Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

S.S.

Lib. Arbit. · Else were your

children Neither is it considerable unclean, but now they are whether they be the children holy;' 1 Cor. vii. 14.

of believers, or of heathens, Who can bring a clean for all infants have the same thing out of an unclean? not innocency;' Rein. Apol. . one;' Job xiv. 4.

• Except à man be born, • That which we have by again he cannot see the king- birth can be no evil of sin, dom of God;' John iii. 3. because to be born is plainly

• That which is born of involuntary;' Idem. the flesh is flesh ;'John iii. 6.

We were by nature the • Original sin, is neither a children of wrath even as sin properly so called which others ;' Eph. ii. 3.

should make the posterity of By one man sin entered Adam guilty of God's wrath, into the world, and death by nor yet a punishment of any sin, and so death passed upon sin on them ;' Rem. Apol. all men, for that all have sin- • It is against equity that ned ;' to wit, in him; Rom. one should be accounted

guilty of a sin, that is not • For I know that in me, his own, that he should be that is, in my flesh, dwelleth judged nocent, who in reno good thing;' Rom. vii. 18. gard of his own will is truly

innocent.' • In the day you eat there- • God neither doth, nor of you shall surely die ;' Gen. can in justice, appoint any to ji. 17.

hell for original sin ;' Rem. • For as in Adam all die, Apol. so;' 1 Cor. xv. 22.

• It is perversely spoken • By nature children of that original sin makes any wrath;' Eph. ii. 3.

one guilty of death ;' Armin. And there shall in no, •We no way doubt to afwise enter into it any thing firm, that never any one was that defileth;" Rev. xxi. 27. damned for original sin ;'

Corvinus.

v. 12.

CHAP. VIII.

Of the state of Adam before the fall, or of original righteousness.

In the last chapter we discovered the Arminian attempt of re-advancing the corrupted nature of man, into that state of innocency and holiness, wherein it was at first by God created; in which design, because they cannot but discern that the success is not answerable to their desires, and not being able to deny, but that for so much good as we want, having cast it away, or evil of sin that we are subject unto, more than we were at our first creation, we must be responsible for, to the justice of God; they labour to draw down our first parents, even from the instant of their forming into the same condition wherein we are engaged by reason of corrupted nature. But truly, I fear they will scarce obtain so prosperous an issue of their endeavour as Mahomet had, when he promised the people he would call a mountain unto him; which miracle when they assembled to behold, but the mountain would not stir for all his calling, he replied, If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the mountain; and away he packed towards it; but we shall find that our Arminians can neither themselves climb the high mountain of innocency, nor yet call it down into the valley of sin and corruption, wherein they are lodged. We have seen already, how vain and frustrate was their former attempt : let us now take a view of their aspiring insolence, in making

pure creatures of God holy and undefiled with any sin, to be invested with the same wretchedness and perverseness of nature with ourselves.

It is not my intention to enter into any curious discourse concerning the state and grace of Adam before his fall; but only to give a faithful assent to what God himself affirmed of all the works of his hands, they were exceeding good. No evil, no deformity, or any thing tending thereunto, did immediately issue from that fountain of goodness and wisdom, and therefore, doubtless, man, the most excellent work of his hands, the greatest glory of his Creator, was then without spot or blemish, endued with all those perfections his na

the

ture, and state of obedience, was capable of: and careful we must be of casting any aspersions of defect on him, that we will not with equal boldness ascribe to the image of God.

Nothing doth more manifest the deviation of our nature from its first institution, and declare the corruption wherewith we are polluted, than that propensity which is in us to every thing that is evil, that inclination of the flesh, which lusteth always against the spirit, that lust and concupiscence, which fomenteth, conceiveth, hatcheth, bringeth forth, and nourisheth sin; that perpetual proneness that is in unregenerate nature to every thing that is contrary to the pure and holy law of God. Now because neither Scripture nor experience will suffer Christians quite to deny this pravity of our nature, this averseness from all good, and propensity to sin, the Arminians extenuate as much as they are able, affirming that it is no great matter, no more than Adam was subject unto in the state of innocency. But what? did God create in Adam a proneness unto evil? was that a part of his glorious image, in whose likeness he was framed? Yea, saith Corvinus, By reason of his creation, man had an affection to what was forbidden by the law;' but yet this seems injustice, that God should give a man a law to keep, and put upon this nature a repugnancy to that law, as one of them affirmed at the synod of Dort. No?' saith the former author :c«man had not been fit to have had a law given unto him, had he not been endued with a propension, and natural inclination, to that which is forbidden by the law. But why is this so necessary in men, rather than angels? No doubt there was a law, a rule, for their obedience, given unto them at their first creation, which some transgressed, when others kept it inviolate. Had they also a propensity to sin, concreated with their nature ? had they a natural affection put upon them by God, to that which was forbidden by the law ? Let them only, who will be wise beyond the word of God, affix such injustice on the righteous Judge of all the earth; but so it seems it must be. • There was an inclination in man to sin before the fall,d though

a Ex ratione creationis homo habebat affectum ad ea quæ vetabantur. Cor. ad Mol. cap. 6. 8. 1.

