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a lord only of the son. He hath absolute power over the lives of all his creatures, and can take it away from any man without injustice, when he please, though neither he nor his parents have sinned ; and he may use the same right and power when either of them alone hath sinned. But in striking the son, he does not do to him as a judge; that is, he is not angry with him, but with the parent: but to the son he is a supreme lord, and may do what seemeth good in his
58. IV. When God, using the power and dominion of a lord, and the severity of a judge, did punish posterity, it was but so long as the fathers might live and see it,' où luπούσα μάλλον ετέρα κόλασις ή τους εξ εαυτών κακά πάσχοντας di aŭrojs opậv, said St. Chrysostom*, to the third and fourth generation, no longer. It was threatened to endure no longer, in the second commandment; and so it happened in the case of Zimri and Jehu ; after the fourth generation they prevailed not upon their masters' houses. And if it happen that the parents die before, yet it is a plague to them that they know, or ought to fear the evil shall happen upon their posterity; "quo tristiores perirent,” as Alexander said of the traitors, whose sons were to die after them; “ They die with sorrow and fear.”
59. V. This power and dominion which God used, was not exercised in ordinary cases, but in the biggest crimes only. It was threatened in the case of idolatry; and was often inflicted in the case of perjury, of which the oracle recited by Herodotus said,
Advenit, atque omnem vastat stirpemque domumque. And in sacrilege the anger of God uses also to be severe; of which it was observed even by the heathens taught by the Delphic priests :
Sed capiti ipsorum, quique enascantur ab ipsis,
Imminet; inque domo cladem sabit altera clades. Those sins which the Greeks called ayn, and which the Christians called crying sins,' are such, in the punishment of which God did not only use his severe justice as to the offending person; but for the enlargement and extension of
* Hornil, 29. in 9. Gen.
his justice, and the terror of the world, he used the rights of his power and dominion over their relatives. • 60. VI. Although God threatened this, and hath a right and power to do this, yet he did not often use his right, but only in such notable examples as were sufficient to all ages to consign and testify his great indignation against those crimes, for the punishment of which he was pleased to use his right, the rights of his dominion. For although he often does miracles of mercy, yet seldom it is that he does any extraordinaries of judgment: he did it to Corah and Dathan, to Achan and Saul, to Jeroboam and Ahab; and by these and some more expressed his severity against the like crimes sufficiently to all ages.
61. VII. But his goodness and graciousness grew quickly weary of this way of proceeding. They were the terrors of the law, and God did not delight in them. Therefore, in the time of Ezekiel the prophet, he declared against them, and promised to use it no more, that is, not so frequently, not so notoriously, not without great necessity and charity,
Ne ad parentum exempla succresceret improbitas filiorum :' -“As I live, saith the Lord, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge. The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
62. VIII. The iniquity of the people, and the hardness of their heart, did force God to use this harsh course, especially since that then there was no declaration, or intermination, and threatening the pains of hell to great sinners. “Duritia populi ad talia remedia compulerat, ut vel posteritatibus suis prospicientes legi divinæ obedirent,” said Tertullian. Something extraordinary was then needful to be done to so vile a people to restrain their sinfulness. But when the Gospel was published, and hell-fire threatened to persevering, and greater sinners, the former way of punishment was quite left off. And in all the Gospel there is not any one word of threatening passing beyond the person offending. “ Desivit uva acerba" (saith Tertullian), “à patribus manducata, dentes filiorum obstupefacere: unusquisque enim in suo delicto morietur:” “Now" (that is, in the time of the Gospel), “ the sour grape of the fathers shall no more Ezek. xviii. 3.
z De Monog.
set on edge the children's teeth, but every one shall die in his own sin."
63. Upon this account alone, it must needs be impossible to be consented to, that God should still, under the Gospel, after so many generations of vengeance, and taking punishment for the sin, after the publication of so many mercies, and so infinite a graciousness as is revealed to mankind in Jesus Christ, after the so great provisions against sin, even the horrible threatenings of damnation, still persevere to punish Adam in his posterity, and the posterity for what they never did.
