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s« God put original sin into men's souls; for how should he
punish those souls, which he himself had corrupted? And he
adds, that it is a great wickedness to believe that God put into « the soul an inclination to sin; though it is true God creates “ the souls of men destitute of heavenly gifts, and supernatural “ light, and that justly because Adam lost those gifts for himself
and his posterity:
Another judicious divine * expresses himself to this purpose; that, though the soul is created spotless, yet it is destitute of original righteousness, as a punishment of Adam's first sin; and accordingly he distinguishes between a soul's being pure, so as the soul of Adam was when it was first created, that is to say, not only sinless, but having habits, or inclinations in its nature, which inclined it to what was good; and its being created with a propensity, or inclination to evil, which he, with good reason denies; and, as a medium between both those extremes, in which the truth lies, observes, that the soul is created, by God, destitute of original righteousness, unable to do what is truly good; and yet, having no positive inclination, or propensity in nature, to what is evil; this is plainly the sense of his words, which I have inserted in the margin.
Now if it be enquired, how this corrupt habit, or inclination to sin, is contracted ? the corruption of nature necessarily ensues on the privation of original righteousness. Some have illustrated this by an apt similitude, taken from the travellers wandering out of his way, or taking a wrong path, as occasioned by the darkness of the night, in which his want of light is the occasion, though not properly the cause of his wanderingThus man is destitute of original righteousness, or those habits, of supernatural grace, which are implanted in regeneration; and what can be the consequence thereof, but that his first actions, as soon as he is capable of doing good or evil, must contain in them nothing less than a sin of omission, or a defect of, and disinclination to, what is good? and, by this means, the soul be comes defiled, or inclined to sin ; so that
it indisposed to what is good, and that this arises from its being destitute of supernatural grace, which it lost by Adam's fall, and that God may deny this grace, without supposing him to be the author of sin; for he was not obliged to continue that to Adam's posterity, which he forfeited, and lost for them. And that which follows, from hence, is, that the heart of man, by a continuance in sin after it is first tinctured with it, grows worse and worse, and more inclined to it than before. This I cannot better illustrate, than by comparing it to a drop of poison, injected into the veins of a man, which will by degrees corrupt the whole mass of blood.
• See Turret. Instit. Theol. Elenct. Tom. I. Loc. 9. Q. 12. $ 8, 9. Licet anima sine ulla labe creetur a Deo, non creatur tamen cum justitia originali, qualis anima Adami, ad imaginem Dei; sed cum ejus carentia in pænam primi peccati. Ut hic. distinguendum sit inter animam puram, impuram, & non puram. Ila pura dicitur, que ornata est habitu sanctitatis ; impura, que contrarium habitum injustitiæ habet, non pura, quæ licet nullum habeat habitum bonum, nullum tamen habet malum, sed creatur simpliciter cum facultatibus naturalibus ; qualis supponitur creari a Deo post lapsum, quia imago Dei amissa semel per peccatum, non potest amplius restitui, riisi regenerationis beneficio per Spiritum Sunctum. Quamvis autem aninke creentzat a Deo destitutæ justitia originali ; non propterea Deus potest censeri author peccati, quia aliud est impuritutem infundere, aliud puritatem non dare, qua homo se indig. uum reddidit in Adamo.
