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from any testimony of Scripture, that it has this effect; while the declarations are innumerable which demonstrate the contrary clearer than the sun. And the fall of Adam, as it was but one act, could not have power to deprave his own nature, much less that of his posterity. That this was not inflicted upon him by God as punishment I have just shown. I do not deny, however, that, by the habit of sinning, the nature of man is infected with a certain stain, and a very strong disposition to wickedness; but I do deny both that this of itself is a sin, and that it is of such a nature that a man, after he has imbibed the divine spirit, cannot create for himself the power of obeying God as far as He, in his infinite goodness and equity, requires.
But yet, that there is original sin, seems to be taught by these testimonies: Gen. vi. 5, “Every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil continually.” And Gen. viii, 21, “The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth."
These testimonies speak of voluntary sin, as even the very term imagination itself evinces, which denotes an internal act. Such an original sin as our adversaries contend for cannot, therefore, be proved from them. For as to the first, Moses shows that it was that kind of sin on account of which it had repented God that he had made man, and clearly intimates that he had decreed to punish him for it by a deluge; which certainly can by no means be asserted of sin that is in man by nature, such as original sin is thought to be. In the other testimony, God does not
positively affirm that the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; hut only says that THOUGH it were, which would in fact be a voluntary thing, it should not any more have the effect of inducing him, on account of it, to punish the world with a flood, as he had done before: which also does not comport with such an original sin as our adversaries imagine.
What think you of what David says (Psalm li: 7), “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me?"
It must be observed that David does not speak here of all inen generally, but of himself alone. In the next place, though he should seem to speak of some innate pr. pensity to sin, yet he does not refer the origin of it to Adam, but only to his mother; as, indeed, we see that a propensity to certain vices is derived from parents, although the remoter ancestors of those parents were not inclined to them. Nor does he state this propensity to be such, that he was not able to abstain from the sins he is deploring, and on account of which he thus adverts to it, and from others also of a similar kind, had he chosen to create for himself the power. Not to notice that David uses a certain hyperbolical exaggeration-of which we have an example in his own writings (Psalm lviii. 3), “ The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” Similar instances are found in. Isaiah xlviii. 8, “I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.” John ix. 34, " Thou wast altogether born in sins.” And
also, also, in an opposite case, Job xxxi. 18, “ From my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb.” And Psalm Ixxi. 5, 6, “ Thou art my trust from my youth, by thee have I been holden up from the womb." Original sin cannot therefore be proved from this testimony
But does not original sin appear to be established by those very passages which you have cited from the Psalms, Isaiah, and John ?
By no means: for otherwise there would exist no reason why it should be attributed to the wicked rather than to others, and they in particular be by name reproached with it;—especially by persons who could not be ignorant that it pertained to themselves in common with the wicked. Moreover, the wicked would by this means be exonerated; because it would indicate the depravity which was innate in them, and not their own acquired criminality, while nevertheless the latter is said to contribute so much more to their con. demnation. Let it be added, that the words used by David and Isaiah denote the act or habit of sinning; and that in John mention is expressly made not of one sin, as original sin would be, but of sins.
But Paul states (Rom. v. 12) that all have sinned in Adam ?
It is not there said that in ADAM all have sinned'; since neither the order of the words,-Adam's name being mentioned long before, and not implied in the proximate antecedent,--nor yet the Greek particle (eni)which Pauluses will bear this interpretation.Those
words all men,
66 for that,
words therefore which some interpreters render “ in whom” ought to be rendered, as by some they are,
“since," or because," as may be seen from similar passages; as Rom. viii. 3; 2 Cor. v. 4; Heb. ü. 18. So that Paul asserts, that “ death passed upon SINCE, or FOR THAT, all have sinned'o." But he speaks throughout of actual sin, as the words following indicate, when he says (ver.13)," For until the law sin was in the world : but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” For these words show that we are to understand the sin prohibited by the law, which was not original, but actual sin. '
60 So the Syriac and Arabic versions render this passage. And it is interpreted in the same manner by Theodoret, Photius, Erasmus, Castellio, Calvin, the Zurich and Geneva annotators, by Osiander, Bucer, Martyr, Piscator, Junius, &c. To the references given above, add Philipp. iii. 12; iv. 10.A. WISSOWATIUS.
Erasmus's observations on this passage are above all worthy of perusal. But though the other reading were retained, a consistent interpretation of these words night be given, and this has been supplied to us by Grotius, whose words are as follow :-Ep'w hic est PER QUEM : quo modo sti cum dativo sumitur Luc. v. 5; Act. iii. 16; 1 Cor. viii. 11; Heb. ix..17 Frequens est pstwusa Hebræis dicere PECCATUM pro Pena, et PECCARE pro PENAM SUBIRE : unde et, procedente longius figura, per petaanyos nun, sive PECCARE dicuntur qui malum aliquod etiam sine culpa ferunt, ut Gen. xxxi. 36, et Job vi. 24, ubi for vertitur per duor parsiv. Chrysostomus hoc loco, Exe148 TiOOYTOS, &c. i.e. Ipso cadente, etiam qui non comederunt de ligno, ex ipso nati sunt omnes mortales. “EQmeans here by WHOM: 80 ST1 with a dative is taken Lukev.5; Actsiii. 16; 1 Cor..viii. 11; Heb. ix. 17. It is a common metonymy in Hebrew writers, to say sin for PUNISHMENT, and singing for UNDERGOING
Whence also, extending the figure, by a metalepsis, they are said son, 'to sin,' who do any wrong even without guilt-as Gen. xxxi. 36; Job vi, 24, where yon is rendered by duoti premysle. Chrysostom, on this passage, writes,‘He having fallen, they also who have not eaten of the tree, are all born of him mortal.' So far Grotius. See also on this subject Curcellæus, Diss. 2, contra Maresium de peccat. origin. and his Institutiones, lib. iii. cap. 16. Moreover, among other writers, the author of Apostasia Christianorum, who is said to have been the most noble Lancelote of Brederode, has refuted this inveterate error concerning original sin in twelve arguments; which €. C. Sandius has inserted in Latin, in his booit de Origine Animæ, p. 72.-B. WissowATIUS,
Having now shown that free will could not be depraved by original sin, state to me, in the next place, how far the power of free will extends ?
Commonly there exists in men by nature but little ability to do those things which God requires of them: but all are naturally capable of inclining their will to the performance of them; and if divine assistance be obtained, the ability to execute them will not be wanting. For it is not to be thought that God exacts from any one what is beyond his power, since he is most wise and just and good; or that he denies his assistance to any one of those persons to whom he has declared his will ; otherwise he could not, as he now does, justly punish the disobedient; nor indeed would the disobedient be deserving of any punishment, nor the obedient be entitled to any praise.
What is this divine assistance ?
It comprises the excellent promises and the threatenings of the New Covenant;-of which, however, the promises have by far the greater power. Wherefore, because the promises and the grace of the New Covenant are far more excellent than those of the Old, it is easier to do the will of God under the