64. For either the evil that falls upon us for Adam's sin, is inflicted upon us by way of proper punishment, or by right of dominion. If by a proper punishment to us, then we un. derstand not the justice of it, because we were not personally guilty; and all the world says it is unjust directly to punish a child for his father's fault. “Nihil est iniquius quàm aliquem hæredem paterni odii fieri,” said Seneca --and Pausanias, the general of the Grecian army, would not punish the children of Attagines, who persuaded the Thebans to revolt to the Medes, φας του Μηδισμού παϊδας ούκ είναι μεταιτίους, “saying, the children were not guilty of that revolt;" and when Avidius Cassius had conspired against Mark Anthony, he wrote to the senate to pardon his wife and son-in-law ; "Et quid dico veniam, cùm illi nihil fecerint?” “But why” (says he)“should I say, pardon, when they had done nothing?" But if God inflicts the evil upon Adam's posterity, which we suffer for his sake, not as a punishment, that is, not making us formally guilty, but using his own right and power of dominion which he hath over the lives and fortunes of his créatures; then it is a strange anger which God hath against Adam, that he still retains so fierce an indignation, as not to take off his hand from striking after five thousand six hundred years, and striking him for that of which he repented him, and which in all reason we believe he then pardoned, or resolved to pardon, when he promised the Messias to him. To this I add this consideration; that it is not easily to be imagined how Christ reconciled the world unto his Father; if after the death of Christ, God is still so angry with mankind, so unappeased, that even the most innocent part of mankind may perish for Adam's sin; and the other are per
petually punished by a corrupted nature, a proneness to sin, a servile will, a filthy concupiscence, and an impossibility of being innocent; that no faith, no sacrament, no industry, no prayers, can obtain freedom from this punishment.
65. Certain it is, the Jews knew of no such thing, they understood nothing of this economy, that the father's sin should be punished in the children by a formal imputation of the guilt; and therefore Rabbi Simeon Barsema said well, that " when God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children, ‘jure dominii, non pænæ utitur,' he uses the right of empire,' not of justice,-of dominion, not of punishment,'— of a lord, not of a judge.” And Philo blames it for the worst of institutions, when the good sons of bad parents shall be dishonoured by their fathers' stain, and the bad sons of good parents shall have their fathers' honour; ToŨ vóuov dikálovτος έκαστον αυτόν, εφ' εαυτού, μη συγγενών, αρεταίς επαινούντος, ή κακίαις κολάζοντος ; « for the law praises every one for their own, not for the virtue of their ancestors, and punishes not the fathers, but his own wickedness upon every man's heada." And therefore Josephus calls the contrary way of proceeding, which he had observed in Alexander, υπέρ άνθρωπον δίκην, . a punishment above the measures of a man;' and the Greeks and Romans did always call it injustice.
Illic immeritam maternæ pendere linguæ
Andromedam pænas injustas jusserat Hammon b. And hence it is, that all laws forbear to kill a woman with child, lest the innocent should suffer for the mother's fault: and therefore this just mercy is infinitely more to be expected from the great Father of spirits, the God of mercy and comfort. And upon this account Abraham was confident with God; “Wilt thou slay the righteous with the wicked ? Shall not the Judge of all the world do right?" And if it be unrighteous to slay the righteous with the wicked, it is also unjust to slay the righteous for the wicked. “Ferretne ulla civitas laborem istiusmodi legis, ut condemnetur filius aut nepos, si pater aut avus deliquissent :” “ It were an intolerable law, and no community would be governed by it, that the father or grandfather should sin, and the son or nephew should be punished.”-I shall add no more testimonies, but
Ovid. M. iv. 669. Gierig. c Cicero, lib. 3. de Nat. Deor.
à Lib. de Pietate.
only make use of the words of the Christian emperors in their laws; “Peccata igitur suos teneant auctores: nec ulteriùs progrediatur metus, quàm reperiatur delietum d.”. Let no man trouble himself with unnecessary and melancholy dreams of strange, inevitable, undeserved punishments, descending upon us for the faults of others.”—The sin that a man does. shall be upon his own head only. Sufficient to every man is his own evil, the evil that he does, and the evil that he suffers.
Of the Causes of the universal Wickedness of Mankind. 66. But if there were not some common natural principle of evil introduced by the sin of our parent upon his posterity, how should all men be so naturally inclined to be vicious, so hard and unapt, so uneasy and so listless, to the practices of virtue? How is it that all men in the world are sinners, and that in many things we offend all ? For if men could choose and had freedom, it is not imaginable that all should choose the same thing; as all men will not be physicians, nor all desire to be merchants. But we see that al men are sinners, and yet it is impossible that in a liberty of indifferency there should be no variety. Therefore we must be content to say, that we have only a liberty of adhesion or delight; that is, we so love sin that we all choose it, but cannot choose good.
67. To this I answer many things. 1. If we will suppose that there must now be a cause in our nature determining us to sin by an irresistible necessity, I desire to know why such principle should be more necessary to us than it was to Adam? What made him to sin when he fell? He had a perfect liberty, and no ignorance, no original sin, no inordination of his affections, no such rebellion of the inferior faculties against the superior as we complain of; or at least we say he had not, and yet he sinned. And if his passions did rebel against his reason before the fall, then so they may in us, and yet not belong of that fall. It was before the fall in him, and so may be in us, and not the effect of it. But the truth of the thing is this, he had liberty of choice, and chose
d L. Sancimus. c. de Pænit.