As to what concerns the body, to which the soul was united, as giving occasion to these corrupt habits being contracted thereby, some have compared this to sweet oil's being infected by a musty vessel, into which it is put; so the soul, created good, and put into a corrupt body, receives contagion from thence : and this conjunction of the pure soul with a corrupt body, is a just punishment of Adam's sin. Thus a very learned and excellent divine accounts for this matter ; * though this similitude does not indeed illustrate this matter in every circumstance, inasmuch as that tincture, which is received from a vessel in a physical way, cannot well agree with the corruption of the soul, which is of a moral nature; but yet I would make this use of it, as to observe what daily experience suggests, namely, that the constitution, or temperament of the body, has a very great influence on the soul, and is an occasion of various inclinations to sin, in which it acts, in an objective way. Therefore when we suppose a soul united to a body, that, according to the frame and constitution of its nature has a tendency to incline it to sin, and this soul is deprived of those supernatural habits, which would have fenced it against this contagion; what can ensue from hence, but that corruption of nature, whereby men are inclined to what is evil ? which inclination increases daily, till men arrive to the most rooted habits and dispositions to all that is bad, and are, with more difficulty, reclaimed from it. This leads us to consider,
IV. The conveyance of original sin, from our first parents to their posterity, by natural generation, or how we are said to be born in sin. It is not the sin of our immediate parents that is imputed to us, for they stand in no other relation, but as natural, and not federal heads of their posterity; therefore the meaning of that answer, in which this doctrine is contained, is only this, that original sin is conveyed to us, by our immediate parents, with our being; so that, as we are born men, we are born sinners. Now, that we may consider this in consistency with what has been before laid down nothing can be inferred, from hence, but that the guilt of Adam's first sin is conveyed to us with our being, and that habitual inclination that we have,
See Perkins on the Creed.
which we call a propensity of nature to sin, is the consequence hereof; so that what our Saviour says, is a great truth, That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, John iii. 6. or every one that is born of sinful parents, will, as soon as he is capable thereof, be prone to sin. And this leads us to consider,
What is objected against what has been before laid down, in explaining this doctrine as though it were inconsistent with the sense of several scriptures, which speak of sin, as derived from our immediate parents. For the understanding of which, in general, let it be considered, that no sense of any scripture is true, that casts the least reflection on the divine perfections. If we could but prove, that our souls were propagated by our immediate parents, as our bodies are, there would be no difficulty in allowing the sense the objectors give of several scriptures, from whence they attempt to account for the corruption of nature in a different way, since God would not then be the immediate author thereof. But, supposing the soul to be creaied by God, we must take some other method to account for the sense of some scriptures, which are brought in opposition to the foregoing explication of the origin of moral evil.
The first scripture, which is generally brought against it, is, in Psal. li. 5. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me; the meaning of which is, I was conceived, and born guilty of sin, with an inability to do what is good, and in such a state, that actual sin would necessarily ensue, as soon as I was capable of committing it, which would bring with it a propensity to all manner of sin. And that David had a sense of guilt, as well as the pollution of nature, is plain, from several verses of this Psalm; especially in ver. 9, 14. It is therefore as though he should say, I was a guilty creature, as soon as I was conceived in the womb; and left of God, and so sin has the ascendant over me. I was conceived a sinner by imputation, under the guilt of Adam's first sin; and to this I have added much more guilt, and lately that of bloodguiltiness. So that though he is said to have been shapen in iniquity, it does not necessarily follow, that his soul was created with infused habits of sin. Whatever the parents are the cause of, with respect to this corruption and pollution, let it be attributed to them; but far be it from us to say, that God is the cause thereof.
Again, it is said, in Job xiv. 4. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? no not one. It is
the sense of this text, to suppose, that by unclean, he means guilty; and by cleanness, innocency, as opposed to it; for, in most places of this book, it is so taken, that is, in a forensick sense; and therefore, why not in this? And, if so, then it is not at all inconsistent with the above-mentioned explication of this docVOL. II,
trine. See chap. xi. 4. I am clean in thine eyes, that is, guiltless; otherwise Zophar's reply to him would not have been so just, when he saith, God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth ; and, in chap. xv. 14. What is man, that he should be clean? and he, that is born of a woman, that he should be rigkteous ? where, to be righteous, seems to be exegetical of being clean; and both of them, being taken in a forensick sense, it agrees well with what Job is often reproved for, by his friends, namely, boasting too much of his righteousness, or cleanness : thus he says, in chap. xxxiii. 9. I am clean without transgression, neither is there iniquity in me; that is, I am not so guil. ty, as to deserve such a punishment, as he inflicts: He findeth occasions against me, &c. Surely, cleanness here is the same with innocence, as opposed to guilt; and, in chap. ix. 30. If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean ; this plainly implies, that if he should pretend himself guiltless, yet he could not answer the charge which God would bring against him, neither could they come together in judg. ment, ver. 32. Now, if this be so frequently, if not always, the sense of clean, in other places of this book, why may not we take the sense of these words, Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean, to be this; that a guilty child is born of a guilty parent, which will be accompanied with uncleanness, and it will be
prone to sin, as soon as it is capable thereof?
