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ful, as he is naturally heavy, or upright, apt to laugh, or weep. For these he is always, and unavoidable.
72. And indeed the contrary doctrine is a destruction of all laws, it takes away reward and punishment, and we have nothing whereby we can serve God. And precepts of holiness might as well be preached to a wolf as to a man, if man were naturally and inevitably wicked.
Improbitas nullo flectitur obsequio, There would be no use of reason or of discourse, no deliberation or counsel : and it were impossible for the wit of man to make sense of thousands of places of Scripture, which speak to us as if we could bear and obey, or could refuse. Why are promises made, and threatenings recorded? Why are God's judgments registered ? To what purpose is our reason above, and our affections below, if they were not to minister to, and attend upon the will? But upon this account, it is so far from being true that man after his fall did forfeit his natural power of election, that it seems rather to be increased. For as a man's knowledge grows, so his will becomes better attended and ministered unto. But after his fall, his knowledge was more than before; he knew what nakedness was, and had experience of the difference of things, he perceived the evil and mischief of disobedience and the divine anger; he knew fear and flight, new apprehensions, and the trouble of a guilty conscience: by all which and many other things, he grew better able, and instructed with arguments to obey God, and to refuse sin for the time to come. And it is every man's case ; a repenting man is wiser, and hath oftentimes more perfect hatred of sin than the innocent, and is made more wary by his fall. But of this thing God himself is witness.
« Ecce homo tanquam singularis, ex se ipso habet scire bonum et malum :" so the Chaldee paraphrase reads Gen. iii. 22. Our Bibles read thus : “ And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” Now as a consequent of this knowledge, God was pleased, by ejecting him out of Paradise, 'to prevent his eating of the tree of life: “Ne fortè mittat manum suam in arborem vitæ :” meaning, that now he was grown wise and apt to provide himself, and use, all such remedies as were before him. He knew more after
his fall than before; therefore ignorance was not the punishment of that sin: and he that knows more, is better enabled to choose, and lest he should choose that which might prevent the sentence of death put upon him, God cast him from thence where the remedy did grow. Upon the authority of this place Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon hath these words: “Potestas libera unicuique data est. Si vult inclinare se ad bonum et esse justus, penes ipsum est: sin vult se ad malum inclinare et esse impius, et hoc ipsum penes est. Hoc illud est quod in lege scribitur, Ecce homo tanquam singularis, ex seipso habet scire bonum et malum :” “To every man is given a power that he may choose and be inclined to good if he please ; or else if he please to do evil. For this is written in the Law, Behold, the man is a single one, of himself now he knows good and evil: as if he had said, Behold, mankind is in the world without its like, and can, of his own counsel and thought, know good and evil, in either of these doing what himself shall choose.”—“Si lapsus es, poteris surgere, in utramvis partem habes liberum arbitrium," saith St. Chrysostom'. “If thou hast fallen, thou mayest rise again. That which thou art commanded to do, thou hast power to do. Thou mayest choose either.”
73. I might be infinite in this; but I shall only add this one thing, that to deny to the will of man powers of choice and election, or the use of it in the actions of our life, destroys the immortality of the soul. Κινδυνεύει γαρ εις το μή είναι υποφέρεσθαι η ανθρωπίνη ψυχή δια της εις το μή παρά φύσιν εκτροañs, said Hierocles: “Human nature is in danger to be lost, if it diverts to that which is against nature."-For if it be immortal, it can never die in its noblest faculty. But if the will be destroyed, that is, disabled from choosing (which is all the work the will hath to do), then it is dead. For to live, and to be able to operate, in philosophy are all one. If the will therefore cannot operate, how is it immortal ? And we may as well suppose an' understanding that can never understand, and passions that can never desire or refuse, and a memory that can never remember, as a will that cannot choose. Indeed all the faculties of the soul that operate by way of nature, can be hindered in individuals ; but in the whole species never. But the will is not impedible, it cannot
I In 50. Psal. bom. 2.
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. Ηράκλειτος έφη ώς ήθος 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, Έλθόντες αναμάρτητοι, νύν εκ προαιρέσεώς ápapravouev; “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 do so. 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 supposed to be so, unless here also a man be already saved or damned.
o Senec, ep. 94.
o Catech. 9.
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 P said enough to be mistaken in the question. 'H dpà toū’Adàu koivý πάντων εστί. Και τα κατα της γυναικός, ουκ έστι καθ' ής ου λέγεται. “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 ori.
P Contra Celsam, lib. 4.
ginal 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 his 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 infect 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 had 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,