly; all that are born of the first are such as he was naturally, but the effects of the Spirit came only upon them, who are born of the second Adam: from him who is earthly, we could have no more than he was, or had ; the spiritual life; and consequently the heavenly, could not be derived from the first Adam, but from Christ only. All that are born of the first, by that birth inherit nothing but temporal life and corruption; but in the new birth only we derive a title to heaven. For "flesh and blood,' that is, whatsoever is born of Adam, 'cannot inherit the kingdom of God.' And they

• 1 Cor. xv. 45, &c.

are injurious to Christ, who think, that from Adam we might have inherited immortality. Christ was the giver and preacher of it; he brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.' It is a singular benefit given by God to mankind; through Jesus Christ.

3. Upon the affirmation of these premises, it follows; that if Adam had stood, yet from him we could not have, by our natural generation, obtained a title to our spiritual life, nor by all the strengths of Adam have gone to heaven : Adam was not our representative to any of these purposes, but in order to the perfection of a temporal life. Christ' only' is and was from eternal ages designed to be the head of the church, and the fountain of spiritual life. And this is it which is affirmed by some very eminent persons in the church of God; particularly by Junius and Tilenus, that. Christus est fundamentum totius prædestinationis ;' all that are, or ever were, predestinated, were predestinated in Christ : even Adam himself was predestinated in him, and therefore from him, if he had stood, though we should have inherited a temporal happy life, yet the Scripture speaks nothing of any other event. Heaven was not promised to Adam himself, therefore from him we could not have derived a title thither. And therefore that inquiry of the schoolmen-whether if Adam had not sinned, Christ should have been incarnate was not an impertinent question, though they prosecuted it to weak purposes, and with trifling arguments; 'Scotus and his scholars were for the affirmative; and though I will not be decretory in it, because the Scripture hath said nothing of it, nor the church delivered it; yet to me it seems plainly the discourse of the Apostle now alleged :—That if Adam had not sinned, yet that by Christ alone we should have obtained everlasting life. Whether this had been dispensed. by his incarnation, or some other way of economy, is not signified.

4. But then, if from Adam we should not have derived our title to heaven, though he had stood, then neither by his fall can we be said to have lost heaven. Heaven and hell were to be administered by another method. But then, if it be inquired what evil we thence received ? I answer, that the principal effect was the loss of that excellent condition in which God placed him, and would have placed his pos

terity, unless sin had entered. He should have lived a long and lasting life, till it had been time to remove him, and very happy. Instead of this, he was thrown from those means which God had designed to this purpose, that is, Paradise and the trees of life; he was turned into a place of labour and uneasiness, of briers and thorns, ill air and violent chances, et nova febrium Terris incubuit cohors ;" the woman was condemned to hard labour and travail, and (that which troubled her most) obedience to her husband; his body was made frail, and weak, and sickly; that is, it was left such as it was made, and left without remedies, which were to have made it otherwise. For that Adam was made mortal in his nature, is infinitely certain, and proved by his very eating and drinking, his sleep and recreation; by ingestion and egestion, by breathing and generating his like, which immortal substances never do ; and by the very tree of life, which had not been needful, if he should have had no need of it to repair his decaying strength and health.

5. The effect of this consideration is this, that all the product of Adam's sin, was by despoiling him, and consequently us, of all the superadditions and graces brought upon his nature. Even that which was threatened to him, and in the narrative of that sad story expressed to be his punishment, was no lessening of his nature, but despoiling him of his supernaturals: and therefore Manuel Palæologus calls it KOLVÒV rñs púoews avxuáy, the common dryness of our nature;' and he adds, προλέγω δε προπατορικήν αμαρτίαν δι' ής της χάριτος ÉKTET TÚKajev, ' by our fathers' sin we fell from our fathers' graces. Now, according to the words of the Apostle, “ As is the earthly, such are they that are earthly ;' that is, all his. posterity must be so as his nature was left; in this there could be no injustice. For if God might at first, and all the way have made man with a necessity as well as a possibility of dying, though men had not sinned; then so also may he do, if he did sin ; and so it was; but this was effected by disrobing him of all the superadded excellences with which God adorned and supported his natural life. But this also I add, that if even death itself came upon us without the alteration or diminution of our nature, then so might sin, because death was in re naturali,' but sin is not, and there

[ocr errors]

fore need not suppose that Adam's nature was spoiled to introduce that.

6. As the sin of Adam brought hurt to the body directly, so indirectly it brought hurt to the soul. For the evils upon the body, as they are only felt by the soul ; so they grieve, and tempt, and provoke, the soul to anger, to sorrow, to envy; they make weariness in religious things ; cause desire for ease, for pleasure; and as these are by the body always desired, so sometimes being forbidden by God, they become sins, and are always apt to it; because the body, being a natural agent, tempts to all it can feel, and have pleasure in. And this is also observed and affirmed by St. Chrysostom, and he often speaks it, as if he were pleased in this explication of the article: Μετα γαρ του θανάτου και ο των παθών επεισήλθεν όχλος ότε γαρ θνητον εγένετο το σώμα, εδέξατο γαρ και επιθυμίαν αναγκαίως, λοιπόν, και οργήν και λύπην, και τα άλλα πάντα, απολλης εδείτο φιλοσοφίας" ίνα μη πλημμύρα τον εν ημίν καταποντίση λογισμόν εις τον της αμαρτίας βυθόν" ταύτα μεν γαρ ουκ ήν αμαρτία, η δε αμετρία αυτων μη χαλινουμένη TOŪTO tipyáčeto. “Together with death entered a whole troop of affections or passions. For when the body became mortal, then of necessity it did admit desires, or lust, and anger, and grief, and all things else which need great constancy and wisdom; lest the storm should drown reason in us, in the gulf of sin. For these affections or passions were not sin ; but the excess of them, not being bridled, did effect this b." The same he affirms in homil. 11. ad Rom. vi, and homil. 12. on Rom. vii. And not much unlike this was that excel. lent discourse of Lactantius, in his seventh book de Divino Præmio,' cap. 5. But Theodoret, in his commentaries upon

the Romans, follows the same discourse exactly. And this way of explicating the entrance and facility of sin upon us, is usual in antiquity; affirming, that because we derive a miserable and an afflicted body from Adam, upon that stock sin enters.

Quæ quia materiam peccati ex fomile carnis
Consociata trahit, nec non simul ipsa sodali
Est incentivum peccaminis, implicat ambas
Vindex pena reas, peccantes mente sub una

Peccandique cremat socias cruciatibus æquis c. · Because the soul joined to the body draws from the society Ad 7. Rom. homil. 13.

c Prudentius in Apotheosi.

« AnteriorContinuar »