Deus homini repugnantiam indidit adversus legem. Joh. Gast. in Synod. confess. c Homo non est idoneus cui les feratur, quando in co, ad id quod lege vetatur, non est propensio, ac inclinatio nauralis. Cor. ad Molin. cap. 10. sect. 15.

d'Inclinatio ad peccanduin ante lapsum in homine fuit, licet non ita vehemens ac inordinata ut nunc est. Armin. ad Artic. Respon.

not altogether so vehement and inordinate as it is now,' saith Arminius. Hitherto we have thought that the original righteousness, wherein Adam was created, had comprehended the integrity and perfection of the whole man: not only that whereby the body was obedient unto the soul, and all the affections subservient to the rule of reason for the performance of all natural actions; but also a light, uprightness, and holiness of grace, in the mind and will, whereby he was enabled to yield obedience unto God, for the attaining of that supernatural end, whereunto he was created. No; but original righteousness,'e say our new doctors,' was nothing but a bridle, to help to keep man's inordinate concupiscence within bounds;' so that the faculties of our souls, were never endued with any proper innate holiness of their own. 'In the spiritual death of sin, there are no spiritual gifts properly wanting in the will, because they were never there,' say the six collocutors at the Hague.

The sum is, man was created with a nature, not only weak and imperfect, unable by its native strength and endowments to attain that supernatural end, for which he was made, and which he was commanded to seek, but depraved also, with a love and desire of things repugnant to the will of God, by reason of an inbred inclination to sinning. It doth not properly belong to this place, to shew how they extenuate those gifts also, with which they cannot deny but that he was endued, and also deny those which he had; as a power to believe in Christ, or to assent unto any truth that God should reveal unto him: and yet they grant this privilege to every one of his posterity, in that depraved condition of nature, whereinto by sin he cast himself and us. We have all now a power of believing in Christ, that is, Adam by his fall obtained a supernatural endowment far more excellent than any he had before. And let them not here pretend the universality of the new covenant, until they can prove it ; and I am certain it will be long enough : but this, I say, belongs not to this place: only let us see, how from the word of God we may overthrow the former odious heresy.

"God in the beginning created man in his own image;'

Justitia originalis instar fræni fuit, quod præstabatin ternæ concupiscentiæ ordinationem. Cor. ad. Mol. c. 8. 8. 1.

In spirituali morte non separantur proprie dona spiritualia a voluntate, quia illa nunquam fuerunt ei insita. Rem. coll. Hag. p. 250.

[ocr errors]

Gen. i. 26. that is, 'upright;' Eccles. vii. 29. endued with a nature composed to obedience and holiness: that habitual grace and original righteousness, wherewith he was invested, was in a manner due unto him for the obtaining of that supernatural end, whereunto he was created; a universal rectitude of all the faculties of his soul, advanced by supernatural graces, enabling him to the performance of those duties whereunto they were required, is that which we call the innocency of our first parents. Our nature was then inclined to good only, and adorned with all those qualifications that were necessary to make it acceptable unto God, and able to do what was required of us by the law, under the condition of everlasting bappiness. Nature, and grace, or original righteousness before the fall, ought not to be so distinguished, as if the one were a thing prone to evil, resisted and quelled by the other; for both complied in a sweet union and harmony, to carry us along in the way of obedience to eternal blessedness; no contention between the flesh and the spirit, but as all other things at theirs, so the whole man jointly aimed at his own chiefest good, having all means of attaining it in his power; that there was then no inclination to sin, no concupiscence of that which is evil, no repugnancy to the law of God, in the pure nature of man, is proved, because,

First, The Scripture, describing the condition of our nature, at the first creation thereof, intimates no such propensity to evil, but rather a holy perfection, quite excluding it: we were created in the image of God;' Gen. i. 27. in such a perfect uprightness as is opposite to all evil inventions ; Eccles. vii. 29. to which image, when we are again in some, 'measure renewed, by the grace of Christ;' Col. iii. 10. 'we see by the first-fruits, that it consisted in righteousness and holiness, in truth and perfect holiness;' Eph. iv. 24.

Secondly, An inclination to evil, and a lusting after that which is forbidden, is that inordinate concupiscence, wherewith our nature is now infected, which is every where in the Scripture condemned as a sin. St. Paul in the seventh to the Romans, affirming expressly that it is a sin, and forbidden by the law; ver. 1. producing all manner of evil, and hindering all that is good; 'a body of death;'. ver. 24. and St. James maketh it even the womb of all iniquity ; James i. 14, 15. Surely our nature was not at first yoked with such a ;

« PreviousContinue »