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but the mind of the spirit is life and peace : because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.”
III. The Character of Concupiscence. There remains the question, What is the character of this concupiscence which, as all agree, remains even in the regenerate ? Is it, before it positively breaks out into definite acts of sin, to be regarded as itself “true and proper sin,” or is it merely to be reckoned as “an incentive to sin, arising from sin and inclining to it"? The question was keenly debated in the sixteenth century, the Church of Rome and the followers of Calvin returning diametrically opposite answers to it. The Roman view of concupiscence is given in the decrees of the Council of Trent, at the fifth session of which the subject was discussed, A.D. 1546, some years, therefore, before the Anglican Article was drawn up. The Tridentine divines in this decree maintain the following positions:
(i.) In baptism the guilt of original sin is remitted, and “all that has the true and proper nature of sin ” is taken away (totum id quod veram et propriam peccati rationem habet).
(ü.) There remains concupiscence, or an incentive to sin, which is left for us to strive against, but cannot injure those who consent not.
(iii.) “This concupiscence, which the Apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in the regenerate, but because it
flesh ”; but in the Bishops' Bible there is the following note : φρονούσι and opórnua, Greek words, do not so much signify wisdom and prudence, as affection, carefulness, and minding of anything.”
is of sin and inclines to sin ” (quia ex peccato est et ad peccatum inclinat).1
This position is quite clear and definite. Concu, piscence, though it often leads to sin, is not "true and proper sin.” Equally definite is the statement of Calvinists on the other side. According to them, conpiscence is "true and proper sin.” So the Gallican Confession of 1561-6 asserts: “We affirm that this fault is truly sin even after baptism";' and in accordance with this, when, in 1543, the “ Assembly of Divines" attempted to revise the Thirty-nine Articles in the interests of Calvinism, they proposed to substitute “is truly and properly sin "3 for the milder statement of our own Article, which, it must be confessed, is somewhat ambiguous, and wanting in the precision of both the Roman and the Calvinistic statements.
The apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin (rationem peccati). It is hard to say exactly what this means. The Tridentine phrase "ratio peccati” is used, but there is nothing about “true and proper nature"; and the Article leaves us uncertain whether it is intended that we should regard concupiscence as truly sin or not. The ambiguity is in all probability designed ;* nor need we regret that we are not called upon to give a more precise account of concupiscence. It is sufficient for us that it is very closely connected with sin, and that, if unchecked, it issues in sin. This is the practical matter, and there, with wise moderation, those who drew up this Article were content to leave it.
* Canons of the Council of Trent, Session V. Decree on Original Sin.
Niemayer, Collectio Confessionum, p. 332; cf. Winer, Confessions of Christendom, p. 109.
* Neal, History of the Puritans, vol. iii. p. 560.
*The Thirteen Articles drawn up in 1538 had, like the Confession of Augsburg, asserted that concupiscence is "vere peccatum." This makes the form of expression employed in our own Article still more noticeable.
One other question remains, to which it is not altogether easy to return a clear answer. The Article refers to “the apostle" as saying that concupiscence“ hath of itself the nature of sin.” To what passage or passages is allusion here made ? S. Paul, who is evidently meant by “the apostle,” nowhere directly terms concupiscence sin (although the Council of Trent maintains that he does), nor does any phrase corresponding to “ratio peccati” occur anywhere in Holy Scripture. On the whole, it appears probable that the passages in the mind of those who penned the Article were such as these, Rom. vi. 12, vii. 8; Gal. v. 16-24, in all of which lust or concupiscence is spoken of as closely connected with sin. Reference may also be made to the teaching of S. James on the same subject: “Each man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and sin, when it is full grown, bringeth forth death " (i. 14, 15)
De Libero Arbitrio. Ea est hominis post lapsum Adæ conditio, ut sese naturalibus suis viribus et bonis operibus ad fidem et invocationem Dei convertere ac præparare non possit: Quare absque gratia Dei, quæ per Christum est, nos præveniente, ut velimus, et co-operante dum volumus, ad pietatis opera facienda, quæ Deo grata sint et accepta, nihil valemus.
Of Free will. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God : Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.
The original Article of 1553 consisted only of the latter part of our present Article, beginning with the words, “We have no power,” etc. Its language was evidently suggested by a passage in Augustine's work, On Grace and Freewill, in which he says that “we have no power to do good works without God working that we may have a good will, and co-operating when we have that good will." 2
The clause which now stands first in the Article was prefixed in 1563 by Archbishop Parker, being taken by him from the Confession of Würtemberg: The object of
1 “Working with us” was substituted for “working in us” as a translation of “co-operante” in 1571.
De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, xvii. : “Sine illo vel operante ut velimus vel co-operante cum volumus, ad bonæ pietatis opera nihil valemus."
8 “Quod autem nonnulli affirmant homini post lapsum tantam animi integritatem relictam, ut possit sese naturalibus suis viribus et bonis the Article of 1553 is to disavow all sympathy with the Anabaptist denial of the absolute need of grace. This is indicated by a passage in the Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum, in which, after a condemnation of the revival of the Pelagian heresy of these fanatics, we read : “Et similiter nobis contra illos progrediendum est, qui tantum in libero arbitrio roboris et nervorum ponunt, ut eo solo sine alia speciali Christi gratia recte ab hominibus vivi posse constituant.” 1 But the clause added by Parker from the Confession of Würtemberg seems also designed to condemn the theory of “congruous merit,” which will be considered under Article XIII.
There are two subjects which call for some consideration in connection with this Article
It will be noticed that, although the title is Of Freewill, yet it is scarcely warranted by the substance of the Article that follows, in which freewill in the abstract is neither asserted nor denied. The title, then, of this Article, as of some others, is not quite accurate, and a more exact one would be
“ of the need of grace.' What is denied in the Article is the power and ability to turn to God and do good works without the assistance of God Himself: what is asserted is the absolute need of grace preventing and co-operating: but of “Freewill” in itself nothing whatever is directly said.
The statement of the first part of the Article follows
operibus, ad fidem et invocationem Dei convertere ac præparare, haud obscure pugnat cum apostolica doctrina et cum vero ecclesiæ Catholicæ consensu.”— De Peccato. See Hardwick, p. 125. 1 De Haeres. c. vii.
2 Cf. Forbes On the Articles, p. 152.