Another 'scripture, which we bring to prove original sin, is in Gen. vi. 5. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man, is only evil continually. Why may not we understand it thus ? The imagination of the thoughts are evil, as soon as there are imaginations, or thoughts, though not before. And this rather respects the corruption of nature, than the first rise of it; and so does that parallel scripture ; in Gen. viii. 21. The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; q. d. Sin increases with the exercise of reason.
And, in Psal. lviii. 3. The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born speaking lies. This agrees well enough with what we have said concerning their separation from God, from the womb, from whence arises actual sin; so that they speak lies, as soon as they are capable of it.
There is also another scripture, usually brought to prove ori. ginal sin, which is to be understood in a sense, not much unlike that which we but now mentioned, viz. Isa. xlviii. 8. Thou wast called a transgressor from the womb. This doth not overthrow. what we have said, for a person may be a transgressor, as it were, from the womb, and yet the soul not have a propensity to sin implanted in it by God, in its first creation.
Again, in Gen. v. 3. Adam begat a son in his own likeness,
that is, a fallen creature, involved in guilt, and liable to the curse, like himself; and that would be like him, in actual sin, when capable of it, born in his image, as having lost the divine image.
Again, in John iii. 6. That which is born of the flesh, is fesh. We
may understand this, that every one that is born of sinful parents, is a sinner, destitute of the Spirit of God, which is a great truth. But surely our Saviour did not design hereby to signify, that any one is framed by God with a propensity of sin ; which is all that we militate against in this head. (a)
V. The last thing to be considered, is, that all actual transgressions proceed from original sin. These are like so many streams that flow from this fountain of corruption; the one discovers to us what we are by nature; the other, what we are by practice; and both afford us matter for repentance, and great humiliation, in the sight of God. But since we shall have occasion to enlarge on that part of this subject, which more especially relates to actual transgressions, with their respective aggravations, in some following answers, * we pass it over at present; and shall conclude this head with some practical inferences from what has been said, concerning the corruption of our nature, as being the spring of all actual transgressions.
1. We ought to put a due difference between the first discoveries there are of this corruption of our nature in our infancy, and that which arises from a course, or progress in sin; the latter has certainly greater aggravations in it than the former, and is like a spark of fire, blown up into a flame. Accor
* See Quest. CV.-cli.
(a) The mind of man is as open to the view of God, as our words or actions are; the intention is ordinarily the seat of guilt; for the merely physical action of the body deserves neither praise nor blame; the Lord is able not only to detect, but to punish in every instance such guilt ; his justice therefore requires that he should exercise such power.
To prefer the creatures to the Creator, is to deny his superior excellency, and that he is the source from whence we have derived the good which we possess; it is to give the honour which is due to him, unto others; it is a robbery committed on him; it is a revolting from bis allegiance, and treason, which ought to be punished.
It is an evidence that we have no love for him, when we desire communion and acquaintance with other objects on their own account. It is a proof of enmity against him, for we cannot at the same time fix our highest affections on sensual pursuits and on holiness; and an attachment to the former evinces hatred of the latter; and so an aversion to an holy God. If we are enemies to God, Omnipotence must and will prevail, nor can he suffer in the universe, his enemies to be finally prosperous, possessing still their enmity.
Where there exists not the love of God, there is no obedience to his laws, for this is the principle of obedience; all the good deeds of such are but a semblance of holiness, and must be rejected by him who views the motive with the action. Disobedience to his laws is to be punished with death, the implied penalty of all divine laws; and the least punishment that the magnitude of so offence against an infinite Majesty can admit.