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be restrained at all, if there be any acts of life ; and when all the other faculties are weakest, the will is strongest, and does not all depend upon the body. Indeed it often follows the inclination and affections of the body, but it can choose against them, and it can work without them. And indeed since sin is the action of a free faculty, it can no more take away the freedom of that faculty, than virtue can; for that also is the action of the same free faculty. If sin.be considered in its formality, as it is an inordination or irregularity, so it is contrary to virtue; but if you consider it as an effect or action of the will, it is not at all contrary to the will, and therefore it is impossible it should be destructive of that faculty from whence it comes.
74. Now to say, that the will is not dead, because it can choose sin, but not virtue, is an escape too slight. For, besides that it is against an infinite experience, it is also contrary to the very being and manner of a man, and his whole economy in this world. For men indeed, sometimes by evil habits, and by choosing vile things for a long time together, make it morally impossible to choose and to love that good in particular which is contrary to their evil customs. 'Hpáxλειτος έφη ώς ήφος ανθρώπω δαίμων m. Custom is the devil that brings in new natures upon us; for nature is innocent in this particular. “ Nulli nos vitio natura conciliat: nos illa integros ac liberos genuit":” “ Nature does not engage us upon a vice. She made us entire, she left us free,” but we make ourselves prisoners and slaves by vicious habits; or, as St. Cyril expresses it, 'Ελθόντες αναμάρτητοι, νύν εκ προαιρέσεως áfaptávoulev; “ We came into the world without sin,” meaning, without sin properly so called, “ but now we sin by choice,” and by election bring a kind of necessity upon us. But this is not so in all men, and scarcely in any man in all instances; and as it is, it is but an approach to that state in which men shall work by will without choice, or by choice without contrariety of objects. In heaven and hell men will
The saints love God so fully, that they cannot hate him, nor desire to displease him. And in hell the accursed spirits so perfectly hate him, that they can never love him. But in this life, which is status viæ,' a middle condition between both, and a passage to one or the other, it cannot be
n Senec. ep. 94.
• Catech. 9.
supposed to be so, unless here also a man be already saved or damned.
75. But then I consider this also, that since it is almost by all men acknowledged to be unjust, that infants should be eternally tormented in the flames of hell for original sin ; yet we do not say that it is unjust, that men of age and reason should so perish, if they be vicious and disobedient. Which difference can have no ground but this, that infants could not choose at all, much less that, which not they, but their father did long before they were born: but men can choose, and do what they are commanded, and abstain from what is forbidden. For if they could not, they ought no more to perish for this, than infants for that.
76. And this is so necessary a truth, that it is one of the great grounds and necessities of obedience and holy living; and if, after the fall of Adam, it be not by God permitted to us to choose or refuse, there is nothing left whereby man can serve God or offer him a sacrifice. It is no service, it is not rewardable if it could not be avoided, nor the omission punishable if it could not be done. All things else are determined, and fixed by the Divine Providence, even all the actions of men. But the inward act of the will is left under the command of laws only, and under the arrest of threatenings, and the invitation of promises. And that this is left for man, can no ways impede any of the divine decrees, because the outward act being overruled by the Divine Providence, it is strange if the schools will leave nothing to man, whereby he can glorify God.
77. I have now said something to all that I know objected, and more than is necessary to the question, if the impertinences of some schools, and their trifling arrests, had not so needlessly disturbed this article. There is nothing which from so slight grounds hath got so great, and till of late, so unquestioned footing in the persuasions of men. Origen ” said enough to be mistaken in the question. Η άρα του 'Αδάμ κοινή πάντων εστί. Και τα κατα της γυναικός, ουκ έστικαθ' ής ου λέγεται, 66 Adam's curse is common to all. And there is not a woman on earth, to whom may not be said those things which were spoken to this woman ‘Eve.”” Him St. Ambrose did mistake, and followed the error about explicating the nature of original
P Contra Celsum, lib. 4. VOL. IX.
sin, and set it something forward. But St. Austin gave it complement and authority by his fierce disputing against the Pelagians, whom he would overthrow by all means. Indeed, their capital error was a great one, and such against which all men, while there was need, ought to have contended earnestly, but this might and ought to have been done by truth. For error is no good confuter of error, as it is no good conversion that reforms one vice with another. But his zeal against a certain error, made him take in auxiliaries from an uncertain or less discerned one, and caused him to say many things which all antiquity before him disavowed, and which the following ages took up upon bis account. And if such a weak principle as his saying, could make an error spread over so many churches, for so many ages, we may easily imagine that so many greater causes, as I before reckoned, might infeot whole nations, and consequently mankind, without crucifying our patriarch or first parent, and declaiming against him, poor man, as the author of all our evil. Truth is, we intend, by laying load upon him, to excuse ourselves, and which is worse, to entertain our sins infallibly, and never to part with them, upon pretence that they are natural, and irresistible.
