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hoc ideo di&tum elle, quod Adam peccaverit primum, in, quo de cætero quis quis peccare voluit
, peccandi invenit exemplum : , ut peccatum scilicet non generatione ab illo uno in omnes homines, fed illius unius imitatione tranfiret. D. Auguft. de Nuptiis & Concupiscentia
, lib. 2. cap. 27"Twere easy to heap up more Authorities, but these are fufficient.
onob Now this First Proposition has two Branches The First is Negative, That Original Sin ftandeth, not in the following of Adam, and therein our Church condemns the Pelagians. The Second is Positive, That Original Sin is the Fault and Cor ruption of the Nature of every Man, that naturally is ingendred of the Ofspring of Adam, whereby.. Man is far gone from Original Righteousness, and is of his own Nature inclined to Evil; fo that the Flesh lufteth always contrary to the Spirit.
I. begin with the latter. Compare the Ninth and Tenth Questions of Thrretin's Locus Nonus, with the whole Third Chapter, and the First Section of the Fourth Chapter of the Third Book of Limborch's System. You'll perceive; that how much soever they differ about the Inputation of Adam's Sin, and the Explication of fome Texts which are usually allegd to prove the universal Corruption of Mankind; yet they agree in this, that there is such an universal Corruption as our Church maintàins. And as Experience teaches us the Truth of what they jointly affert; lo fome at least of those Texts which are examined by them, bear witness to the fame. Then subjoin the Twelfth and Thirteenth Chapters of the Second Volume of Dr. Fenkin's Reasonableness and Certainty of the Cbristian Religion.
As for the former Branch of this First Proposition, it is the necessary Consequence of the lattér. For if there be such an universal Corruption, then Original Sin can't consist in the bare Imitation of our first Parent Adam, 'Tis true, we do in Fact follow his Example; but that is the Effect of Original Sin, and not the thing it self. 'Tis true also, that we might have sinned, if Adam had not done so before us : But Original Sin makes Actual Transgression necessary to those that are defiled with it ; so that in our present Circumstances we cannot wholly abstain from Sin, as we might well have done, if a Corruption had not been entaila upon us.
The Second Proposition has perplex'd many honest Minds; for no other Reason, I am persuaded, but because they have not sufficiently consider'd what our Church afferts. I shall therefore offer fome Hints.
Upon Suppofition, that our Original Corruption had continued in full Force, without any such Rea straint, as the Grace and good Providence of God do now afford us; every Man would naturally and necessarily grow worse and worse, and at length become utterly harden'd by a Course of Sin ; in consequence of which he could not but have an utter Aversion to that God, in the Enjoyment of whom all rational Happiness consists. Such a Perfon therefore would be unavoidably miserable i and if he continued ever in that State, would be everlastingly miserable. Nor could God himself hinder it, without changing the Man, from a State of inveterate Wickedness, to a State of fincere Holiness; which is contrary to the Supposition we are now arguing upon.
From hence it follows, that Original Sin doth (that is, the Person infected therewith doth upon the account of it) deserve God's Wrath and Dam.
nation. For Desert has relation to the Justice of God,, considered by it self, as diftinct from his other Attributes. And a Creature is then faid'to deferive Punishment at God's hands, when the Jufice of God either obliges him to inflict, or permits him not to remove, its Punishment. Now the Justice of God cannot but '(I will not say infliet, for in this Case the Punishment or Misery is the únavoidable Consequence of its natural Pollution; but) permit the Punishment or Misery of that Crea ture to continue, which is a Slave to Sin. Such a Creature therefore must needs deserve God's Wrath, and, as the Consequence thereof, Damnation to all Eternity. Because, unless Mercy prevents. it (which is not to be supposed, whilft we talk of Desert, which has a relation to Justice only) it must to all Eternity continue the Objeót of God's Dil. pleasure.
Let us therefore always bear in our Minds, thar the Punishment of Original Sin is not properly inflia
burri of that State and Order of things which his Wisdom has appointed. - So that whatever God has done, with respect to Man, is positively good, and a real Effect of his infinite Love: and as for the dismal Consequences of Original Sin, they are chargeable, not upon God, but upon our first Parents. And therefore, tho' our first Parents were undoubtedly guilty of the utmost positive Injustice, in plunging their Posterity into such dreadful Circumstances; yet God is not to be impeach'd for the bare Per mission of that Punishment, which as long as the Creature continues evil, he is not in Justice obliged to remove. For how can that Creature, which is justly odious to God in its own Nature, chal
lenge: God's Justice to make it happy, whilft is continues odious to him?
Perhaps it may be laid, That 'twas unjust in God to appoint fuch an Order of things, as thac One Man's Misery fhould be the unavoidable Consequence of another's Wickedness. To this I answer, That in Fact God has acted thus in anon ther Instance. For one Man may cripple or others wise ruin another; and in the prefent Order of Things this is sometimes unavoidable : But surely the Justice of God must not be impeach'd, because he was the Author of that Order, Iconfessy, there is a vaft Difference between Temporal and Etesnak Misery; but yet it must be obsery'd, that as to Misery it selfs as oppos'd to Happiness, chis vast Difference is not in Kind, but in Degree only, And consequently, if it be really unjust in God co appoint such an Order of Things, that the eternal Misery of one. Man depends upon the Will ofanother : then 'tis as certainly, tho' not equally, unjust for him to appoint such an Order of Things, as that any the smallest Injury should be unavoidably done by one Man to another. For the smallest Injustice is ás impossible to God, and as inconsistent with his Justice, as the greatest that can
be imagined. And yer, surely no Man will accuse God of Injustice upon the account of this present Order of Things; because whatever is properly his, is a Kindness to us, and all the Irregularity must be charged only on such as pervert his Order, and abuse it to the Misery of their Fellow Creatures. Wherefore let the Solution of the one Difficulty be applied to the other. For this Argu nent against the Justice of God, with respect to Original Sin, has no more Strength in it, than that which may be urg'd with Parity of Reason against ordinary Providence. And
the Folly of this Argument, as urg'd against ordinary Providence, must therefore be allow'd ; because that Holy God, who can't do any Injustice, does certainly suffer such Facts every Day; which may therefore in their own Nature be accounted for, tho' they seem at present insuperable Difficulties to our selves. Surely we ought to resolve all these Proceedings into his unsearchable Wisdom and inexpressible Goodness, of which we receive every Moment of our Lives numberless, fresh and demonstrative Evidences; and which therefore, we may firmly believe, did jointly determin, that the Blessings he intended us by this Order of things, were an Overbalance to all the Poflibilities of Evil arising from it.
But do Infants also, because they are infected with Original Sin, deserve God's Wrath and Damnation, even tho’they die in their Infancy? For the Article faies, that Original Sin deserves God's Wrath and Damnation in every Person born into this World. I answer, That these Words, as full and comprehensive as they seem to be, do notwithstanding fairly admit, if not necessarily require, a Limitation. For the Article manifestly speaks of those only, in whom theFlesh lufteth always contrary to the Spirit, and in whom the cornua o aguds is not subject to the Law of God. Do but observe the Words of the Article, and the Order of them. The Church faies, that Original Sin is the fault, &c. of every man, &c. whereby man is very far gone from Original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclin'd to evil; so that the flesh lušteth always contrary to the Spirit. Then she adds immediately, And therefore in every person born into this world it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. You see, in the Judgment of our Church, Original Sin doth therefore deserve God's