The Practical Question.
78. AND now if it be inquired, whether we be tied to any particular repentance relative to this sin, the answer will not be difficult. I remember a pretty device of Jerome of Florence, a famous preacher not long since, who used this argument to prove the blessed Virgin Mary to be free from original sin. Because it is more likely, if the blessed Virgin bad been put to her choice, she would rather have desired of God to have kept her free from venial actual sin than from original. Since therefore God hath granted her the greater, and that she never sinned actually, it is to be presumed God did not deny to her the smaller favour, and therefore she was free from original. Upon this many a pretty story hath been made, and rare arguments framed, and fierce contestations,
whether it be more agreeable to the piety and prudence of the Virgin mother to desire immunity from original sin, that is deadly, or from a venial actual sin that is not deadly. This indeed is voluntary, and the other is not; but the other deprives us of grace, and this does not. God was more offended by that, but
we offend him more by this. The dispute can never be ended upon their accounts; but this Gordian knot I have now untied as Alexander did, by destroying it, and cutting it all in pieces. But to return to the question.
79. St. Austin was indeed a fierce patron of this devices and one of the chief inventors and finishers of it; and his sense of it is declared in his book de Peccatorum Medicinâ?,' where he endeavours largely to prove, that all our lifetime we are bound to mourn for the inconveniences and evil consequents derived from original sin. I dare say, every man is sufficiently displeased that he is liable to sickness, weariness, displeasure, melancholy, sorrow, folly, imperfection, and death, dying with groans and horrids spasms and convulsions. In what sense these are the effects of Adam's sin and though of themselves natural, yet also upon his account made penal, I have already declared, and need no more to dispute; my purpose being only to establish such truths as are in order to practice and a holy life, to the duties of repentance and amendment. But our share of Adam's sin, either being in us no sin at all, or else not to be avoided or amended, it cannot be the matter of repentance. Neminem autem rectè ita loqui poenitere sese quòd natus sit, aut poenitere quòd mortalis sit, aut quòd ex offenso fortè vulneratoque corpore dolorem sentiat,” said A. Gellius"; “ A man is not properly said to repent that he was born, or that he shall die, or that he feels pain when his leg is hurt:" he gives this reason, " Quando istiusmodi rerum nec consilium sit nostrum, nec arbitrium:" “As these are besides our choice, so they cannot fall into our deliberation;" and therefore, as they cannot be chosen, so neither refused, and therefore not repented of; for that supposes both; that they were chosen once, and now refused. As Adam was not bound to repent of the sins of all his posterity, so neither are we tied to repent of his sins. Neither did I ever see, in any ancient office or forms of prayer, public or private, any prayer of humiliation prescribed for original 9 Cap. 3. homil. 50.
r Lib. 17. c. 1.
sin. They might deprecate the evil consequents, but never confess themselves guilty of the formal sin. : 80. Add to this : Original sin is remitted in baptism by the consent of those schools of learning, who teach this article; and therefore is not reserved for any other repentance : and that which came without our own consent, is also to be taken off without it. That which came by the imputation of a sin, may also be taken off without the imputation of righteousness; that is, as it came without sin, so it must also go away without trouble.
But yet because the question may not render the practice insecure, I add these rules by way of advice and caution.
Advices relating to the Matter of Original Sin. 81. I. It is very requisite that we should understand the state of our own infirmity, the weakness of the flesh, the lemptations and diversions of the spirit, that by understanding our present state, we may prevent the evils of carelessness and security. Our evils are the imperfections and sorrows inherent in, or appendant to our bodies, our souls, our spirits.
82. In our bodies we find weakness and imperfection, sometimes crookedness, sometimes monstrosity; filthiness, and weariness, infinite numbers of diseases, and an uncertain cure, great pain and restless nights, hunger and thirst daily, necessities, ridiculous gestures, madness from passion, distempers, and disorders, great labour to provide meat and drink, and oftentimes a loathing when we have them; if we use them they breed sicknesses ; if we use them not, we die ; and there is such a certain healthiness in many things to all, and in all things to some men and at sometimes, that to supply a need, is to bring a danger: and if we eat like beasts only of one thing, our souls are quickly weary; if we eat variety, we are sick, and intemperate; and our bodies are inlets to sin, and a stage of temptation. If we cherish them, they undo us; if we do not cherish them, they die: ve suffer illusion in our dreams, and absurd fancies when we are waking ; our life is soon done, and yet very tedious; it is too long and too short;